It’s time to take those trips you have dreamed of, but have been unable to take until now. Don’t delay any further! Traveling, exploring new countries, cities, national parks, and other cultures can provide some of the most enjoyable experiences of your life. They also help to keep our brains sharp by providing new experiences and keep us young by affording us situations that are challenging and even sometimes downright uncomfortable. Remember that after college backpacking trip or the year abroad in your 20s, living on pizza and day old baguettes because that was all we could afford or find in the middle of the night? It was unacceptable to be grumpy. Stretching our patience, keeping calm and winging it is a youthful trait and nothing provides that more than traveling. Being able to “fly by the seat of your pants” is travel, because if anything can go haywire, it usually happens when traveling. Whether you enjoy museums, hiking, the beach, foreign cultures, or just beautiful landscape and views, the world – literally – awaits.
A few things to consider:
Now is the chance to go anywhere you have ever dreamed of. But if you aren’t sure where you would like to visit, there are numerous hints throughout the web – that’s why our generation calls it the worldwide web. Perhaps you would be more comfortable going with a group of people of similar age. Check out some of these sites for some travel tips, options and deals:
eldertreks.com , travelwithachallenge.com and eldertrav.com are sites geared towards people over 50 looking for adventurous travel. seniortravel.about.com provides tips for senior travel including safety tips, recommended trips, group travel, health tips, and more. independenttraveler.com provides general travel tips and recommendations.
Here is a video by Omega Tours about some of the best spots , among many, to visit in Italy
When planning your travel, avoid difficult weather conditions, whether extreme heat or extreme cold. You can find average temperatures and precipitation for your destination at weatherbase.com or at weather-and-climate.com.
Try to plan travel during off season at your destination. As a general rule, avoid high season, but sometimes it can be comforting to be in a place with lots of tourists. By dodging the peaks you will avoid the largest crowds and often save money on airfare and hotels. High seasons vary by location, Europe is the summer, while in Florida it may be in the winter or during a school break. TripAdvisor.com, TravelZoo.com, and SmarterTravel.com are among a number of sites that discuss what the high seasons are for many places worldwide.
In many cities, like New York, Paris, London, Rome, Florence, Madrid, Moscow and more, you can book tickets in advance online for museums and other attractions. This assures your entrance and cuts hours off standing in lines.
If you don’t buy tickets in advance, go either early or late in the day to popular sites. These are generally the least crowded times to visit. Also, check museum hours because there are usually free entrance days or hours once per week.
Use the concierge in your hotel for advice on not only what attractions to see, but to also determine the best times to visit.
As a general rule, tourist sites are usually busier on weekends (and on school holidays) than mid-week.
PACK LIGHT! You likely don’t really need all those changes of clothing, multiple pairs of shoes, cosmetics, bath supplies, etc. that you pack. Your travel will be much more pleasurable if you travel light. BUT – do not forget your required medications (and your passport when traveling overseas). Travel organizers may be helpful. For tips on packing and other wonderful insights on travel see Debbie’s 60/50 blog, “Traveling in Style” .
Make sure you have insurance coverage when traveling outside of the U.S. Medicare does not provide coverage, but your supplemental coverage may. Check into that before you leave. Do not wait until something happens. If you aren’t covered, you can buy coverage at fairly reasonable rates online. Comparison pricing and coverage options can be found at sites such as travelinsurance.com and insuremytrip.com .
Use Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi is available in many places around the world, including hotels, coffee shops, and various public places of interest.
Keep Roaming off. It could be very costly if you don’t.
Buy a travel adapter kit which will provide you with the appropriate adapter for anywhere you go. It will allow you to charge your phone and other electronic devices you may bring. This can be purchased online at Amazon, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond and at many other locations. Search for “world travel adapters”, “travel adapter kit” or “universal adapters.”
Use Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp for free, good quality calls.
Here are options if you want to stay connected at all times – not relying on Wi-Fi availability:
Ask if you can qualify for a Senior Citizen Discount at trains, museums or other sites. It may only apply to local citizens in some countries. But always ask!
AARP offers discounts to members on a variety of travel options.
Traveling off-peak not only reduces crowds and waiting time, but often allows for lower prices as well on airfare and hotels.
Click this link to The Senior List website to see a list of travel related discounts for people 60+.
Some countries require travelers with U.S. Passports to apply for a Visa to enter the country. Among others, these include India, Russia, China, Brazil, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Some countries have other requirements for entry. Give yourself enough time to get the Visa. It can take up to six weeks, but most have expedited services. The Visa application for the country you travel to will provide you with all the details. A comprehensive list of countries and their Visa requirements for U.S. citizens can be found here .
You may also need vaccines to travel to certain destinations. See potential requirements for the countries you will be visiting at the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) web site.
Travel and Enjoy!!!