How to spend your pension on travel

With the rules for withdrawing your money set to change this year, Simon Calder suggests some trips worth splashing out on

Anyone born before April 1960, with the good fortune to possess a pension, now has some alluring options. From April, people aged 55 plus will be able to extract their pension pot without the present punitive tax rate of 55 per cent. While a marginal rate of income tax will still apply, anyone who opts to "take the money" will be able to get their hands on the majority of it – and, as a bonus, a quarter is tax-free.

You could buy into the security of an annuity, but wouldn't it be more fun to see the world? Here is a selection of the best ways to spend the kids' inheritance. All prices are per person based on two sharing.

£2-3k: Everest Base Camp Trek

Feeling on top of the world? You will do, once you get 17,550ft above sea level at Everest Base Camp. In April, May and October, Jagged Globe (0114 276 3322; jagged-globe.co.uk) is running three-week trips that take you to Kathmandu, from where you fly to Lukla and trek to Namche Bazaar via Khumbu National Park.

You spend three nights acclimatising, with treks to the Everest View Hotel and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay's childhood town. Then you take the Everest trail and stay for two nights at Gorak Shep, base camp for Hillary's 1953 summit expedition. The price of £2,345 includes flights, transfers and accommodation (mostly in "tea houses"). Extra for visa fees and insurance.

£5-6k: British Isles hopping

Hebridean Princess (01756 704 700; hebridean.co.uk) is a converted Scottish ferry. From 14 to 23 July she is sailing south from Oban on Scotland's west coast, via Stranraer, Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland and Dublin.

A full day's voyage goes south to Scilly, followed by Cornwall, with the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the fishing village of Fowey on the itinerary. It ends with a visit to Greenway House, the Devon former home of Agatha Christie, and an afternoon cruising along the coast to Portland, Dorset. The price of £5,370 includes all meals, drinks, excursions and use of the ship's bikes.

£11-12k: Antarctica fly-in

If you do not yet have plans for New Year's Day, how about flying south – almost as far as you can go? On 1 January 2016, Discover the World (01737 214 250; discover-the-world.co.uk) has its first departure of the year from the southern tip of mainland South America to King George Island in the South Shetland archipelago – the "capital" of Antarctic tourism.

You then board the Ocean Nova for 10 days, exploring the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, with the option to kayak or snorkel through the iceberg-strewn waters. The price of £10,061 does not include flights, for which you will need to add around £1,400.

£15-16k: Americas overland

Does this set your travel pulse racing? "Starting in Anchorage, 6 Aug 2016; ending in Ushuaia, 28 Feb 2017." That is the barest of statements about this 30-week overland truck adventure from the top to the bottom of the Americas with Dragoman (01728 862 211; dragoman.co.uk). You will also travel on boats, a local bus, and a plane across the Darien Gap – where the Pan-Amaerican Highway pauses amid dense and dangerous jungle.

You will sleep under canvas or in small hotels/hostels, with the occasional homestay. Highlights: Denali National Park, the Canadian Rockies, Monument Valley, Las Vegas, Costa Rica, the Inca Trail, and Patagonia. The price of £13,680 works out at only £66 per day, though you should allow £1,500 for flights.

£18-20k: World cruise

Cunard's Queen Victoria (0843 374 2224; cunard.co.uk) departs Southampton for a 17-week circumnavigation in January 2016. First stop, the Azores – followed by a transit of the Panama Canal, two-nights in San Francisco and the chance to learn to surf in Waikiki, Hawaii.

Auckland and Sydney will in their summer primes. Bali, Borneo and Vietnam provide a prelude to Indian Ocean islands including Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles and Mauritius. South Africa will feel autumnal; you'll make a rare call at St Helena, and the last stop is another Portuguese Atlantic island: Madeira. The lowest price for a cabin with a view is £17,399, though you will need to reckon on at least £1,000 in tips.

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