Those who have reached retirement age and are not ready to be put out to pasture are looking for new adventures. Their kids are gone and they have more freedom. Senior travel is a huge industry and will continue once things get back to normal again.
Are you ready to check off your bucket list?
Planning and coordinating all the elements that go into senior travel can be confusing and most of us want to get the best price so we don’t waste the money we need to live in retirement.
Mature travelers have a world to explore
As we get older the way we travel may change. And, although some of us are still walking the Camino, seeking adventure in unknown territory, or living the hostel life, others may want to take it easy and enjoy more luxury.
Once cruising opens up again river cruise ships are a much safer and easier way for senior travelers to enjoy cruising.
It’s so fun to be dropped off for the day in a quaint little medieval town and be able to meet the people and experience their culture. Then, you’re back on board for dinner and a relaxing float down rivers strewn with castles and other beautiful landmarks.
I also love venturing throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. There’s always something fascinating to see and learn about. To tell the truth, anywhere in the world would be fascinating to me and I plan to explore much more of it. I may have to win the lottery to do it, but that’s another story.
And don’t forget traveling in your hometown
Sometimes life gets complicated and you can’t always dash out of town whenever you want. When I’m not abroad or out of state, I love to explore my hometown of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. LA and all of California is sort of like a country unto itself. I love our state’s cultural diversity and, of course, our beautiful weather.
Senior Discounts for Travel and More!
We may not like to think of ourselves as old, but the senior travel discounts we qualify for are awesome! Affinity Groups, like, AAA, Senior’s Coalition, AARP, Veterans Organizations, Alumni Groups, etc. offer tremendous saving opportunities for seniors. If you’re not part of an affinity group like those I’ve listed, think about joining one.
Become an AAA member – I’ve been a member of the Automobile Club since 1949, which is actually before I was born. (I inherited my parent’s account) I don’t know how many times it has saved me when I got a flat tire, ran out of gas, or needed a tow. It’s also one of the best places to plan a trip to anywhere in the world.
Earn points to save money for your next vacation
- Points.com – It gets frustrating when you join a bunch of programs to earn travel points and then have to keep track of all of them. Points.com is one of the best travel resources out there that makes it possible to have one place and one password for all your programs. Your points are automatically updated and can be viewed on one dashboard. Trade and exchange your points or buy and gift miles. As a senior, this is one of the best ways to make travel affordable.
- Best Frequent Flyer Programs – I found this article by Wallet Hub to be interesting and informative.
Roadtripping in an RV
- Senior travel is taking to the road. It’s a huge trend right now. RVShare is a great way to rent an RV that will give you the comforts of home. You can explore state parks, take a cross-country road trip, go camping, or use it for a special event. They make the whole process easy, fun, simple, and totally COVID safe! The average RVShare renter will save 57% on vacation costs compared to other means of travel. Rent an RV here.
The best online travel products for booking hotels and more
It’s always a good idea to have a travel agent make your arrangements and give you recommendations but you may also want to check with these online travel resources to make sure you’re getting the best price. Always check to see if you qualify for a senior travel discount.
- Trip Advisor – Before you go anywhere visit Trip Advisor to find reader reviews on hotels, restaurants, and activities. I never go anywhere without consulting it. And now, you can also book amazing deals on hotel reservations and flights. You’ll find ideas and tips for activities, restaurants, tours, and more all over the world.
- Agoda.com is excellent for booking hotels, flights, rental homes, and car rentals, especially in Asia. It’s based in Singapore. If you’re traveling to an Asian destination, you can’t beat it for the best hotel deals and vacation rentals in that area of the world. You can also find excellent prices for travel in Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.
- Booking.com – This site does it all and is one of the most popular sites to book a trip. You can also get great deals on flights.
How to find the best deals on flights
These search engines are tops for booking flights. Why spend more for an airline ticket than you need to? Save money to enjoy your vacation instead. You may want to give several of them a try to find the best rates.
- Skyscanner – This travel search engine uses a unique technology that connects to hundreds of airline, hotel, or car rental sites to give you the lowest prices out there. They also have a free and easy to use a smartphone app.
- Trip Advisor – Get some of the best deals on flights on this amazing site.
- Agoda.com – Use this search engine especially if you are booking flights to Southeast Asia. It’s a top search engine.
- Momondo always comes up as one of the top flight search and travel engines. Frommer’s ranks it in the top 3. Open Up the World to Yourself and Yourself to Other Cultures. Momondo Flights.
- Kayak – under the same umbrella as Booking.com and Agoda, is also a good choice to look for flights as well as hotels and cruises. Find the Best Deals on Flights with KAYAK
- CheapOair – You may be able to find last-minute International travel but this flight search engine doesn’t perform as well domestically.
- Expedia – Although it’s come down in the ranks as far as best deals on booking flights it’s a trusted and well-known search engine.
Take a cruise – you know you deserve it
As I mentioned before, I love cruising and it’s one of the easiest, most luxurious, and most popular way for seniors to travel. That’s because you are essentially traveling in a floating hotel that takes you from one stop to the other, usually while you sleep.
Because of the pandemic, cruise ship lines are implementing strict health protocols which will make senior travel safer once the vaccine has been deployed.
- Cruise Direct – Cruise Direct has some of the best discounts for cruise destinations all over the world. The major cruise lines they cover include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. You can even book last-minute cruises at the best prices.
Direct booking for hotels
There’s nothing worse on a trip then staying at a substandard hotel or vacation rental. Since it’s where you’re going to be spending time to rest up in between adventures you want to make sure it’s comfortable, convenient and safe.
