Traveling is a popular activity for retirees, and the experienced travelers make extensive use of the Internet for travel plans and activities. The Internet and social media, are great tools for any traveler who wants to get the most out of every trip. Retirees who make extensive use of the internet, both before and during their trip, have the benefit of retaining contact with friends and family while away, and able to stay away longer by managing household business right on the Internet.Travel is one of the top retirement activitiesRetirees are able to enjoy their travel adventures more so than any time in the past, and they are able to easily share their experiences with other retirees. Traveling allows retirees to meet new people from other parts of the world and provides them with the opportunity to build their social network of friends. Not only are retirees taking advantage of travel opportunities, but they are taking advantage of social media sites which have expanded in the past year. These sites provide easy resources for retirees to keep in touch with new people they meet while traveling and provides a way for them to communicate with other retirees who have been or are considering going to the same destination.I happen to like traveling. I’m sure it is in part because I traveled most of my professional career. Traveling as a member of a tour group or as a freestyle adventurer is dependent on your personality, sense of independence, and confidence with travel. There are times when traveling in a tour group is the only way to see a location and get its history. If you are not comfortable traveling alone, taking a tour is a great way to build the experience while meeting some other travelers as well. My advice to all new travelers is to learn to travel without a large group of your closest friends. I see many baby boomers traveling in groups of 4 to 8 people and they tend to stay together instead of reaching out to fellow travelers or locals. Meeting and exchanging conversations with people you don’t know, especially local citizens, will expand your knowledge of the local culture and will likely lead to creating new lifelong friendships.Whether it is domestic or international travel, I find experiencing new places and meeting people from the area a great way to stimulate my thinking process, as well as a great way to meet friendly and interesting people. A recently completed trip netted me with new acquaintances from 3 countries outside the US, one couple from the US State of Georgia, and 2 local couples. All my new acquaintances are on social media making it easy for us to stay in contact with each other.One of the benefits of traveling after retirement is that you don’t need be so restrictive on the length of time of the stay. Planned properly, a trip can last as long as one would like and you can still remotely maintain your personal dwelling while keeping up with banking and bill payments. Make use of your ability to stay longer than the typical week or two. Staying longer at a new location allows you to get to know the culture and people better, something you could not do while employed.In my travels, whether it is domestic or international, I find baby boomers, and now many retirees, are traveling in greater numbers as freestyle adventurers. They make extensive use of the Internet and social media sites to plan their trips from home. Sites like TripAdvisers.com and vacation rental by owners are popular collaborative social media sites that allow feedback from people who have been to an establishment. I like reviewing these sites before a trip to get input from different individuals. There was a time when the only reviews were from people who would leave negative comments, but more and more people are voluntarily providing reviews of places, good and bad. Since you can’t please all the people all the time, look closely for trends in the reviews. If the same item pops up over and over, it is likely something you need to believe.Usage of social media during your travelInternet is generally available regardless of where you travel. By in large, many of the establishments provide free internet access and Wi-Fi connection to patrons, so the cost is minimal in most cases. Ten years ago, I traveled extensively in Australia and carried my 12 pound laptop to internet bars and paid connection charges of $8 to $12 per connection. Many times, I would be at locations with little to no Wi-Fi connection. Today, I still carry a laptop because of certain applications I use but it is only 2.5 pounds and using an iPad or iPhone without cell connection is really all that one needs to stay in touch. I recently completed a five week trip to Central America and had free internet where I stayed, and the Internet was also available in most breakfast and lunch establishments. It is just a sign of how dominate Internet has become and how insistent people are about having access to it.Sharing and communicating on the Internet over the last 10 years has also changed significantly. In 2002 for me to share photos or communicate with my friends I had to post my photos on a photo hosting site and send out an email to everyone along with user name and password to let them know I had uploaded new photos. Today, using my iPhone, I can take the photo and upload it directly to Facebook and a notice is sent to my friends that I had posted a new batch of photos. I can even use the Facebook app on my iPhone to make a call to my friends or family members.Communicating is so much easier and faster than in the past thanks to social media, and it continues to improve each year. This has allowed retirees to build their network of friends and has made it much easier for them to share their travel experiences with others.