Once many Americans finally make the decision to retire from full-time work in their career field, they scale back on some of life's creature comforts. One of the first expenses to get the ax is often vacations. Adjusting to a new reality that includes a fixed income, retirees will avoid traveling not because they do not want to see the world, but because they are afraid of blowing a hole in their retirement accounts. There are still others who might wonder just what exactly they need a vacation from in retirement. At the end of the day, vacations still serve a valuable purpose during retirement. Here are three reasons why you should keep traveling even after you have retired.
Even for married couples, retirement can feel like a lonely reality. Whether you are single or part of a couple, your life before retirement often included a variety of social interactions with respective co-workers each day, weekly happy hours with other friends, and even monthly dinner gatherings with other couples. As you withdraw into a new reality in retirement, schedules change. If you choose not to work at all, you lose those daily interactions with co-workers immediately. Your budget may push you to forgo those more frequent get-togethers with other friends and couples.
Forbes points out that one of the greatest pitfalls in retirement is social isolation. Citing work from sociologist Robert S. Weiss, Forbes notes that many retirees report feeling a sense of deep loneliness. Vacationing can help combat that loneliness. Whether you go visit family or simply interact with a fresh set of new friends on a cruise or at an all-inclusive resort, vacations offer a shot at social interactions daily.
Break Out of Routines
Another challenge presented by retirement comes in the form of routines. Everyone has a routine during their career; you get up each day, prepare for work, commute, work, commute home, and then do it all over again the next day. With more free time, it can feel like mundane tasks begin to fill the hours and one day passes to the next like an unstoppable force. Before you know it, weeks or even months have gone by with little change to your daily or weekly routine.
Going on a vacation, even a four-day weekend, can help shatter the routines. You set a new schedule with a day full of activities on the water, go on hiking trips, and travel through a new city on a guided tour. Whatever it is, you are doing something fresh each day that can help break up the monotony.
Stimulate and Challenge Yourself
Finally, going on vacation in retirement can help stimulate the mind and challenge you to try new things you might have been avoiding. Maybe you have avoided trying a new kind of cuisine in a newly-opened restaurant in your hometown because it was too far away or you thought it was too expensive. If you are already on vacation, you can challenge yourself to take that step and try new foods.
Of course, you can get more adventurous than new cuisine; take up surfing, try a standup paddleboard, the challenge is up to your personal desires. Just make sure to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Stimulating the mind and challenging yourself to conquer new hobbies can lead to improved psychological well-being, according to US News.