Call 7 days a week for free advice

0800 910 0240

Call 7 days a week for free advice

0800 910 0240

Retirement Bucket List

19th May 2017

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Though many people look forward to retirement, the oodles of time and unstructured aspect of the days, often mean people find themselves at a loss once they do retire. Unsure what to do without regimented weeks and the usual routine, some people find themselves setting goals to achieve. Instead of being bored, follow the bucket list that has been compiled of the most popular things people wish to do in their retirement, from dream holidays to mastering a skill they have always wished to possess. These can be done at any stage of retirement, whether you are only just retired and are at a loss, or if you have been retired a while and are looking for something to keep you busy.

Handicare’s retirement bucket list is available to anybody regardless of their level of mobility. So no matter whether someone needs a home stairlift or a mobility scooter, they can still enjoy the Northern Lights with a loved one.

Retirement Bucket List Infographic

Going on a cruise

A cruise is the number one thing people look forward to once they have retired. With more time to discover destinations thoroughly and enjoy a slower pace of life, they continue to be popular throughout retirement. Adam Coulter is the UK Managing Editor for Cruise Critic and has some sage advice for those looking to go on a cruise in their retirement.

“A cruise is a great holiday choice for retired travellers. You get to wake up in a fantastic new destination each day, and only have to unpack once, which is a brilliant way to visit those bucket list destinations. And, with so many ships to choose from – small to large, river to ocean, adventure to luxury, adults-only to child-friendly - there’s something to suit everyone.

“Furthermore, the beauty of cruising in retirement is that you can take advantage of some of the amazing longer cruise itineraries, such as round-the-world cruises, which are on offer, should you wish to.

“When planning your ideal cruise, don’t underestimate the importance of research. Check out ship reviews, chat to other cruisers, speak to a travel agent and check out articles such as the top ten British cruise lines with over-60's appeal to discover if any of these options appeal.” 

Seeing the Northern lights

The Northern Lights are one of nature’s greatest displays and are awe inspiring for those that look upon them. They are fleeting and elusive and these aspects make you doubly grateful you got to see them at all. The Aurora Zone charts the best time to see the Northern Lights (January to March) and the best places to catch them during other times of the year.

The Aurora Zone offer holidays to suit your preferences and with the best chance of catching sight of the Northern Lights:

“Some people are quite happy to speed off into the Arctic chill on a snowmobile, others find the prospect somewhat less appealing. Similarly, there are some who would like to spend the day in a spa hotel with a bit of pampering before venturing out into the Arctic in search of the Northern Lights. It’s all about personal preference and, for that reason, we offer Northern Lights holidays on four different levels.”

Spending more time with the grandchildren

There is nothing that keeps you young at heart more than chasing after those who have just learnt to walk or are trying to explain the latest technological fad. When you are working it is hard to make time to devote to your younger relationships and keep up with their ever changing hobbies and interests.

Once retired you can carve out days or weeks to spoil your grandkids and give their parents a break to have some adult time. Whether baking cookies or teaching life skills that are low on the list with modern technology (like fishing or gardening), enjoy some quality time with your grandchildren. 

Live abroad

While some may feel tied to the UK during our working lives, due to careers, infrastructure, or never finding the right time to make the leap, many move abroad once they are retired. Some people make the move complete and live in their chosen destination all year round, while others choose to spend the winter months somewhere sunny and the summer back at home with their family.

This is often good for the family too, as it gives them cheaper holidays when they come to see you but it can give you a break from miserable British winters, traffic and all the other things you find irritating in the UK. 

Buy a dog or adopt a pet

Looking for companionship in your later years is very common and is a great way to add structure to your days. If you choose a dog then it will keep you active and outdoors while walking and exercising it. Cats are another popular choice as they offer company while also being more flexible, as with the right facilities you are able to leave them to their own devices for the day.

Pets4Homes has some key points for people to consider when they are looking to adopt or buy a pet in their retirement:

- Smaller Breeds are a Better Choice

Size is an important factor simply because a larger dog might accidentally knock an older person over. However, too small and they might end up tripping over their little canine friend. This means choosing a dog that is somewhere in-between but one which is not too heavy to be picked up or have sitting on your lap when it's cuddle time.

- Low Energy Levels are Preferable

Dogs which boast lower energy levels are preferable to small to medium sized dogs that like to be kept busy all of the time. Think more couch potato like a delightful French Bulldog or a charming Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

- Dogs That Love Children are a Must

The chances are grandchildren will be visiting on a regular basis which means it is essential to choose a dog that loves to be around small people. There are many breeds that are patient and tolerant when kids get a bit noisy and boisterous – something which they often do. Many little dogs like Jack Russels might be the ideal size but they can be a little snappy around children which is something you have to watch out for.

