Travel is an incredible experience at any age. It’s the best way to broaden your horizons, learn about different cultures, and see places you’ve only dreamed of. However many people are under the impression that older travellers only want to lie on the beach or take a cruise, when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Older travellers are frequently outdoing their younger counterparts when it comes to adventure travel, and you’ll often see them bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, bouncing along on a 14 hour bus trip in Southeast Asia, or staying in a hostel playing drinking games with 20-something backpackers.
Here are some tips for older travellers:
Travel out of season
If you’re retired and you can be more flexible when you travel, you’ll be able to avoid most of the exhausting parts of travel: crowds, kids, and the summer heat. Avoid school holidays, and aim to travel in the shoulder season for better weather and less people.
Take travel insurance
Sure, seniors often have to pay higher insurance costs, but that’s purely because they use it far more often. Be sure to take travel insurance, and make sure you know exactly how it works overseas, and if there are any activities that are not covered. Pre-existing conditions may sometimes be a problem, particularly for those who are especially senior, but many plans will ignore pre-existing conditions depending on what they are. Nothing can ruin a holiday like Holiday Illness Claims when you don’t have insurance. Give yourself the security and peace of mind that only travel insurance can provide.
The lighter you pack, the younger you’ll feel. The trick is to take less clothing, but do your laundry more often. Stick to light clothes that are easy to dry, with different layers so you can mix and match. Take a notebook for jotting down any reminders that you need, like hotel room numbers or metro stops so you have less details to remember, and bring an extra pair of eyeglasses or a small magnifying glass for reading maps.
Take your medications with you
While most countries will be able to fill your prescription, it will sometimes be expensive and may take a long time. It’s easier to just ensure that you’ve filled all necessary prescriptions before travelling and take any medications and vitamins along with you.
Make the most of senior discounts
Many countries will offer discounts at main tourist sites for seniors, along with rail tickets, concerts, and movie tickets.
Take your time
Try to go sightseeing in the early morning, or late in the day for fewer crowds and cooler temperatures. Bus and boat tours are always a good option as you can relax and listen to the guide while enjoying the sites. Many museums will offer loaner wheelchairs, and should have plenty of seating so you can rest your feet. It can be a good idea to split your days into sightseeing, followed by a day resting and trying the local food.
Request special services
If travelling alone, ring the airline before you fly and arrange to be assisted through security, to the gate, and onto the aircraft. There will be no charge for wheelchair service, but be sure to request this in advance.
To learn more about the ageing population in the UK, check out the infographic below.