When you retire, you have more time on your hands to see the world. However, with your fixed budget, planning your expenses out ahead of time is of utmost importance. Traveling during retirement is something that you can achieve with responsible budgeting and a sound strategy.
Know your fixed budget and current expenditures
A good grip on your retirement income sets the proper foundation for wise spending. Rachel Hartman of U.S. News & World Report emphasizes that you may have income flowing from multiple sources: retirement account distributions, investment proceeds, owned and rented-out properties and Social Security. Calculating your income, expenses and taxes as accurately as you can ahead of time will enable you to determine how much you can allot for travel.
Identify your places of interest
Over the years, you’ve probably made a bucket list of places you want to see or revisit. Creating a list of places that you want to experience is the first intentional step in achieving your dreams. Build your list of potential destinations around goals, whether it’s something as grand as experiencing one of the world’s natural wonders in person or trying a cuisine you love in its place of origin. With a list of places, you can prioritize your goals and ambitions and rank them in order of importance. By doing this, you can better ensure that you get the most out of your travel if your finances limit your abilities.
Research cities and excursion costs
Once you’ve nailed down your list, start researching those locales and figure out how much money you can expect to spend over the course of your visit. This starts with determining transportation needs, which will include airfare, rental vehicles and fuel. In your research, you’ll want to compare prices for lodging and get a general sense of how much you might expect to pay for dining and entertainment. Maryalene LaPonsie of U.S. News & World Report warns that eating out too much can hamper your trip and limit what you are able to afford otherwise. Plan to shop at the grocery store before your trip and pack sandwiches and snacks for a picnic along the way. If you do dine out, grab lunch or order appetizers for dinner instead and try to limit yourself to one higher-end meal per trip.
While you may want to plan out your trips down to the last cent, leaving some financial wiggle room gives you the ability to enjoy things you discover, replace a destination in your itinerary or even extend your trip. You cannot always depend on senior discounts, special offers and free attractions to bail you out on travel costs. Maurie Backman of CNN Money advises that you assume that random, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities will pop up during your trip. You will want to have space in your budget to take advantage of these opportunities, lest you find yourself coming home from your trip asking what if.
Your years in retirement ought to be enjoyable and stress-free. As long as you understand the boundaries of your finances and plan out your trips within reason, your expeditions across the country and around the world should prove rewarding and unproblematic.