Travelling in retirement

Travelling used to be associated with ‘the gap year’ between leaving school and going to university, but nowadays many people take time off to go travelling and more and more people are using their retirement as a way of seeing the world. 

How much does it cost?

That depends on how long you want to travel for, where you want to go, and whether you’re prepared to travel on a budget or want to travel in style. You can buy a round the world ticket from about £850 stopping in five cities – but you could spend thousands more if, for instance, you wanted to travel business or first class. Cruises are also another fantastic way of seeing many countries, and you can get cruises offering 100+ nights at sea from around £11,500 per person.

How do I finance my trip of a lifetime?

How you finance your travels will entirely depend on the extent of the money you have set aside and the cost of your trip. It could come from the tax-free cash you have from your pension savings (although remember this money is there to last you throughout your entire retirement) – or it could come from savings and investments you have set aside. You can also make the cost of your trip cheaper by letting out your property – sabbatical homes for instance specialises in putting landlords in touch with academics all over the world who need medium-term lets.

You could combine backpacking with volunteering to cut down the costs and there are a number of organisations that specialise in organising this kind of trip – organisations like The Humanity Exchange that arranges volunteering holidays in Africa or the Tribal Culture Exchange that organises cultural volunteering programmes in China.

What else should I think about?

As you get older, there’s a practical consideration to bear in mind about your general physical wellbeing if you’re travelling abroad. And of course, it makes sense to plan carefully and take out the right kind of travel insurance, to make sure (if anything does happen), you’re covered adequately. Most travel insurance schemes provide cover up to 75, but there are specialist companies that have no age limits on cover. They are however expensive and, depending on the length of time you go for, premiums can run into hundreds of pounds. That said, such travel insurance usually comes with additional benefits that don't come with policies for younger travellers, such as extra emergency and medical cover.