There’s a ubiquitous saying in American culture: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Ingrid Reckard didn’t want to beat ‘em, but she certainly joined ‘em.
In March of 2022 our client, Ingrid, retired from her career as a commercial banker, and on that very same day she was on a plane to Costa Rica. In the past year, she’s been to Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Rome, Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, and Cape Town, Africa. Ingrid’s love for travel was instilled in her from a young age by her mother and they became the perfect travel companions. Regarding her favorite locations, each one has its charm, but she loves Europe, especially Paris. Additionally, South Africa was a memorable trip and she’ll never forget cruising around the Greek islands. She enjoys sightseeing with family and friends but also makes sure to go it alone from time to time because it allows for complete flexibility and spontaneous itinerary changes.
Here’s a glimpse of her travel plans this year:
- February: Las Vegas
- April: Australia
- May: Iceland, London, Lisbon
- June: Negril (Jamaica)
- July: New York City
- October: Ghana
- December: Paris, Vienna, Croatia
Turns out, she wasn’t the only retiree on the block who enjoyed travel. After a period of envying her jet-setting retiree neighbor, Ingrid finally discovered that the lucky woman was a working travel agent. Gathering the scoop about the job’s perks, it became apparent this was the happy retiree life for Ingrid. She obtained a travel advisor certification posthaste!
At Capital Investment Advisors, we encourage our clients to have core pursuits, or hobbies on steroids, to find and maintain a sense of purpose in a post-career world. But Ingrid did us one better — she channeled her passion for travel into a business. I’ll avoid it for the sake of professionalism, but this would be the perfect moment for a “clapping” emoji.
She travels at discounted rates, helps her friends and family plan their trips, and inspires them to enjoy travel as much as she does. Killing two birds with one stone, her personal voyages double as tax-deductible business trips because she sets up site inspections at hotels, meets with sales managers worldwide, and snaps photos of the exotic locations for clients to peruse when making their decisions.
What Goes Into Becoming A Travel Agent?
Ingrid interviewed a few travel agencies before choosing the one she is with today. She enrolled in and completed a few different courses and then passed a test to receive her travel certification. Once the textbook was closed, the real learning began. Through the generous mentorship of a veteran travel agent, she gathered knowledge and experience while traveling. Recently, they embarked on a trip to Cancun with other agents to familiarize themselves with the area, scope out locations, and learn best practices in the industry.
Ingrid on a recent trip with a volunteer greeter with Paris Greeters
As a travel agent and concierge, Ingrid specializes in all-inclusive trips and cruises. She considers cruises a beautiful way to travel for those who value accessibility because the ships are like floating hotels!
When planning a client journey, she first ensures that this partnership will be the right fit. If so, she designs a budget based on the personality of the traveler, what type of hotels they like, and preferences for fun vs. relaxation vs. culture. For example, someone who wants to party all night will need a much different game plan than the museum aficionado. Once this is all decided, Ingrid does the research and builds the itinerary.
Ingrid’s Travel Tips
Now that she’s learned the ropes, we asked Ingrid to share her best tips for other travel-happy retirees.
- Be part of an airline loyalty program. Ingrid has a favorite company for flights, hotels, hotel transfers, and activities. You may find your own once you begin the process.
- Use credit cards that offer reward points.
- Don’t be afraid to travel alone. Sometimes it’s nice to plan the perfect trip just for you.
- Safety Precaution: Enroll with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) — a free service that allows U.S. citizens abroad to log their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy. They’ll notify you of any safety conditions in your destination country and help the U.S. Embassy, family, and friends contact you in an emergency.
Advice For A Happy Retirement:
Ingrid says planning is crucial. Before retiring, she made sure she had a purpose and a plan. Financially, she thinks it’s essential to educate yourself and find an advisor willing to be collaborative, empowering, and encouraging. Finally, Ingrid was debt-free before leaving her job in banking. Of course, that isn’t possible for everyone, but it is a worthy aspiration.
Ingrid gets to do what she loves, see the world, help others, get travel discounts, and make commissions while she’s at it. That checks so many happy retiree boxes that I’m beaming with pride. You, too, can be a happy retiree. Follow Ingrid’s lead. If it’s travel you love, reach out to her. If it’s something else, reach out to us and make it happen!
A happy retirement is there for the taking. That first step is the hardest. After that, it’s all downhill.
And if you want to talk with Ingrid to plan your next dream vacation, feel free to give her a call: 404-217-6002 (EZ World Travel).
Please note that Ingrid gave us permission to share her story.