Retirement Traveling for Couples
8 Conversation Starters
You Must Have Before You Leave Home
Retirement traveling is not the same as your pre-retirement summer vacations or long week end getaways. The good news is you have a lot more options.The bad news is the more options you have the harder it is to make a decision.
You are a couple, which means you have made it through some pretty stressful times in your partnership. Raising children, work life balance and everything else that life throws at you. Which means that going on holiday together should be easy, right? I wish!
It can be of course and I do know couples who have exactly the same interests, but I know a lot more who do not! However, with compromise, negotiation and flexibility vacation success is possible. In other words, just as you did with your retirement plan, you need to have “the conversation” before you start your travel planning
7 Decisions You Need To Make Before You Leave Home
1. “I” Statements
“I” is such a little word but when you are having a conversation that is focused on negotiating choices it is the make or break sentence starter. How important depends on each persons personality but speaking from experience I prefer some one to tell me what they want rather than what they think I want
Think about what you do when someone is talking to you. Are you really listening or already thinking about what you are going to say next? Secondly, there is always more to a conversation than the words that you hear. Words can be misunderstood. A simple way to stop this happening, just ask! “Do you mean you never want to go to local restaurants?” can stop a brick wall going up before it even starts.
3. What is a vacation?
The next issue to talk about is what do you want your vacation to be! For some people a road trip is a holiday for me it would be an endurance challenge. I like active holidays. I like challenges. But I do not like road trips. I do not like lazy days around the pool and going with the flow. As you can see my idea of a holiday may be nothing like yours. The question, “What is a vacation?” is one that should be identified at the outset.
There is no such thing as “holiday” pay when you retire so budgeting is a necessary part of your retirement traveling conversation. However, we do have other advantages. We can travel out of high season, standby discounts are possible and entertainment such as theme parks are a thing of the past. What has to be agreed on is how much disposable income do we have? This is where understanding of each others expectations must be communicated. If you are responsible for the cooking you may think eating out is a reasonable expectation. Then again vacations that are planned around scenic driving you may think the same of using public transport. If the budget allows then both scenarios are reasonable. If the budget doesn’t then negotiation to accommodate both has to be equal.
No, I am not advocating separate vacations. But it is possible to plan starting your vacations (or finishing) at different times. For example, I know of one couple where the husband enjoys a two week break while his wife prefers a longer break. She then planned to spend a week with a close friend completing some of Wainwright’s walks in the Lake District (UK) before meeting up with her husband for a “Learn to Sail” week with her husband in the same area. Her friend was only able to have a week away from her work so it was a win for everyone.
This is the option that I know most about. The old saying “opposites attract” is where I come from. I was brought up in New Zealand and the outdoors was one bit playground. My husband was brought up in London and getting down and dirty is something to be avoided. When you holiday with children they become your focus and vacations are geared towards, “If they’re happy, we’re happy!”. Now that the world’s our budget oyster we have learned that togetherness at any cost is not enjoyable for either of us. The things we both like doing are scheduled first and then our individual choices next
Obviously if you and your partner have reached retirement as a couple then negotiation of vacations should be a cinch! Surprisingly, holidays can be stressful before you even reach the chill out zone. However, if you have worked your way through these conversation starters most of the negotiation will have been done on your home turf!
Remember the goal.
I have left this to last as it is really more of an internal conversation. If your goal is to have a shared vacation then it has to be one that you are both happy with. No martyrs, no half hearted acceptance and no “anything for a quiet life”. At the end of the day if your partner is not happy you won’t be either.