Retirement Travel Trends and Tips for Funding Your Wanderlust

Do you dream of retirement travel? You aren’t alone and for good reason.
retirement travel

Here’s a riddle for you:

Question: What is the one thing you can buy in retirement that will make you richer, not poorer?

Answer: Retirement travel

Whether you are planning a weekend trip to visit family or around the world expedition, travel enriches our lives.

And travel is what retirees want to do. Last year, AARP reported in their annual travel research survey that almost all Baby Boomers — a full 99% — want to travel for fun and leisure in retirement.

So, what are your plans for retirement travel?

Retirement Travel Trends from the Leisure in Retirement Study

Here are the latest retirement travel trends as outlined in the Merrill Lynch, Leisure in Retirement study:

Tried and true destinations and some adventure too:

Although retirees enjoy a variety of vacation spots, familiar locations remain the most popular. Top destinations include Hawaii, Italy, New York, Australia, California, England, Alaska, Ireland, Florida, France.

However, adventure travel is rising in popularity for Baby Boomers.

Overseas Adventure Travel, the first U.S. travel company to design adventure trips for age 50+ travelers, saw business jump 67% in a decade.

The majority of customers at Nomadic Expeditions and Mountain Travel Sobek are age 50+.

Roughly 20% of REI Adventures’ business comes from customers over 60.

Unexpected places to spend the night:

AirbnbVRBO and Home Exchange are websites that can help you save money and maybe even make money while traveling. Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book houses, apartments, huts, castles and all kinds of lodging around the world.

When you travel, you can opt out of staying in a hotel and instead stay in someone’s home through Airbnb. Often the price you pay for a whole house is dramatically less than what you would spend on a hotel. And perhaps best of all, you can list your own home when you travel — which can really help pay for your trip.

Globally, almost one million Airbnb users are over 60, including 10% of all hosts.

Two for the road:

Twenty-four percent of retirees say going on an RV trip is very appealing at this stage of their life and RV sales are expected to continue to grow as boomers retire. Airstream sales grew 35% in 2014 (nearly 3x industry growth) with most buyers age 50-69.

Biking surpassing golf:

Data released last year show that between 1995 and 2009, biking rates among people ages 60–79 grew 320%.
Many people are calling biking the new golf.


Americans age 60+ were the most likely to have taken a volunteer trip in the last year. The
Peace Corpsalso now has a program seeking volunteers 50+. And here are some other
volunteer programs for seniors

Learning: Educational tours and programs, which combine travel and learning, are booming. Road Scholar offers 5,500 programs worldwide.

Cruising: From 2009 to 2014, around-the-world cruises grew from 17.8 million to 22.1 million passengers, 52% of whom are age 50+.

Solo Travel: 12 million of the 32 million Americans who live alone are 65+. Ten percent of all leisure travelers go alone. Forty percent of travelers with the age 50+ adventure travel company OAT are solo travelers.

Multigenerational Travel: More than one-third (36%) of retirees have gone on a multigenerational trip in the past year.

Tips for Making Travel a Part of Your Retirement Plans

There is certainly no one size all approach when it comes to travel. However, here are a few tips to make sure your wanderlust becomes a retirement reality:

Set Goals:

Thinking about what you want to do in retirement is an important part of retirement planning. When you think about making travel a part of your future, are you thinking of one big trip? Multiple weekend excursions every year? One cruise a year? The more detailed you can be, the better you will be able to achieve your goals.

Make a Plan:

Whatever kind of travel is right for you, be sure to document as part of your retirement plan. The NewRetirement retirement calculator allows you to budget for big one-time expenses — so you can plan for a big trip.

You can also vary your budget and set different spending levels for different phases of retirement. So, if you plan on one trip a year for the next five years and then less travel after that, your projected budgets can reflect your actual plans.

Make Sure You and Your Spouse Are on the Same Page:

Fidelity Investments discovered that many married couples have an extremely difficult time discussing retirement planning and other financial planning subjects. Spouses sometimes have very different ideas about what they want out of retirement and how they intend to pay for it all. Is retirement travel important to you? How does your spouse want to spend time in retirement? Get tips for how to talk with your spouse about retirement.Look for Ways to Save Money:

One of the most exciting aspects of retirement is the flexibility and access to leisure time that this phase of life offers. The beauty of retirement is that you have time. You do not have a clock to punch or other specific demands on your days. As such, you can plan travel with practically unlimited time. Done right, this can save you money and be much more enjoyable. Here are 9 tips for saving money on retirement travel

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Do it yourself retirement planning: easy, comprehensive, reliable

NewRetirement Planner

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