One of the topics of conversation among soon to be retired people is the hope of traveling once they have the time to do so. After decades of work, raising a family and maintaining a household, they are looking forward to taking off whenever they want to. It was certainly what Zaf and I were planning to do and indeed succeeded when we spent six months in Greece last year.
The retirement groups I follow on social media get numerous postings from people who are days, weeks, months away from retirement and are expressing their desire to see the places that are on their “bucket” list. Family and friends who are at this point in their lives also state that they are getting ready to go, go, go. And rightly so, all these people, should be planning to do just that as they earned it and deserve it.
The experience we had living in Greece last year was truly an anomaly. In the height of the pandemic, we vaccinated, we tested, we masked and took off. The country was practically empty of tourists. Hotels, car rental, food, etc. was very inexpensive. This year, from what I heard from family and friends who visited there claimed that the current prices were exorbitant!
And that brings me to the issued of the cost of travel today, especially for us who have retired.
Exploring travel options for us is an eye-opener. With limited income, for most of us, there is only so much we can do. Now that the world has opened (no pandemic) prices have skyrocketed. We experienced just that when we were in Hawaii last month. While it has always been on the more expensive side, this year was truly unbelievable.
We had breakfast in our room. A kitchenette was in our room with coffee included. We bought muffins and fruit and that took care of that. A “light” lunch was about $40.00! When you looked at the menu, we saw that a hot dog was $20.00! At first, we thought, well that it was because we were sitting around the pool and when lunch time rolled around, we were a captive audience. But then, when we ventured into town on another day and stopped for lunch, it was about the same!
Dinner was even worse. No matter what we ordered, the meal, along with beverages came in at about $100.00. Averaging about $150.00 a day for food, for 6 days, came to $900.00!!! Adding in the cost of hotel and car rental, gas, and whatnot this vacation for six days was equal to what we spent in Greece last year for one month! And this did not include airfare!
There are, of course, other destinations that might not be at that price level. Doing your research well ahead of time and knowing what to expect is necessary for good planning. Group travel is an option that could possibly be a better way to travel, cost wise. Driving instead of flying might work as well; but with the price of gas, it might not be a such a bargain. And, of course, you can’t drive to Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, etc. The key for us is knowing what our budget is and what we can fit into it. You need money to travel the world…is our new mantra.
Hawaii is beautiful, no doubt about it. From the minute we land, we are in another mental state – it automatically becomes more relaxed and stress free. Not that we have so much angst, being retired and all, but you know…life has challenges no matter what. Endless beaches, palm trees and other foliage in full bloom, the warmth of the sun, mountains in the background and that certain ukulele music playing in the background puts you in a place where you don’t want to leave.
Will we travel again soon? Yes, we will. Two places we will be visiting are driving destinations. Both hotel rooms will have kitchenettes. Packing includes snacks and beverages we can keep in our room to ward off hunger pains. Searching for moderately priced restaurants in the area will keep costs down. So, we are ready. We are “thinking” about another trip to Europe next year…but who knows. We’ll see what we can explore and discover. Blessed to be able to do so indeed.
Retire Well, Helene 😊
Photograph of a Hawaiian Sunset from the Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf