People take early retirement for all sorts of reasons. For some, it’s to spend more quality time with their families. For others, it’s to pursue a hobby they are passionate about or invest time in creating their dream home. For a good proportion of early retirees, they just don’t want to be chained to the workaday life any more.
Then for a growing number of people, retirement is the key to unlocking one of their lifelong dreams – travelling the world. Let’s face it, you don’t really get much of an opportunity to explore this wonderful planet of ours by taking just a few weeks’ vacation every year. For those who want to do it properly, they often have to wait until they are in a position to leave working life behind.
There are different ways to travel in retirement. You can approach it as taking a series of extended vacations, picking a destination and then planning to spend a couple of months there rather than a couple of weeks. You could go a step further and become ‘location independent’, taking up the globetrotting lifestyle full time. Or, if there is a particular place you fall in love with, you could upsticks and relocate there permanently, using that as a base from which to explore further.
However you approach it, you will have to do some planning and there is a fair amount to learn. Here are some of the key things to think about when making your retirement travel plans.
Financing your dreams
It’s an obvious place to start, but if you want to spend your retirement enjoying a jetsetter lifestyle, you are going to need the financial means to pay for it. People who plan to retire early usually only do so on the understanding that they have built up enough personal wealth in the form of savings, pension contributions and assets to see them through the rest of their life without working. But that is usually calculated based on following the same lifestyle you always have done at home.
There are two options here. One is to approach travel so that it does not cost you any more than living at home would. This usually means taking the budget options, and can actually be easier to achieve if you move abroad permanently – especially if you head to a country where living costs are lower.
The second is to find a means of additional income to supplement your travel plans. If you are a homeowner, this can be a very useful asset. If you have already cleared the mortgage, you could remortgage to gain additional capital. Alternatively, if you aim to travel for long periods, you could rent out your home while you are away. Other options are to find a way to make extra money while on the road – by starting a travel blog business or writing a travel book, for example.
Long-term travel comes with certain risks, especially when it comes to your health. If you fall ill or have an accident on a months-long adventure, you will find yourself a long way from your physician, your local hospital and your support network, not to mention that your health insurance won’t cover you. It makes sense to take some precautions.
Once you reach 50, it is advisable to seek out specialist senior travel insurance rather than go through a general provider. Because people are more likely to experience health issues as they get older, travel insurance providers see seniors as posing a higher risk of making a claim, so they start to hike up the premiums – often incrementally, year by year. This quickly becomes very expensive. A specialist provider will do you a much better deal.
You should also weigh up whether you are best off taking out single trip or multi-trip annual travel insurance. If you plan to do a lot of travelling in any given 12 month period, a multi-trip plan can save you money compared to buying individual policies for each. However, multi-trip plans often have a limit on how long each individual trip can be. If you want to head off for several months, you will probably need a single trip policy, and if you intend to visit multiple locations, you will need a provider who will draw up a bespoke plan for you.