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senior retirees planning travel abroad

Senior Travel: The Ultimate Guide for Going Abroad in 2022 . . .  and years afterward

How do you travel as a retiree? Does the very idea make you tremble? You’ve worked hard. Your children are grown. Soon you’ll retire. There’s no better time to travel. You’ve been setting money aside. That dream adventure trip is calling. Planning is the key.

What country have you always wanted to see? What city, region or activity do you wish to experience? Are you interested in history, a specific culture or crave the unusual?

Are you single, divorced or widowed? Do you take medications, need a wheelchair or cane, hearing or vision impaired? 

As long as you’re healthy enough to travel,age or disability shouldn’t limit your destination or activity. Scary, isn’t it? Don’t despair —  there’sno reason why you can’ttour the world. Thisguide gives you the basics to get you started.

The amazing benefits of travel as a retiree

Ever notice the youthful appearance of seniors who travel abroad? There’s an aura of confidenceabout them. They’restimulated by new and challenging experiences. Their outlook on life is optimistic. They’re more physically and mentally alive.

Think of the new friends you’ll meet. The fresh perspective of this world that we share.

Travel is the magic ingredient. Don’t miss out on this unique time. Discover the similarities of all people. Oh, the memoriesyou’ll cherish!  

So confront your fears. Leave your comfort zone. I promise — you won’t regret it. 

Compelling reasons why senior travel groups are worth it

If this is your first jaunt overseas, it is wise to go on senior citizen trips. An organized tourgives you the advantage of learning how to travel abroad. That knowledge will be valuable if you desire independent travel in the future. 

Experts plan specific senior-friendly vacations. You don’t have to decide where and how to go. You can choose a trip that matches your special interests. Research the list of places to visit and check reviews before booking. 

You’ll know projected expenses. Your group leader can suggest accepted tips and best dining places. You can relax. The tour guide will handle all details in an emergency. The company arranges transportation, accommodation, entrance fees and meals.

Are there any disadvantages?

You have no control over the itinerary or schedule. There is no option to explore other sights during your daily travels. Flying unfamiliar airlines may challenge your comfort standards. Your companions are strangers but most world travelers are friendly and accommodating. You can become sick by close contact with a person who is ill.

Just remember, there are no guarantees in life. Embrace the mindset of an adventurer.

Best travel tour companies for seniors

  1. Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostal)

Road Scholar offers educational experiences that focus on specific interests. They combine classroom settings with interactive tours. Most participants are lifelong learners, ages 50 and up. Local guides teach the sessions, giving immersive insights into their history and culture. Stunning options are train treks and ocean voyages on their flagship, the Aegean Odyssey. 

I have participated in two of their tours, one stateside and one overseas. Both were   excellent and informative. I endorse this group for its in-depth history.

  1. Eldertreks 

As the name suggests, Eldertreks is a senior-oriented, adventure travel company. They offer small group treks to over 100 countries. Choices consist of wildlife safaris, hiking trips, cultural journeys or unique expeditions. The tours range from easy to more challenging —- something for all activity levels.

  1. Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT)

OAT specializes in small group travel, particularly for women. A variety of trips visit destinations on every continent. Guests like the flexibility of their tours. An added bonus is authentic interaction with local people —  home-hosted meals and hands-on crafts. Plus, they offer unique modes of travel —- like small ships, canoe, camel, even vintage cabs. Less traveled roads and waterways add to your uncommon experience.

  1.   EF Go ahead Tours

EF arranges bus tours for budget conscious seniors. Knowledgeable guides give comprehensive information. You stay in comfortable hotels situated in scenic and charming locations. They handle all logistics, so you’re free to admire the sights from bus, train or plane. Assured safety and companionship appeal to solo seniors.

4.      Grand European Travel

AARP offers member discounts  when you book with Grand European. They provide budget to luxury getaways, cruises and land trips. Multigenerational family vacations and single supplement discounts are available. 

“With age, comes wisdom. With travel, comes understanding.”

Sandra Lake

How to have adventures as an older adult? Try a home exchange:

Swap or trade your house with approved members from other nations. Stay in their homes and explore that country from a holiday basecamp. 

A college classmate of mine and her husband always vacation that way. They have immersed themselves in other cultures free of lodging expenses. And the international friendships have grown over time.

On a personal note, my husband and I enjoyed a homestay while living in New Zealand for two years. During that time we visited sights we would have missed if on a tour. We explored both islands, roamed quaint neighborhoods, made new Kiwi friends and encountered sheep traffic jams.

                  If a homestay appeals to you, I would definitely visit this website.   

https://www.homeexchange.com

 Outstanding groups for disabled seniors

The following companies have leaders certified in the care of handicapped individuals. This includes ancillary experts who help with their tours.

 1. Travel for All 

Do you use a cane or walker? Are there hearing or vision issues? This group has exclusive trips tailored to meet your special needs. Plus, there are exceptional tours for those with developmental disabilities and wheelchair bound individuals. Do you have complex health concerns, such as needing dialysis? They also design trips that even enable you to travel with their qualified medical assistants.

2.. Tapooz Travel

Tapooz conducts travel excursions for those with mobility, vision and hearing problems.

In addition, they partner with vetted individuals who specialize in adaptive sports. Sailboating and hot air ballooning adventures can be arranged. Massage therapy is a bonus benefit. You have no excuse to stay home. 

       3. Seable Holidays

Seable provides specific outings for blind individuals. Clients are allowed to touch objects in museums with special permission. Blind assistants approve all activities and accommodations beforehand.    

