Planning for retirement travel

Anthony is retiring soon but he and his wife have vastly different views of what they want to do. Kay O’Sullivan suggests a solution.

Planning for retirement travel

Anthony is retiring soon but he and his wife have vastly different views of what they want to do. Kay O’Sullivan suggests a solution.

Q. Anthony
I’m planning on retiring soon and would like to share the trip of a lifetime with my wife of 40 years. I thought we could combine river cruising, a coach tour of Eastern Europe and a stopover in Hong Kong. But she has different ideas, wishing to experience life as a volunteer in Cambodia, time in Goa and some trekking in the Andes. So how do we reconcile our very different travel dreams without going on separate trips?

A. Kay
Oh dear, your bucket lists sound like a case of irreconcilable differences to me. But don’t call the lawyers yet! If you have been married 40 years and want to travel together, you already know the answer to this curly question: compromise. It’s the crux of all happy marriages and happy travels as well.

Your wish lists are very different, and they both involve a lot of travel, so I wouldn’t just blend them. Also, you’re hopefully going to be enjoying life in retirement for a long time, so why not string out the anticipation and plan a few trips, and do a bit of both lists in each trip?

It makes sense to combine all the destinations that are in the same area, for instance, Hong Kong, Cambodia and Goa. The following trip could be devoted to Europe and maybe you could source a hiking holiday in one of the European alpine regions so that your wife feels she isn’t missing out. I’d look upon it as training for that hike in the Andes, which demands its own separate trip.

Do you have a travel question for Kay? If so, email your Travel SOS to

Kay O’Sullivan is no accidental tourist. More than a decade ago, she decided to combine two of her favourite things – journalism and travel – and become a travel writer. Since then, she has written about travel for numerous papers, magazines and on the internet, both here and internationally.


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    4th Jul 2015
    Wherever you travel and however you go be sure to register with SmartTraveler, let Centrelink know (no matter what you have bee told to the contrary), and make sure you have adequate travel insurance...and lock the front door.
    4th Jul 2015
    You probably need some relaxation before you venture into volunteering in Cambodia. From what I have heard it is hard work, physically and mentally. Another thing to consider, are either/both of you going to be able to cope with the climate in Cambodia? Are you able to do what volunteers are required to do? What is the mininum length of time you would be expected to volunteer for? NO Travel Insurance Companies will cover some activities considerred to be very dangerous. I know somebody who works for one of them and was told that. A friend of mine was researching travel insurance too.
    4th Jul 2015
    Do you need to do all these things in a short period of time, or can you spread them out over a number of years?

    My suggestion would be not to push yourselves too much too quickly and try slightly less demanding options first to see how you go. If you find your health and energy levels are up to it, then graduate to the more demanding options.

    When or if you find your health and energy levels have declined, then go for more gentle options. If one of you still wants to do more than the other person, try to amicably agree to do your desired activities separately - perhaps with an organised group.

    Make sure you follow Fast Eddie's advice.

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