Traveling after retirement is a goal for most people who never seized the opportunity while they were working. But even when more free time opens up, it's easy to succumb to a relaxing routine of kicking back and finally appreciating a tranquil break. According to a survey conducted by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), roughly 60 percent of Americans wish to travel after retirement, but only 18 percent actually prepare financially and strategically for such vacations.
Failing to capture the chance to go out and explore the world can not only become a huge regret later in life, but studies also show that you could be missing out on a shot at lowering your risk of heart disease and decreasing stress. The GCOA also discovered that those who miss out on annual traveling showed a 30 percent greater risk of developing heart disease, while 89 percent of people who had recently returned from a vacation reported significant decrease in stress.
Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, attributes a getaway as a medicinal opportunity, full of excitement and therapeutic value.
"Travel is good medicine," Nussbaum said in a statement. ""Because it challenges the brain with new and different experiences and environments, it is an important behavior that promotes brain health and builds brain resilience across the lifespan."
So what are you waiting for? The time is now to go out and see the world in a way you have only dreamed of, and relish all the remedies and memories that come with it. If you have recently been considering travel, here are a few tips to prepare you for your vacation.
Make sure to properly budget your trip, which means thinking beyond your plane ticket, gas prices and hotel accommodations. Map out how much you are willing to spend each day, paying special regard to food, attractions and transportation within your destination, as well as tacking on a little extra in case of emergency. Do a little research about where you are going ahead of time, such as the weather report, frequented areas and knowing what's near your hotel. Call your travel agent to review your insurance policies. Get a check-up from your doctor before you leave to make sure you are in good condition for flying, and review your health care policy to make sure you'll be sufficiently covered in the event of an accident. Receiving proper shots and immunizations is especially important if you are traveling out of the country.
What to pack
It's generally more efficient to over-pack than to venture out under prepared. Clothes, books and toiletries are the essentials, but there is always room for improvement. Make sure to pack bottles of water and snacks for the flight and periods of waiting to save yourself a little money ahead of time. Bring all your prescribed medications, and check beforehand to see if the amount you have will last the duration of your vacation. A little first-aid kit isn't a bad idea, and should contain everyday items such as band-aids, aspirin and sunscreen. Leave unnecessary items of value behind to avoid losing them. A second pair of glasses as well as a travel pillow are also essential travel items. If you have a senior card, remember to bring it to take advantage of any discounts or perks that could arise.
Take care of yourself
Just because you are traveling somewhere exotic doesn't mean to behave out of the ordinary. After the flight or drive, make sure to rest up and prepare yourself for the upcoming days. Try not to squeeze in so many activities into one day to avoid exhaustion. Staying out too long in the sun will also drain your energy and increase a number of health risks, so spend your beach or golf time accordingly. Make sure to bring those snacks and bottles of water along with you wherever you go.
Make some memories
While what you want to do is entirely up to you, keep in mind that this is a vacation and you will probably never go back there anytime soon. So make the most of your trip, and see all the sights! Take a lot of pictures to capture the moments, and snag a few postcards to write to friends and family. You've spent your entire life to get here, so make your time count!