Travelling later on in life can be a wonderful thing. Here we look at tips to help you plan your trip, and to help you make the most of it
The world is a big, beautiful place with almost endless places to explore, people to meet, food to taste and natural wonders to see. Travelling is often considered something you should do when you are younger, before the pressures of family, career and other responsibilities take over.
However, sometimes it’s those responsibilities and the path that life takes you on that can stop you travelling in your younger years. For this reason, many people choose to travel the world in retirement, or later on in life. A significant proportion up sticks altogether and move abroad to another country.
This is an entirely different experience to travelling when you’re younger, and it can bring many additional benefits. For example; you may be more financially secure than when you were younger, so you can appreciate the places you visit in a different way. You can sample some of the luxury hotels of the world maybe or, at least, some of the more comfortable hotels rather than having to stay in budget hotels, hostels or a tent! Neither will you have to work during your trip to finance it as many students do either before or after going to university.
Life experience may enable you to be more street smart, and more aware of how to get the most out of your visit. Throughout your life you may have also learnt more about the world: the places you particularly want to visit and the experiences you want to have. You might have been adding these to your ‘to do’ list for years, and now you have the chance to actually experience them. You won’t simply be following the well-travelled route of younger people but making your very own, very personal trip of a lifetime.
There is no time limit on when you travel, it’s going to be an amazing experience however old you are and whatever places you visit.
If you’re considering travelling in your later years, here are some tips to help you get the most out of the experience and come back rejuvenated:
Do It Now!
Stop putting it off and making excuses as to why now is not the right time. Start thinking of all the reasons you should go travelling, and how you can make this dream possible. For every reason you have to not go, there will be a solution, you just have to want it enough to find that solution. Don’t be the person sitting in a rocking chair in old age day dreaming about what could have been. Choose a time to go, book your first flight and first hotel and plan your trip from there. Sometimes we are put off by the enormity of planning a huge trip but once you have started the next step will be easier.
Rent Your Home Out
One way to get some extra cash while you are away, and have your home looked after, is to rent it out while you are away. You could rent it out for 6 months or a year for a longer trip, or rent it out on a weekly basis using a site like Airbnb, although short term lets is likely to end up more hassle for you, especially when you are out of the country. Better still find a friend, relative or newly married couple you know who are on need of short-tern rented accommodation.
You will need to clear your home out a little, placing valuables with close friends and family. You should also take out ornaments, clothes and other items taking up room that tenants will want to use and place them in self storage. This will make your home much more neutral and appealing to potential tenants and the cost of storage will be more than covered by the rent.
Be Open To New Experiences
As we get older, our minds can close and we can get a bit stuck in our ways. Travelling will open your mind, but you have to let it do so. Make sure you leave plenty of room for ‘ad hoc’ experiences on your travels. Consider leaving a week where you don’t book any accommodation, or leave days open to simply explore. A jam packed itinerary is a great thing, but you should leave at least a little bit of time to act on impulse and be spontaneous. The experiences we never expected or planned for are usually the most exciting and memorable.
Get used to talking to people and sparking up conversations. Meeting new people is a huge part of the fun of travelling. If you have Twitter, Facebook or Instagram friends, consider asking them if they would like to meet if you are visiting their town or city. Try to look for events or places where there will be people who share your interests or passions.
The Finer Details
It’s often worth integrating some learning and volunteering into your trip, to provide meaning and value. Why not learn something new, or even teach something to people in other countries. Depending on where you are going there is likely to be a charity or volunteer organisation that would welcome whatever help you could give.
Don’t Take Everything
It will be easy to pack loads of stuff to try and be prepared for every eventuality. You’re going to need to let go of a lot of it, as it will simply weigh you down both physically and emotionally. Be ruthless when packing and try to remember you can buy a lot of the things you need when you’re travelling. Make the things you actually need to get where you’re going your priority, and prepare by protecting those items. It’s going to be a big change living with the bare minimum, but that’s all part of the fun!
Let’s be honest, when you first leave, it is going to be hard. You are going to be nervous, as anyone would be on a trip into the “unknown” and probably a bit upset at the prospect of leaving your loved ones behind. However, the more you prepare physically and mentally, the easier it will be. Give family members emergency contact details and details of your itinerary and let them know how often they are likely to hear from you. Give your house keys to someone you trust so they can get in your house if they need to, even if you do have tenants arranged. You should also ensure pets are being looked after by someone you truly trust, so you know they will be happy on their own little holiday while you are away. It is also worth putting your valuables with a friend or relative, or if you have a lot of valuable items such as art or antiques, put them into storage where they will be safe.
And remember to have fun!