Fall Road Trips

Since we have been retired, Mary Ann and I like to travel on the shoulder seasons when school is back in session and it is not so crowded. That’s a big plus of being retired, getting to travel when others have to work.

We are heading up to Tennessee on a road trip soon and hope to see some fall color that has not made it down to us yet. A road trip in this cooler weather will be great.  I just don’t want to handle the Summer heat in a car anymore.

We are not alone in our thinking. AARP just did a survey that finds 45+ adults prefer road trips in the fall. As we celebrate the first day of fall adults 45+ are planning their fall getaways and according to a recent study by AARP a majority will be traveling via car. The survey found that 87% of adults 45+ will take at least three road trips this year.

We were just talking about taking more road trips and less flying or even cruises, now that we have the time. We had identified a few places we would like to drive to including the Carolina Outer Banks, Myrtle Beach (the home of the Shag dance) and maybe back up to Williamsburg VA. Also last year we missed our annual trip down to Destin FL, so we need to get that back on schedule.

Key findings from the AARP Survey include:

  • On average, the one-way drive time for a Road Trip is 9 hours.  Upon arrival at the final destination, road trippers spend approximately 5 days, making the total Road Trip a 7-day excursion. (Note: 9 hour sound like more that we are used to, we usually about 5 hours one way)
  • Regardless of drive time, the 45-plus road tripping audience consistently cites their trips involve 2-3 family members driving together in only one vehicle (95%) – likely a car (55%) or SUV (30%).  (Note: wife and I equal 2. Don’t think I would want to travel too far with much more. But that’s just me.)

Road trip activities show some differences between Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers:

  • Boomers are more likely than Gen-Xers to do some routine maintenance on their vehicle prior to their trip. (Note: Yep, better be safe than sorry!)
  • Boomers are more likely to use a car on their road trip, while Gen-Xers are more likely to drive an SUV.

Some common Road Trips must haves:

  • Water, sunglasses and snacks top the list of non-tech items.
  • And when it comes to tech must-haves (beyond a cell phone), 62% cite cell coverage as imperative, followed by an iPad/Tablet (40%) and a digital camera (39%). ( I agree 100% with the cell phone or should I say Smartphone. Besides directions, you can find anything from places to east to attractions, etc. )

To see more, visit AARP’s Travel Research Survey

Travel Resources also from AARP include:

AARP Fall Travel Discounts:


AARP Travel Tools for Fall Road Trip:


What Is Your Ideal Retirement Home

The question is what is your ideal retirement home. Not where location wise, but the home itself. How big would it be? What type of home style wise? What floorplan?  What features would it have?  Have you thought about it?

A lot is written and discussed about where to live in retirement, but almost as important is the retirement home itself. There is lots to think about and as we all know, you will never find a home that has everything you want. But it does help to give it some thought before and during your home search.

Many people think they want a certain home, then after looking at homes discover a different home meets their needs better.  As an example, my wife and I always said we wanted a ranch with a basement for our retirement home. A ranch is one level. Then we started looking at homes and the agent brought to our attention we could get a ranch with a loft that would serve our needs and not be as expensive as one with a basement.  As it turns out, we bought a larger ranch with a sun-room, so we ended up with an different house than we thought we wanted before we started the retirement home buying process.

A couple of months ago I took part it a focus group for Del Webb, builders of active adult homes.  A group of about 10 of us went through 3 new floor plans they were considering and discussed what we liked and disliked about each one. Some of the comments showed people wanted to downsize some but not too much. They also like open floor plans and a convenient  place to entertain, not too far away from the kitchen.

Some things you should look for in your retirement home is energy efficient appliances and low maintenance materials like James Hardy cement siding. You want a livable floor plan that is more comfortable, easier and safer for independent living. If you buy in an Active Adult Community, most homes have all of the above.

So rather than just considering where you want to live in retirement, you also need to think about what you want in your retirement home itself.

Robert Fowler, Retired and Loving it!

Top 5 Retirement Searches

Having a web site and a company named “Retirement Media”, naturally I am interested in what retirement related information is searched for on the Internet. Well, according to our friends at Google, here is the answer.

Retirement Calculator – is one of the most searched for retirement terms. People must be looking for an online financial calculator that will help then plan their path to a secure retirement.  The Vanguard Retirement Nest Egg Calculator seems to be one of the best.

Retirement Age – Since there is no mandatory retirement age, I bet people are searching for the age which they can get their full social security benefits. The best way to learn your full retirement age (also called normal retirement age) for full social security benefits is to visit the Social Security Retirement Planner. You may be able to start receiving your social security benefits at a reduced amount as early as age 62, but most experts suggest waiting until your full retirement age if you can because your benefits will be more.

Retirement Plan – could mean just about anything, but I bet most people are looking for a financial plan so that they can at some point reduce or stop working and have enough income to support their retirement. Financial advisers and brokerage firms can help with that but getting a financial education yourself is the best way. That takes a lot of effort and last a lifetime. For some non financial retirement planning tips see Planning for a Successful Retirement.

Retirement Home – Us boomers are looking for a home for our retirement. Maybe a one level ranch style with no steps with low maintenance. Universal design and a great floor plan sounds good to me. Oh friendly neighbors too. See these retirement homes for sale or for rent.

Retirement Community – is a general term that includes Active Adult Communities, Senior Apartments and even Assisted Living.

These terms make perfect sense to me, with ten thousand people a day reaching retirement age people need the information for their retirement.