Many retirees live to travel, but we are not among them. Why not?
Aside from being happy homebodies, we traveled a lot when we were young, and travel isn’t what it used to be. We’re on vacation every day and don’t need a break. We live well and cook great food at home. Plus, we’re bad at travel. Dale won’t plan, and I over-plan, researching hotels and restaurants in search of the perfect experience. We’re almost always disappointed and sad to see the money go.
We did some soul-searching and figured out a few things. For some of us, traveling was easier before retirement, because we knew more money was coming in. Right? Time to earn it back. When there’s a fixed pot at the end of the rainbow, you tend to be more cautious. At least we are.
There’s no one-size-fits-all for retirement travel. Easy for some, not so much for others. Still, most of us do want to enjoy new experiences. Maybe it’s just a matter of figuring out what we like and don’t like and learning to do it better.
One thing we learned this week is that we’re sort of low-brow people in search of a low-rent rendezvous. We went to Napa for an overnight trip, and it was an expensive letdown. The wineries were lovely, but later it seemed like we had opened our wallets to charming thieves and said, “Here, take it.”
A big deal up Napa way is bringing your own wine to a restaurant. Best as I can tell, there are rules. You don’t bring a wine they serve at the restaurant. It should be something special. They charge a “cork” fee unless it’s a special day where they don’t charge to uncork your wine, but even then, there’s an etiquette to tipping and tasting. Of course, they stick it to you on the wine if you order theirs.
We had beer! And that was the best part of our meal.
I’m confident there are better and less expensive ways to explore the wine country. We’ll go back at some point. For now, we are going to focus on visiting natural wonders, and there’s no shortage of them within a few hours of our home. Dale’s on board and said he’s eager to visit Death Valley.
In the summer. Because then you know what it feels like to be in Death Valley in the summer.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.