Traveling in retirement

People love to travel in retirement — but affording it takes careful planning.


The dream of being able to travel during retirement is one I’ve heard from many people throughout the years of my practice. In fact, the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement found that the top wish for many retired people around the world is to travel.

Sixty-two percent of the respondents in a 2017 survey, in fact, ranked travel as a No. 1 priority.

If you’re looking forward to traveling in your golden years, here are a few tips that can help you get there!

Figure out what you want

What are your goals for retirement?

You’ve established that you want to travel, but what will that travel look like? Do you want to backpack through Europe and camp out under the stars, or do you want to take an extended luxury cruise around the Mediterranean?

The difference in price can be significant — and can impact your budget year round, especially if you’re trying to maintain a certain lifestyle at home as well.

Adjust your plans

If you already have a retirement plan in place, but haven’t budgeted for traveling as a goal, it may be time to remap your plan. If this is a real goal for you, make sure you’re planning for the cost of travel by setting up your retirement to accommodate the kind of travel you desire.

A trusted financial consultant can help you analyze your investments to weed out any weak spots or identify the potential for improvement based on your goals and timelines.

If you’ve already realized that traveling in retirement is important to you, maybe downsizing your current lifestyle can help you get there? Moving to a smaller home or a less expensive one may provide you with the funds you need to stash away for your travel dreams.

Use rewards — wisely

I don’t advocate taking on debt to pay for discretionary purchases and activities such as vacations, but I will say — if you can pay off the balance at the end of the month — using a credit card rewards program can help fund your travel expenses.

Paying for one trip with a credit card may earn enough points to partially pay for your next trip, which can quickly alleviate some of the expense. Again, I must stress that the credit card balance should be paid in full immediately — something that’s easy to plan to do, but hard to follow through on when the bill comes due.


So, what if travel isn’t your dream? After all, everyone’s goals for retirement are different; it’s a very personal thing. The bottom line is to figure out your goals and how you want to live your life in retirement so you can build a plan to help you meet those goals.

Skip Johnson is an advisor and partner at Great Waters Financial, a financial-planning firm and insurance agency with locations in Minneapolis, Richfield, Minnetonka, White Bear Lake and Duluth. Johnson appears regularly on the Fox 9 morning news show.