Travel Blog

Born to be retired and free to travel

Born to be retired and free to travel

by Sherri Rost on July 22, 2013

One of the biggest advantages of retirement is having the time to travel, but what we often fail to consider is that we also have freedom — not just to get up and go, but to travel unencumbered by the younger generation. We’re on our own!

We have the advantage of traveling whenever and wherever we choose. And since we’re not bound by work or school schedules, we can travel at off-peak periods — such as when the grandkids are in school — and visit prime destinations without the hassle of crowds or long lines. This also means we have better selection and lower rates when it comes to hotel rooms. We can save money on fees to attractions, plus take advantage of special off-season prices offered by many resorts. Also, restaurants frequently offer two-for-one entrees to boost their off-peak business, which makes dining out more affordable.

When planning an off-season trip, however, there are considerations such as some attractions may not be open or have restricted hours. But a seasoned vacation planner can avoid these travel roadblocks. The trip my husband and I took to Yellowstone National Park in late April/early May is a prime example. If we had traveled one week earlier, we would have missed seeing Old Faithful because the road to the famous geyser is closed all winter until April 24. Other roads are closed until June. But we timed our vacation so we were able to enjoy all of the park’s natural wonders. Also, we got to see everything without elbowing our way through throngs of tourists.

What would you like with your travel freedom? Anything is possible. If you love art, think about visiting Paris with time to leisurely stroll through the art museums, including not only the Louvre but Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny. After the gardens, stop in at Musée de l’Orangerie, where Monet’s famous paintings of water lilies are on display. 

Love the nightlife? Experience the Big Easy after dark by staying in a quaint French Quarter hotel within walking distance of legendary Bourbon Street, where you can sample a buffet of musical styles into the wee hours. Stroll from there to Frenchmen Street — a two-block enclave of jazz, reggae and blues clubs where admission is free and the drinks always a bargain.

For that long imagined trip to Italy, consider a river cruise to explore the Tuscan countryside, followed by a stay in the eternal city of Rome. For the wine lovers among you, there are light-hearted cruises exploring the wine countries of France, Spain and Portugal. If your tastes lean toward the exotic, catch a luxury liner on the Ygantze River in China and visit the Forbidden City and Great Wall of China. 

Nature-lovers need look no further than Alaska, where you can board a ship and glide through Tongass National Forest with dazzling views of snow-capped mountains. From your shipboard vantage point, you can see black bears, wolves and grizzlies along the shoreline and salmon spawning in the water.

The secret to great retirement travel is the realization that the only limits are the ones we set ourselves. So why set them? Whether the goal is to rekindle romance, reignite a passion for culture or take a walk on the wild side, we can do it our way.