One of the best things about being retired is being able to “just get up and go,” to make a last minute trip whenever you want. You have a lifetime of vacation days built up. It’s time to spend them.
One of the worst mistakes retired people make is getting all tied down again to a job or some commitment that robs them of the opportunity to “just get up and go.” If you’re just going to get another job anyway, why quit the last one?
All those years you were working, you would see the “last minute trip” bargain cruises to St. Thomas or the Bahamas, or Las Vegas, but you had to work! Well, those days are over. You’re retired, free to travel, to explore, to . . . whatever.
But before you can take advantage of a last minute trip, to snatch up one of those last minute unsold cabins or the cheap week-end excursions to Vegas, you have to do your homework, you have to be prepared. Luck is “opportunity meeting preparation,” So, let’s get lucky.
Travel Preparation List
Get a Passport
The first thing to get is a passport. If you are an American citizen you can find out all the information you need at the U.S. State Department Passport office. The cost is between one and two hundred bucks depending on what kind of passport you want. The reason that this is the first step is that the process can take several weeks. So, get started.
If you need to travel soon, there are ways to speed up the application process and of course they cost more money. If you want to be ready to take off on short notice you have to have your passport already in hand.
A good Credit Card
Credit card companies don’t like to mention it, but many have “foreign transaction fees.” These are fees imposed by the credit card companies on transactions you make overseas. These fees can range from nothing to 3% of each purchase. This can really add up on a long trip and be a real kick in the butt when you finally get your statement.
Credit Cards offer other benefits as well. These can include ticket cancellation insurance, lost luggage replacement, purchase protection, and life and dismemberment insurance coverage too. So, the card you choose can help you in many ways. You can start learning all about it by reading this article at Moneyunder30.com.
Get a good Phone
First off, you don’t really need a good phone. You can buy a cheapo phone anywhere. I have been checking my own Verizon plan and they offer several options to choose from, ranging from $10 a day to $40 a month for limited plans. Temporarily adding an international plan for a few days to your account is another option if you are going to be traveling for several weeks.
Another option, as I mentioned before, is buying a prepaid phone in the country you’re visiting. They are plentiful and in some countries you can even rent phones and have them delivered to your hotel. There is always the option of just forgoing the extra phone charges and communicating home with Skype or Emails over the free Wifi available in most places.
BusinessInsider.com has some great information on how to save even more money with overseas phone Charges.
Get a good backpack
Everywhere you go these day you see people traveling with no luggage at all. They have learned that its much easier to pack as little as you need and sling it on your back. I recently went on a caribbean cruise. I took my biggest suitcase and stuffed it with everything I would need . . . if I were traveling to Mars ! It turned out that I could have gotten by with about 1/4th of the stuff I had packed.
If you want to travel like Thurston Howell and Lovie you will need big huge suitcases, but if you just want to get off the plane and grab an Uber to the local action, then a good backpack is all you need. No waiting for luggage for an hour or dragging it through the airport and down the escalators. Traveling light is what the smart travelers do. I had three pairs of shoes packed and I spent the whole cruise in Flip-flops. The Savvybackpacker.com has some suggestions on picking out the best backpack for your getaway.
Don’t forget, after you buy one, keep it packed and ready. Pack some money in it also, just for extras and you’re ready to go.