The thought of exploring the world after retirement got you through many a day at work, but now that you’ve retired, you find that you’re hesitant to follow that dream. Some seniors skip their travel plans because they aren’t sure if they will be safe or if they can even afford to go on a trip. The short and simple answer to this is that travel is accessible to everyone with a bit of planning and preparation. The tips in this guide will help you to harness your dreams of seeing the world, including the different travel opportunities out there, how to stay safe, and the best ways to prepare for your upcoming trip.
Enjoy your retirement goal of being able to travel around the world safely and easily by following these tips to get the most out of your journeys.
This guide will give you the tools that you need to get out and explore the world as a senior. Everything that you may be worried about when it comes to trekking across the country or even around the world is covered to give you a good starting point. The world is a big place and there is plenty to see and do. There are health benefits to traveling that you shouldn’t miss out on, in addition to the pure fun of simply going on an adventure. Let’s get started with learning everything you need to get the most out of your vacations.
Traveling isn’t just something that is fun for seniors; it can offer some great health benefits as well.
You’ve always wanted to travel, but haven’t found a good reason to start booking your trip yet. Now you’ve got a great reason: health benefits. Traveling and the activities that come along with it promote positive social, mental, and physical well-being. When traveling with a tour group or alone, it is not uncommon to meet new people. Socializing promotes a great deal of health benefits like reducing blood pressure, minimizing the chance of mental health issues, and decreasing the risk of several conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers, cardiovascular problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis.
The new experiences that unfold while you travel help to reinforce your cognitive health. Your brain gets a boost when you explore a new area, as you are often challenging yourself when trying to get around a new town or visiting a museum. Your physical health will also see a positive impact since traveling itself can be physically demanding. There’s a lot of walking involved in sightseeing, carrying luggage, and other physical activities. If you’re not physically up to a very demanding journey, that’s okay. Trips can be customized to your personal needs, and you shouldn’t let any health problems stop you from traveling as long as your doctor thinks that it would be good for you. See the Safety Tips Section (VI) to learn more about getting the most out of a visit to your doctor before leaving for your excursion.
Know the different travel opportunities open to seniors that have been specifically formulated to your age group and physical abilities. Pre-planned vacations are excellent for seniors that just want to see the world without the hassle that comes from handling travel plans on their own.
The Sunshine Travel Program offers exciting travel opportunities that you can take advantage of through your retirement community. It opens the door for you to visit all of their communities in 16 different cities, in seven different states. As such, you get the chance to enjoy the different scenery while staying in a community that offers all the same comforts of home. This can be a great starting point if you want to travel but are looking to keep your regular routine.
You can arrange to visit the guest suite at another one of Sunshine communities for a total of seven nights. While staying in the guest suite, you receive three complimentary meals a day along with free transportation to the different sights and areas around town. It is your very own all-inclusive vacation that lets you get away, all while still having the comfort of being in the retirement community.
Perhaps you’ve already visited all of the locations in each of the different states offered through the Sunshine Travel Program. Another option for your travels is visiting a senior-friendly resort. These resorts often have amenities that are attractive to seniors, such as doctors on call and senior-orientated activities. Many of these resorts are also all-inclusive, which means you won’t have to worry about over-spending for food and other costs. You may still want to bring money for souvenirs and other odds and ends, but your food and many activities are already provided for when choosing this type of resort to stay at for your trip.
There are a number of these senior-friendly resorts that can be found in a variety of places. For instance, there’s a number that can be found in the Caribbean. With a little research, one of these resorts can make your next journey to a tropical paradise exciting, safe, and fun.
Senior tour groups are another great option when you’re looking to travel. They can be great for making new friends and seeing new places. During your vacation with your tour group, you’ll often have plenty of time to sight-see, shop, and explore without having to plan your trip yourself. Tour groups can really take the hassle out of traveling since your itinerary will already be packed with the best things to do in the area you’re visiting. Additionally, you can pick groups that have a particular theme, such as spirituality or wellness.
There are a large number of trip types that you can choose from for your journey, and this variety can be great for keeping your vacations interesting. Be creative when thinking about what type of trip you want to take. There are cruises, train trips, bus trips, day trips, trips that involve renting a recreational vehicle, and more. There are some vacation plans where you may stay on a cruise ship for several days before riding a train. The options are endless.
You should be willing to think outside of the box. For instance, many people think about cruises as being only on the ocean around the Caribbean or Alaska, but there are other options that don’t include the ocean. Traveling the Great Lakes region on a cruise probably isn’t something you’ve ever thought of doing, but it can be a lot of fun. There are also cruise options for many of the large river and lake systems that you can check out.
