Don’t Be Left Behind
Get Your Money’s Worth in Travel

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Let’s talk travel. COVID-19 is getting under control, and scientists are developing new treatments. Soon, I think it will be much more like influenza, and we’ll all get a shot every year to protect ourselves. As we begin shifting our mindsets regarding the pandemic, travel becomes a refocus for many retirees, including myself.

But if I go on a 10-day cruise, I might end up quarantined for another two weeks, so the main question becomes this: Can I afford the extra time away from home, and what are the costs?

When planning travel, it’s necessary to think about the experience you want to have. Some people prefer to go out on their own. We have clients taking their RV and traversing down south, through New Orleans and the Southern states, before landing in Key West. It’s a 14-day trip, and they have no plans along the way. Each day will present them with a new opportunity and adventure.

But others (like myself), want more of a scripted trip so they’ll know what to expect. Nancy and I often travel as a group or go with a planned excursion offered by the cruise line. Unfortunately, the experience doesn’t always live up to the brochure. In the past, our family has taken expeditions during cruises outside of what the cruise line offers. Many of them will not currently allow this during COVID-19, so we’ve suspended these trips, for now, to ensure we get what we want. Hopefully, we’ll be able to resume them soon.

Last year, during COVID-19, I had the privilege of taking my family – yes, all nine of us – to the Kentucky Derby. It was nice to experience the event with 150,000 fewer people there. But several things we’d planned on, ended up not happening.

Though we were supposed to meet one of the premier jockeys, the organizers canceled the event. There was also supposed to be a dinner the night before, but that didn’t happen either. Yet, our price for the trip remained the same. So, especially in these uncertain times, you need to make sure you’ll get the value and experience you paid for and ask what any recourse you have.

As financial planners, we dive into our clients’ dreams, goals, and desires and position their assets to fulfill them. When it comes to planning travel, it’s worth taking the same approach. There are some great travel agents out there. And there are others who, I like to say, have one year of experience repeated 30 times. In other words, they don’t work to advance their knowledge.

We have a couple of preferred travel agents and we use them because they go and experience the trip themselves before recommending it. They know what to expect from beginning to end, including how our luggage will be handled, what kind of food is available, even what hospitality we can expect and when.

When investing your dollars, you investigate the accuracy of the plan, the fees, and how you should have your portfolio adjusted in both positive and negative markets. You should take the same care in planning your next travel experience.

If your travel agent hasn’t visited your destination, I suggest seeking out somebody who has – especially as we move through different COVID-19 rules and regulations. Even in the state of Hawaii, each island has its own rules, which can cost you in additional fees or expenses if you did prepare for them in advance . What one island permits might not be acceptable on the next, resulting in quarantine and extra expenses for missed flights.

Our goal is to add benefits to our clients and help them enjoy the retirement of their dreams. As you start taking a new look at travel, make sure you have clarity on what you expect and know the experience you want to have. Though it might take a little more work, experienced agents can assist you in finding the best trips that match your expectations so you can get your money’s worth.
As always, if we can help you in any way, feel free to call us at the office or visit us at And remember, when you’re traveling, take the time to enjoy what’s in front of you.

-Gary Mattson