This paper examines the relationship between retirement migration and tourism in terms of the changing nexus of social relationships that are implicit in international mobility. Three main themes are investigated using data from field studies of British retired persons living in Tuscany, Malta, the Costa del Sol and the Algarve. First, the role of tourism in defining the search spaces of international retirement migrants is explored: insights are provided by the retirement strategies of the migrants, their prior connections with the destinations, and second home ownership. Second, amenity-led retirement migration encompasses complex issues of identity, consumption and peripatetic life styles. These are examined from the perspective of emergence of new forms of amenity-seeking retired life styles which traverse international boundaries. Third, retirement migrants become both potential participants in and recipients of 'visiting friends and relatives' (VFR) tourism. The scale of such tourism flows and their significance to the migrants are considered through both quantitative and qualitative data.