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Retiring to Travel or Traveling Toward Retirement By Kari Bradley

senior couple

Tonight, my husband and I and our 2 teenage kids will be heading off on vacation. 3 weeks in Europe: London, Paris and Copenhagen. None of us have ever traveled outside of North America. While planning this trip and all the things we want to see and do has been exciting, it’s also been stressful (for my husband, mostly; he’s planned the whole thing, bless him). While we were making lists of must do's, we constantly had to remind ourselves that we only have 3 weeks and that, wherever we go, we'll wish we had more time there. The refrain became familiar...This is the first trip, not the only trip.

That reminder made it easier to cut things off our list, knowing we’ll get there eventually. Like many people, our plans for retirement include lots of travel. We had our kids fairly young so now, in our early 40’s, we’re staring freedom in the face. This will likely be the only big trip with the kids. We’re still young and healthy enough to do all the things we want to do and by traveling now and in the future, we aim to keep it that way.

A 2013 study showed that those who travel in retirement are generally more satisfied with their health in several areas:

  • 86% of those who travel report satisfaction in mood and outlook vs.

         75% in non-travelers

  • 77% of those who travel report satisfaction in health vs. 61% in non-travelers

And... my favourite statistic:

  • 82% feel satisfied with their ability to get things done vs. only 57% in non- travellers. ( I mean really! Who doesn’t want to feel more satisfied in their ability to get things done!?)

So, what is it about traveling that keeps us healthy? One answer to that could be the connections. (Both the kind you race for to catch the next flight and personal connections) We know that connections are an important part of keeping us healthy. A strong group of family and friends has been shown to improve quality of life. Most people who travel, are either traveling with a group, or traveling to meet family or friends. Connections!

But the other kind of connections can help too. They keep us on our toes, keep our minds active and force us to continually problem solve and "get things done".

Whatever it is about travel that keeps us healthy, we're excited about experiencing it!