Retirement The time to travel

| May 13, 2014

Retiring can seem like the end of an era – but it’s also the start of a new one. Today, we look at how retirement opens up a huge array of opportunities for travel – and why there has never been a better time to explore the world.

Where will you go first?

Drawing a line under your working life and moving into retirement is a change that impacts more than just your daily routine – it represents an exciting new start that gives you the time and freedom to focus on fulfilling your dreams.

For many of us, these dreams are centred on travel – the allure of discovering the cultural landmarks left by ancient civilisations; the draw of coming face to face with some of the planet's most remarkable creatures; the wish to stand and stare, awestruck, at unbelievable natural wonders.

Why now?

Retirement is not the same for everyone – personal commitments and circumstances vary from one person to the next. But one thing that retirement presents to many of us is possibility – and perhaps in greater measure than at any other time of our lives.

This is a period when – broadly speaking, of course – children will have flown the nest and the mortgage will have been paid off, leaving more time and more robust finances than previously. With time, money, and work and personal responsibilities often acting as a barrier to travel (particularly long-haul trips), retirement is a natural time to see more of the world.

So, shake off the rigours of the nine-to-five lifestyle, and start turning the adventures you've been dreaming off into firm travel plans.

Itinerary inspiration: destinations

Not everyone who longs to see the world has a clear idea of exactly where they want to go. If you're keen to soak up as much history and culture along the way as possible, there are some parts of the world that particularly stand out.

Latin America: From the wildlife-rich lands of Costa Rica to ancient marvels such as Peru's Machu Picchu, Latin America presents a host of unforgettable adventures. Mexico is an excellent example of this region's variety, with its spectacular beaches, lush rainforests, dramatic canyons, bustling cities and Unesco World Heritage sites.
The Far East: Overflowing with treasures natural and man-made alike, the Far East is an intoxicating part of the world. Step into Burma, a country that, until recently, was all but isolated from the rest of the world for decades. Discover the contrasts of China – a land of bustling cities and rural, traditional ways of life. Or visit Thailand, and explore the markets and temples of Bangkok, and the charms of Chiang Mai.
India: India is one of the world's most exciting destinations. From its aromatic, well spiced cuisine and dazzling cities to its architecture and wildlife, this vast nation provides an almost unparalleled wealth of experiences.
Africa: The African continent is a famous destination for wildlife-spotting - but there's more to it than safaris alone. Discover incredible cuisine in South Africa, or the rich, historical culture of Ethiopia - the choice is yours.

Itinerary inspiration: themes

Of course, selecting a destination is just one way to organise your holiday. Alternatively, why not think about any particular themes that pique your interest and have an itinerary built around these? Here is some food for thought:

Wildlife: Dreaming of spotting tigers on the prowl, giraffes serenely chewing leaves from tall trees and wildebeests pounding the plains during their animal migration? Plan your holiday around wildlife and you can move between a number of destinations to see as much as possible.
Culture and history: Do you wish you could walk in the footsteps of ancient civilisations, or dig into the past of a particular country? Whether you have a particular culture, time period or even event or movement in mind, making your interest the centre of your itinerary will make for an exciting, rewarding travel experience.
Food and wine: Gastronomy is a passion shared by many - and a wonderful way to explore other cultures at that. Place food at the heart of your holiday planning and you can not only experience different tastes and textures, but even learn how to reproduce them.

Taking the plunge

Fulfilling long-held dreams and making major life changes can be intimidating - but that shouldn't stop you from taking the plunge. The best way to go about planning your first in-depth, far-flung holiday is to consult a specialist. This way, you can get indispensable advice on everything from where and when to go to what to see and do while you're there.

As a rule of thumb, seek out itineraries that offer a balance between seeing the major sights and getting off the beaten track. Also be mindful that the best itineraries fit a lot in without forcing you to rush - you want to see and experience each place properly, rather than superficially.

And remember, you can always start off slowly - a short break to Europe may well whet your appetite for longer adventures further afield.

Talk to a Cox & Kings expert on 020 7873 5000 or visit for more travel inspiration and ideas.

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