There’s no doubt that travel is one of the most highly anticipated events of retirement. You finally have the time to follow your dreams and explore new and exciting places. Whether it means jumping in the car and hitting the road to explore new parts of Australia or international travel, it always pays to plan ahead.

There are different ways to plan your travel and it’s always good to leave a bit of spare time to ensure you get to see exactly what you want to, and that you have enough relaxation time.

Depending on how you want to travel, there is a multitude of different travel experiences. Here we have explained the difference, including the pros and cons:
1. Independent travel

You’re in charge of everything; getting from place to place, booking accommodation, organising what to do and see and exactly where you’re going to go. You might choose to book online or book your flights through a travel agent then play it by ear! You don’t necessarily have to book ahead, but it may help to plan a few days or even weeks in advance if you’re travelling during peak season. It’s frustrating to get to a much anticipated destination, only to discover you’ve missed out on tickets to a show, can’t stay at the hotel you were hoping to – or the museum you were desperate to visit isn’t open on the days you’re there.

2. Organised tours

Whether you’re considering domestic or overseas travel, taking part in organised tours is a stress free and convenient way to see new places. Organised tours are great for single travellers or those who don’t feel comfortable making their own way around. It also offers the benefit of prepaying for almost everything – which is great when it comes to budgeting. In most cases you’ll meet up with your tour group at your first night’s accommodation and then literally be taken to each site, attraction, destination, city or country with the group. This is a great way to have a good (although maybe rushed) look around and meet people of different nationalities and backgrounds. Tours cater for all levels of travel arrangements – from budget to adventure-style tours to 5-star luxury.

3. Cruising

Cruising has made a massive comeback over the past decade. One major drawcard is that on a cruise you often get to visit a variety of destinations but only have to unpack once! Cruise options range from a few nights to several weeks – and destinations range from river cruising to round the world options on huge floating cities. The shipboard facilities are great even on the smaller vessels, and in most cases meals are included in the tariff. On the downside, port visits can be short and you may feel you have to rush your shopping and sightseeing to return to the ship by a certain time. But overall cruising promises to be a wonderful adventure.

4. Train trips

Overland adventures aboard beautifully presented trains can be a great way to view the countryside and get from point A to point B. There is generally a range of travel options from a seat in a carriage through to sleeper accommodation with private en suite. With meal cars and special themed trips at certain times, you can have a real travel adventure on the way to your destination.

5. Package deals

Package deals are different to organised tours in that whilst you have pre-booked and prepaid your travel arrangements, accommodation and sometimes your tourist attractions, generally you are not travelling with others – it’s done on your own terms. This is a great way to keep the budget in check and ensure you cover the attractions you really want to see and you’re not forced to go to visit sites and places that you’re not interested in. On the downside you may find that you have overbooked yourself with an array of activities planned for everyday, leaving little or no time just to relax or stroll and enjoy your surroundings.

No matter how you choose to travel, the benefits of being organised, planning in advance and shopping around for the best deal or the most appropriate experience for you, are tantamount to a happy and stress-free travel adventure.

Happy travels!