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GBIC >> Retirement >> Travel
Although travel is more common now than ever before, most pre-retirement people simply don't have the time or money to travel to all the places they would like to go. With time on their hands, retirees are often ready and excited about the opportunity to travel to places they've never been able to go or to return to places they couldn't go to often enough.

This page discusses the cost of travel and how much travel can be taken on budgets of various sizes. The idea is to focus the retiree's attention on the cost of travel so that realistic travel expectations are part of their retirement plan.

Also presented are the travel being considered by the author of this site. Your own plans are likely to be much different than the list here, but the list should be good enough to get you started on a travel plan of your own. This page also provides links to various businesses which can help you with your travel plans.

Sample Travel Plan Transportation and Quarters

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Sample Travel Plan

The good news is that there are literally thousands of place to go once your retire - places in your state, in the U.S. and overseas. The bad news is that most retirees will find it difficult to allocate more than 10%-20% of their budget to travel. The following table shows what the corresponding travel budgets would be for families of various incomes.

  Family Income    Travel Expenses  
$30K$3K - 5K
$60K$5K - $10K
$100K$10K - $15K

There are 3 basic trip types to consider:

Short Trips by Car$300-$700
U.S. Trips by Plane$1K-$3K
Overseas Trips$3K-$6K

The actual cost of the trips depend on a lot of variables - length of the trip, hotel costs, food, entertainment and local travel costs. Some folks have the knack for doing things at half the price everyone else spends, whereas other folks won't enjoy themselves if they have to watch every penny.

Comparing possible budgets and trip costs you can see that most families can afford about 1 major trip and 2-3 minor trips per year. The exact combination depends on the type of trips the retirees want to take and how good the retirees are at keeping costs down.

Regardless of your own travel goals you can see from the figures that travelling to a new location every month is simply not going to happen for most retirees. For most retirees taking a trip every 3 months is about as good as it is going to get.

The big exception to this rule is where a retiree chooses to take lots of little trips. Almost any of the budgets above are capable of supporting a short car trip every month.

Like most things in life, if you plan ahead for them you have a better chance of making them happen. So creating a travel plan is definitely a good idea, for several reasons:

  • Lets both spouses understand each other's expectations
  • Helps clarify budget needed for travel
  • Keeps the destination in mind so that you can watch for bargains
The thing to remember is that a travel plan is not a commitment to travel, just a list of possible destinations. If you and your spouse choose to travel somewhere else, or not travel at all, then it's simply your call.

With all of that in mind, here the list of destinations that my wife and I have come up with. It's more places than we will probably be able to afford, but at least we have a sense of what we'd like to do and can estimate the expenses associated with the travel plans.

We'll probably change this a lot - and there's definitely nothing sacred about the order. It's just our shopping list. Rather than trying to create a continent-by-continent travelogue I decided simply to show you our own plans to give you someplace to start with your own.

You'll notice that there are several Texas destinations on the list. That's simply because we live in Texas. If I were from another state my list of destinations would probably reflect travel local to that area instead.

You'll also notice that some destinations are listed more than one time. There's no rule that says you have to travel to someplace new each time. If you find a place you like, then by all means go there again!

And finally, you'll notice that the travel plan ends at age 75. Maybe we'll travel past that, maybe not. We certainly don't expect to have any trouble thinking of new destinations if that is the case!

Sample Travel Plan

    AgeMajor TripsMinor #1Minor #2Minor #3
    55  Austrailia/Barrier ReefUS Opentennis campBig Bend Texas
    56JapanGrand CanyonFilm festival      New York (Broadway)
    57Family CruiseLas VegasskiWashington DC
    58EnglandBWCA camping/fishingFilm festivalPeggy's Cabin
    59Sail Boat Ocean Cruise       Mardi Grastennis campRiver rafting
    60Sweden (NE Europe)US OpenFilm festivalHot Springs
    61Canada (East Coast)Horse trail ride MontanaskiOcean beach house for a week
    62Scotland/IrelandBalloon festivalFilm festivalAlaska outback
    63JamaicaBiking ride NEtennis campSouthern Plantations Tour
    64ParisFall Trees in NEFilm festivalOcean fishing
    65Greenland/IcelandCarlsbad CavernsskiCanadian fishing
    66HawaiiCanadian outback fishing   Film festivalTrout fishing
    67BahamasYellowstonetennis campObservatory
    68Mexico RuinsCalifornia Coast driveFilm festivalPeggy's Cabin
    69Egyptian PyramidsMaine tourist skiWhale sighting boat trip
    70Canada (West Coast)BransonFilm festivalNew Mexico tourism
    71BrazilSan Antonio RiverwalkskiNiagra Falls
    72So. America Ruins100 mile bike rideFilm festivalHot air balloon ride over mountains
    73AntarticaLas VegasskiMount Rushmore
    74Italy (SE Europe)New BraunefelFilm festivalLake Texhoma cabin + houseboat
    75Norway/SwedenAustin RiverwalkskiCaribbean Cruise

When you're on a trip during retirement you should consider staying for several extra days. There are a lot of activities which you might want to do locally that you won't hear or know about until you get there. Also, some folks enjoy experiencing the same activity in multiple locations - such as playing golf or tennis in multiple cities. Here are some activities which my wife and I expect to blend into other trips that we take:

  • Live concerts
  • Scenic highway tours
  • Visit children/grandkids out of state
  • Comedy shows
  • National Festivals
  • Fishing or boating
  • National Parks
  • Tennis
  • Historical Sites
  • Horse races
  • Visit friends
  • Art/music festivals
  • Bed & breakfasts
  • Movies
  • Conferences (Sci-Fi, VB, ..)
  • Parades
  • Factory tours (chocolate, bread, )
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Historical housing tours

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Transportation and Quarters: Web Sites

There are a lot of sites on the web which can give you travel tips. I've selected the following sites and grouped them by the type of travel you may want to use, as well as the type of living options you might have once you get there.

By Ground

By Air
Overnight Accommodations