Retirement, A New Adventure is full of ideas to have an active, fun and enriching life in retirement. The thesis of the book is that life in retirement involves much more than just ensuring financial security. Retirement opens up opportunities for doing new things and learning new things, exploring new places and meeting new people, discovering hidden talents and showcasing them, and, experimenting with new tools and technologies to reconnect with the past and connect to the future. Retirement affords time to fulfil long-held dreams and aspirations on the journey to self-actualization. What sets this book apart is the stories it provides from real life experiences of the author and others; stories ranging from silly to serious, revealing how enjoyable and satisfying life in retirement can be.
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A New Adventure
By Patricia Reid-Waugh
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Patricia Reid-Waugh
All rights reserved.
See the World and Find Your Place In It
I started traveling at an early age. Those early opportunities put me in a good position for travel later in life; I already knew the joys of travel, and was not intimidated by it. To people just starting out, travel can seem like an immense undertaking, one that poses many questions. Can I really afford to be away from home that long? What if I miss my flight? What if I get lost? The more you travel, the less you worry about what could go wrong. In this digitally-connected information age, you will find endless resources around you if you get lost, miss a flight, or run into some other challenging situation.
After the first couple of wrong turns and flight delays, I found travel challenges did not bother me at all. Any challenging situation was just another hassle, like getting caught in traffic on my way to work, or having a meeting run over the scheduled time.
Oh, the education and knowledge I have gained from traveling!
I visited Nelson Mandela's prison cell in South Africa. Standing in a place where history profoundly changed for the better through one man's strength moved me to tears. I went rafting on one of the wildest rivers in Africa. I visited the "Church of Gold" in Italy; attended dinner parties in Sweden, and even learnt strategies to attending globally-coveted sports events at a reasonable price. Along the way I put together a bucket list of the many other travel opportunities I wanted to pursue. In retirement, with time and flexibility as my new best friends I am ticking destinations off that bucket list one trip at a time, and loving every moment of it.
In this chapter, I hope to share some of the practical tips and insights I learned in the course of my travels.
Always, Always Ask About Senior Discounts
You have earned your age - now enjoy it! I throw this out up front because age comes with its advantages. From airlines to hotels to event tickets, there is a good chance someone is offering a senior discount. So always look for, or ask, about the discount option before deciding what your best price is for a given resource.
Now that we have got that tip out of the way, let's start looking at the specifics of what you want and need.
Know Your Needs and Expectations
Different people can have radically different travel styles. I, for example, can live out of a carry-on bag for a month if I'm interested enough in my destination. I can sleep nearly anywhere, eat just about anything, and all of my health needs - though I do have some - are highly mobile and easily manageable.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have a friend whose back problems only permit her to sit in certain types of chairs and sleep on a particular type of mattress. She also has a sleep disorder that requires her to carry a large piece of equipment which needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet just to get her through the night. Clearly, the same travel accommodations might not be right for both of us.
Consider your travel needs before you get started. What amenities do you absolutely need to feel human? Do you have specific dietary needs? Can you sleep on a plane or train, or will that leave you exhausted? Knowing what accommodations you need and which you can do without is a good first step to getting the most out of your travel experience.
Choosing Your Destination
There are some fairly obvious differences in why people travel. Some are motivated by sporting events, others by theme parks or concerts or by the desire to visit relatives and friends. Still others simply want a taste of a particular culture. When considering what destinations are best for you, there are a few things to take into consideration:
Why do you want to travel? Are you interested in a change - any new and interesting change, since every new location has new things to offer? Is there a particular type of event you want to look for? Is there a particular person you would like to spend time with, or a specific type of experience you would want to acquire?
What is your budget? Do you want to spend it all on one major trip, or divide the designated resources so you can have many experiences?
Which will be more valuable to you - quantity, or "quality" of travel? I put "quality" in quotation marks because the most expensive, in-demand destinations are not always the best. At times they have unique charms, but so do many places without big stars on the map. Some extremely popular destinations with tourists may even be too commodified and streamlined for the tastes of other travelers.
