Some say life begins at 30, at the prime of strength and stamina. However, most people in their 30s and 40s still work in a company or business.

Once you’re finally close to retirement, you must start planning how to enjoy yourself (and your hard-earned money). Of course, one of the best ways to enjoy life is to travel.

Travel retirement plans are a sure way to put your money to good use. Just ensure that you know how much to budget for travel in retirement.

But what are the best vacation destinations for retirees? When is the best time to visit these places, and how much would they cost? What preparations do you need to make your trips fun, safe, and memorable?

This article lists the top six destinations for people who have just retired or are planning to retire. You’ll get ideas on when to schedule your vacation and how much you need to spend a good time in these areas. Also included in the discussion are tips to help you prepare for your travel in retirement.

Best vacation ideas for retirees

You’ve gone through the thick and thin of every situation during your career. You’ve focused on your job for many years and given back to society.

Now, it’s time to get a well-deserved retirement travel time. It’s time for some “me” time, and you can do this now without any worries. You can spend this moment alone, with your family, or with the buddies you want to catch up with.

Ye Ol’ Great America

       The United States is a big place, much bigger than you might realize. There are many locations, sights, and places that most people have never visited in their lives. There are 424 national parks in the country, yet how many of these sites have you visited already?

      You can start your retirement vacation by exploring this vast country. What’s great is that you don’t need a passport or visa, and you don’t need to learn a new language and adopt customs and traditions you’re unfamiliar with. Visiting sights in the U.S. is like reaching a part of your home you haven’t seen before.

Ready to tick some items in your retirement travel bucket list? Here are some great retirement travel ideas:

1. Explore the National Parks you haven’t gone to yet

If you’ve been to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, or Yosemite, then you’ve just barely seen the tip of an iceberg. So many scenic parks are ready to wow your senses as you shift into a free-from-work lifestyle.

Going to national parks could be one of the best ways to travel the U.S. in retirement. The following recommendations are based on the number of retiree visitors.

Olympic National Park, Washington

It’s one of the country’s highest-rated yet relatively unvisited national parks. It has sceneries and facilities and is less crowded than other parks, which is a plus. This park is close to Seattle, so if you want to rush back to urban life, you sure quickly can.

Why is it great for seniors and retirees?

  • A lifetime senior pass with discounts of up to 50% on camping
  • Accessible restrooms and paved trails
  • Wheelchair access for people with mobility issues

Redwood National Park

If you want to head over and see one of the tallest living things ever in the world, try this national park in California. Here you can see the towering sequoias proudly branding their forested dominion over everyone under their canopies.

 Why is it great for retirees?

  •  No entrance fee to the park
  •  Access to the park via the highway
  •  Driving through the park with your family and close friends

2. Tour Alaska

You can find a polar escape with a trip to awe-inspiring Alaska via three main methods: cruise ship, road trip, or plane. Many favor a cruise trip to Alaska as it’s relaxing, and you’ll have an opportunity to watch whales and sea lions.

Flying over Alaska is one of the cost-effective ways to visit the country. On the other hand, a road trip is one of the most exciting ways to go to this “last frontier” state up north.

Why is Alaska great for retirees?

  • Lots of hotels cater to people with different mobility levels
  • Discounts to most hotels, restaurants, and stores for people 55 years and older
  • Relatively accessible and has facilities that can help senior adults and retirees during their vacation

3. Drive across America

A retirement road trip is one of the most exciting kinds of vacation in the United States. The country has thousands of miles worth of roads you can travel on. However, you should be wary of your physical condition before going on a road trip.

Most states have no maximum age limits for driving, though some have policies for people 70 and above. What can limit one’s ability to drive is their physical and mental condition.

Driving is both liberating and stressful, especially for long rides. Studies show the benefits of driving even for senior adults who can still handle a motor vehicle. Driving may help improve a person’s mental health and activeness in retirement or their senior years.

The United States Department of Transportation advises older drivers to conduct self-assessments and observe any change in their driving ability.

You can determine if you’re still fit for driving by checking your vision, reaction time, and ability to endure stress.

However, if you’re still fit for driving and have all the necessary documents and medical precautions, you can have a liberating cross-country vacation as part of your retirement vacation ideas.

Road trips are also fun with friends, family, and people you care about. You can have a friend, who can also drive, join you.

You must also ensure you and your vehicle are ready for long trips. Car breakdowns and medical emergencies can ruin your well-planned vacation, so always be prepared.

Why are road trips suitable for retirees?

  • It’s liberating
  • It’s fun and relatively affordable
  • It’s a unique travel experience that long-time drivers don’t want to give up.

