Have you ever dreamed of seeing world-class cities like Paris, Vienna, London, Sydney, Singapore, or Sri Lanka? Traveling the world is a dream most people think about on almost a daily basis, but very few actually have the privilege to do; that is up until recently. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of Americans traveling and living abroad went up 48%, and believe it or not, most of those numbers are made up of retirees spending their retirement years exploring whole new worlds and meeting new people. Still think a world tour is impossible? Let’s explore a little further.
Thinking Things Through
While traveling the world is definitely an experience you should strive to have in your lifetime, it is not something you should, by any means, just decide to do on a whim without any real consideration to how it will affect your lifestyle, your income or savings, or your family life. Let’s go through a few questions you should ask yourself before setting out.
1. How is your health?
Traveling the world can consist of more than just moving from airplane to airplane with a few cabs or trains in-between. You should check with your doctor about any medical or chronic conditions you may be taking medications for before leaving, and also consider traveler’s insurance, as Medicare benefits will not work outside of the United States.
2. Can you go with the flow?
“World traveling is a lifestyle that requires packing and repacking, going to and from airports, and finding a place to sleep last minute, so you need to be able to go along with unexpected changes and small, but frequent inconveniences.”, says marketing spokesperson for The Travel Academy, Jeff Burnett.
3. What are your obligations at home?
If you have parents or family members to look after, or your children are expecting grandchildren soon, you might need to hold off, or plan your travels in short increments. If you have people to help you out back home, it might be best to travel in small increments instead of a lengthy, indefinite trip.
Before you make your travel plans, you need to stop and carefully review your finances. World travel can be an expensive pastime, and you need to be prepared with a cushion to land on when you return. That being said, your travel expenses will depend greatly on the kind of trip you plan to have. World class hotels in Europe, North America, and Australia can ring up a hefty check, but more modest accommodations in smaller hotels, campgrounds, or rented apartments can actually be quite affordable, especially in more developing countries where you are likely to only spend a few dollars a day.
Going over your finances includes looking at your savings, social security, investments, pensions, stocks, and residual income. Once you have completely considered your financial situation, it is time to consider how you want to travel. Will you be going for short two-week increments every month or two, or do you want to go on a more permanent/indefinite basis? It might be wise to consider selling your home, or renting it out while you are away. Be sure to discuss all of your options with a financial advisor before making a final decision.
Consider All The Options
Keeping a budget-friendly travel plan is the best way to maintain control of your finances while you travel. That includes sacrificing the luxury hotel experience for more practical accommodations like hostels and apartments. Before you set out on your trip, however, there are a few other options to consider that can help you plan your budget accordingly. These include volunteer vacations, working while you travel, taking repositioning cruises, swapping houses, or house sitting for other travelers.
Time To Start Packing
While a lot of people are perfectly content staying at home instead of spending money on extravagant travels, your retirement is your retirement. If you plan accordingly, and your affairs and health are in order, there is no better time to travel the world and fulfill your life-long dream. Start planning with your financial advisor today, and start packing for your dream vacation tomorrow.