Whether or not you’re the kind of person that makes to-do lists all the time, planning a holiday when you’re a senior or traveling with seniors is almost a necessity. Men’s and women’s needs and interests change throughout their life, as does the way that they travel. After a certain age for instance, there is less room for improvisation (although still a little bit!). Senior citizens also tend to enjoy calmer activities and organised trips more than their younger counterparts.
Here are our top tips to help you prepare and make the most of your holiday, whether you’re a mature man or woman yourself or you’re travelling with seniors.
1. Opt for a senior-friendly destination
There’s a pretty big chance that a Full Moon party in Thailand won’t please the over 50s. Equally, a hike in the hot and rugged Australian red centre (as well as other regions with extreme weather conditions) might not be the best pick either.
On the contrary, it’s best to opt for a destination that is senior-friendly and corresponds to the interests and health conditions of those who are travelling. For example, France, Spain, Italy, the Caribbean islands, Japan or South Africa are all great options for senior travellers looking for safety as well as amazing landscapes and culture.
2. Choose all-inclusive holidays
Make your trip much easier by opting for all-inclusive holidays. When food and accommodation are all included, planning is a piece of cake. Your agency or hotel might also propose tours and activities. You could also go on a boat cruise, where everything from accommodation and food to daily entertainment are included in one great package.
Additionally, what with these options being very popular amongst the over 50s, there’s also a good chance that you’ll meet fun and outgoing seniors just like you, as well as people from other age groups.
3. Do some research about the destination
You can make your trip much safer and more relaxing by doing a little background research into the place you’re going to visit. Apart from checking the weather to know what to expect and what to wear, you should also have a look at the areas to avoid, as well as the local must-sees.
If you’re heading abroad, it’s also helpful to know the average cost of life, as well as whether it’s safe to drink the tap water. If you’re travelling a little further from home, knowing beforehand what may be considered impolite in the local culture could also be useful!
Furthermore, it’s important to make sure you know where to find medical facilities, just in case. Also, if you or someone in your group has mobility issues, don’t forget to check the accessibility arrangements of the place you’re going to.
4. Don’t stuff your holiday with too many activities
Let’s be honest, unless they are an athlete, seniors probably don’t have the same energy level as their younger counterparts. You should definitely take this fact into consideration when planning your holiday.
If you’re flying far from home, you should consider any potential jet lag that you might experience. Make sure that you have enough recovery time before starting in on the activities.
Furthermore, don’t try to do too much in one day. Of course, everyone is different, but for many seniors, packing the day full of lots of activities might leave them a little exhausted. This could end up meaning that they can’t fully enjoy their holiday! Try to be considerate of their needs by opting for just one activity in the morning and planning a relaxing afternoon, before moving on to any further activities.
5. Get insured
To travel safe, travel insured. For your peace of mind and security, ensure before you leave that you are covered wherever you go. Pay specially attention to the coverage of your medical conditions, hospital fees, repatriation insurance, theft of your electronic devices, loss of luggage, as well as flight cancellations or delay.
If you don’t have any insurance yet, you should know that your bank card might have you covered. Moreover, don’t hesitate to have a look around and request some quotes. You can also ask your travel agency.
6. Pay a visit to your GP
You should pay a visit to your GP before your trip, especially if you have certain conditions and/or you’re a senior travelling overseas. This appointment is the chance to get a full medical check-up, obtain some useful recommendations, or to renew your medication. Verify also if you need to be vaccinated.
If you take pills or need daily injections, make sure that you understand how to schedule your medication when travelling to a different time zone. It’s also a good idea to bring a copy of your prescriptions in your bag with you, just in case.
By the way, you should pack your medications separately. This way, if your luggage gets lost or is stolen, this is one less problem that you have to worry about. Additionally, ensure that you keep these within reach if you need them during the flight.
7. Pack light and safe
If you’re the kind of person who takes several suitcases when they travel, then this one will be challenging for you. However, travelling with heavy bags is exhausting at any age, even more so after 50.
To make it easier to carry, opting for a wheeled suitcase is highly recommended. You should also keep it light. This way you won’t get annoyed each time you need to pick up your luggage. After all, you don’t need five pairs of shoes, nor all those jackets, hats, and outfits that you’ll never actually end up wearing. Also, leave all your expensive jewellery at home. Believe us, your back and joints will thank you.
Additionally, you should know that senior travelers are often a target for thieves. Accordingly, we recommend you purchase a money belt that is worn close to the body and where you can hide your passport and cash. Your valuables will be much safer and protected from potential thieves!
8. Keep copies of your documents
Losing your luggage, bags and wallets can happen so quickly. With that in mind, play it safe by leaving a copy of all of your important documents (passport, driver’s license, visas etc.) at home, with someone you know is reliable. If unfortunately, you lose the originals, you’ll at least have the copies.
By following these simple tips and adopting the right reflexes, travelling with seniors can be safe, fun and relaxing. What about you? What are your best tips for planning your holiday after 50?