Before we get to some of our favorite travel tips for seniors, let’s take a quick look into why seniors love to travel so much. Well, if it has been said once, it has been said a million times: Travel is a fountain of youth.
Anything that can make someone feel young again is worth aspiring to, which is why traveling is a favorite pastime for many seniors.
Travel can become easier with age. Since most seniors have more time on their hands, scheduling is not much of a challenge.
Furthermore, with a fixed income, it’s easier to set a budget and stick with it.
Why Senior Travel is So Popular
Seniors Love Adventure
More seniors are traveling today than ever before. There are many reasons that senior travel is so popular.
One is that people tend to live longer because of technological advances in medicine and health care. Simply put, they have time to travel and see the world.
Freedom is another factor. Seniors typically don’t have to worry about leaving their kids. They don’t have to fret about other responsibilities at home. Planning for an adventure is what preoccupies their brain instead of other issues.
In other words, more and more seniors are viewing their later years as a time for adventure. In fact, Exploritas revealed that as many as 27 percent of travelers aged 75 and above choose adventure-tour options. This number has greatly increased over the past 15 years.
Seniors Have More Money to Spend
Senior travel has also become more popular because boomers often have benefits like a pension or funds from a retirement account. Many are “set” financially and after years of saving and investing, it’s time to put this money to good use. And what better way than hitting the road?
Research shows that the older population spends an average of $11,077 each year on travel.
Senior Travel Discounts!
Another factor contributing to a rise in senior travel is the available discounts.
For example, flashing an AARP card is often all that it takes to gain access to discounts on restaurants, hotels, airline tickets, rental cars and more making senior travel very affordable.
With more money saved via discounts, there’s more money to spend on additional travel in the future.
Education and Experience
Many seniors prefer guided tours. This is because of the educational component to it. Seniors like to learn new things even if they are already at an advanced stage of life. They want to keep their minds engaged and active at the same time.
Also, seniors like to see and experience things they haven’t done before. Experiencing the path less traveled brings so much excitement to them. Seniors want the most unique experiences. They want out-of-the-ordinary destinations. Many of them even prefer so-called mystery tours.
Visits With Children and Grandchildren
Visiting grandchildren is a huge motivation for senior travel.
With almost eight of 10 seniors today having grandchildren, it is only logical for them to be visiting the places where their grandchildren are. Adding to this, almost seven of 10 grandparents are akin to see their grandchildren every one to two weeks.
Travel Tips and Essentials For Seniors
Seniors must put an emphasis on travel accessories every time they go on a trip. Traveling can be full of fun, but without certain accessories, the trip might not turn out as expected. So, if you’re about to go on a cruise or sightseeing abroad, the following things are your must-haves.
Rolling luggage is an accessory every senior should have when traveling.
It is best for seniors to invest in lightweight luggage with rollers for easier mobility. They also need to know how to pack light and smart. One can avoid check-in luggage and the associated costs that come with it by having rolling luggage that can be used as a carry-on bag.
Small Travel Bag
A small travel bag will help pack all of your necessities in one small package. This is useful for seniors who need to carry medications and other tiny items throughout their travel.
It may not sound like a useful item, but it is best to prepare in advance for all potential circumstances. Compression socks can help get the blood circulating in your legs and feet. For example, a long flight can cause problems with circulation.
A folding cane can be a useful accessory for seniors who have some mobility challenges. Folding canes provide better mobility without being cumbersome. Also, since it is folding, the cane can be safely stored as a carry-on.
Cross Body Bag
A crossbody bag is a nice alternative to a backpack. It is less resistant to theft as one is wearing the bag in front of the body. There is greater vigilance when wearing this bag in front of the body. It is big enough to carry plenty of stuff without adding too much weight. Compared to a knapsack, a crossbody bag is more accessible. And best of all, it is always within one’s eyesight.
Refillable Water Bottles
Refillable water bottles are environmentally friendly since one can fill them up using a water fountain. There is no need to have plastic cups or disposable water bottles that cause harm to the environment.
Also, buying a bottle of water in an airport is something to forget about. The prices are insanely high, so carrying a refillable bottle can save a nice sum of money.
A small, lightweight knapsack is useful for seniors while they roam. It is perfect to carry items like an extra shirt, camera, water bottle, raincoats, jackets, etc.
It is also perfect for carrying souvenirs and other odds and ends. Remember this: the bag shouldn’t be too heavy to carry around, especially with seniors.
Seniors may doze off to sleep while seated on an airplane, bus or train. A neck pillow can make this more comfortable.
Without a neck pillow, a senior runs the risk of developing a stiff neck that can ruin an entire trip.
Some Travel Tips For Seniors
Travel Tip #1 – Know when the time is right
For seniors, it is important to take the right trip at the right time. For example, it is often best to avoid peak season. My wife and I prefer to book our trips during the “shoulder period” before tourism picks up during the summer in Europe or during the winter months in tropical destinations. Not only does this save money, but it also cuts back on crowds.
If you live in a cold climate, making an escape to a warmer climate is something many “snowbirds” plan for every year. The Florida and Alabama coasts are popular senior travel destinations. Beach and golf course communities are very popular and long-term condo rentals can be quite affordable.
Travel Tip #2 – Don’t forget your travel insurance
If you’re traveling abroad, consider getting travel insurance. Coverage such as Medicare is not valid outside the United States, except in extraordinary situations. There are several types and brands of travel insurance to choose from, so learn more about the cost and benefits.
Travel Tip #3 – Travel light if possible
For trips lasting two weeks or less, it is best to travel light. Make sure to just take a few clothing items and personal items. Make the load big enough to last the entire trip, but light enough that it doesn’t bog you down.
Travel Tip #4 – Bring your medications
For seniors who take medication, it is best to have enough on hand to last the entire trip. And of course, it is wise to have some extra just in case.
Travel Tip #5 – Avoid mass transport as much as possible
For many seniors, it is better to take cabs than subways or monorails. Even if the price is higher, the comfort level is often better.
As a senior planning a vacation, these travel tips will come in handy. The time to explore is now, so don’t waste any time booking a trip, planning activities, and enjoying every last minute of time away from home.