“I’ve been everywhere, man; I’ve been everywhere; man; Crossed the deserts bare, man; I’ve breathed the mountain air, man; Travel, I’ve done my share, man; I’ve been everywhere.”
—from “I’ve Been Everywhere” as performed by Hank Snow
One of the fascinating dynamics of retirement is the difference in attitudes many men and women harbor about travel. Women like it. Men? Not so much.
Yes, this is a generalization, and it’s obviously not always true. But it’s been my experience that women simply seem to enjoy travel more than men during their retirement years.
If you could transport and replant the Louvre, Broadway theaters, the Caribbean and Hawaii, the Sistine Chapel, the south of France and a quaint Italian village into downtown Destin, my husband would gladly visit several times a week. Then he’d come home at day’s end. One of the reasons he espouses for not being a fan of travel is the hotel experience. “I’ve slept in enough bad hotel beds to last several lifetimes.” And, “I always get the room next to the ice machine.”
Some men don’t like big cities or hotels; they don’t like fighting traffic on strange streets; they don’t care for eating foreign food, hearing different languages or exchanging dollars for euros. In essence, they don’t like their routine disturbed. For many women, this immersion into foreign culture is part of the charm of the travel experience. Small inconveniences are far outweighed by the stimulation and excitement of a journey to a new locale.
Many couples do actually travel together and enjoy it. As we all know, there is an entire subculture of motor home enthusiasts, most of whom are retired couples. For those couples who do travel together, many evolve through the “Go Go,” the “Slow Go,” and the “No Go” phases of travel in retirement, hitting the road frequently in the early retirement years and less and less as they age.
For those solitary travelers, some women join travel clubs or take trips with friends, leaving their partner behind to take care of the homefront. For many years it was considered odd to travel without your partner. Now there’s no stigma attached for women traveling alone, which is healthy.
The bottom line is that it’s nice to have saved enough to enjoy recreational choices in retirement. Many under budget the cost of trips, but over budget the number of sojourns that will actually be taken.
Travel is supposed to be fun, and doing it with people who enjoy it probably makes it a more pleasurable experience for the happy wanderer. My passport is ready.
Margaret R. McDowell, ChFC®, AIF®, author of the syndicated economic column “Arbor Outlook,” is the founder of Arbor Wealth Management, LLC, (850.608.6121 – www.arborwealth.net), a “fee-only” registered investment advisory firm located near Sandestin.