A plus side to these cruises is that they often cost less than their oceanic counterparts. Another option that you might not be thinking about would be a volunteer vacation. You can visit a great destination and then leave your mark there by offering some of your time to make the area better, be it by helping to build a school or tutoring some students in English.
The final note on your traveling options is location. The world is your oyster, and there are a lot of different places you can visit for fun and relaxation. You can stay inside of the United States with your traveling plans or see the world. Have fun picking the different places you want to see. Researching your final destination – especially when visiting outside of the United States – is a good preparatory step and will be explored in further detail in Section VI.
One of the reasons why you might think twice about traveling is your safety. Perhaps surprisingly however, traveling can be extremely safe when following these tips:
The buddy system may seem like something that only school children should be considering on field trips, but it can be a great tool to keep you safe on your trek around the world. Being alone while you travel can make you vulnerable. This may come in the form of someone at the destination taking advantage of you in a criminal way, or an accident happening to you without someone there to help. You should consider traveling with at least one other person for your trip, especially if you’re considering leaving the United States. A tour group can be a great option if you don’t have anyone else that you can currently travel with in your life.
The next thing that you want to think about when it comes to your safety is your valuables. What do you want to keep with you during your trip, and what do you want to leave at home? The safest thing that you could do would be to leave all of your valuables at home. All of your jewelry, expensive cameras, handbags, and other items that would leave you open to the possibility of theft should be left behind.
The problem with this is that you probably want to keep your camera with you at the very least, along with some other items of value like your wedding band. Try to switch up your jewelry with less expensive versions while traveling. For instance, you may not want to wear the watch that was your retirement gift because of how much it is worth, so wear something that is easily replaceable if it breaks or is stolen.
You may also want to invest in anti-theft items that can help you to keep your valuables safe. For instance, store your money and documentation like your passport in a money belt that is hidden underneath your clothing. You should never leave your valuable items unattended. Secure your luggage and electronic items, even in your hotel room. Often, hotels will have a safe in the closet or behind the front desk where you can place your valuable items to keep them safe while your room is being cleaned.
You may think that since the cleaning staff are vetted your items will be fine in the room, but that might not always be the case. How often have you seen a cleaning person open up a room and then step away to give another guest a towel or something else off of their cart? Stay safe and keep your items locked up.
You’ll want to remain aware of your surroundings during your trip. It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of visiting a new place; the culture and the sights can be very distracting. Add in the fact that you may be tired from the journey itself with jet-lag or from seeing so many different new things in one day, and it’s easy not to pay attention to what is happening around you. However, it should be something that you remind yourself of often during your trip.
Look at other people and pay attention to the area that you are in as you travel. Being alert can help you not to be a target for criminals as they are going to want to try to victimize someone that is not paying attention, and can help you to remember details in case something does happen.
The great thing about people knowing the dangers of traveling is that there are plenty of resources available to help you to stay safe. Some general tips include things like letting other people know where you are traveling, scanning your travel documents in case they are lost or stolen, hiding money in different spots around your person to ensure that a criminal is unable to take everything you have, and investing in travel insurance. You should also be wary of giving out personal information, letting others assist you with your luggage, and being outside at night.
Knowing what to pack, and what not to, is half of the battle when traveling. These tips will help you when it comes time to leave. You don’t want to bring along too many items or not enough, and finding that balance can be a bit tricky.
Clothing is probably going to make up the majority of the things that you take with you. For some people, they often take too much with them. It is not uncommon for travelers to end up not using everything that they packed, so are just lugging around heavier bags than they needed to carry because of this fact. Try to pack as light as possible. You’ll want to research the area you’re visiting to learn about what type of weather you can expect during your time there as a guide to help you pack.
You shouldn’t pack based on having a full outfit for every possible type of weather you may encounter. There is nothing wrong with packing layers, but bring along a few essentials that will work with a variety of the outfits that you’re bringing. If something doesn’t work with more than one outfit, leave it at home. The places that you visit will most likely have some laundry facilities that you can use during your stay, so you should always be thinking light when packing your bags.
Along with clothing, there are some other essentials that you need to pack for your trip. Think about all of the things that you definitely can’t live without and go from there. You should be sure to bring along comfortable shoes – especially if you’re planning on walking a great deal.
Sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, rain gear, cameras, medications, documents, extra prescription glasses, extra hearing aid batteries, and snacks are all things you should consider taking along with you. Things like sunscreen might seem like something you don’t need to pack as you can pick it up at your destination, but the cost may be higher when traveling.
