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Plan a dream vacation with these travel tips for seniors

Senior travelers with many interests and varying physical abilities abound. Regardless of the level of physical ability, there are tours and options that can accommodate your needs and inspire the adventurer in you.

Travel has never been more accessible than it is now. Seeing and exploring somewhere that feeds your soul is possible no matter what your age or physical ability or budget. There are tours for adventurers who like to walk on the edge of mountain paths as well as scenic train rides for those who would rather sip rare Scotches while enjoying the verdant splendor of Scotland and everything in between.

For walkers, thinkers, those who want to volunteer or engage in a subject that stretches the intellect, those who like to try something new and wander on their own and others who want the security of a scheduled and well-presented bus tour, there is a destination, tour, organization for you. Traveling safely with a senior or as a senior may seem difficult, but there are plenty of ways to ensure the correct accommodations. Discovering the option that is best for you will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. So, let’s take a quick whirl around the world to spark some ideas and come up with some tips about where you might next decide to point your passport.

1. Sea Voyaging

You could lounge on the spunky and newly shined Queen Mary 2, take advantage of the largest library on the open seas and cruise from Southampton to New York or the other way around. There are two day cruises, there are 21 day cruises. Once on board, you just have to navigate your way to your favorite event, lounge chair, or restaurant and figure out in which order to do them. A cruise is a wonderful way of experiencing a new destination spot for those who like to have quick access to entertainment and don’t want to have to search out restaurants or manage a walking map. Cruise ship go everywhere; whether it is a transatlantic, tropical, or glacier exploring adventure you are thinking about, there is a ship for you. Additionally, there are cruise lines and travel organizations that work hard to meet the special needs of the disabled or mature traveler.

Traveling in summer? Read: Joyful Summer Travel Tips

2. New Zealand

“Kia ora!” Means hello but it is a hello that runs deep and when translated literally means: have life, be well/healthy. This beautiful Māori word evokes the spirit of this small and significant place. You will be welcomed with the delightful warmth and sincerity of the people. The country is a gorgeous geological specimen that will take your breath away. I have been told on high authority from recent senior adventurers to this wonder of the Southern Hemisphere that it is spectacular and stunning and worth every effort to get there. You can tour by train, bus, boat, or on foot—from every angle this is a country that is worth visiting.

3. Portugal

Portugal sits on the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula of southern Europe. This is a wonderful option for many who want to see a fascinating country steeped in a rich history. Perched on the Atlantic, it boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and will provide the curious traveler with an affordable and relaxed experience.

4. Cuba

It is now possible to visit Cuba. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what is? It is a beautiful island that has the analog sincerity of a time long gone for most of us. It is place worth experiencing before it gets digitized into the twenty first century. It also has the distinction of being one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the western hemisphere. There are a multitude of tour groups to look into and several that cater to the needs of the senior traveler.

5. Iceland

According to the World Bank, Iceland’s population boasts fewer than 500,000 people. So, it was a big surprise to me that everyone seems to know someone who adores Iceland! They are absolutely wacky about it. From the soft gorgeous handmade Icelandic sweaters to, brace yourself, people who flock there to scuba dive! You can lounge among the geothermal geysers and take in the waters, try foods that you have not imagined or crash a book club (it is a country of readers) and do it all while taking in the Northern Lights. Sedentary or adventure seeker, this is a counter-intuitive place that people love to visit. Apparently, Reykjavik is the place to be.

6. Japan

Personally, I have yet to explore the wonders of Japan. I look forward to the day I experience the Cherry Blossom Festival that takes place every April and to exploring the Zen Temples of Kyoto. I’m also planning on embarking on a quest to find the perfect bowl of noodles. That is the point about travel, doing something that inspires you. What small challenge would add some yummy basic fun to your adventure? Personally, I don’t need to see all of the sites of a city, a good pair of walking shoes, a map, too many restaurants to count, and I’m a happy explorer willing to take one for the team by sampling the best of a great city like Tokyo.

7. Fiji

An archipelago of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific, Fiji is a wonderful holiday destination that is perfect for snorkeling among the coral reefs or visiting ancient Hindu temples, if you can free yourself from the white sand of the beaches. Rumor has it that it is not as touristy as Tahiti is and that travelers are still able to explore areas that are natural wonders that have not been overrun by technology or consumerism.

8. RV throughout the country

And for the DIY traveler, there is this thing called a recreational vehicle (RV)… apparently you live in this oversized vehicle while you drive over the hills, through the woods, from hill and dale to see the wonders of your very own fabulous country.

Love to drive? Love to travel with all your stuff and your four-legged companions? An RV trip may be something that is right for you. Traveling to the great national parks in the United States and seeing the exquisite beauty of this natural land is not to be missed. Whether by RV, car, or tour bus, national parks are to be cherished.

9. Africa: Tanzania, Kenya

Always wanted to gaze upon majestic lions or zebras? There are safaris that cater to the mature traveler and consultants that will create a tour for you and yours that meets your needs and allows you to experience the majesty of the great plains of Africa.

10. South America

Brazil and the Amazon, Peru and Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, any of these countries would provide many wonderful memories.

The list is endless! What I have provided here are a few options that you may want to explore further. There are also all sorts of tour companies that happily cater to people with specific interests and needs. You can take ecological tours that will present the wonders of a country without diminishing the environment, while educating yourself about the challenges that the local environment faces.

There are tours that center on historical events and archaeological wonders. Love the Bard? There are tours for that. Study Shakespeare, read, discuss, and indulge in a play or two. Want to get to know a place deeply and intimately? Consider volunteering and bringing your special skill to a community that can benefit from it. There are people in their 70s who trek the Dolpo region of Nepal every year to bring medical aid and services to a population that live in the Himalayas for whom this is probably the only time that they see a medical professional. Prepare yourself with travel tips for seniors before you depart and then relax and have a wonderful time. Despite your age or physical limits, whether you go to your local national park or Paris, embrace your inner traveler and explore!

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About the Author(s)

As a Volunteer Caregiver to the Zen Hospice Project and a Course Manager at the CareGivers Project, Audrey Meinertzhagen is passionate about improving the standards of care for older adults and educating caregivers on the principles of mindfulness and self-care.

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