- Health Issues Need to be Taken into Account

 The other thing you need to think about are any health issues that certain breeds are prone to suffer from. The last thing you want is to have to cope with a little four-legged friend that is going to get sick a little further down the line. A lot of pedigree breeds do tend to suffer from congenital health issues whereas mongrels are usually a lot more robust health-wise.

- Older Dogs are a Better Choice

It is also a better idea to get an older dog rather than a younger one simply because their energy levels will be lower and with an adult dog, any health issues should already be apparent so there would be no unwelcome surprises later on."

Extended travel in a camper van or motor home

While cruises may be the ultimate choice in luxury travel with multiple destinations, they are unfortunately not very sustainable and lack a certain amount of control. If you wish to have more choice about where you go and when, a campervan or motorhome may be the perfect alternative.Tim Higham is a seasoned Motorhome traveller and details his adventures on his blog A life in the slow lane. He has shared some of his best advice with those looking to start their own motorhome or campervan journey:

1. Planning. I know this is boring but exploring in a motorhome in retirement is made much easier by doing loads of research before retirement. There are lots of blogs, many by younger people, on long term travel in a motorhome and they will give you so many insights on things that would not occur to a novice. 

2. Budget. Motorhoming is undoubtedly the cheapest mainstream way of travelling and it is possible for many retirees to afford to travel full time. I have read blogs of people who spend less than €30 a day all in. We are currently spending €50 a day for everything and we eat out more than once a week. Except for July and August it is possible to stay free in many countries, which have special overnight areas for motorhomes. The best is France, but these facilities are also available in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany. We are currently in Greece where you can park virtually anywhere free and hundreds of motohomers are doing just that. Also out of season campsites are much cheaper using an ACSI card. Prices range from €11 to €19 a night. 

3. We like actually travelling and visiting various interesting sites and a motorhome is ideally suited to that. Other people just want sun and sea. It is possible to stay on fantastic sites for the whole winter in places like Spain at huge discounts for a long stay. 

4. The one country in Europe which is not so good for motorhomes is the UK. Campsites are very expensive, parking spaces for motorhomes are few and far between to discourage "travellers" and for the same reason camping wild is actively discouraged.”

Drive Route 66

The Mother Road has long held a fascination as, for a period, it defined America. The main route that connected Chicago to LA, it kept the West relevant and linked to the other states.  Though there are other interstates and highways, and unfortunately you cannot drive the entire route anymore, Route 66 still holds an incredible amount of history and nostalgia and for many it has been a lifelong dream to drive it.

Whether you choose to drive the entire route or skip out the less interesting stretches by flying, it will take two weeks to see all the most popular sites and major cities. A month is the expected time on the road if you wish to explore the highway more thoroughly.

Revisit honeymoon destination

Whether you return out of nostalgia or because you wish to see it more thoroughly, returning to honeymoon destinations is a popular activity by those in retirement. Some people choose to revisit old haunts, stay in the same hotel (if still open) and visit the same restaurants if possible. Others choose to do the opposite and explore far more thoroughly than they did when entering marital bliss. 

Take the grandchildren to Disneyland

Though this may seem like a stressful enterprise it is also very rewarding. Measuring expectations is the key thing to ensuring a successful trip, as not all will be perfect. The grandchildren will become overtired, there will be tantrums, disappointments and dramas over everything from seeing characters to the food on offer. However, Disney is still a dream for many children under the age of 12 and with so many successful films and exciting rides, it is hard not to feel the draw to the happiest place on earth.

Those who have braved a trip to Disney have compiled a list for grandparents yet to take the plunge. Check out Disneylists for their top tips to ensure a successful holiday. 

Renew wedding vows

After raising a family together or getting through the many years of the working routine, it is a popular choice to reaffirm your love to one and other by renewing your vows. Like a second wedding it is often done on a significant anniversary and populated by loved ones and friends who have been with you through your married life.

People often choose a different location to that of their first wedding, one that holds significance to them as a married couple. Renewing your vows is a way of declaring your continued love to each other and allowing others to celebrate it with you. 

Visit Stonehenge

There are many places people long to visit abroad, but we also have some incredible sights on our own doorstep, one of these is Stonehenge. One of the wonders of the world, Stonehenge is often a sight that we drive past without ever visiting.

As a fully accessible site it is a wonderful day out for those who face mobility challenges, however English Heritage do ask for those with mobility issues to contact them in advance. All information on the accessibility of Stonehenge is available on the English Heritage website.

