• Tue. Jun 21st, 2022

How To Create The Ultimate Travel Guide For Your Retirement | Colonial First State: Unleash your second half

ByKeith M. Jones

May 20, 2022

Many long-time travelers catch the virus early. A gap year, a backpacking adventure or a working holiday abroad, and that’s it, you’re hooked for life.

But the problem with travel is that once you work full time or have a family, you never have enough time to do it properly. That is, until you reach your “second half” of life.

If you’ve planned your retirement well, you’ll have plenty of time — and money — for your most adventurous dreams. So even if it seems impossible now, there’s no need to let go of those long-held fantasies. Instead, plan a fun retreat ahead of time.

So what’s on your to-do list?

Some people dream of settling near the coast, going back to university or writing the great Australian novel. For others, it’s all about travel. At the top of many lists is a treat you’ve always dreamed of: fine dining in Margaret River or McLaren Vale, a luxury retreat in a stunning wilderness like Uluru, Cradle Mountain or the Great Barrier Reef, or a destination culturally rich city break to the galleries of Canberra or the theaters of Melbourne.

Award-winning travel writer Andrew Bain, who has been covering exciting travel experiences for more than two decades, says if he had more time and money he would use it to visit more distant destinations.

“If you can take off for six or eight weeks instead of one or two weeks, you have that luxury of time,” he says.

Bath dreams of visiting places that are out of budget for backpackers and too long to reach on annual leave alone. Places such as the pristine nature of Kamchatka in Russia’s far east; Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean; and the Svalbard glaciers in the deep north of Norway.

Similarly, many of Australia’s most memorable adventures are accessible to those with the luxury of time. Unforgettable trips include the 30,000 km “Grand Tour of Australia” (recommended period: three months to a year) or the 2,800 km “short cut” on the Outback Way through the Red Center of Winton, Queensland, in Laverton, Western Australia.

Adventures like this rely on the magical combination of time and money. This means you need to have a solid financial plan in place before you get there. These extra funds can be the difference between taking a yoga class around the corner or at a wellness center in Bali. Or the difference between taking notes at MasterChef or taking a cooking class in Paris.

They can mean that you can properly prepare for a trip based on activities such as a 4×4 backcountry adventure, cruising the Whitsundays or tackling a section of the epic 60-day Heysen Trail, the Flinders Ranges hinterland to the coast.

Retirement is also a time when you can dive deep into your personal passions, such as a love of the natural world, fine wine, or an interest in family history. Bain says if you have the funds, you can hire expert local guides for a more organized experience. Whether it’s an ecologist in the Daintree, a winemaker in the Barossa or a local historian who can help with research, a specialist can offer “knowledge you don’t get when a standard tour or just traveling on your own,” he says.

For example, “Kamchatka is a large volcano and wildlife area. You want someone who knows the local geology and wildlife. I wouldn’t usually spend all my time with them, but you can access this knowledge if you pay someone to travel with you for a day or two. It doesn’t even have to be a tour guide, just a local.

Happy male and female friends having fries at the beach on sunny day

Bain says he seeks inspirational landscapes. “I’m usually drawn to the mountains, and to see the best of the mountain you have to be active. You have to hike, or sometimes bike, to really experience it.

Fortuitously, activity-based travel goes very well with another pleasure of travel: gastronomy. “I probably appreciate good food, good wine and spirits more now,” he says. “When you’ve spent the day hiking or biking, instead of just coming back to cook for yourself or snack on pub food, I like to find a really cool place to eat, with a nice bottle of wine, maybe whisky.” With the flexibility and funds to travel whenever you want, you can attend seasonal events, such as fishing seasons, wine festivals, or fruit harvests.

So when the world is yours, how do you make a to-do list? Bain says now is the time to explore your personal interests. “Most of us have been traveling for 20, 30 or 40 years, whether it’s big or small trips, so you know what you like to see,” he says. “Do your research. Say cathedrals are your thing. Find the really unusual ones, the ones you’ve never heard of. And then just figure out how to get there.

Redefine your retirement and free your second half. Learn more about CFS.