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Many retirees and empty-nesters are excited about the prospect of finally being able to take an extended vacation or travel more often. If you've accumulated a long list of places to see over the years, you might have a difficult time choosing between destinations. To help plan your first trip after retirement, consider your past travel experiences as well as the places on your bucket list. Can't decide? Here are some ways to choose the best trips for newly retired travelers.

The Benefits of Traveling in Retirement

When you don't need to rush back home, you can begin to consider longer vacations and travel farther than you did when you were working. Now may be the time to plan an extended trip through Europe or a longer cruise to Alaska. Travel and Leisure magazine included the coast-to-coast U.S. road trip in their list of recommended trips to take as soon as you retire. It's the perfect time to take a long cross-country drive and explore cities and towns off of the beaten path, rather than feeling like you need to squeeze in many of the top tourist spots as you can in a short time frame.

Relaxing Trips vs. Active Vacations

Consider pacing your travel according to your preferred type of activity. If you want to take a walking tour and visit museums or architectural wonders, but aren't sure how to plan a sight-seeing trip, look into tour companies that cater to retirees. If you prefer to relax, consider a visit to Hawaii, which was ranked as a top travel destination for retirees by U.S. News. Or you can mix active periods with "days off" at your hotel in order to plan a trip that will be memorable, but not overwhelming.

Try Something New

It's common to fall back on past vacations that were fun and enjoyable and return to a well-loved resort or destination multiple times. However, you may be ready to branch out and visit different locations. Maybe this is the time to take your first cruise or venture out on an international trip. Chances are, you'll also have more time to plan your vacations when you're retired, so you can research travel destinations before leaving and find new museums, resorts, or shows that you'll enjoy. If you're venturing overseas for the first time, you may want to check out the U.S State Department's travel tips and checklist for retiree travelers.

Take Advantage of Retiree Discounts

Although your travel budget may increase in retirement, you'll still want to look for affordable vacations — it allows you to stretch your dollars and get away more frequently. Many travel companies offer retiree discounts or senior fares. Aside from discounts, once you stop working, you'll also have the advantage of vacationing off-season when hotel and airfare prices are lower. You may also want to visit a popular golf and beach destination like Myrtle Beach on the shoulder season to experience mild weather while avoiding the peak crowds.

Retirement brings opportunities to try new things and set off on new adventures. If you plan to travel frequently, don't forget to set an annual vacation budget. For added peace of mind, you may also want to consider travel insurance.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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