10 Trips to Take When You Retire That Are Anything But Sleepy

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Retirement comes with a lot of perks—among them lots more time to travel without the hassle of needing to accrue vacation days and get sign-off from higher-ups to jet off. Trips can be longer or more frequent (or both). That really opens the door to many awesome opportunities to wander near and far. Maybe it’s taking the long-haul flight to a far-off destination that’s been on your bucket list for years. Perhaps, it’s escaping to a Caribbean island for some uninterrupted beachfront unwinding now that you have a calendar that’s free from conference calls and Zoom meetings. Surely, there are some action-packed city breaks that just felt too exhausting when you had students, patients, coworkers or investors in the back of your mind, but now it all seems nothing short of exhilarating. All this is to say that you’ve got a lot of options, from chill desert towns and beautiful beaches to game reserves and even the icy final frontier. Scroll on for ten retirement travel ideas that will make you even more excited for a post-job future.


Trips to take when you retire Scottsdale Arizona

1. Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale is one of the most relaxing and simultaneously energizing destinations in the Southwest. World-class golf courses and spa resorts sound like a recipe for retirement bliss. In between hitting the links and relishing rejuvenating facials and massages that put the pressures of work in the past, travelers can look forward to delicious meals at the many excellent local restaurants, nature walks through the desert and slumbering peacefully in sprawling rooms at five-star properties.  

Trips to take when you retire Masai Mara Kenya
Courtesy of Angama

2. Masai Mara, Kenya

Back in the old clock-in-clock-out days, the closest you probably ever got to lions, leopards and elephants was the zoo. Retirement is the period to change all that by embarking on a life-changing safari to Masai Mara. If possible, we recommend timing your trip to the great migration (July and August) when over 2 million wildebeest and zebra trek from the southern Serengeti to Masai Mara in southwest Kenya. 

Trips to take when you retire. view of infinity pool with the ocean behind and pool chairs lining the sides inGrenada
Silversands Grenada

3. Grenada

Whether you’re a foodie, adventure seeker or sun worshiper, Grenada fits the description of a perfect Caribbean getaway. The Spice Isle has top-notch rum distilleries, chocolate factories, nutmeg plantations and restaurants. Snorkeling enthusiasts will love the warm, turquoise tides and underwater sculpture park. For some adrenaline-pumping fun, book a zipline excursion or a dune buggy tour. Of course, we wouldn’t fault you for just posting up by the pool at one of the breezy beach resorts. 

Trips to take when you retire a group of people on Antarctica Cruise
Go Ahead Tours

4. Antarctica Cruise

Getting to Antarctica requires way more time, energy and planning than simply hopping on a plane. And it certainly isn’t a trip that can be done in a couple of days. That’s why it’s such a great retirement adventure when you have a few weeks to spend setting sail on a sophisticated ship bound for the end of the world. So what exactly is waiting on the southernmost continent? Glaciers, icebergs, penguins and seals. 

Trips to take when you retire Siem Reap Cambodia
Hugh Sitton/Getty Images

5. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Affordable and tourist-friendly, Siem Reap is best known for Angkor Wat, the seat of the ancient Khmer Empire for centuries. The sprawling UNESCO-listed complex of preserved structures stands as the largest religious monument in the world. There are many other fascinating ruins to explore as well. In between visiting the famous temples, take a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Khmer cuisine, watch an Apsara dance performance and book tickets to Phare, the Cambodian Circus

Trips to take when you retire girl walking on bridge in Costa Rica
Go Ahead Tours

6. Costa Rica

The joyful, laid-back pura vida way of life makes Costa Rica an ideal destination for a retirement getaway filled with good vibes, spa rituals and a deep connection to nature. Topping the list of drawcards for visitors, the diverse landscape means the chance to see rainforests, cloud forests, volcanoes, hot springs and beaches. Because the Central American nation is relatively small, it’s easy to split days between the lush interior and the sun-splashed Pacific and Caribbean coastlines. 

Trips to take when you retire London United Kingdom
Go Ahead Tours

7. London, United Kingdom

Clean and walkable and full of cultural attractions, restaurants and hotels, plus high-end designer shops and incredible thrift stores, London really has it all. There are recognizable landmarks from Buckingham Palace and Big Ben to Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. You can snap pics with royal guards and peering out of the classic red phone booths, get your tourist on riding around on a double-decker bus and do a fancy afternoon tea.

Trips to take when you retire Galápagos Islands
Go Ahead Tours

8. Galápagos Islands

Visiting the Galápagos Islands ranks among the ultimate bucket-list trips for wildlife enthusiasts. (It’s also a great place to bring animal lovers of all ages. Maybe even the grandkids?) This volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean—where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection—exhibits a diversity of unique flora and fauna. You’ll find everything from giant tortoises, penguins and blue-footed boobies to sea lions, marine iguanas and pink flamingos. 

Trips to take when you retire Cairo Egypt
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9. Cairo, Egypt

Cairo is a dream vacation destination for ancient history buffs, career sightseers and fans of mummy movies. Set on the banks of the Nile River, Egypt’s bustling capital boasts a truly overwhelming number of significant sites—the iconic Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities and Coptic Cairo for starters. That’s one of the reasons it’s such a great trip for retirees who are able to plan a longer stay to cover more sacred ground. 

Trips to take when you retire Switzerland by Train- Lucerne to Zurich
Go Ahead Tours

10. Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich

The snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps, sparkling lakes and stylish cities are certainly worthwhile individual trips. But you know what’s even better? A 12-day luxury train journey around Switzerland to discover some of the country’s most iconic sights. Highlights include riding on the GoldenPass Railway, Glacier Express and Bernina Express as well as wine tasting at Lavaux Vineyards, visiting enchanting Chillon Castle, witnessing the wonder of the Matterhorn and touring Zurich with a knowledgable guide. 

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Lindsay Cohn is a travel writer and serial trip planner who has visited 46 countries across six continents (and counting). When not globetrotting, she’s most likely either doing...