12+ Trips You Need to Take as Soon as You Retire

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Introduction:

Retirement marks the beginning of a new chapter in life, one filled with the freedom to explore the world and enjoy the experiences you’ve always dreamed of.

After years of hard work and dedication, it’s time to reward yourself with unforgettable adventures.

In this guide, we present ’15 Trips You Should Take Once You’re Retired’, a collection of destinations that promise to make your retirement years truly exceptional.

Blue Ridge Parkway

usatoday
usatoday

Considered “America’s Favorite Trail,” this stunning 469-mile route connects Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Take as much time as you want on this scenic drive, which ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 feet in elevation.

Enjoy gorgeous views from roadside rest areas or hike more than 80 trails.

From campsites to luxury wooden houses, there is a wide range of accommodations available and you can enjoy traditional music, culture, cycling, history, nature, and even golf along the way.

In Asheville, North Carolina, explore the majestic Biltmore Estate, created by George Vanderbilt in 1895. Guided tours take guests through the 250-room house and garden, which is described as a “time travel experience.”

You can spend the night at the farm hotel called The Inn or at your country house.

All the information you need to plan your trip can be found on Blue Ridge Parkway’s website, plus they offer a smartphone app that includes historic sites, scenic views, accommodations, and activities to guide you along the way.

Rocky Mountaineer

canadarail
canadarail

Do you want to leave the driving to someone else?

Your ticket could be a luxurious journey through the Canadian Rockies aboard one of the comfortable glass-domed Rocky Mountaineer wagons. Choose from several options, such as the Grand Adventure Circle Journey.

This 11-night trip includes five days aboard the Rocky Mountaineer and overnights in Whistler, Jasper, Lake Louise, and more.

The trip begins in Vancouver with time to explore and rest. The next morning, you’ll board the Rocky Mountaineer and travel along British Columbia’s Sea-to-Sky Corridor on your way to Whistler Resort.

Next up: Drive through farmland and stunning valleys on your way to Quesnel and then to Jasper National Park for a day of recreation.

Then, to get to Lake Louise, you’ll travel along the scenic Icefields Parkway, where you can take an Ice Explorer ride into the middle of the Athabasca Glacier.

When you arrive in Lake Louise, you’ll have time to explore before heading to Banff and returning to Vancouver via Kamloops. More Rocky Mountaineer itinerary options are listed online.

Australia

t24hs
t24hs

With a flight time of 16-21 hours from the US and a lot of areas to see, a visit to Australia, the travel + leisure destination of 2020, doesn’t fit into most holiday schedules, so have a schedule, of course.

In Greater Sydney, tour the famous Opera House and then see it from another perspective on a harbor cruise.

You can walk across the Sydney Harbor Bridge or climb to the top of its steel arch if you have plenty of energy and an extra $350.

Get up close and personal with Australia’s unique wildlife at Kangaroo Island Nature Reserve and see koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, fur seals, penguins, and kookaburras.

As for marine animals, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, in northeastern Australia, is home to countless species of colorful fish, mollusks, starfish, turtles, dolphins, and sharks.

Melbourne’s Great Ocean Road, at the southeastern tip of Australia, is the perfect place to see rugged coastlines, rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and even the dense Otway rainforests.

Don’t miss Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, set along its picturesque river and crossed by the Story Bridge.

Take a cruise on Melbourne’s Yarra River for stunning views of the city’s landmarks and skyline.

Seasons vary in the Southern Hemisphere, of course, so most travelers to the southern part of Australia visit during the summer, from November to March.

Southeast Asia River Cruise

frommers
frommers

If this part of the world is new to you, a river cruise will provide adventure, luxury, and comfort, with all the necessary arrangements made for you.

Several companies, including AmaWaterways, offer Mekong River cruises that stop in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

The seven-day South Vietnam and Cambodia cruise can be extended to include Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.

With an extension, you’ll spend a few days in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, enjoying the mix of ancient temples and modern skyscrapers.

Next, you’ll take a trip to Halong Bay, where you’ll board a boat to cruise past the impressive limestone rock formations and spend the night in modern comforts.

Next, take a short trip south to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to visit Angkor Wat, a massive temple complex built in the early 12th century in honor of the Hindu god Vishnu.

After exploring Angkor Wat, board your riverboat for a seven-day cruise along the Mekong River.

