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Planning Retirement Online

What to do in Retirement

Part 4

Working and Taking Holidays

Many people like to work as part of an active retirement. Some research has shown that up two-thirds of people want to do some work in retirement, be it paid or voluntary. Of course, if we work we also want to have holidays so, in a sense, the two go hand in hand.

Guide to 'What to do in Retirement '. Content Links


Of course, even if we don't do any sort of work in retirement, we may very well still want to travel more and take more holidays but if we do some work we may appreciate our holidays even more!

In terms of working in retirement people do it for all sorts of reasons. Clearly some people work in retirement because they want or need the money, However, research shows that more people do it for other reasons,incuding the desire to keep physically and mentally active, the wish to contribute to society, to maintain self-esteem, to provide a structure to their lives, to meet people and be able to interact with them and so on.

Nearly a third of people who do some work in retirement go into the voluntary sector, so these other reasons are clearly important. Also, of course, work provides us with an activity - something to do in retirement that will fill up some of the extra 50 hours or so extra leisure time that we have in retirement.

But it's no good doing any sort of work in retirement if we don't enjoy it. So, before we choose to do any work we need to think about the good things that work has given us over the years and some of those things that we haven't liked about it and then choose something that will give us the good and eliminate the bad.

Many people go into self-employment to achieve this and one in six new businesses in the UK are started by the over-50s. So that might be an avenue that we might wish to explore.

For more help on working in retirement, look at two of our guides: Part-time Jobs and Work and Voluntary Work. also, go to our website section on Jobs and Work.


Taking Holidays

Whether they work or not, many people want to travel and take more holidays in retirement. What a wonderful opportunity it is for us in retirement, to be able to travel to all those places we've never had the chance to get to before. However, it's also important to 'get out and about' in retirement in order to get social contact and all the benefits that brings. So days out and short breaks should also be part of what to do in retirement, as well as long, exotic holidays, if we can afford those!

Exploring our local area will probably not cost much and there are lots of things that we can do that will cost absolutely nothing. Walking is, of course, free, many museums and art galleries charge nothing (and we can get to them using our bus pass and/or senior rail card), parks cost nothing and there are lots of other places that we can go to in retirement that will cost either nothing or very little.

Getting out and about will also prevent us from becoming socially isolated and will help us keep active both physically and mentally. So regular days out interspersed with short breaks and longer holidays should be a pattern that we include in what to do in retirement.

The British Tourist Guide website, is excellent for giving ideas on days out, short breaks and longer holidays in whichever part of Britain we live in or are visiting. For travel and holidays in general, go to our Travel section on the website and, if you are alone or like to travel alone, look at our guide to 'Holidays for Single Travellers'.


Finally, you can combine working and taking holidays by taking a working holiday that enables you to do some voluntary work at the same time as enjoying a holiday. You can learn to herd sheep and build dry stone walls as well as helping with all sorts of other projects. The National Trust runs many working holidays, including helping with beach clearances, building scarecrows for the allotments, and building tepees for children who come to visit. At the same time as helping in many conservation projects you may well be able to take advantage of, for example,  free sailing lessons and caving tours during some of these breaks. You can do farming, construction and even work on an archaeological dig; there is a huge variety of working holidays available. For example, the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms has a list of organic farms and small holdings which offer free food and accommodation in exchange for practical help on their land.


So both working and getting out and about, in whatever form that takes, might well be important parts of what we do in retirement.

If you have read the previous pages of this guide you will have seen what other elements will constitute what to do in retirement. It's important to have a varied retirement, with lots of different things to do, and to make the right choices about what to do in retirement so that we get the maximum enjoyment and satisfaction in retirement. If you haven't read the other pages yet, click the links in the box above and have a look.

For more information on taking days out, read our guide on the topic.

Related guides and articles:

Retirement Today - Introduction to retirement
Planning Retirement
When to Retire

Retirement Pensions

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This Guide to What to do in Retirement is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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