If you are planning to travel once retired, ask yourself if you and your travel companion(s) are equipped, both mentally and physically, for extended travel. Not everyone is, so before deciding your plans, consider this list of important questions to see if extended travel is a valid option.
Do you have the time? To reap the benefits of a meaningful cross-cultural experience, you don’t want to rush it. An extended trip usually takes longer than anticipated and often has no set end date.
Are you comfortable being by yourself? The excitement of the adventure often starts strong but may fade, and you may find yourself with a lot of down time. Tolerance of your travel companion(s) and being very comfortable alone with your thoughts can be key to enjoying your trip.
Are you good at starting conversation? Getting to know the locals and other travelers can enhance your experience and help you learn about new cultures. You might need to push your normal boundaries in order to make the trip worthwhile.
Can you be comfortable with the uncomfortable? There will be many times during an extended trip when you’re at a loss and will need confidence in knowing you can figure each situation out or you can find another option.
Can you handle the unexpected? Things can go wrong when traveling but it’s important to look forward and not dwell on a bad experience as it may distract you from missing the good ones.
How is your patience? Whether it’s waiting for trains, waiting for check-ins or even waiting to hear from a loved one back home, patience is often needed as may be the ability to get lost in a good book or a podcast.
Do you embrace diversity? Part of the fun of traveling to new countries and cities may be embracing differences and enjoying the unfamiliar.
Are you relatively healthy? The physical demand of extended travel can be intense. There will likely be a lot of walking, luggage carrying and stair climbing, so endurance and good health is important.
If you know someone who is considering an extended trip, feel free to pass these questions along to them. We'd love to hear whether or not you think it’s something you’d enjoy!