Retirement is on the horizon, so where to next? If you’re figuring out how to decide where to retire, you can use your vacation time to scout your top retirement destinations.

There’s no better way to know if you’ll enjoy a new destination than to experience it for yourself. Before and during your vacation, consider these important factors to find the right retirement spot for you and your family.

Get a feel for the lifestyle

When you’re on vacation, think about what you want to do in retirement. What activities do you enjoy the most, and does this location provide those opportunities? For example, does the town have cultural offerings, such as concerts and theater shows? Are there safe and secure hiking trails nearby? Would there be volunteer or educational opportunities that align with your passions? Use your vacation to answer such questions.

Determine the cost of living

Spending a couple of weeks in your potential new town will give you a sense of the day-to-day cost of living. Take note of the prices for essential expenses, such as groceries, restaurant meals, gas, clothing and public transportation.

How do these prices compare with those in your current location? Cost-of-living calculators can help you paint a clearer picture of the differences.

Look at state taxes

Keep in mind that income taxes vary widely from state to state. Some have no income tax, while other states use either a flat tax for all residents or a progressive tax. Free online financial calculators can help you determine what you’ll owe in taxes and how much you have in retirement savings.

Don't forget about health care

If you are thinking of splitting time between your current residence and another location, or you are thinking of moving, it's important to review your health insurance to see if the new location is within your network and what services may be covered, as costs could be higher if it is out-of-network. If it isn't, you may review your plan and see if you can make changes so your plan aligns with your new location.

Legal disclosure: Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.