4 places you should travel to when you retire
Whether you’ve marked your retirement date on your calendar or just started this new chapter in your life, a trip has probably crossed your mind. But how do you choose the ideal destination? There are many things to consider: cost, activities, language, transportation… the list goes on and on.
So we contacted our retirement awaits Facebook group for pro tips. We asked: What trip do you recommend others take as soon as they retire? You replied! Here are some ideas on the best places to travel when your retirement date arrives.
“Italy truly has it all, including so much history, beauty, wonderful people and food! I had the best pizza I’ve ever had in Naples as it’s the birthplace of this wonderful concoction. The pasta was also exquisite, especially in Rome. Foodies and history buffs will therefore really appreciate this country.
After retirement, Janet Surwillo toured Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, including the Isle of Capri. “Visiting the Amalfi Coast and the Isle of Capri was probably my favorite activity. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve seen to date, even beating Hawaii – in my opinion, of course. The bus ride up to the cliffs was a little scary but so worth it!”
Surwillo visited what remains of the ancient city of Pompeii and what destroyed it, Mount Vesuvius. She took a boat trip on the Mediterranean – which she says is “the bluest of blues” – and saw the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
“In order to see as much as possible, there will be some walking involved, so comfortable shoes are a must. I visited in early fall to avoid the summer heat, which can be quite hot during summer months. It’s a great place to enjoy Italian culture. Oh, and did I mention the food?”
As she was traveling from St. Louis, she says it was not possible to get a direct flight to Naples, but suggests going via Rome, which is easier to get to from most major US cities. United.
Tim Frank lived in Tavira in the Algarve region of Portugal for 3 months from April to June. It says that although it can be hot at times, the weather is fabulous and perfect for its Blue Flag beaches – an award which means they are among the best in the world.
“I was at the beach every day! The availability of fresh seafood, especially the freshly picked clams that morning… Yum! I enjoyed the local festivals, which seemed quite plentiful. The architecture (Moorish influence) was fascinating. I loved listening to fado music. We had some of the best Sangria ever in Tavira. Great entertainment at local pubs.
Frank says it’s easy to get around with fast, efficient and affordable transportation. He took trains to Faro, Lisbon, Porto and other stops in the Algarve. English is widely spoken, but he says it pays to learn some Portuguese, especially if you need to use city services or other services like the internet. Frank says the grocery stores are well stocked and the people are friendly.
His pro advice: “Don’t get big denominations in euros. Try to stay away from bills over 20 euros. Get used to using ATMs to withdraw money. They are everywhere.
If you’re looking for a bit of relaxation on your first retirement trip, Frank says he’s found Portugal laid back and slower paced. “Many stores close from noon to mid-afternoon for their siesta. Restaurants don’t usually start serving dinner until 7 p.m., so plan accordingly. Enjoy fresh seafood! And the night entertainment, especially if you can attend a fado show. Join the parties. Live like a local. Enjoy the beaches. Take the trains!”
Frank also spent a month in Dublin, Ireland, and another month in a small village about 70 kilometers (43 miles) away called Moynalty.
His favorite thing about the country was meeting people. “Plan to make friends!” Strangers are only strangers until you meet them. Give yourself time to explore Dublin, but also be sure to get out of Dublin and explore the countryside. Highly recommend Galway and Dingle. Take a tour with a local company. I went for 7 days and explored the Irish countryside. It was fantastic! Enjoy pubs and entertainment! Watch a real Irish dancing show.
While Dublin is very walkable, Frank recommends a car in Ireland but warns the roads can be narrow. He also says that Ireland may be more expensive.
With so much to see and do, Frank says he was never bored. “In Moynalty, complete strangers invited me to their homes for dinner and family gatherings. The food everywhere was fantastic (love the lamb). Even developed a taste for black pudding. Drink Irish whiskey and beer (in moderation of course)! Visited Galway and Dingle. I loved both. The Irish dancing shows were fantastic. Saw the 20th anniversary of Riverdance and a few Broadway plays.
Have you ever heard of black pudding? It is an essential part of the English breakfast, originating in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It’s a kind of sausage made with blood and some kind of cereal, usually oatmeal. It’s a ‘love it or hate it’ kind of food, but like Frank, you won’t know it until you try it!
If you’re looking to stay in the United States, Linda Scott advises making the trip to Alaska. She’s been there six times and says she still hasn’t seen it all. “I recommend Alaska for its beautiful mountain ranges, glaciers, beautiful lakes and rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, diverse landscapes, bustling big cities and charming small towns, national parks, old mining towns , its unspoiled nature and the rich history of the Last Frontier.”
Scott’s first trip to Alaska was with her husband on a 7-day Inside Passage cruise. Ports of call included Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Sitka. She liked this option as passengers can explore port towns and go on shore excursions.
If you have more time, like several weeks or more, she suggests renting a car or an RV. Or if you’re brave like them, drive your own RV down the Alaska Highway. Scott and her husband’s next five trips were as RV ambassadors for an RV travel agency. The starting point was Dawson Creek, BC, which is the start of the Alaska Highway.
They then rose through the ranks through the beauty and history of the Yukon. City tours included Chicken, AK (first point of entry), Tok, Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, Homer, Seward, Palmer, Valdez, Haines, Skagway, and Juneau. After Haines, they began to descend through the Yukon and western British Columbia, ending their journey in Prince George.
Scott’s favorite activity? “For me, being a tourist. Take it all, photograph spectacular landscapes. For those who like to fish, there are many fishing charters in Homer, Seward and Valdez. You can take a helicopter ride to see Denali up close and personal, or the glaciers or the bears. There is so much to see and do in Alaska!
Pro Tip: Scott says get a copy of The milestone. It’s a best-selling travel guide to Alaska. “It’s a must! It has it all, and I mean everything in it. We led the 48 day Alaska tour and there was so much to see and do. Lots of optional tours to our customers to do as well.”
Here are some of the most popular comments we received on our post. We’d love for you to join our “Retirement Awaits” group and share some of your pro tips too! It is a private group where we can share the retreat together. You can engage with others, ask and answer questions about your retirement experience, and talk about things you want to know.
We can say one thing for sure, a common theme running through all of your Facebook comments: relax and enjoy, you’ve earned it!