Posted on Oct 04, 2023, 1 p.m.
Most people think that retirement is a time to slow down, rest, and spend sleepy evenings with the family. However, if you’re new to retirement, you may feel the urge to put your newfound freedom to good use.
Reimagining your retirement can help you make the most of your golden years. You don’t need to break the bank while traveling to new locations and countries, either. Traveling on a budget is easier today than ever before and can help you get more from life.
Traveling in your golden years can help you overcome common conditions like loneliness and depression, too. This is particularly powerful if you’re an early retiree or are struggling to adjust to life without a 9 to 5.
Retirement and Mental Health
Most people can’t wait to retire. However, when the big day comes, you may find that the sudden lack of responsibility throws you off kilter. This is entirely normal, as many struggle to find purpose in life after their career has drawn to a close.
You may also experience some amount of loneliness after your retirement. Loneliness is a serious issue for seniors as a lack of interaction with others can undermine your self-image and leave you feeling depressed.
Fortunately, you aren’t consigned to a life of loneliness and boredom in retirement. Travel is a great way to remain active in retirement and can help renew your interest in the world beyond the boundaries of your home. Getting active can help you manage the symptoms of age-related conditions like dementia while reducing pain and improving your mood.
Travel and Mental Health
Regular travel can do wonders for your mental health. Folks who travel regularly report being 7% happier than the general population and those who have visited a number of places experience more positive emotions than those who don’t.
Semi-regular travel may reduce your risk of depression, too. You always have something to look forward to when planning your itinerary and may find getting out of the house refreshes your outlook on life. This sentiment is echoed by an article published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, which found that taking more travel time reduced depression by 29% for women in the U.S. This equates to 568,442 fewer cases of depression per year.
Traveling can give you a chance to reconnect with friends and loved ones. This is particularly important if you enjoy a busy career and haven’t been able to connect with relatives in some time. Taking the time to visit your cousin, high-school friend, or sibling can roll back the years and give you an opportunity to share stories and enjoy the company of one you trust.
Snowbirding on a Budget
Many of us put off traveling due to worries about the costs associated with flying, hotels, and food on the road. Bills can wrack up quickly when you’re away from home. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy traveling in retirement. You can become a snowbird on a budget with a few strategic steps, like:
- Long-Term Rentals: Renting for 3 to 6 months is usually cheaper than booking a hotel room or buying a bungalow in your chosen location. Renting can free up some funds for fun, too, if you decide to sell your current home.
- Recreational Vehicle: A well-equipped RV is the pinnacle of retirement travel. You can pick up and move on whenever you’re bored and always have the open road to greet you when the weather changes. Just be sure to set aside further funds for repairs and maintenance.
- Senior Communities: Retirement communities can be a great way to connect with new people and save money. You’ll be well looked after, which can make all the difference if you have any kind of medical ailment.
Weigh up your options before committing to an RV or a retirement home. Ideally, you want to maximize your flexibility in retirement while avoiding hefty fees associated with owning a second home. Look for locations that suit your interests, as it’s that much easier to enjoy the great outdoors when the lake is on your doorstep.
Exploring the Outdoors
Spending time in nature can improve your mental health, increase your energy, and boost your physical wellbeing. This is important as you enter your golden years, as age-related conditions can quickly get you down.
Some of the best vacation destinations for retirees are also places where you can fully realize the sense of wonder and awe inherent to the outdoors — which is fantastic for your mental health. These include national parks such as Glacier, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. Or, a tropical trip to the Caribbean islands makes for some great beach therapy. You also can’t go wrong with Europe, where skiing in the Alps facilitates both physical and mental rejuvenation.
When putting together your travel itinerary, try to put a few days aside for outdoor activities like camping and hiking. A night spent in the great outdoors can help you hit “pause” during a busy travel schedule and refresh your spirits for more sightseeing and good times.
If you want to go all-in on outdoor travel, consider buying a vehicle that will last. You will have to front some hefty up-front costs when shopping for a grand tourer, but can save money by looking for insurance for older adults. Shop online with a tech-savvy friend or family member, and look for discounted rates. Some insurers now offer discounts if you agree to install a GPS that monitors your driving.
Retirement is the perfect time to broaden your horizons and see the wide world. Visiting new locations or old friends is great for your mental health, too. Just be sure to make savvy financial decisions when planning your next trip, as deciding to rent or buy an RV could save you plenty of money in the future.
This article was written for WHN by Charlie Fletcher who is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and her search for the truth. You can find more of her writing on Contently.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
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