Travel When Retired? No! Travel Now!

I just don’t buy into the whole “travel when you’re retired” thing. It seems like such a waste to wait my whole life to travel (and, not to be morbid, but assuming I make it to retirement age).

I just got back from my latest trip to Montreal, which was fantastic. It was my first visit, and it definitely won’t be my last.

Despite the cost $400 and the fact that I’ll soon be jobless, I took the trip on my own for a few reasons:

1) I really wanted a getaway from New Haven and

2) I wanted to test out traveling on my own.

I definitely cut back on spending in some areas

  • I stayed at an AirBnB rental for $30 a night
  • I ate homemade sandwiches for lunch
  • I travled by bus (the least-expensive option by my calculations)

But I didn’t sacrifice on everything. I had a couple of nice $30+ dinners (including one awesome vegan meal with cheesecake for dessert). While I’m all about frugal trips, I do like to live it up a bit, especially while I still travel only infrequently.

Although I’m only a few weeks from quitting and with a smaller paycheck, I’m still glad I took the time and the money to travel. Even though I could probably use that $400 much more once I lose my full-time income, travel is a priority right now (at age 26) whether I have a ton of money or not.

Travel at age 26 does not equal travel at age 65

It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be able to travel at the same cost and with the same flexibility that I can now as when I’m 65. I definitely can’t imagine staying in the same accommodations that I did this time. It just wouldn’t make sense as an old man.

Plus, I walked over 15 miles this weekend, including up and around Mont Royal Parc (see the photo!) While I’m optimistic that I’ll still be in good shape at my old age, the average retiree probably have that level of endurance.

Finding balance

I always wonder: What does saving for retirement really mean? Am I trying to save up so that I can just sit on the couch or play golf every day? Or spend winters in Florida? Or travel in a tour group of retirees? Those things hardly sound exciting to me.

But the answer can’t possibly be to do the things at age 65 that I wanted to do at age 26 but that I chose to save for retirement instead. That doesn’t make sense to me.

Obviously, I’m not advocating depleting every dime of my savings and funding travel with a credit card. But, I hate the idea of not going anywhere exciting right now.

It’s hard to say how much to spend on travel now and if I should sacrifice retirement savings, so I’ll just leave it at this: Travel all you can afford now. Spend wisely in trips. Don’t go into debt.

How do you feel about travel? Do it while your young, or save for it when you retire?

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photo by: me!

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Comments

  1. SenseofCents says:

    I say travel when you’re young. I totally agree with you. Why would I want to work my whole life just to travel when it most likely won’t be as much fun?

  2. I think it’s good to travel both when you are young and in retirement. You definitely can’t enjoy it the same way in retirement but there may be places to see that would compliment retirees better.

  3. It can be really important for your abundance to travel when you are young if want to travel. You are programming your mind to believe that you can have what you want. You are also teaching it about the wide scope of the world. All this helps with your abundance… However, it surprisingly how rarely the personal development community recognizes the need to have real experiences as well as imagine abundance.

  4. I like this theory and I totally agree with you. I’m making traveling a priority myself now too (since I’m within 1 month of becoming debt free). I don’t think any of us should wait to travel when we are retired, after we get married, after the kids are grown or any type of stuff like that. CARPE DIEM (seize the day)! If we make what we love a priority, there will always be an opportunity (and money) to make it happen.

  5. I relate to your insight. I see this with having kids too- a couple we’re friends with started having kids right when they got married. Part of their reason was that when the kids graduate and are sent off to college they’ll still be young enough to travel. I know kids are a blessing, but I think we’ll enjoy our time before they arrive! We’ve got Nashville and Ireland trips planned for this summer!

    • That’s an interesting point on the kids. I hope they have money left to travel with after sending their kids to college with the crazy tuition these days! Have a great time on your trips!

  6. 20sFinances says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I hate the fact that people wait to live their life until retirement. You’re only young once.

  7. Do it when you are young and do it when you’re old. I don’t see why older people can’t stay in hostels. I’ve seen senior backpackers and they have a lot of fun too. It is just a different kind of fun, a bit more quiet and a lot less alcohol. That’s not a bad thing. :)
     

    •  @retirebyforty That’s true, I definitely think it can still be fun. I just don’t think that I’ll have the same energy and fitness to do some of what I do now in 40 years.

  8. MarriedWithDebt says:

    I’m with you 100%. If I can’t travel young, then I don’t even want a job or to work. It is a major priority for me.

  9. I agree that the best time to travel is when you are young. You never know when your health will start to go down and make traveling much more difficult. 

  10. Something on my all time favorite topic. I thoroughly agree with you. Traveling becomes difficult in mid or old age. Because tourist spots like hilly region, valley and tiring spots aren’t suitable for people aged more than 50 due to cardiac, joint and breathing problem. Young age is the golden timeline to travel and enjoy.

