10 Reasons Not to Wait Until You Retire to Travel.

10 Reasons Not to Wait Until You Retire to Travel.


Many of us have a deep longing to see this incredible world that we live in. We want to see other places, animals, people and cultures. Travel is rewarding, enriching, and life-changing.  So why are so many people putting it off until they retire?

I hear people all the time talk longingly about the time when they can throw off the bonds of the 9-5 grind and finally be free to travel and see these sights they have heard and dreamt of all those years.

While the list of reasons why people don’t travel while in the prime of their life is long; financial, family, career etc. The alternative may not be a rosy as you might imagine. It is easy as a 20, 30, 40 something to dream of retirement travel, without really thinking about what it will be like for us when we are 60, 70, 80 something.

Here are some reasons that you might want to reconsider holding off until retirement to live the life of your dreams:

  1. You may not have the energy to hike/bike/swim that will allow you to fully enjoy the travel.
    • Lets face it. I already have less energy at 30 than I did at 20. I can only imagine how much more daunting it will be to hike the Grand Canyon or Scuba on the Great Barrier Reef when I double my current age. Those activities are a huge part of what makes travel so much fun!
  2. Your body will limit where you go-Cold/Hot/Humid etc.
    • There is a reason people retire to Florida in mass and not to Alaska. The elements take a toll on your body and if visiting cold locations is on your list you may not want to chance it later on.
  3. You may have health limitations
    • Beyond what you want or don’t want to do, there is a chance you may not be able to travel to places due to medications or physical limitations.
  4. You many not make it.
    • Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but this is even true about putting off anything. Tomorrow is promised to no man and we certainly know all about that — read about how we fell of a 90′ cliff and survived!.   Don’t put all your hope in a future that may not be there. Live now.
  5. You may not have the money then.
    • This has never seemed more real than in this economy. Many who had saved and invested have seen their savings depleted from the recession. Making money is often a reason people think they can’t travel now, but it may not be there when you retire either.
  6. Your kids probably won’t be able to come.
    • They will be working 50 hours a week and not taking vacations — just like you did. Not that traveling solo or just you and your spouse is bad, but there is something rich about sharing these experiences with your family.
  7. Travel is an education.
    • You wouldn’t wait until you were 65 to go to college, why wait to travel?
  8. It will change the way you live the rest of your life and your family’s life for the better.
    • It is almost inevitable that exposure to new cultures, ideas, and environments will shape who you are. It will make you see the world–the good and bad–in a new light. It may change the career you are working in, it may make want to help others, it may just give you perspective. All good things to learn while you are young and can implement them in your life.
  9. Travel with our families creates bonds and memories that will pay a lifetime of dividends.
    • Sharing life defining experiences with one an other draws us together. Same with travel. Especially if you travel with your kids when they are young. I think it lays a foundation that can be built upon and in those tough teen years.  You can always fall back on the awesome travel you did together.
  10. Do it for your kids.
    • The advantages are almost innumerable; education, self-esteem, confidence, language, empathy…the list goes on. Think of the money you might spend to get them into a private school or on tutors. Spend that money traveling with them and I bet they won’t need the others.

Travel at anytime during your life has it’s advantages and disadvantages, but the more I reflect on the options the more convinced I am that travel is best enjoyed with my family in the prime of my life.

What about you? What are your thoughts on waiting to retire to travel vs travel now? What is holding you back?

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  • These are so great. I might need to print this out and keep it with me to hand out to people who look at us funny when we tell them what we’re planning to do. I dunno, it makes perfect sense to me, but some people definitely think we’re crazy. But yeah, life is short and unpredictable and I think since we can do it now, we should.

    • Paige,
      I know what you mean. That is in part what prompted this post. We started thinking that the established tradition of work away your best years then when you are older, kids are gone then live. Not what we want. I might print this out too!

  • I thought about this so much before we decided to do this. One thing I never thought about was how my kids wouldn’t be abel to come. You’re so right. In fact, I hope for them that they have a million other great things to do in life with their own children. This is a great list guys. Lots to think about!

    • Thanks Justin! Putting this list together made me even more sure that we all are on the right path!

