Ultimate Guide for Senior Travel (100+ Rockin’ Travel Tips)

Senior Travel women in pool

You’ve always dreamt of traveling the world. Having an Ultimate Guide for Senior Travel would make your life easier!

You no longer feel the heavy burden of time constraints weighing on your shoulders.

You see phenomenal opportunities unfolding all around you.

The incredible options are mind-blowing. And you’re ready to make your epic dream vacation come true.

But… you’re not 20 anymore!

You need to learn more about Senior Travel. You want to learn more about Senior Travel.

Knowing where to start can be overwhelming. 

What’s on your Bucket List?

How far do you want to travel?

How long do you want to travel?

What kind of accommodations are you comfortable in?

Do you want to travel with family or friends?

If you travel by yourself will you go completely solo or with a tour or group?

Do you have a special interest you’re passionate about?

Do you have medical issues or a disability to consider?

This Ultimate Guide for Senior Travel (100+ Rockin’ Travel Tips) will empower you and make your epic dream vacation become a reality.

 

Senior Travel Tips on How to Narrow Down Your Bucket List

Senior Travel map with hand
Paula May Unsplash

 

You have a Bucket List.

Narrowing down your list seems overwhelming.

These senior travel tips on how to narrow down your Bucket List will help you zero in on an awesome destination.

Start by considering how far you want to go and how long you’d like to stay.

Traveling during the off season will be cheaper and less crowded. 

Weather’s a huge consideration. Depending on where you go on the globe, their summer may be our winter. Perhaps you love the snow. Or a warm beach is at the top of your list. And you want to skip Hurricane season.

VisaHQ will tell you what countries require a visa. Most countries issue a tourist visa for 90 days. Research countries before furthering your travel plans. 

Senior Travel Visa Requirements

 

If you’ve picked a country that requires a visa getting one is fast, inexpensive and easy. Your visa will electronically attach to your passport. Keep a screenshot of your confirmation for good measure.

Travel Health Clinics can tell you if you’ll need vaccinations. They’re fast, affordable and thorough. If you get vaccinated be sure and get a hard copy of your records. If there’s an outbreak of yellow fever in a country you’re visiting, another country may not grant you entrance unless you have proof of your vaccines.

Check to make sure your passport is good for at least six months. If you need to renew your passport there are expediting companies that have turn around times as quickly as 24hrs.

World Nomads provides travel insurance for vacations that range from a no risk vacation to aerial safari expeditions and nearly anything else you can imagine. The insurance is affordable and will come in handy if you need to get airlifted off an island. Read the policy before you press, “Buy now” to make sure you have the coverage you want.  

You don’t need to be a backpacker to compare the cost of visiting places using the Price of Travel Backpacker Index. Costs are compared per night for cities all over the world for budget travelers and backpackers. You’ll have an overall feel for the cheapest cities to visit in the world. 

 

Senior Travel Transportation Tips:

From Trains and Planes to Elephants

and Tuk Tuks

Senior Travel Tips woman on elephant in Thailand
Elephant Refuge Thailand © Donna Kos

 

Senior travel transportation tips vary widely.

Elephants, planes, trains, buses, tuk tuks, bicycles and walking are all travel options. I even recommend hitch hiking during the day if you’re on a small remote island where transportation is minimal.

Whether your senior travel takes you on a tour that’s all inclusive or you’re going solo, transportation research can help you decide the destination of your epic dream vacation. 

You might find a cheap plane ticket but by the time you factor in transportation time and expense the ticket is cost prohibitive. Some destinations are breathtaking but getting there may prove too problematic. 

Skiplagged App is an awesome airfare search tool. You can type in your starting point and do a search as broad as “anywhere” to see some amazing fares. If you search one way fares and are date and destination specific a graph comes up showing tremendous price differences. 

Senior travel skiplagged

The Skiplagged graph has the $150 price for 9/21. Moving the dot at the bottom of the graph to 9/13 brought the price up to $349.

 

If you book through this app you’ll be redirected to a list of well recognized travel booking sites to complete your reservation. 

Rome2rio App tells you how to get anywhere showing travel and cost options. If you have to walk 125 feet to catch bus #32, to catch train #224 to Terminal B at the airport, this app will show you how to get to your destination. You can’t book tickets on Rome2rio but the search benefits are tremendous. 

 

Senior Travel Tips for Accommodations from Adventurous to Tame

Senior Travel Accommodations woman on balcony Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand © Donna Kos

 

These senior travel tips for accommodations can make or break your travel budget.

Would you prefer a five-star hotel? Maybe you prefer an Airbnb where the whole house is yours. For cheaper rates some Airbnb properties rent just one room. Or you’re up for a bunk in a hostel for a completely different experience?

