As we head into the summer vacation season, one item that's high on many travelers’ wish lists is value. With the pandemic finally in the rearview mirror, high demand for travel is driving up costs. Additionally, the markets are still recovering, and consumer prices and inflation are still above average. That's enough to make even affluent retirees nervous about spending money on entertainment and leisure while nervous about their long-term security.
But, as with most things in life, you usually get what you pay for when booking travel. Retirees who have the means to travel well and are sticking to the travel budget they've worked out with their advisor shouldn't let a bumpy economy stop them from crossing off some bucket list items this summer or winter; after, of course, they discuss it with their advisor. After all, if you wait around for "the perfect time" to take that dream trip, it might never come.
In Part 1 of this two-part guide to luxury travel for retirees, we will discuss some of the benefits of luxury travel, tips that may make your trip more relaxing, and a few luxury vacation destinations right here in the U.S. that you might want to add to your bucket list.
1. First-class benefits.
More space and more privacy. If your knees and back ache just hearing the word "coach,” then it might be time to stretch out a little bit. Paying for a comfortable airline seat could make even the far corners of the country more accessible to you. And when you arrive at your luxury resort, you'll have room to relax and access exclusive amenities like tours, restaurants, shopping, and concierge services that are only available through the first-class experience!
Immerse yourself. Any tour bus can help you cross off the sights on your bucket list. Luxury travel often provides folks with more immersive experiences at local markets, museums, theatres, and other cultural sights that aren't open to the general public.
Stay fit. A world-class resort will almost always feature world-class fitness, from top-of-the-line gym equipment, pools, and saunas to fitness classes and spa services. Seniors who want to pair luxury travel with specific fitness goals could also look into trips that revolve around activities like golf, tennis, hiking, walking tours of cities, or yoga.
Save money. Luxury hospitality companies often reward repeat business. Shop around for loyalty programs and memberships that could make your next luxury trip more affordable. You could also review the rewards you earn for credit card purchases or shop for a card geared towards earning travel rewards.
2. Get more for your money.
Plan ahead. "Last-minute" and "luxury" rarely mix, especially in a high-demand travel season.
Work with a luxury travel agent. A true first-class experience starts before you step on a plane. Let a professional take the hassle out of booking your trip. Working with an agent also gives you a real person whom you can call when a flight gets canceled, or a hotel room is double booked.
Consider going slow. Adding a few extra days, or even weeks, to a vacation can up the immersion factor and create a truly memorable experience.
Be flexible. If your travel dates aren't set in stone, you -- or your agent! -- have more opportunities to shop for the best prices on airfare and lodging.
Be yourself. Don't take the "hot" trip on social media just because all your friends and family went there. Go someplace that's exciting to you, and that will allow you to explore your unique interests.
3. Build your bucket list.
Aspen deserves its reputation as a winter playground, especially for skiers. But its lavish mountain lodges, hiking trails, upscale shopping, and vibrant arts scene offer something for luxury vacationers year-round.
Arrange for a long, slow drive or boat ride along the stunning coastal cliffs, with a few pitstops at beaches along the way. Expect breathtaking views and gourmet dining at the many luxury accommodations.
This luxurious resort in the majestic Great Smoky Mountains offers farm-to-table cuisine, outdoor activities, and serene spa experiences.
Dubbed “America’s Resort Since 1778,” this National Historic Landmark in the Allegheny Mountains is known for its world-class golf courses, spa facilities, and unique mix of indoor and outdoor activities.
Avoid the tourist rush on O‘ahu and Maui and explore the least visited of the main Hawaiian Islands. You’ll get to enjoy the same high-quality resorts and beaches as on the other islands but at a slower pace featuring more untouched natural beauty.
Another great year-round destination, this charming island full of picturesque towns and beautiful beaches features luxury accommodations, fine dining, and a wide variety of sports.
A trip to Sedona could be a great “test run” for seniors who are thinking about relocating someplace warm and dry in retirement. Give “vortex” wellness a shot, camp in Red Rock State Park, or enjoy gourmet dining and resort life.
What’s on your summer itinerary?
The freedom to take quick weekend getaways and day trips to see your family is certainly a big retirement perk. But you also deserve to live it up! And with a little bit of planning, you can.
If you’d like to add some luxury travel to your retirement, call up my team at Keen Wealth, and we can help you work out a budget that could create some truly memorable experiences while keeping the rest of your comprehensive retirement plan on track.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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