4. Experience the Caribbean

If hopping on a boat and enjoying the breeze and waves of the sea excites you, then you can go on a ship cruise to the Caribbean. You can choose any island cruise you like and enjoy the sights and sounds of the sea.

Many recommend traveling to the Bahamas or Caribbean Antigua. Both these islands have memorable sceneries and facilities that fit retirees and senior adults. You’ll have a great place to relax and start your retirement life with a bang.

Why is the Caribbean good for retirees?

  • The weather is warm and wonderful
  • Places like the Bahamas have accessible healthcare facilities
  • The Caribbean islands are tropical getaways close to home.

5. Enjoy Italy

Another great place to visit is Italy, a popular choice for travel post-retirement. The countryside is dotted with vineyards and olive trees in the southern regions. You can visit Tuscany, Florence, and Sicily, rural areas that give you that unique Italian rustic ambiance this country is famous for. 

Why is Italy good for retirees?

  • The country is a laid-back, Mediterranean destination with a warm climate
  • Italy has one of the European countries with a relatively low cost of living
  • The healthcare facilities in the country are accessible.

6. Embark on a tropical paradise adventure

Tropical destinations are also terrific for those longing for warm weather and a laid-back ambiance. Here are some places to add to your vacation plans:

1. Hawaii: This island chain in the Pacific is a haven for those looking for adventure amongst the breathtaking beaches, uncorrupted rainforests, and sizzling volcanoes. This picturesque country is an enticing destination for retirees to spend their vacation trips.

The tropical weather of Hawaii is one of the main reasons senior people flock to this Pacific island chain. Aside from this, Hawaii has accessible healthcare services.

2. Indonesia: When you think of Indonesia, Bali, the island of the Gods, comes to mind.

Bali embraces its ancient culture while it extends its arms to its visitors in warm hospitality. The place has good security, health services, and amenities that a retiree might need during a visit.

While in Indonesia, you might also consider practicing meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga for better physical and mental health!

3. Philippines: This archipelago has more than 7,000 islands, a perfect country to start island hopping. The Philippines is one of the popular destinations for ex-pats and retirees because of its many scenic tropical locations and cheap yet convenient living. Boracay is one of the famous places to visit.

Tips to prepare for and enjoy your trips

Before heading to your next adventure, take time to prepare for everything so your vacations are hassle-free.

Spur-of-the-moment travel plans can be exciting, but you now know better that if things can go wrong, they will. So, always plan and prepare well.

But how does one plan for that one-of-a-kind vacation? Here are some tips that might help.

●     Taste the local cuisine, savor the street food, and experience the local delicacy famous in that place. Remember that once you taste something extraordinary, it creates a memory that’s hard to forget.

●     Focus more on experience than taking pictures. A vacation feels memorable if you can feel it. Joy, laughter, the atmosphere, and the people are part of your experience. Focus on registering experiences that you’ll cherish in your heart forever.

●     If you plan to spend time in parks to escape the humdrum urban life, focus on finding a location that’s not overly crowded. Refrain from visiting places during peak season.

●     Don’t forget to pack some first aid kit medications, prescription medicines, supplements, and other things you may need to stay healthy throughout your vacation.

●     Ensure that you have insurance when you travel. You’ll never know when an accident or an emergency will occur. You should keep your policies up-to-date and have your health insurance in order before booking your flight or revving the trailer for your cross-country road trip.

●     Bring people who share your goals. You’re now at the point where petty arguments are a waste of time. If you bring someone on your vacation, ensure you’d enjoy their company.

●     Prepare your budget. Setting a budget can be complicated because prices differ depending on many factors, including season or weather, type of accommodation, means of travel, and duration of stay.

Still, here are some estimates:

  1. For U.S. destinations, you may need around $2,000 for accommodation, gas, food, and other miscellaneous expenses. For areas like Hawaii and Alaska, you may need to prepare $4,000 to $5,000 for flights and extra travel expenses.
  2. For Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia, you might need to prepare a budget of $200 to $250 for each person per day. For a three-week vacation, you may spend from $4,000 to $5,000. One pro tip is that renting a place is much cheaper than paying for a hotel, especially if you already know someone who can guide you in these countries.
  3. For European destinations like Italy, you might need a budget from $2,000 to $3,000 for four people.

Wrapping up

Retirement is not only the end of a career but the start of living life to the fullest – no deadlines, no meetings, and no projects to worry about. You don’t have to report to anyone, help achieve other people’s goals, or abide by some company rules and regulations.

Now you’re ready to forge new friendships amongst people your age as you have more time to do what you want. You can steer your life in whatever direction and start your adventures in some of the most exciting destinations on your bucket list. Now’s the time to really live!