The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) recently released a report titled “Journey to Healthy Aging: Planning for Travel in Retirement.” Their research demonstrates the disconnect between the number of Americans dreaming of travel during retirement and the number saving adequately to make their dreams a reality. According to the report, fewer than one in five Americans (18%) have specifically factored travel into their retirement financial strategies, despite the more than two-thirds (69%) who say that travel is an important goal worth saving for. “Retirees were asked how they would have prepared differently for travel during in their retirement,” said Catherine Collinson, TCRS president. “Of those with regrets, more than half wish they would have saved more. People of all ages need to plan and save to make their retirement dreams of traveling a reality.”
Benefits of Travel
Travel during retirement can be much more than just an enjoyable activity. Travel and its associated activities have been linked to healthy aging – boosting physical, cognitive and social benefits. Those who travel tend to be more active, and research shows that older adults who are physically active have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and cancers, and a reduced risk of falling.
Travelers can’t avoid being introduced to different experiences and environments. Meeting new people and learning about their cultures, navigating new places, and trying new things stimulates and challenges the brain, which promotes cognitive function. In fact, research shows that maintaining or starting social participation later in life has positive benefits on the mental health of older adults. “Americans are only just beginning to understand the value of travel for physical and mental well-being and social connections,” said Collinson.
The report found that the strong majorities of those surveyed indicated that travel improves their overall health and well-being, including benefits to:
- Mood and outlook (86%)
- Stress level (78%)
- Physical well-being (77%)
- Friendships (75%)
- Mental stimulation (75%)
- Health (70%)