A suitcase illustration featuring travel stamps.

Packing, Planning And Picking Your Next Vacation

One of the things you often hear people say when they reach retirement is, “I wish I had traveled more.” Why does traveling seem so difficult? Maybe it’s because it takes a lot of planning or seems too extravagant. But by the end of reading this article, you’ll know how to better pack, plan and pick your vacation destination.

For a long time, packing was stressful for me. There was a lot of yelling, throwing clothes and chaos. It’s important to remember there’s no need to take your entire closet. I always recommend first packing outfits for particular activities. For example, if you know you’re going hiking, pack athletic clothes with hiking shoes. If you’re going wine tasting, you’d dress up a bit more. After you have selected your main, grab a few extra essentials like socks and underwear. 

Planning also requires a new level of organization that can be intimidating. Finding a reliable airline and hotel can be challenging. If you’re shooting for the least expensive flights, you can plan your trip early in advance, or buy plane tickets two weeks before. I found both are pretty cheap. 

Don’t spend too much time worrying about a hotel if you know you aren’t planning on staying in it the majority of your trip. Get on Trip Advisor and research the top attractions before you go. You will have the information you need before leaving your house.

Now you know how to pack and how to plan. But how do you select a destination? Maybe you have reached  retirement and have the money to go somewhere glamorous, or maybe you just want a break in a new city. This is your trip. What would be best for you? I have decided to focus on three different locations in the United States that are great options for luxurious getaways or exploring new cities.



Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park in California is the perfect nature getaway. You can rent cabins in the parks most of the year. Within 30 miles, there are beautiful mountain hikes.

One of my favorite stops in Sequoia National Park is Hume Lake, a summer camp open to the public. The Hume Lake Snack Shop has some of the best burgers and shakes. Right next to it is a place to rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. Your whole day can be spent on the lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. If you find peace, rest, and adventure in nature, you’ll enjoy this vacation spot.

Maybe you love the beach. Maui, Hawaii is an island formed by volcanoes. If you’re into surfing, the North Shore is known for killer waves and many surfing competitions. Locals will welcome you with fresh pineapple in a relaxed atmosphere. 

The most famous things about the island is its magnificent sunrise at Haleakala National Park. The 3 a.m. wake-up is worth it to experience this beautiful sight. After driving to the visitor’s center that sits at 9,740 ft. elevation, you can be the first to watch a new day dawn on the beautiful island of Maui. Before leaving, stop at the world-famous Mama’s Fish House for delicious fresh fish caught just 30 miles offshore and coconut ice cream.

A waterway with a bridge in Austin, Texas.

The hidden gem of getaway cities is Austin, Texas. Known for “keeping it weird” and educating some of the smartest and most creative young adults in the country, the variety found in this flourishing city is incomparable.

Austin was named “The Live Music Capital of the World.” One of Austin’s most famous attractions is Austin City Limits, a three-day weekend music festival two weekends in October. Even if you can’t make it to ACL, there’s a concert happening almost every night throughout the year. You’ll never get bored walking down Austin’s Dirty Sixth Street.

Don’t be that guy who gets to the end of his life and says, “Man… I wish I had traveled more.” Packing, planning, and picking your trip is easier than you think.


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