Holidays in retirement

For many, retirement can be a golden time for travel. It could be walking the UK’s coastal paths or discovering the ancient wonders of the world. Depending on your finances, health and outlook, this could be the best chance you ever get to enjoy new experiences, near home and thousands of miles away. 

What sort of holidays should I consider?

Solo or group holidays can take you to places you wouldn’t normally choose, and can introduce you to like-minded companions. There are a range of companies that welcome older travellers like Just You, Saga Holidays or Shearings coach trips.

You could even volunteer for a charity trip or try a working holiday – the world’s your oyster, as they say. And, if you have family that’s settled in a different continent, then your retirement may open up ‘a world of opportunities’ to visit them, wherever they are.

Will I be able to afford holidays on my pension?

If the thought of a retirement without holidays fills you with gloom, it’s time to think about boosting your pension investments as soon as possible. By trying to make small cutbacks now, you can invest those savings into your pension pot – and the more you save, the more likely it is that you can enjoy holidays as you get older.  

What else should I think about?

As you get older, there’s a practical consideration to bear in mind about your general physical health - especially if you’re travelling abroad. And of course, it makes sense to plan carefully and take out the right kind of travel insurance that ensures you’re covered adequately.

What if I have a health condition?

You are still perfectly entitled to travel if you have an illness, medical condition or disability. However, you may have to make some additional plans to ensure travelling is less stressful. This includes:

  • Stipulating to tour operators, airline, rail or ship crew of any special dietary requirements
  • Making them aware of any special equipment you need or any medication you need to take
  • If you have any specific requirements such as a wheelchair, guide dog or hearing equipment

Where specific medicines need to be taken, you may need to check that you are allowed to bring them into the country as different places have different legal restrictions on medication. You should also speak to your GP, who may need to outline the treatment you are on, or need, in the event of an emergency. The NHS website has a wealth of information on travelling with a health condition abroad.

Are there any other medical considerations?

You will need to check that the country or countries to which you are travelling do not require you to have specific vaccinations, or take preventative medicines such as those for mosquito bites. You also need to check what healthcare is provided in the event that you fall ill. The UK has agreements with a number of countries in the EU for instance, where by travelling with a European Health Insurance Card you will be able to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes even for free. There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals visiting or living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before 31 December 2020.

Where do I find out about where to stay?

The internet contains a wealth of information, resources, photos, films and suggestions for places to travel to and stay on holidays. One of the most popular independent sources of reference is Trip Advisor where thousands of people provide honest, independent views of venues in countries all around the world.