Staying in an Airbnb or hostel gives you the option to cook meals. Eating out is lovely but expensive. If you enjoy cooking or just want to save money both are great options.

Hostels are the cheapest accommodation and a great way to meet people from all over the world. Single seniors traveling alone may find hostels a refreshing change of pace.

Most guests are young and respectful but a fair amount of partying can be expected. Worst case scenario you saved money for a night and had an experience worthy of a great travel story. 

 

Senior Travel interest of cultural experience
AARP data shows Boomers increasingly interested in cultural interaction but are still less likely to stay in hostels.

 

Call the hostel before you book. Some won’t rent a bunk to anyone over the age of 35. YHA (Youth Hostel Association) will book a bunk for anyone over the age of 16 and they’re all over the world.

According to Travel & Leisure Honey Travel is a website offering better discounts than other booking sites.

AAA, AARP and veterans groups offer senior discounts.

If you’re booking a trip halfway around the world keep the International Date Line in mind especially while booking your accommodations. In some parts of the world you can fly 5hrs one way and land in yesterday. 

 

Don’t Worry About the World Coming to an End Today, It’s Already Tomorrow in Australia” 
~ Charles M. Schultz

 

Also note: Many websites use the 24hr clock. Flight looks too good to be true? Check if the departure time is am or pm!

 

Senior Travel Options for Free

Room and Board 

 

French Polynesia Senior Accommodations for Free Room and Board

Lagoon French Polynesia
My Workaway Host, French Polynesia © Donna Kos

 

I stayed in Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia and the Caribbean on Workaway spending 1-3 months in each location so I could immerse myself in the culture.

Workaway caters to hosts and volunteers. An interesting senior travel option for free room and board. 

You can sign up at Workaway for $38/yr. After you build your profile based on what kind of work you want to do you can look anywhere in the world to see what volunteer opportunities are available. 

Typically you work 24 hours a week in exchange for a bed and meals. Most hosts require a minimum stay, often a month. Some two weeks or less and some a minimum of two months.

I’ve had lovely private rooms on several Workaways. I’ve also roomed in an eight-bunk dorm with seven 20-something year olds for several months during my volunteer work in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Chaotic dorm room
Our chaotic dorm room! Vieques, Puerto Rico ( Although this was NOT a typical day but very picture worthy!) ©Donna Kos

 

Workaway reviews are left for hosts and volunteers so you can read about previous experiences. If you find something of interest contact the host via Workaway email. 

Skype calling before making a commitment or booking your airfare is advisable. Get to know your host, look around the property and get a feel for if the volunteer project is a good fit.

 

Apps and Websites to Make

Senior Travel Easier

 

Senior Travel screen shots of my apps
What Apps do you use?

 

These valuable apps will be problem solvers before, during and after your travels. 

Senior Discounts App is for seniors 55+. 

Medisafe App can make senior travel easier and has 19,000 reviews for a 4.7 star rating on the iOS App Store. Medication reminder, alarms, and a low prescription reminder among other options are valuable especially if you’re crossing multiple time zones. “Medifriend” is an option to sign in a family member or caregiver. Medifriend alerts them if you’ve missed medication.

Google Maps App has a parking spot reminder amongst numerous other features. (Would have been a life saver in O’Hare Airport, Chicago’s parking garage when my ride forgot where the car was parked!)

Be sure and download a Currency Convertor App so you’re clear on how much you’re spending in shops and while taking money out of an ATM! 

Mexican Peso to US Dollar

Getting a rough conversion rate in your head before you leave is helpful. For example 500 Mexican Pesos is about 25 US Dollars. 

Does jet lag cripple you? Timeshifter App helps your body adapt as quickly as possible to a change in time zones. Plug in your itinerary and you’re given information for times you should try to sleep and times you should have those 3 cups of coffee. The cost per trip is $9.99 or $24.99/yr. 

Magnifying Glass App turns your iPhone into a magnifying glass with a light for those hard to read menus.

 

“You are Never Too Old to Set Another Goal
or Dream a New Dream” 
~ C.S. Lewis

 

Follow Me is an App allowing your kids find you if you quit responding to email!

Google Translate is a brilliant App translating conversations, documents, menus and websites on the spot. 

WhatsApp is free to call anywhere in the world and perfect for keeping in touch with family and friends while you’re out of the country.

Note: T-Mobile has an excellent international plan with unlimited text and data so you can send as many photos and texts as you like. And they have a 55+ senior discount.

 

Packing Tips for Senior Travel: 

Do You Really Need All That?