  • SOOOO many good points…I want to quote them all! But I really liked “You wouldn’t wait until you were 65 to go to college, why wait to travel?” Seriously…and why wait to put your children through a world-class (pun intended) education, as well?!! It’s amazing to me that of the expat retirees I meet in Mexico, the ones that grumble the most are the ones who didn’t leave or travel extensively outside of the US until they retired. The people who roll with the punches and enjoy Mexico thoroughly are the ones who escaped when they were younger, and developed a different perspective on respecting and appreciating other cultures! I want to be the latter!!

    • Exactly! People are clamoring to get their kids on preschool waiting lists to the “great” schools. Making plans to get their kids into the best schools. Why not spend some of that time and energy on travel! It is hard to change late in life. If you didn’t make travel a priority when you were young why would you value it when you are old?

  • Love this article. Some truths are hard to hear but I believe you are right. This experience would be great with just my husband in our 50’s or 60’s but it wouldn’t be near as fabulous without the kids. They push us to see and explore so much more than I would on my own.

    • Mary,
      Kids keep us young, and they make the world more vivid, fun and exciting. You are right though about some places would be really nice with just the hubby at 60.

  • Jen

    Thanks for your last 2 posts…we are going through some big decisions about traveling and schooling. These posts inspire me and let me know there are others out there! We leave for a 4 wk trip to Costa Rica in a few weeks. We will be pulling our 1st grader out of school and I will work remotely. If it goes well we plan to homeschool next year and travel at least part of the year. Look forward to more of your posts.

    • Jen,
      I can’t tell you how happy your comment makes me. The main reason we have this blog is to do just that…encourage people to follow their dreams. I am honored to have been a small part of that process. Keep us updated!

  • Jen

    Also while all examples in the blogs I read are inspirational with regard to independent income streams, saving and taking off work but have you or others reading met people that have remote corporate jobs and travel? That is what I’ll be doing. so having reliable Internet, quality VOIP phone, masking location would all be things I would love to read…or maybe that could be a new blog idea for me to start!

    • Jen,
      I don’t know anyone, but I will keep an eye out for you. Maybe you should start that blog, if you have time.

    • Jen, check out the blog http://www.akingslife.com/ –they’re nomadic yet also running impressive online businesses that I assume require them to be in the loop. If you’ll send me a friend request on Facebook (I’m at facebook.com/clarkvand) I’ll also introduce you to them on there.

      I should write more on this topic myself. I’ve never desired to just travel and “check out.” In the past when we have traveled I have continued to work with corporate clients who had no idea I was traveling. I remember talking with the CEO of Jelly Belly from a remote island in the Caribbean! He assumed I was in California!

      • I absolutely love this post. Many of the decisions that Keith and I have made in the past came down to one simple question: “Why wait until then?”
        We moved from Chicago to Colorado because we thought it’d be a great place to retire. So Why wait until then?
        Then to Costa Rica for the same reason and to live a simpler life. Why wait?
        And now we are loving the waters of Belize. If not now, when? Why wait?

        In regards to having an online income stream, it is something that I haven’t even touched on in our blog, perhaps we should.
        We run 2 successful online businesses that are mostly automated. There are a lot of resources out there that offer advice on how to start creating income streams. Perhaps we should share our experience. I’ll think about that. Thanks for the mention 🙂

        • That is a great life question. I’m going to steel it. Why wait?!
          In regards to your income stream I think you should write on it. If you have been successful and thing others could do the same why not? Especially in this economy when people are open to alternative income. I would love to read it!
          Thanks for sharing with us the King’s life.

          • Jen

            Thanks all. I enjoy the Kings Life blog as well. I would LOVE it if you all wrote more about how you control the day to day aspects of work and traveling on the road. I will also do a post or two on how it goes for me in CR. I work for the largest IT company in the world so that is both good and bad…but I managed to move to a remote town in SW Colorado without them knowing ( they still think I live outside Boulder). So really what’s a few thousand more miles;) love all your blogs!

          • Jen, you will be happy to know that there are a group of bloggers (including yours truly) who are currently working on a project that will be right up your alley!

            The move from Boulder to SW Colorado–without your employer knowing–is already the first step. You’ve shown yourself (and potentially at a later date your employer) that you are not location dependent.

