Tips for Smooth Retirement Travel

By: Guest Author

Published: August 21, 2019

Written by Adrian Johansen -Guest Contributor

Now that you’re retired, you’ve been thinking of ways to make life more exciting. Travel has always been at the top of your list, and you finally have the time to visit all the places you’ve always dreamed of. There are some details you should smooth out first, though, like how to handle common airport issues, clever ways to save money, and which tech will make your trip more convenient.

Book Your Flights the Smart Way

If you didn’t travel much pre-retirement, you might be in for a shock when it comes to the many things that can go wrong during a trip, especially when it comes to airports. Don’t worry, though – every frequent traveler has faced a pitfall at one time or another. Being prepared is the best way to avoid, or at least navigate through, an all-too-common travel mishap.

  • If you have to take a connecting flight, make sure to leave plenty of time in between. It’s tempting to book the closest flights possible so that you can get to your destination faster, but if the first plane is delayed even a little bit, you’ll be stuck at the airport. Consider spending a day at the stopover destination to explore what the area has to offer, then hop on your next flight the following day.
  • The more travelers there are, the less capable airports are to handle them. Airport delays are common, but just knowing that gives you some control. Use the airline’s mobile app to stay on top of delay information so that you don’t end up at the airport several hours early. It’s also a good idea to have a short list of alternative flights in case an extended delay leads to cancellation.
  • Overpacking can cause a couple of different problems at the airport. First, you may need to pay an additional fee if your bag is heavier than the limit. Second, if your carry-on is too heavy, you may have to check it, which means you won’t have the items you need during your flight. It’s important to learn how to travel light, so if you’re an over-packer, get a handheld scale so that you can weigh your bag before leaving the house.

By knowing about common, airport-related travel blunders ahead of time, you can nip a problem in the bud and save the rest of your trip from having a shadow over it.

Save Money While Traveling

Pinching pennies during your retirement? It’s tempting to save everything that you have when you’re not replenishing it with a weekly check from work, but this is the time to enjoy everything you earned during your employed years. That’s easier when you have some savvy money-saving ideas in your back pocket:

  • The beauty of being retired is that you can travel whenever you want. Book your trip when it’s not peak season. Not only will you snag lower prices on flights and hotels, but you’ll also avoid the crowds. Also look into online booking sites to help you find the best deals possible.
  • The trip itself is usually not the expensive part – it’s the transportation and lodging that hits you in the wallet. Opt for lower-priced alternatives to traditional options. For example, stay in an Airbnb instead of a hotel and take Ubers instead of renting a car.
  • If you’re traveling to a popular location, like New Orleans or Paris, find out if tourism passes are available. They may sound like a lot of money upfront, but they could end up saving you a lot if you plan on hitting up the major tourist destinations, museums and tours.

Still worried about the expense of travel? Consider this: travel may cost money, but what you get in return (relaxation, a much-needed refresher, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and wonderful memories) is so much more valuable.

Important Documents

Traveling internationally takes a bit more preparation than your average trip – especially where legalities are concerned. There are a few things you need to research and get squared away before you book your trip:

  • Check visa requirements for the country you intend to visit. Many times countries will offer visa exemptions to other countries they have a relationship with for a specific amount of days. For example, South Korea offers a 90-day visa exemption for tourists from the U.S. and 180 to Canadians. Different countries are offered different allowances and requirements, so check before you choose a destination – it could even help you narrow down where to go.
  • If you have medications you need to take, be sure to get an official note from your doctor and check the medication allowances in the country you intend to visit. Even OTC meds like cold medicines are highly regulated in other countries, so knowing what you can and can’t bring and getting official documents showing your need for prescriptions will be vital to your health.

Checking into these things before you go will save you a lot of headache and stress – and even keep you from getting detained at customs. While it takes a bit of extra preparation, it’s a necessity for a smooth travel experience.

Stay Connected via Technology

When traveling, tech can be a major help. It can help you find your way around an unknown place, stay connected with loved ones back home or fellow travelers, and help you stay on top of your health when you’re away from the conveniences of home.

  • The Waze app is one of the best if you need driving directions. It updates in real-time to account for traffic and will give you various route options so you can choose the one you prefer.
  • Instead of upgrading your phone service to account for international communication, use WhatsApp. You can talk to anyone from anywhere without paying for it.
  • Wearable technology, like the Apple Watch or a FitBit, lets you keep track of important health information, like your daily steps and heart rate, all from your wrist and a mobile-connected app.

If any of this tech is new to you, play around with it and learn it before leaving for your trip. The last thing you want to do mid-vacation is get frustrated trying to understand how to use a new app.

Wrapping Up

Traveling during retirement may seem daunting at first. There’s a lot to plan and learn, and expenses for practically every part of your trip. However, this is the time when you should be enjoying the fruits of your labor. If you don’t travel now, when will you?

Author Bio: Adrian Johansen loves to share her knowledge about travel, health, and other life topics with anyone who will listen or read! You ca find more of her writing here

The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.