China

audleytravel
audleytravel

So far away and with such a vast amount of land (and so many major cities) to explore, China may be the destination you’ve been hoping to visit. And now you have time.

Start your trip in Hong Kong, where you’ll find great shopping, delicious food, and stunning views of the skyline and harbor from the top of Victoria Peak.

Travel on the Star Ferry to Kowloon to see more of the famous port.

Next, fly to Beijing, the capital of imperial China, where you can see historic Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the largest ancient palace complex in the world.

Walk along a section of the 4,000-mile-long Great Wall of China, enjoy the panoramic views, and contemplate its role in China’s long history.

Take a short trip to Xi’an to see the magnificent Terracotta Army and more than 7,000 life-sized clay sculptures of warriors and horses buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Your next stop might be Shanghai, China’s largest city and financial center, where you can stroll along the Bund, the famous waterfront lined with colonial-era buildings.

Be sure to try the specialty xiao long bao (soup dumplings) some restaurants claim to be the best. You can be the judge.

Egypt

kimkim
kimkim

If you’ve been fascinated by the civilization of ancient Egypt and have always wanted to see the pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Nile River, now might be a good time to make your plans.

The Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open in early 2024 and will contain more than 100,000 artifacts and about 20,000 pieces on display, including 5,400 pieces recovered from Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Even if you usually travel alone, you may want to consider taking a well-planned group tour that takes care of transfers, entrance tickets, meals, tours, and other arrangements.

For example, Adventures by Disney offers 10-day trips to Egypt which makes planning simple.

The itinerary includes a trip to the Great Pyramid and Sphinx, snorkeling in the Red Sea on a private yacht, and a three-night Nile cruise.

A papyrus-making demonstration and hieroglyphics workshop is also part of the experience.

Scottsdale, Arizona

wikimedia
wikimedia

If your goal is to be pampered and rejuvenated in luxurious surroundings, Scottsdale has many options for you.

The Andaz offers suites and bungalows, and for added privacy, the resort’s collection of secluded bungalows has its private pool.

Faithfully renovated with contemporary amenities and mid-century modern style, Valley Ho Hotel welcomes guests with classic furnishings that take you back to the 1950s.

Scottsdale is located about 20 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, so you can start relaxing as soon as you arrive.

When you’re sufficiently restored and ready to see the city, you’ll find the art galleries, shops, restaurants, and craft breweries of the Old Town relaxing and enjoyable.

Keep an eye out for One-Eyed Jack, a huge, stylized rabbit, which is just one example of Scottsdale’s commitment to public art.

The Museum of the West offers an extraordinary collection of paintings, sculptures, artifacts, ceramics, photographs, and drawings.

Meanwhile, the impressive Museum of Contemporary Art presents a variety of installations, paintings, photographs, and videos.

Visitors to Scottsdale should be sure to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, his winter home and architecture school.

Tours reveal not only the house, furnishings, and structures, but also much about Wright’s life and personality.

Iceland and the Northern Lights

glacierheli
glacierheli

What’s on your travel bucket list that doesn’t include seeing the Northern Lights?

The challenge with getting a good view of the mysterious northern lights is that they don’t appear when expected.

Certain times of the year (September to March) are best for viewing during the long winter nights.

Travelers should also avoid nights with a bright moon.

Now that you have time to wait for the amazing show in the sky, why not plan a trip to Iceland?

While you’re there, don’t miss the Blue Lagoon.

Book a day visit or stay at a hotel such as the Celica Hotel or the luxurious five-star Retreat Hotel.

The 102-degree blue waters are said to be great for the skin, and its unique landscape and waters make it the most visited attraction in Iceland.

You may be lucky enough to see the northern lights while enjoying the warm waters of the lake.

Hotel Ranga, a family-owned boutique that will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, is a popular place to stay while waiting for the northern lights to appear.

The on-site observatory, outdoor hot tubs, twilight alert service, comfortable rooms, delicious meals, and warm hospitality make anticipating relaxing and enjoyable.

Ireland

nationsonline
nationsonline

Are you looking for lush green countryside, cozy pubs, and friendly people?

Want to learn more about your ancestors or discover the cities they once called home?

A trip to Ireland would be the answer.

Start your trip to Dublin, where you can visit Trinity College to admire the architecture and ancient manuscripts.