          • Jen

            Thanks Clark, I can’t wait to read your new project. Also I don’t hide where I live just don’t discuss it unless directly asked…just in case. My address is registered with them etc. A funny thing happened this year when I had my son. My manager tried to send flowers via 1800flowers and there was no florist in my area I think he knows now that I live a little farther from Boulder/Denver than he thought. And then the other day I was on a call with a Senior Engineer and he let it slip he was actually in Jamacia. So I think the location independent lifestyle is out there more than we know.

  • We travel now and will travel later. I’ve traveled for business solo, traveled for business with my son and also with my husband and my son. We have traveled on holiday and explored the world together. No matter what we have no regrets and I don’t plan on having any. I mean really, why wait. You gave all the best reasons!

    • You are so right. Travel now and later. I think if you live a life of travel you will continue into old age, but starting in your 60s is a different story!

  • I agree with your post. It has been somewhat of a struggle to get this to actually happen – preparing over the last 3-4 years to what we will start doing this year – traveling the world with our daughter.

    We know that travel is the best way to get the tightest bonds together since every place is new and different. So much to learn together and thus, bonding is strong. I want this mainly so that we can have a strong family connection and not be so distracted with “little important things”.

    But there are times that I get somewhat selfish and want time to myself and thus, feel a little bad that I don’t want to be with my daughter all the time but in general, I think I give me daughter the feeling from me that I want her and I love her. I feel that more when I travel and thus, wanted to set up a lifestyle of travel.

    Thank you for the reminder!

    Mikayla

    • Mikayla,
      Good for you guys for making it happen! That is awesome. We are working on a similar goal to travel the world with our kids. It is going to take us a few years to pay off some debt and build up some income. You are a few years ahead of us.. I will be following you closely.
      As for the guilt about wanting alone time, away from your daughter is normal. We all need that and it doesn’t matter if you are at home or traveling. It is healthy.
      Funny you should mention that becsude I am actually in Santa Bsrbara alone…without my kids…for a few days visiting my family. I felt sad leaving, but think it is going to be good for the kids and Clsrk.

  • On my travels round Australia I came across a great many of the “Grey Nomads” – a group of around 100,000 retired Australians who have sold their possessions and now spend their time circling Australia in their camper vans. The recurring theme of conversations with them was that they wished they had done it earlier, and even started at my age. There’s no time like the present for travel, pretty much any perceived barrier can be overcome if the will is there!

    • Laurence, I’m still waiting to hear about the person who on their deathbed said they’d spent less time traveling with their family.

    • Amen. I love it.

  • Precisely why I quit my job in 2010 to travel, and precisely why I will do the exact thing again … Great reasons!!

  • Excellent post. My brother completely disagreed with the decision I made to quit my job and travel the world. His answer was: “What the Hell are you going to do for money? I can retire in 20 years with my job, you’ll never have that”. But I don’t want to be thinking about 20 years from now, I’m thinking all about today.

    Thanks for the post!

    • Exactly Ryan,
      Your brother is just on a different track. I have learned that you can’t make people live your dreams, but I bet at the end of his life he will wish he had taken a different path.
      We always say we want to live a life that we never want to retire from.

  • Great post! We don’t regret hitting the road with our three kids for a minute. We have to work as we go, which is easy with wifi, and that lets us continue to travel. It’s only been 1.5 years and we don’t seen an end coming!

    • Margie,
      I just visited your site. I think we have a lot in common. Thanks for reaching out to us. I am very interested in hearing about what you do on the road.

  • Yep, you know it’s the right thing when all you hear from those (now)wise retired folks is how they wished they’d done it sooner. Listen to your elders. They know a thing or two about wish-we’d-done-its:)

    • Yeah here is a great quote from the a great article: Advice From Life’s Graying Edge on Finishing With No Regrets

      “ON REGRETS “Always be honest” was the elders’ advice to avoid late-in-life remorse. Take advantage of opportunities and embrace new challenges. And travel more when you’re young rather than wait until the children are grown or you are retired.

      As Dr. Pillemer summarized the elders’ view, “Travel is so rewarding that it should take precedence over other things younger people spend money on.” Create a bucket list now and start whittling it down.

      Pretty well said.

  • Great post. I often find it hard to relate to people working so so hard to be able to travel when they retire.

    • Everyone has a different path, but I think many people are not on the path they choose. They just go along and don’t think things through. Life happens to them, they don’t take control of it.

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