          4. Wheel the World

Wheel offers remarkable tours for those with disabilities. They travel to more than 80 destinations. There is space for manual and power wheelchairs. Caregivers who understand your needs can accompany you. The trips have certified accessibility in vans, hotels and all activities. Groups range from 8-12 people. You can book separate outings for women only. 

How does one travel with limited mobility?

It is best to use a specialized company. Try to replicate your usual routine while on tour.

Make sure your travel insurance covers the medical needs related to your condition.

Arrange accessible seating and help while flying. Planes have priority boarding for the disabled. Assistive devices don’t count as luggage.

Best airlines that serve the disabled

  • American
  • Air Canada
  • Delta
  • Jet Blue
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Emirates

How do single seniors travel? 

It’s a big step. It can be daunting but many travel this way and love it. You have control over your itinerary, the airfare and route taken. There are opportunities for spontaneous adventures. There is no risk of annoying travel companions. You can get up when you want to. And you’re less likely to come home sick.

An organized tour gives you experience. But it can be mind-blowing to venture forth on your own. 

Further information may help you come to that conclusion.

Save moneyby traveling off peak during May or September.

You will find Museums closed on Mondays. Look for age-related discounts in lodging

 Eurail Pass is a good investment since Europe is well-connected by low-cost rail. One can travel up to 11 months on a prepaid ticket. You have the opportunity to interact with fellow passengers.

                  Go to   https://www.eurail.com/en   for more information.

Consider getting a Youth Hostel card. Anyone is eligible, regardless of age. 

 On a tight budget it is secure and affordable.

Dormitory sleeping with the same gender is typical. Some hostels do provide separate rooms for couples. 

They’re located within walking distance of public transportation. Breakfast is included and evening meals are available. You meet interesting international travelers of all ages. Be aware — there are midday lockout hours. 

I suggest buying a travel case that converts to a backpack. It is easier on the body when walking short distances. In my experience, hosteling is a great way to travel.

            Click this link for specific information.           www.hostelworld.com/?

What should seniors traveling alone be aware of?

There are some drawbacks.  You can waste a lot of time. Costs tend to be higher than expected. Excursions are hard to book on your own. Groups usually get available discounts. There is no one to bail you out in emergencies.

Don’t let this deter you. The satisfactions outweigh the negatives. You’ll return a more self assured individual. I have found that the locals are more apt to connect and offer help where needed. 

Traveling as a single woman?

Don’t go out alone at night. Try to blend in and don’t wear jewelry. Lock the door of your hotel room. Try to book for the 2nd or 3rd floor. Pay extra attention to your surroundings. If you feel danger, make a scene.

Emergency medical concerns for seniors traveling abroad        

Is your medical insurance valid overseas? Medicare is not accepted outside of the US. 

You will need supplemental medical coverage. 

Pack a personal medical kit (bandaids, blister protection, antibiotic ointment, ace     bandage, mole skin, kerlix, etc., diabetic needles)

For minor ailments go to a Pharmacist.They can diagnose and prescribe treatment — usually topical or over-the-counter remedies 

For non-emergency issues, Clinics can handle anything beyond a pharmacist’s scope. Treatment may be free or a small fee is payable up front.

If you’re staying in a hotel, there are physicians who can come to you.

Europeans have a universal health care system, meaning all receive care, even foreigners. Most physicians do speak English.  

Rick Steves has an informative website covering additional travel advice.

https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips

Recommendations to ensure great trips for seniors over 60

— Do you have a valid passport? Apply for one right away. It takes months to get one  

     now, especially since the Covid pandemic. 

— Do you wearglasses, bring an extra pair; the same with contacts. Carry a copy of  your vision prescription.

— Prescription medications? Bring enough for the journey plus extra to cover travel  delays. Ask your physician for a listing of generic substitutes. If you need a refill, pharmacists will tend to supply generic drugs. 

— Carry a specifiedtravel credit cardissued from your bank. They are valid for a preset dollar amount. Use local ATM machines overseas to get extra currency. 

—- It is important to have travelers’ insurance which covers any emergency while on tour. (transportation to a hospital, medical care, air transport back home if needed). 

— Learn common language phrasesof the country you’re visiting. Greetings like (Thank you, Good day, Can you help me? Where is the train station?). The locals will appreciate your effort, especially shop keepers. Once you have their attention you can rely on mime or hand gestures. This often creates laughter and you’re no longer strangers.

— On a special diet?  Will those foods be available in the country you plan to visit?  

— Can you walk for 1-2 hours wearing comfortable shoes? If not, consider a train or cruise tour. 

— Are you comfortable traveling with at least 14 strangers? 40-60% of participants will be women. There will be a wide range of ethic backgrounds.

Join the baby boomers who plan to travel in the future. Put your mind at ease — touring companies have to be in compliance with current Covid protocols.

— To avoid a single supplement charge — be willing to share a room.

Many travelers tend to overpack. Take only one wheeled luggage and a small daypack. Roll your clothing to prevent wrinkles. Pack clothes that can be combined to create different outfits. 

Photocopyall important documents. 

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

Mark Twain

Time to respond to the spirit of adventure calling you

Believe me, — “You have enough information.” Trust this Senior Travel Guide!

Feel the anticipation! Acknowledge that mouth-watering excitement? Be inspired! Embark on the best chapter of your life.

Do you realize the powerful beauty of worldwide travel? You go forth as an ambassador for peace and understanding. When you communicate with people from other lands, you’ll discover a universal spirit. Are you ready for this? —- you’re about to become a legendary global person.

           Book that trip!      Bon voyage!