See the Great Wall of China

This is another wonder though much further afield. If it has always been your dream to visit The Great Wall of China, your retirement is the best time to do it. It is estimated to take 18 months to walk the entire length of the wall and this may not be feasible or even appealing to most travellers, it would take even longer on a stairlift . Peregrine Adventures have made a guide of the different sections of the wall and what they are best for, whether it is the most well restored for those with mobility issues, or the most diverse for people who wish to see as much as possible.

If you are concerned for accessibility, Tour- Beijing have made a guide specifically for those who wish to know more about the facilities of each section of the wall to better research their retirement trip.

Scuba dive in The Maldives

The Maldives is a dream destination regardless of the activities you indulge in whilst there. Stunning beaches and fantastic water clarity ensure that the Maldives will always be on the retirement bucket list. After seeing the waters, most visitors cannot wait to get a closer look at the vibrant inhabitants with a bit of scuba diving.

The Maldives has strict rules when it comes to diving in order to preserve the delicate balance of the biosphere beneath the water. However, Regal Diving still believes it has a lot to offer for divers of every skill level:

“The Maldives boasts an incredible number of dive and snorkel sites. With the development of previously inaccessible areas, new dive sites are being established in Atolls ranging from Huvadhoo in the south to Haa Alifu in the North.”

Volunteer for the Community

There are concerns for loneliness within the retired community, where as other people long for structure in their week and to continue to meet new people. Volunteering in your community is a great way to achieve this. Whether you choose to volunteer for the retail aspect of charity, or prefer a more hands on approach to some of the projects, you are guaranteed to meet new people and feel you are giving back to the community.

It is easy to find local projects that need help and they are often looking for willing volunteers. It is an easy way to enter into another community if you retire away from friends or family. 

Learn a new language or skill

Everybody has good intentions that are never quite realised when working, due to a lack of time or other aspects of life getting in the way. Whether learning Italian is high on the cards or perfecting your watercolours, it is a wonderful way to set goals and track progress in your retirement.Lucy, the managing director of Dot Art explains the positives of keeping your brain active with a new skill:

“While we get a wide range of ages take part in our courses, a significant percentage are retirees.Studies have shown that learning a new skill or revisiting an old one is hugely beneficial to older people in a number of ways including; keeping an active, healthy mind, positive mental health and self-esteem benefits and meeting new people - as well as being great fun!

“All our courses are aimed at beginners and there is no pressure, no exams or qualifications, just a chance to learn a new skill in a lovely environment with a friendly teacher. Some people come with friends or family but most come alone and find our groups welcoming and relaxed. Our courses take place in stimulating and pleasant surroundings such as the Bluecoat (Liverpool’s oldest art centre) and Sefton Park Palm House.”

Go to Las Vegas

Las Vegas is synonymous with indulgence and excess and for many it encompasses a carefree lifestyle that they wish we led, this is why it is often on the cards for a post retirement trip. Whether you are in the group who label themselves as SKI’s (spending the kids’ inheritance) or simply want to visit the city of lights, it is sure to be a trip to remember. 

Enjoy an allotment

Having time to soak up the sun and watch your hard work pay off can be very rewarding, it will also allow you to grow your own fruit and veg and inspire you to eat more locally grown produce. If you have a large garden then raised beds and a greenhouse can easily offer you a restful past time. If you are more strapped for space or wish for a more community aspect then an allotment may be a good choice.

It is also wonderful if you want to dedicate a space just for fruit and veg, while leaving your garden decorative and undisturbed, or if you want to grow something that takes up some serious space, like pumpkins.

Treat yourself to spa day

What better way to ease yourself into a relaxing retirement than being thoroughly pampered at a world class spa? Whether it is to kick off your retirement years with some me time or to give you a boost, a spa treatment is the ultimate treat. Often our skin changes as we get older and understanding its needs can be helpful to keeping it looking fresh and healthy.

Tea at The Ritz

The Ritz is synonymous with the British class ideal and afternoon tea, so what better way to refresh yourself after a morning in London than with a slice of tradition? Tiny sandwiches and fine bone china are luxuries that people can rarely be bothered with, but The Ritz do to perfection, even bringing out a book on the subject titled ‘The Ritz London Book of Afternoon Tea’.

Whether you are intending to treat a friend or indulge yourself, other than the queen’s garden party, Tea at The Ritz is the definitive in elegance and refinement.

Canal trip in a narrowboat

There is always an element of relaxation when one is around water. Travelling at a leisurely pace and enjoying the best of British towns and countryside through the summer months is a fantastic way of seeing the country. Experiencing canal side pubs and the river community allows you to experience a slower pace of life, with jaunts into big cities whenever you please.

If you are not ready to move onto a canal boat for months at a time, you can easily hire one for holidays. Canal Holidays is a company that tailors tours to your wants, whether historic or scenic, there is a route for you that will allow you to dip a toe into the world of narrow boating.