Want to travel during retirement? Here’s what to know


RBC survey shows that more than half of Americans worry about the cost and other factors of travel.


Many Americans hope to travel in their golden years, enjoying the sights, scents and sounds they either didn’t have time or couldn’t afford to experience when they were younger.

However, worries about the high cost of travel could prevent those dreams from coming true.

Nearly two thirds (63 percent) of Americans aged 50 and older say travel is an important retirement goal, according to a poll by RBC Wealth Management–U.S. Yet more than half worry that the high cost of travel could derail their travel plans.

Conducted by Ipsos on behalf of RBC Wealth Management, the poll included 1,256 Americans age 50-plus.

“You see more people wanting to live an active lifestyle and travel abroad in retirement,” says Griffin Geisler, a wealth planning consultant for RBC Wealth Management–U.S. “But cost is always a concern.”

Many of the 75 million baby boomers—people born between 1946 and 1964—are retired or will retire in the next 15 years. And many of them travel—especially as people are living longer and more active lives.

The RBC Wealth Management survey results reflect what AARP data shows: that travel makes the top 10 list of people aged 50-plus, regardless of whether they’ve retired yet.

If travel is on your retirement bucket list, here are some key factors to consider.

Cut down on travel costs

The overall cost of your trip will depend significantly on where you want to visit. For example, an international trip can cost up to five times more than a domestic trip, depending on the destination and duration.

But the growth of the sharing economy, which centers on app-based, on-demand ride services and home rentals, is helping some boomers better manage travel costs. Renting a home or an apartment for a week may cost less than staying at a hotel in the same city, for example.

The sharing economy first took root with millennials. But now boomers account for nearly a quarter of the more than 22 million sharing consumers in the U.S., according to a report from the University of Maryland’s Center for Excellence in Service.

Remember insurance

In addition to the cost of travel, health is another major concern. According to the RBC Wealth Management survey, Americans worry about health issues that may arise while traveling, with 21 percent saying the cost of travel or medical insurance is a burden, and 15 percent worried about insurance coverage if they get sick or injured.

Typically, Medicare does not cover health care or supplies someone might get while traveling abroad. Most Medicare supplemental insurance plans provide foreign travel emergency coverage, but they usually come with a deductible, restrictions and a lifetime limit.

“Health and insurance are really big issues,” notes Geisler. “I would recommend anyone aged 65-plus who’s traveling aboard to have some type of travel insurance.”

The U.S. State Department offers a variety of health and medical resources for anyone considering international travel.

Plan ahead

Most importantly, for anyone dreaming about a retirement filled with travel, it’s essential to plan ahead.

In general, people should start thinking about their retirement goals, such as travel, at least 10 to 15 years before retirement, Geisler recommends. As you think about how you want to spend your retirement years, discuss and prioritize your goals with your spouse or partner to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Then, work with your financial advisor to build those goals into your wealth plan alongside your expected needs, wants and wishes in retirement.

Thinking holistically about how your travel goals will fit into your retirement years will help you take an important step toward creating a meaningful retirement, and build confidence that you can be prepared for that next chapter of your life.

RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, registered investment adviser and Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.

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