 

6am in San Juan airport © Donna Kos

You want to look your best on your long awaited adventure. Most clear cut packing tips for senior travel are similar to other ages.

First, remember you’ll be carrying whatever you pack! And the longer the trip the heavier your bags will begin to feel.

You don’t want to be at the airline check-in counter having to move two pounds from one bag to the next. Pack less! You can always buy something on vacation.

Pick clothes you can mix and match. Odds are you’ll wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. For longer trips pick some items can be washed in the sink. 

For carry-on I recommend one outfit, medications, toiletries, electronics, chargers, all your travel documents, a snack, flats or flip flops and earplugs. I always pack a bikini (yes, I’m 59) because I’m a beach junkie and I consider that a necessity. I also pack a ham sandwich with mustard and cheese because it can sit for quite a while and can get you through in a pinch.

Your checked bag is where you can slim things down. Packing cubes are tremendous for keeping organized. I use one for one pair of pants, two pairs of shorts and one skirt. Another one holds shirts and a third bikinis underwear and a small jewelry box.

Leave your fancy jewelry at home. You don’t want to be a mark for a thief.

A practice run can help you decide what to bring. 

Pack what you think you need in the bag you’ll check. Now take out what you would wear “today”. What activity would be happening in the evening? Take out the evening outfit too.

Practice this exercise for three days and you’ll reduce what you decide to bring.

Pack favorites you can wear more than once. Mix and match clothes that don’t show dirt as easily. A different outfit every day is unnecessary. Plus you’re going to want to pick up something spectacular on your trip. 

 

Note: I’ve seen Tide Stain Stick work magic on a pair of white shorts.

 

Special Interest Cruises and Tours for Seniors Traveling Alone

Senior Travel cruise ship
Arvid Hoidahl/ Unsplash

 

Before you go on a special interest cruise or tour for seniors traveling alone ask yourself several questions to insure it’s an awesome fit.

Depending on your destination and interest, age, activity level and transportation preferences your options are endless. 

Consider how large the group will be and what amount of people you’re comfortable around. Will alone time fit in the picture? Are you at ease with new and unfamiliar faces?

Perhaps you’re interested in immersing yourself in a new culture or learning a new language. 

Expedition Cruising is growing popular with women over 60. If activities similar to kayaking Alaskan rivers and hiking up glaciers are up your alley check it out. You won’t be lounging on the deck with a cocktail in hand. It’s adventure travel for those who want a down and dirty, no glitz, no internet type of adventure.

Winter expedition Senior Travel
Paul Van Lake Unsplash

As a senior traveling alone you may not get a “single supplement” when booking a cruise or tour. Most rates are based on double occupancy. You may share a room with someone you’ve never met (which could be awesome…) or you can opt to pay more for your privacy.

Many senior travel tours and cruises offer special interest options. 

Literary tours, wine or brewery tours, theatre, motorcycle and walking tours are just a few. The age of the group can vary quite a bit. 

Vayable is a website where you can locate a tour guide. A local showing you around for an hour or two is a great way to see a new city. You’ll learn more about local customs, food and history. If you take a walking tour you’ll get your exercise too!

CruiseCritic.com is a valuable research tool.

Viking Cruises and Go Ahead Tours are recommended by the BlondeBrunette.com blog.

Voluntourism is a great way to give back to a cause you’re passionate about, see a new part of the world and immerse yourself in a new culture.

Teach kids English? Larm Rham Unsplash

Special interest tours for seniors traveling solo are endless. Whether you’re interested in sea turtle biology, teaching children english in a tiny jungle village or building a house for an underprivileged family, there is a place for you to make your dream a reality.

Most volunteer projects require you pay all your expenses. Some may be tax deductible. Find more information at Volunteer International.org.  

 

Senior Travel Groups and Clubs

Senior travel camel experience
Chandler Chen Unsplash

Numerous senior travel groups and clubs cater to every type of senior traveler.

Some senior travel groups and clubs are all inclusive or flex. You want to be clear on the terms since signup fees are significantly different.

Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) has 5,500 programs divided into theme based, intergenerational, outdoor adventures, service learning, adventures afloat and independent city discoveries. There are some scholarships for North Americans who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate but they’re very selective.

Smithsonian Journeys have classic land journeys, adventure journeys and you can even design your own adventure.

Senior travel company Elder Trek was awarded Strides Best Guided Tours for Baby Boomers 2017. They specialize in small group adventure travel for travelers 50+.

Brand G Vacations (LGBT Travelers) has river cruises and land tours. “All Gay. All Inclusive. All Over the World.”

Check with BBB (Better Business Bureau) before booking with a company you’re not familiar with.

 

Single Senior Travel (Also Suitable for Married People that Need a Break!)