Kilmainham Gaol, a prison converted into a museum to learn about Irish history, and the Guinness Storehouse, to pour a proper pint and enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.

Join a bar and listen to traditional Irish music while watching the lively bar scene.

Other charming towns worth exploring in the country include Kinsale, Belfast, Dingle, Killarney, and Kilkenny.

Drive the 110-mile Ring of Kerry along the Iveragh Peninsula for stunning views, historic sites, waterfalls, beaches, and monuments.

You can stay in a castle-like Adare Manor, Dromoland Castle or Carton House.

The coastal town of Cobh, County Cork, was the embarkation point of the Titanic, and a tour of the White Star Line ticket office is a moving and unforgettable experience.

If you plan to drive, remember that you will be on the left side of the road and vehicles are traveling on the right side, which is a bit confusing, especially with cars with standard gears.

Choose an automatic car or a chauffeur-driven car for more comfortable and safe trips.

Sicily

thetimes
thetimes

This island off the tip of Italy is another interesting place for those looking for ancestral villages.

Plus, you can explore it while smelling the perfect cannoli or pasta.

Many Italian Americans trace their roots to Sicily as a result of migrations that occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Palermo, the capital of Sicily, is a lively city with colorful outdoor markets, stunning cathedrals, and delicious street food, including fried rice balls called arancini.

Enjoy it with Sicilian wine, much of which comes from vineyards near Mount Etna, Sicily’s active volcano.

The unique and welcoming towns along the coast and into Sicily offer something for everyone, including the ancient ruins of Agrigento, Syracuse, Selinunte, and Taormina.

A testimony to the history of this island, which was occupied in different eras by the Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and others.

Miles of coastline, beautiful beaches, stunning architecture, fresh seafood, and friendly people are just some of the reasons to visit Sicily.

Travel between cities can be arranged by train, bus, car or private driver.

If you rent a car, keep in mind that the main roads are generally in good condition and well signposted, unlike some local roads.

Highway speeds are fast and Sicilian drivers seem to like following cars. Within cities, the streets are narrow and parking is almost non-existent.

Public parking can usually be found on the outskirts of towns in the Parcheggio area.

Costa Rica

tripadvisor
tripadvisor

Are you looking for a pure life? The slogan, which means “Enjoy life and be happy,” is a favorite saying in this Central American country for good reason.

The variety of environments, including tropical forests and jungles, Pacific and Caribbean coasts, volcanoes, and hot springs, make it a great place to visit.

Wildlife lovers can see monkeys, sloths, lynxes, whales, reptiles, and sea turtles in their natural habitats.

After a day of hiking, diving, surfing, golfing, or exploring nature, relax on a pristine beach or in the lush rainforest.

There are five-star hotels and luxury resorts spread across the country, so you can choose your favorite place to be sure you find what Pura Vida means to you.

W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal is located in Guanacaste, surrounded by the sands of Playa Conchal.

Located in the heart of Costa Rica’s rainforest, Playa Cativo Lodge is a luxurious beachfront property accessible exclusively by boat.

Located on the edge of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park, Nayara Gardens boasts stunning views of the volcano.

Costa Rica has two international airports, Daniel Oduber Quirós in Liberia (LIR) and Juan Santamaria in San Jose (SJO).

Be sure to check the most convenient airport transportation and ground transportation when booking your hotel.

United States Coast-to-Coast Road Trip

webuildvalue
webuildvalue

“See USA in your Chevrolet!” You’ve probably heard the song and it’s still good advice for travelers with a lot of time on their hands.

There are many places to see and many roads to drive throughout the United States.

Of course, you can take Route 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles.

For nostalgia, small towns, kitschy ruins, and a view of the Grand Canyon, this is the way to go.

Start or end your journey at the Santa Monica Pier, the western end of the legendary highway.

Be sure to take a photo at the “Santa Monica 66 – End of the Trail” sign.

Or try the southern route connecting San Diego, California, and Savannah, Georgia.

It will pass through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Traversing the middle of Route 50, which connects Maryland and Northern California, you’ll see the Sierra Nevada, Appalachian, and Rocky Mountains, deserts, plains, and farmland.

Washington, D.C., the world’s longest arch in St. Louis, and Lake Tahoe are other highlights of this route.

So grab a map and a travel buddy and plan your cross-country trip. The solution might be to rent a car one way and back.

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