Knowing what you have in terms of budget, and knowing what sorts of destinations and experiences you are looking for will help you better plan your trip.
Whether you are looking for cruise packages, plane or event tickets or types of lodging, there is always more than one option to choose from when planning your travel experiences. Browsing the World Wide Web for something you are not used to looking for, like airfare or lodging, may seem time consuming. If you learn the tricks of the trade though, you can travel for lower prices, especially as a retiree who is no longer on a strict work or time schedule.
In this era of the Internet, it is possible to see photographs of your accommodations before choosing them. You can even look up restaurants, museums, and any other unique places or cultural attractions in a given area before deciding where to visit.
Create an Itinerary
By planning in advance exactly where you want to go, you can make the most efficient choices for transportation, lodging, tickets and other essentials based on your budget. You can also make the most efficient choices about the timing and length of your trip. Planning for longer trips will allow you to really experience more of your destination but a longer stay is dependent on your budget.
You may even find free resources online to help you do the work. For nearly every region of the world, at least one person or organization local to the area has figured out the most efficient way to see the wide range of sights they would want to see if they were tourists in their own country. Using online search resources can yield a plethora of valuable information for potential travelers.
Accommodations: Options That May Surprise You
Back in the day, there were two main types of lodgings: shady motels and expensive hotels. While expensive hotels still exist and probably offer the ritziest accommodations, the information age - and different cultures to which you might be traveling - have yielded new ways to stay that might be unfamiliar to you.
Airbnb is one fascinating business model which developed in recent years. Through this website, people all over the world who have spare rooms or properties can list them like hotel rooms. The results can sometimes be amazing, in terms of both quality and budget. For example, it is possible to rent a whole apartment or condominium for a price comparable to a hotel room. This is an option that even some business people use, traveling in groups and renting multi-room apartments to share the cost and get an amenities upgrade at the same time.
Airbnb bookings for longer stays are also more affordable since the cost for a month can be discounted as much as 50 percent. This way you can really experience the country and its culture for an extended period of time. More scenic and exotic locations are also available on Airbnb. I have seen ads to rent out little cottages on the rocky Maine seashore and ads to stay with a couple on their countryside farm all of which allow a traveler to enjoy picturesque surroundings and good companionship while gaining knowledge about the local area. All these options give today's traveler far more flexibility than in the past to travel on tight budgets or gain truly unique experiences.
In this era of Internet deal-making, the same rooms in traditional hotels and motels may be listed at different prices across the Internet. Internet-based services like Trivago, Orbitz, Expedia and Priceline (yes, these are all websites) now exist to search for special deals on hotels and compare prices so travelers can find the lowest rates on hotels in a given area. These Internet-based travel sites typically offer discounts if you buy airfare and a hotel room together. They even make special deals with hotel chains to offer their un-booked rooms at lower-than-usual rates. There is also the choice of booking the hotel for bed and breakfast only, enabling the traveler to seek out inexpensive options for all other meals.
Air Travel: Cut the Frills, Cut Demand, Cut Prices
As with hotels, we are accustomed to the idea that there is "one way to travel." We think of major airlines flying into major airports - which might be good if you have a 13-hour flight and want to make sure it is comfortable, or if you need to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. These highly in-demand services are also among the more expensive options.
Understanding the role of supply and demand in travel is key to reducing the cost of travel. For example, did you know that tickets for the same airline going to the same airport may be substantially cheaper or more expensive depending on the time of day or the actual day you travel? Airlines also change the price depending on how long in advance of the travel date you purchase your ticket.
The demand for tickets has peaks and valleys based on timing – meaning, if you are willing to take a flight at an unpopular time of day or on an unpopular day when people do not usually travel, you might save hundreds even if you are comparing the price for the same airline and the same destination city. Most major airlines have a search option on their websites that list the best times and days to travel, and which airports are least expensive to fly into for the area in which you wish to travel. For that reason, when you are traveling on a budget, be sure to shop around for times and days that offer the lowest fare options.