When it comes to remembering all of your clothing and essentials, a checklist can be a great idea. There are some available online that you can use before your trip to help you create your very own checklist that you personalize with what you need to take. You’d be surprised at how many things you might have missed when packing for your trip without checking out these online lists. Simply print out your very own list right before your trip, and mark everything off that you’ve packed. This will help you decide which last-minute items you need to pick up, and ensure that nothing gets left behind.
Packing is just one aspect of your travel preparation, but there are a few more things you need to think about before leaving for your trip that can be just as important as what you take with you.
Anyone visiting another country needs to visit their doctor for necessary vaccinations or medication refills. However, this is especially important for seniors. You’ll need to give your doctor some basic information about your trip. They need to know where you’ll be traveling, how long you will be there, what plans you have for during your trip, and also your current health situation if they aren’t your normal doctor. This will help them to determine whether you need any immunizations or if they need to inform you about any health risks. Plus, you may be giving yourself more limits than you actually need, and your doctor can help you with setting the proper limits. This can help you to better plan a safe and fun vacation.
Your research before leaving for your trip can be vital to how much fun you’re going to have during your journey – no matter where you are going. This will help you learn about the customs of where you are going, if there are any travel warnings about your final destination, the weather that you can expect to experience, and what different places you want to visit while there. Not doing enough research in advance can mean that your trip doesn’t go as well as it could have. Some places you’ll want to explore for more information includes tour books, travel review websites, forums where others talk about their prior experiences, and even friends and family that have traveled to where you are going on your trip.
Travel insurance is a great option to use for your vacations. This insurance is good for a wide variety of things on your trip from, reimbursement for lost luggage to getting your money back if you fall ill in the middle of the trip and have to cancel the rest of it.
When looking at the types of travel insurance available, you’ll want to read the fine print. Compare and contrast the different travel insurance options on the market to learn which one will offer the coverage that you need. Finally, be sure to bring along your travel insurance information with you on your trip so you’ll have all your information at your fingertips if a claim is necessary.
Last-minute shopping can be a given for most people when making travel plans. There’s always those few things you forgot to pick up when you did the bulk of your shopping. The checklist you prepared thanks to help from Section V can come in handy here, pointing out what you may have missed. This may be picking up your medication refills that will cover you throughout your whole trip or going to the bank for foreign currency and traveler’s checks.
A final go-through is always a good idea as you may think you’ve packed that new novel you picked up for your beach read only to find it stayed in the shopping bag. You’ll be thankful that you carried out this last-minute trip preparation step when you find that you didn’t include one essential or another.
Planning out your budget in advance will help with determining all of your upcoming vacation details as it lets you know how much you have to play around with for your trip. Don’t worry if you think that you can’t afford a lot of things when you travel, as there are lots of tips on how to save money while on vacation.
Creating a travel budget can be hard if you’re not sure where to start. One of the best tools to try out is a calculator that will help you determine how much you need for your trip. This can help you come up with a ballpark figure that you can narrow down to a firmer budget as you start pricing the different things that you want to do. For instance, once you book your hotel, you’ll have a firm idea of how much that will cost, and if it’s an all-inclusive hotel, you can reduce the amount of money you need to budget for meals and activities.
You may still want to keep a small portion of your budget for these things as you might want to eat off of the resort or do an activity that is not covered. You will also want to be flexible with your budget in case the costs are a little higher than expected.
Having a small budget doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to travel once you retire. The travel options through Sunshine are a great starting point when you are on a tighter budget, but there are other trips that you can take thanks to smart shopping. For instance, you can travel to areas that have been in the news in the past for negative reasons.
One couple visited China a few years after the SARS outbreak because it wasn’t as popular a destination even though they learned that the risk was no longer an issue. This saved them money on their trip. Family-operated businesses can also help with saving money as well as staying away from tourist traps. You can even try traveling off-season so you’re not paying peak prices. Finding ways to be thrifty even if you don’t have budget problems means that you’ll be able to take more trips or do more activities on your trips.
Traveling was probably one of your plans once you retired, but now you’re a bit nervous about leaving the security of your community. That’s perfectly normal and expected considering what is often seen on the news, but following these tips will help you have the vacation of your dreams.
By following this guide, you’ll be able to have safe and easy journeys as a senior that will be fun and relaxing. You can stay closer to home by utilizing the excellent traveling program offered by Sunshine or see the world – the choice is yours. The sky’s the limit when it comes to where and what you can do while traveling. Please don’t let the few reservations that you have about going on an adventure stop you, since most of the things you’re worried about can be counteracted by following these tips. Do your research and get ready for a great time. Happy travels!
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living