According to the AARP, many seniors are planning to travel, with it topping the to-do list of most retirement-age people. According to medical studies, the benefits of traveling include healthier brains and hearts as well as lower rates of depression. A vacation is also a great way to boost your Facebook page or detach from it entirely!
But where do you go? Although the financial and physical abilities of seniors 65 and older are different, there are still many options available. Check out our list of the top 6 travel destinations for seniors.
*Make sure to check for any Covid-19 travel restrictions before booking your trip. Kayak.com has a great up-to-date interactive map of restricted travel by country.
U.S. National Parks
There are many ways to enjoy the wonders of the U.S. National Park System, for some this may be peering into the Grand Canyon from the rim, while for others it may be enjoying its beauty via a canoe. Most people over 65 may not want to climb El Capitan’s sheer rock face at Yosemite, but what about a guided nature walk with a ranger among the Yellowstone geysers?
A scenic drive through forests and wildflowers to see black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains? Americans over 62 can obtain the National Park Service lifetime senior card for a one-time fee of $80. This allows them to enjoy all of the natural beauty they desire.
The Caribbean is a great place to relax with its soft sands and blue waters. It also has a friendly climate, which makes for perfect flip-flop weather. Ocean cruises are a great way to explore the region for those with mobility issues. All major cruise lines have made their ships and excursions more accessible to all passengers.
If you have special needs, please call ahead to let them know. It is possible to take a cruise to Cuba, making it a once-in-a lifetime experience. Scootaround and Special Needs at Sea can help you rent mobility equipment or wheelchairs for your cruise.
Alaska is a clear example that you don’t need to travel to the United States in order to tick off your travel bucket list. The state’s incredible land-and-seascapes include huge glaciers, whales, grizzlies, and other wildlife. You don’t need to be a wilderness explorer to enjoy the best of Alaska. Alaskan cruises offer accessible accommodation for almost everyone and showcase coastal marvels as well as port cities like Sitka or Juneau.
This is one of our Top Places to Visit in 2018, thanks to its vibrant waterfront and growing food scene. Helicopter shore excursions and “flightseeing” offer breathtaking views of mountains, forests and wild waterways. A leisurely inland alternative to cruising is a ride aboard the Aurora Winter Train, which chugs through Christmas-card-worthy scenes between Anchorage and Fairbanks from fall through spring–which happens to coincide with primetime for seeing the Northern Lights.
The Rivers of Central Europe
Seniors can take a cruise to see beautiful European cities in Austria, Germany, and Hungary as they ride upon the idyllic waterways of the Danube and Rhine rivers. Itineraries that string together up-close views of bankside castles, vineyards, storybook villages, and showstopping cities including Vienna and Budapest allow for a more intimate experience and the ability to see numerous places on one trip.
The pace is easy, despite the many sights. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery as it scrolls by, like the most magnificent stage backdrops in the world. For those looking for more action, there are many options for tourists. These include wine tastings and opera performances. Many tours also offer bike rides, some with electric-assist bikes, for those who want to pedal harder on steep hills or through medieval streets.
We would wager that “African Safari” is on more vacation bucket lists than any other. It’s hard to resist the chance to see lions and elephants in their natural habitat. Older travelers with diminished physical abilities will be pleased to know that wildlife-viewing tours can be done in all-terrain vehicles, rather than on foot. This is also great news for those who don’t want to become tigers’ brunch.
It can be bumpy so make sure you choose a preserve with a good infrastructure for accommodating a variety of visitors. Kruger National Park in South Africa is a good choice. After you have spotted the Big 5, (lions, leopards, rhinos, Cape buffaloes, and elephants), you will be able to use the dollar-friendly exchange rate for adventures in South Africa’s other regions.
You can choose from vineyard tours, beach getaways, or the tram ride up Table Mountain in Cape Town. This once-in-a-lifetime trip might become the first of many repeat visits.
Travel the California’s Pacific Coast Highway
Road trips can be a great way to travel, especially if you are visiting a new place. It’s a must-do if you haven’t yet traveled Highway One along California’s coast. It’s one of the most beautiful drives in the country.
You can enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean from your hotel room, as well as the stretch of highway connecting San Simeon to Carmel, sometimes called the “Big Sur Coast”. You might consider driving further north towards San Francisco or Mendocino if the drive is too long. Travel & Leisure magazine has a great article mapping out what they call “The Perfect Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip”.
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