Even flying into a city for a big event a few days before the crowd arrives might allow you to save so much on airfare that you can afford the extra few days of lodging and have more time to experience your destination for the same price as flying in when demand is at its peak. Location is also a strong influence on price, as dictated by supply and demand. Flying in or out of smaller, outlying airports might be substantially less expensive than flying out of popular cities. All the people who want to get in and out of the big city for business will be flying straight there, but you could save money and get to experience more of the local culture by flying into or out of a smaller town.
The ultimate expression of exploiting supply and demand to travel as much as possible can be found in searching for the "cheapest plane tickets to anywhere" - no local area is without its charm, and areas with a great deal to offer will sometimes offer very cheap tickets when they are trying to boost tourism. Airlines out of Iceland, for example, are known to offer $99 one-way flights from California to encourage tourism. How much is a journey to Iceland worth to you?
The one caution I would issue when searching for cheap tickets, is to check the credibility of third party (non-airline) sites before booking tickets. With the advent of the Internet, public commentary and warnings are usually posted online by persons who have negative experiences with bad merchants. These warnings should not be ignored, particularly if they indicate a pattern of poor customer service and a reluctance to offer full refunds for obvious errors on their part.
There is one other tip to finding the right airfare for you - and that is understanding the role of luxuries in air travel. Even though folks might complain about how much service and amenities have been downgraded on airlines in recent decades, many major airlines still have some "frills," such as in-service snacks, outlets to power and charge electronic devices, earphones to listen to in-flight entertainment, extra legroom or omnipresent flight attendants. These amenities contribute more than you realize to the cost of your ticket.
Budget airlines may not win any awards with big business people who are used to the lap of luxury, but they can be incredibly useful for getting from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. I have used the "no frills" Ryanair, for example, to visit Italy from Germany, flying out of the small outlying Frankfurt Hahn airport. This was a nominal airfare compared to what it would be had I flown out of the Frankfurt am Main international airport on a major airline. I also travel with my own earphones to avoid the fee to purchase or borrow from the airline.
Ground Transport: When Is It the Best Option?
There is a certain time vs. money trade-off between air travel and ground transportation. On one hand, if you are going less than a few hundred miles, there is almost always a ground travel option which is far less expensive than air travel.
On the other hand, such ground travel may take hours more than air travel.
On the third hand (yes, we have one of those now), more time on the ground means more time to see sights and have experiences. If you want to see more of what a country has to offer, not just its big-name destinations, road tripping it may give you quite the experience. Suffice it to say, for folks with the right mind-set, a longer commute is not necessarily an inferior one.
All the supply-and-demand factors that apply to air travel also apply to ground travel. As with airfares, bus, train, and cab fares may all be less expensive at less popular times. As with airfare, it may also be possible to substantially lower costs by cutting luxuries. Beyond the issues of supply and demand, just like in the area of lodging, our ever-changing world is also supplying increasing flexibility to help travelers meet their precise needs based on their personalities, destinations and budgets.
In many areas, buses are the most cost-effective means of ground transportation. When traveling within or between large cities on a shoestring budget, buses can't be beat – it is often possible to travel hundreds of miles for tens of dollars, or across the city for single digits.
There are also bus services dedicated to sightseeing tours and tours to specific events and attractions. These offer a viable alternative for retirees who are either unwilling or unable to drive long distances.
There are areas, though, where buses may not be a safe option. Try to find reviews online of any bus service you are considering using and carefully read the comments of past customers in order to determine if the cost savings are worth it to you.
Trains allow you to take in the scenery, albeit from a moving carriage that you cannot get out of to walk around. They also often offer a faster, more luxurious ride than buses. By the same token, they are often a bit pricier - sometimes rivaling airfares over long distances. Over shorter distances, it may be possible to travel economically by rail when looking to move between cities that are just a few hundred miles apart.