    • Hmmm. I am aged more than 50, but I think I am physically strong enough. Sure not compared to when I was in my 20s, but I still do a lot of hiking (a leader in a scout troop) and do a lot of physical activities. As a scout and now as a leader, we do high adventure hike camps, at least 4 nights, backpacking and camping doing at least 50 miles for the trip and this we do at least once every year. On those hikes, my teenage soccer player son (he’s fast and very good) has a hard time keeping up with me. I’ve never been overweight and I don’t have cardiac, joint and breathing problems. We go overseas quite a bit and a lot of places, it is hilly in a number of places. The key is to travel as much as you can.

  11. Something on my all time favorite topic. I thoroughly agree with you. Traveling becomes difficult in mid or old age. Because tourist spots like hilly region, valley and tiring spots aren’t suitable for people aged more than 50 due to cardiac, joint and breathing problem. Young age is the golden timeline to travel and enjoy.

  12. Something on my all time favorite topic. I thoroughly agree with you. Traveling becomes difficult in mid or old age. Because tourist spots like hilly region, valley and tiring spots aren’t suitable for people aged more than 50 due to cardiac, joint and breathing problem. Young age is the golden timeline to travel and enjoy.

  13. Something on my all time favorite topic. I thoroughly agree with you. Traveling becomes difficult in mid or old age. Because tourist spots like hilly region, valley and tiring spots aren’t suitable for people aged more than 50 due to cardiac, joint and breathing problem. Young age is the golden timeline to travel and enjoy.

  14. Something on my all time favorite topic. I thoroughly agree with you. Traveling becomes difficult in mid or old age. Because tourist spots like hilly region, valley and tiring spots aren’t suitable for people aged more than 50 due to cardiac, joint and breathing problem. Young age is the golden timeline to travel and enjoy.

  15. Something on my all time favorite topic. I thoroughly agree with you. Traveling becomes difficult in mid or old age. Because tourist spots like hilly region, valley and tiring spots aren’t suitable for people aged more than 50 due to cardiac, joint and breathing problem. Young age is the golden timeline to travel and enjoy.

  16. I have been lucky to have parents who really encouraged using free time in College to travel.  They are definitely of the opinion that its so hard to try and travel between when you are young and when you are retired life–jobs and kids and responsibilities–happen, and its hard to get away.  
     
    “I stayed at an AirBnB rental for $30 a nightI ate homemade sandwiches for lunchI travled by bus (the least-expensive option by my calculations)”  
     
    Your advice about how it CAN be done inexpensively is spot on.  I traveled Europe with my best friend and fellow blogger, and other than airfare over (which I had to get anyway to study abroad) and train tickets,  we probably spent a total of $500 for a month by staying with friends and staying in really inexpensive hotels together and not eating out more than once in a city.  We also took a road trip last summer and using the same principle traveled for another month with everything including gas totaling under $500 per person.

    •  @CharlotteYoungCentsible Wow, $500 per person for a whole month is very impressive! That sounds like a lot of fun, too, and I’m sure I could use some of your tips to make my travel even more affordable.

      •  @Jeffrey Trull It helps that I drive a prius, so that definitely cut our gas budget in half… good idea about writing travel tips, maybe I’ll write one at some point and reference this post as my inspiration ;)

  17. I totally agree with Jeffrey, travel now. I live in Hawaii and at the end one of our high adventure trips, we met a British couple. They were winding up their trip around the world in 2 years. They moved from country to country, took on odd jobs so they could afford to move to the next country. If they were going to a place where they knew they could not get a job, they saved up more then moved. When they return to the UK, they would attend college. But they had a trip of their lifetime.
     
    During college I worked in Waikiki, where I met a lot of tourists. I found it particularly sad when seeing a group of old women. I speak to them and quite often the thing I heard was that “my husband and I saved up money our whole lives to take a trip to Hawaii, when we retire, but he died before we actually came here. So, I decided to come here anyway with other widows.” Very sad. Wham!  Then I remember the British couple, now probably in their golden years (that was 40 years ago and they were in their early 20s).
     
    With my then girlfriend (now my wife), we backpacked a lot of Europe and most of Asia, and spent only half a year doing that, but we had a great time. What I found the most amazing was that all the years trudging through boring history courses, it all came alive and very real seeing things with my own eyes. Also we spent time with regular people, not high society, just regular people. When we retire, we’ll have memories and if we can (meaning physically, financially not an issue) travel we will, but if we can’t we can still have no regrets for not living life. Go, NOW! 

    •  @ManoaHi Those are some awesome and powerful stories, and I couldn’t have tried to say it any better myself. Thanks for reminding me again how important it is! I’ll have a post coming out in a few days with my longest trip yet now planned!

  18. Mike Hammar says:

    If we wait until retirement to enjoy ourselves, there may not be enough of ourselves left to enjoy it. :)

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