Artem Beliaikin Unsplash

Single senior travel need not be daunting.

If you opt to vacation solo in a new city take advantage of the free walking tour most cities offer. They’re a fantastic way to meet new people and get an excellent feel for your new surroundings.

Many all inclusive resorts cater to singles only. Numerous activities will make it a breeze to find other single senior travelers. 

If golfing 18 holes a day is on your to do list double check to see if those fees are included along with any other activities you’re interested in. Check transportation, tipping and the fine print before you hand over your credit card so you’ll know exactly what to expect upon arrival.

 

“Don’t Be Scared to Walk Alone.
Don’t Be Scared to Like It.”
~ John Mayer

If you’ve never gone a cruise and have always shunned the idea, think again. More and more travelers are saying, “I never wanted to go on a cruise before but I loved it!

Cruises make getting away and pampering yourself a breeze. You’ll be able to see some new sights in port and meet some new friends. With more activities and food imaginable you can simply relax or stay as busy as you desire.

CruiseCritic is a valuable research tool.

Feeling more adventurous? 

Maybe you want to book a one way ticket and a room at a hostel. 

On any given night there are usually 6+ countries represented by guests staying in any given hostel. They are much younger as a general rule but what they lack in age is made up for in the diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

If you do choose the latter, be prepared for friends and family to shake their heads in dismay and question your sanity. Hopping on a plane by yourself with a reservation at a hostel is something they may find alarming. Your younger friends will likely give you a high five.

 

Senior Travel Companions

Jack Finnigan Unsplash

If you would prefer a senior travel companion but haven’t got one in mind don’t despair.

Start by identifying your vacation goals and travel style before you seek out a travel companion.

What kind of accommodations are you interested in? Five star hotels or budget hostels?

Do you want to hike or take a helicopter to the top of Machu Picchu?

Fine dining or fast food?

What kind of sightseeing interests you? Do you prefer to sit and relax over a glass of wine or espresso or spend hours in the museum?

Marco Barsotti Unsplash

 

You may find a suitable travel companion whose budget doesn’t match yours. Are you willing to pitch in?

After you’ve thought about these questions you can start your search.

Tell your friends and family you’re looking for a senior travel companion. If age isn’t an issue let them know that as well.

Your local Senior Center may have cultural classes with like minded people.

Talk to people at any organization you belong to about your travel goals.

Look for online travel groups in your area that have chat rooms and meet regularly. Meetup.com has a “50+ Singles Travel & Social Group”. You can also check out Tribe.net.

You’re options to find a travel companion are extensive. 

 

Senior Travel With a Disability

Isn’t a Deal Breaker

 

Man with PROSTHETIC arms AND legs.
Papeete, Tahiti ©Donna Kos

 

You need to satisfy your desire to travel. 

Senior travel with a disability isn’t a deal breaker! 

Land, air or sea is the question.

Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality has tips and access information. Do your research before you book your trip.  

 

“Life is Either a Daring Adventure
or Nothing at All”
~ Helen Keller

 

Numerous Tours and Cruises can make your senior travel with a disability delightful and carefree. With proper planning you can rest assured your comfort won’t be compromised.  

TSA info: With advance notice a gate pass for anyone accompanying a person with special needs can be obtained.

Regarding airlines and carry on rules: One personal item and one carry on item does NOT apply to medical equipment, mobility aids, assistive devices or medical supplies.

If you need wheelchair assistance in an airport always call ahead. They’re happy to assist you.

 

Senior Travel Blogs to Fuel

Your Wanderlust

© Donna Kos

 

Traveling the world will arm you with mind-blowing stories about far-away places. Keeping a journal is a great way to record your day to day adventures.

If you want to share your stories along the way with friends and family you may want to start a blog. 

Starting a serious senior travel blog is another story!

Reading senior travel blogs can fuel your wanderlust, give you new ideas for travel and tickle you with tales of mishap and glory! 

Some of my favorite senior travel blogs:

BlondeBrunetteTravel.com

MyItchyTravelFeet.com

TravelPast50.com

And mine of course! GutsyGlobetrotters.com

 

Vieques, Puerto Rico ©Donna Kos

 

Stripped of time constraints, your turn has arrived to travel the world.

Your Bucket List is calling you!

Your shameless want and need to navigate the Senior Travel experience is intoxicating.

The possibilities for mind-blowing adventures are limitless!

The Ultimate Guide for Senior Travel (100+ Rockin’ Travel Tips) will make planning and embarking on your travels both exhilarating and painless.

You have the tools you need to make your epic travel adventure happen!

Now, you’re ready to start checking destinations off your Bucket List!

Happy Travels!

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