Car rentals give you total control over your transportation. Cars allow you to go where you want, when you want. Car rentals are perhaps most practical where local destinations are many miles apart (making cab fares prohibitive) and if the destinations you choose to visit are at a distance from bus or train routes. But any area with open country that you wish to explore could be a prime candidate for car rental - getting a ground vehicle to use how you want, when you want, for as long as you want.
Of course, as a trade-off, finding parking for a rental car in a crowded city may actually be more stress than it is worth. In urban locations, it might be best to simply pay for a car by the mile and not have to worry about parking since in most destinations, standard taxicab services are readily available. There are also a number of hybrid transportation service models such as Uber and Lyft, which have evolved in the 21st century and offer certain advantages over the standard taxicab option.
These new transportation models allow anyone who has a car to drive passengers around their hometown for money. With drivers ready to go whenever and wherever you are, it is not even necessary to reserve a cab if you wish to be picked up and whisked away to somewhere else promptly. It is important to realize that currently, these transportation services can only be summoned using a smartphone – unfortunately, the software that allows drivers and passengers to find each other in real-time cannot function on a "dumb phone," as I affectionately call them. Whatever the model used, at all times, caution should be exercised when hiring private transportation services to ensure they are operating legally and subject to proper regulation.
Excerpted from Retirement by Patricia Reid-Waugh. Copyright © 2016 Patricia Reid-Waugh. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
See the World and Find Your Place In It, 1,
Always, Always Ask About Senior Discounts, 2,
Know Your Needs and Expectations, 2,
Choosing Your Destination, 3,
Shop Around, 4,
Create an Itinerary, 4,
Accommodations: Options That May Surprise You, 4,
Air Travel: Cut the Frills, Cut Demand, Cut Prices, 5,
Ground Transport: When Is It the Best Option?, 7,
Get A Smartphone, 9,
Visit Friends and Family, 10,
Make New Friends, 10,
Ask the Locals, 11,
Learn Visa Laws, 12,
North America – Active and Energetic, 12,
Europe – Steeped in History and Culture, 14,
The Caribbean – Fun-Filled, Rhythmic and Laid-Back, 15,
Benefits and Risks in an Uncertain World, 17,
Unleash The Maestro in You, 19,
What Music Moves You?, 21,
Choosing Your Instrument, 22,
Which Kind of Music Lessons Are Right for You?, 26,
What About That Song in Your Heart?, 28,
Beginner's Mind, 29,
Get Creative – It is Not "Just a Hobby" Anymore, 31,
Get Fit – Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, 32,
Get Wet – Diving and Fishing, 34,
Get Wild – Hiking, Camping, Ecotourism and Agritourism, 35,
Get Artistic – Visual Arts, at Home and Beyond, 36,
Get Dirty – Gardening, 38,
Get Delicious – Cooking and Baking, 39,
Get Fashionable – Sewing and Knitting, 41,
Pay It Forward – Volunteer and Mentor, 42,
Feed the Hungry, 43,
Protect Nature, 44,
House the Homeless, 44,
Heal the Sick, 45,
Teach the World, 47,
Pass on Your Wisdom, 49,
Nurture the Human Spirit, 50,
Get Connected – The Joy of the Internet, 52,
Say it with Email, 53,
Meet, Greet and Tweet!, 55,
Be There, Even When You Can't, 57,
Find Your Tribe, 58,
The World's Biggest Newsroom, 59,
The World's Biggest University, 60,
Put the Internet in Your Pocket with a Smartphone, 61,
Stay Safe – Important Dos and Don'ts, 63,
1. Physical Safety, 64,
2. Monetary and Data Safety, 64,
3. Psychological Safety, 66,
BestPlaceForSeniorscom – A home for the Young at Heart, 67,
Tell Your Story, 68,
Going Back to Your Roots, 69,
Your Place in History, 72,
Choose Your Medium: To Write, Snap, or Record?, 74,
Say it with Pictures – Film and Photographs, 75,
Writing, for Books or Film: How to Tell a Story, 77,
Make an Outline, 78,
Ask Questions, 79,
Pruning and Cultivating, 80,
About the Author, 85,