Rejoice Your Retirement in a Vacation Home

By Kitty Bean Yancey

Congratulations! You’ve worked hard, and now it’s time to reap the rewards.

I remember when my mate, Barry, decided to step back after nearly 50 years in the workforce. We decided it called for a special celebration and began researching options.

Post-retirement family vacation

Two months later, a dozen of us checked into a dream seven-bedroom rental house on the Hawaiian island of Kauai with enough space for every family member and couple to have their own room. The bonus was a private lagoon-like pool that we didn’t have to share.

It was hard to tear ourselves away from lounging on the lanai, diving off the stone bridge over the aquamarine water or just floating tranquilly on inflatable rafts the owners had thoughtfully provided for our use. That was a vacation we’ll never forget.

It taught us that a celebratory getaway at a rental (we even hired two local women to come in and make a feast, then clean up) was a no-fuss way to transition into life’s next phase. Since then, we’ve signed many a lease for a week or two.

Retirement vacations for less

Here are tips we’ve collected for taking a break in a homey environment as you enter retirement:

Enjoy the advantages of a rental. It’s an intimate, private way to mark a new chapter in your life with a destination vacation, whether you’re part of a couple or gathering the whole group. Pick the place, style and size of lodging then book it, collect the key and unpack. No following anyone’s schedule but your own; no interacting with others except on your terms. You can enjoy all the comforts of home without the responsibilities. And toast your newfound freedom from the working world without a care.

Visit your dream destinations for less. That’s what we did in Hawaii, saving lots of bucks on meals out in a pricey tourist area. We still were able to say “aloha” to secluded beaches and idyllic tropical waterfalls while enjoying our sprawling mega-villa. On another trip, we savored Spain, feeling like residents in a historic Madrid neighborhood. We also shared a house with two friends, and daily service maid, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Retirement vacations

Use rentals as a way to test retirement locales. We’re growing tired of living in an area with often-harsh winters and hot, humid summers. So we’re using home rentals as more than just an alluring vacation option. They help us get the feel of places where we might want to live in our retirement. It’s a no-risk, no-hassle way to see if a community might be a match. Right now, we’re getting to know Florida’s Gulf Coast with its white-sand beaches and inviting communities that are easy to experience in a rental.

Use a rental to keep the family together post-retirement. We have empty-nester friends who have simplified their lives by moving to small apartments. It’s perfect for their daily routines, but not for when they want to host their kids and grandchildren to celebrate a special occasion or just to bond. That’s when a rental home can solidify family ties.

Retirement on your horizon? Start browsing rental homes where you can kick back and celebrate.

Kitty Bean Yancey is a Washington, D.C.-based award-winning former USA TODAY travel writer. She freelances for publications including AARP Magazine and AAA publications.