Does it Still Count as a Vacation When You’re Retired?

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any.  Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

Next week my wife and I, along with six good friends, will be going to Mexico for a week (Cozumel if anyone is interested).  I am really looking forward to the trip, as it will be my first significant break from work and school combined that I have had in the past two years.  I have an enormous list of books that I have been holding off on reading until I have some time, and I hope to put a significant dent in those during this week off.  The trip south will be a nice break before Christmas, which usually turns out to be  a pretty hectic couple of weeks in December.

I’m wondering if I will feel the need to travel once I am done full-time work.  I know I will probably always want to go someplace warm when it is cold in the winter, but at the same time it is pretty expensive to pay for a trip every year or two just to warm up for a week.  I am not really a “tourist”, meaning I don’t really do touristy stuff – I’m just not all that interested in going to see museums, galleries or other historically/culturally significant sights or attempting to immerse myself into a different culture.

Given that my idea of a good trip is warm weather and some books – maybe I should just crank the heat in my house for a week to 30 degrees (compared to the 19 or 20 degrees it sits the rest of the winter when we’re home), fill my fridge with booze, hit up a tanning booth for a bit and order takeout for the week? This plan would provide a much cheaper “vacation” and I wouldn’t really have to go anywhere.  The end result would be the same as well – a hangover, relaxation and weight gain.   I think my wife would like the heat thing, but I don’t think she’d agree with me that it’s the same, even though she is not a “tourist” either.

I think that as I need to work less and less, my desire to “get away” will also deteriorate –I will already be “away” from everything, meaning less stress, more sleep and more time to do what I want to do.  At that point we will probably still travel, but that would be more to see friends who live all over the country than a desire to go somewhere.

Are you a traveler?  Do you enjoy the experience of going to new places and seeing different things?  How much of your retirement budget do you think you’d allocate to going to new or different places once you don’t have to work anymore.

5 thoughts on “Does it Still Count as a Vacation When You’re Retired?”

  1. Dave,

    Good post. I too am working towards my CGA. I write PA2 tonight. My family and I leave for Jamaica on Sunday. The flight makes a stop in Cozumel.

    Vacations are good for the soul. The break is worth it.
    Good luck on your exam if you are writing this week.


  2. Dave, that’s really something to think about. My in-laws enjoy going on cruises and one day, my wife would like to join them. With small kids, it doesn’t really make sense, so I wondered if we couldn’t just eat at buffets for a week and spend time in libraries, movie theatres and wave pools. But since we didn’t make a commitment to a cruise, we never took the week off.

    My other thought is that when you don’t spend your life at work, won’t you still want to “get away”? Maybe you’ll take some contract work to get away from retirement. 🙂

  3. Just got back from 3 weeks in Mexico… great time, just what I needed after an exhausting summer of work. The miracle of it all is that my net worth for November still increased by 4k, despite eating and drinking to a ridiculous excess. Cost of living expenses are so much lower as compared to Canada, I cannot help but feel royally ripped off when I look at the prices we pay here in Canada. Spending several months in Mexico after retirement could easily be a money saving decision. A litre of vodka costs around $5 for example… 🙂

    We go to Mexico every year and will probably continue to do so when we retire… honestly, my wife and I need a dose of tropical weather to combat the oppressive dreariness of the Vancouver winter.

  4. @ Michael Samlalsingh – Good luck on your exam as well – I write AU2 Thursday night – good times 🙂

    @ Robert – I think we would have done the same this year, just never taken the time off.

    I agree – I might need to get away from retirement.

    @ Jon Snow – so far I think Vancouver has had significantly more snow then we have seen in southern Ontario. Glad you enjoyed your time off.

  5. Yes, it does still count as a vacation. What I found is that you don’t really get the enormity of how much time you have off until you are actually living in retirement. And I think sometimes we don’t realize how much mental stimulation we can get from our jobs. I found traveling kind of helped to provide the mental stimulation of seeing new places and just let you live a bit differently than normal. Plus I like the physicality of doing a lot of camping and hiking.

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