The hotel travel sites below have a wide variety of options that will fit your budget whether you’re watching every penny or you want a deluxe experience.
- Hilton Hotels, include Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, Doubletree, Tapestry Collection, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home 2. They all offer outstanding rooms and services throughout the world. You can join Hilton Honors and earn points for future visits. If you’re an AARP member you’ll receive a 10% discount.
- Best Western Hotels – I’ve always had good luck with Best Western Hotels in the United States and have stayed in them many times. Their rooms are affordable if you’re on a budget and well-maintained. Best Western offers Senior Discounts so make sure to ask for it when you book your reservation.
- Wyndham Hotels and Resorts – You can find Wyndham Hotels and Resorts throughout the world and earn Wyndham Rewards each time you stay there. Don’t forget to ask for your 10% Senior Discount through AARP or AAA.
- Motel 6 – Motel 6 also offers Senior Discounts. It’s known for its “no-frills” affordable rooms if you don’t want to spend all your cash on hotels along the way. You may want to check reviews before booking as some are better than others.
- Radisson – Radisson hotels are available worldwide and are known for their outstanding service and properties. If you join Club Carlson, you can earn points to stay at Radisson Blu, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM.
- Extended Stay America – With over 625 hotels across the U.S., Extended Stay America offers affordable suites that don’t feel cramped as well as fully-equipped kitchens, Free GRAB-and-go breakfast, on-site laundry, and other amenities. It’s perfect if you are staying for a long period of time as they have weekly, biweekly, and monthly rates.
- Sandals and Beaches Resorts – Enjoy a luxury inclusive vacation in the Caribbean where you never have to worry about tipping, where to eat, or what beach to go to. It’s all there in one place. They are perfect venues for weddings, romantic holidays, and some are designed for the entire family.
- VRBO – This company is part of the HomeAway family, the world’s leading online marketplace for the vacation rental industry with sites representing over 1 million paid listings of vacation rentals in 190 countries. It’s also a part of the Expedia, Inc. family of brands. Through VRBO, owners and property managers offer an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, including more room to relax and added privacy, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodation.
- Homes & Villas by Marriot International – This is is a global home rental company featuring a curated selection of premium and luxury home rentals cared for by a select group of professional property management companies. With thousands of homes across more than 250 destinations, Homes & Villas offers guests the space of an entire home through a trusted travel brand and the very best in loyalty benefits.
- Groupon Getaways – Want a quick getaway that is affordable and fun? Make sure to check with Groupon Getaways to find the perfect weekend trip or amazing vacation package deal.
- Living Social Vacation and Flight Packages – Groupon and Living Social are under the same umbrella. Find great deals on vacations and flights by checking on Living Social. You may be surprised at what you come up with.
Clear security fast
- CLEAR is touchless. You are unstoppable. No crowds, no waiting, keep moving through airports, sports stadiums, and more. CLEAR transforms your biometrics – your unique eyes and face – into a single touchless ID, so you can quickly get through airports, sports stadiums, and other venues. In CLEAR’s dedicated Lanes, you’ll avoid contact and crowds, and feel safer. In airports and other venues nationwide, CLEAR helps you travel safely with a fast, touchless experience – every time. Enjoy a 2-month free trial and keep moving forward. Code: 2FREE
Check your documents
- iVisa – Find out what Visas and other documents are required to enter a country you are traveling to. Don’t be caught by surprise. Use the form below to get information.
Restaurant deals to save money eating out
A senior who likes to travel can save money on dining and meals by taking advantage of coupons. There are great deals everywhere you go if you plan ahead. Many establishments offer early dining specials to seniors too.
- Restaurants.com – Save on over 62,000 restaurants all over the United States. Find discounts, deals, and coupons for your favorite dining spots or give someone the gift of a night out on the town.
- Groupon and Living Social – Both sites will help you find great deals on local restaurants as well as culinary events, and other fun events. Discover deals in your hometown or the city you’re visiting.
Ground transportation – to get you to your destination affordably and fast
Unless you are staying at an inclusive resort where you never leave the property, you’ll need to get from place to place. You can always rent a car or take advantage of trains, buses, or tours to get you where you want to go.
- Rail Europe – It’s your one-stop-shop for train travel in the old country. Enjoy the view and get to your destination fast. We loved taking trains throughout Spain, Italy, and Poland. It’s comfortable, efficient, and safe.
- Sixt Car Rentals – We rented with Sixt when we were in Italy and it was a pleasant experience. It’s affordable and reliable with wonderful customer service.
- Hertz Rental Cars – Hertz commercials have been on the airwaves ever since we were young. They’ve around forever. When I booked one of their cars to visit Pala Casino from Los Angeles I had unlimited mileage and used my AAA discount. Not only was it affordable but I loved my car.
- Auto Europe – This site offers the best auto rates in Europe. It’s been around for 60-years and has partnerships with all the most reputable car rental companies. If you find a lower car rate, they will lower their rates to beat the price. They also have a 24/7 service hotline – available from pick-up to drop-off and over 20,000 convenient pickup/dropoff locations throughout Europe.
- Big Bus Tour – I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Big Bus Tour we took in London. It’s the best way to get around the city. And what’s cool is that there are Big Buses throughout the U.S. and the world. Their Hop on Hop off buses are guided tours (sometimes live) that highlight points of interest but are entertaining and informative as well.
- Zipcar – This is a very cool car-sharing service and is part of the Avis-Budget family of rental cars. Reserve a car billed by the minute, hour, or day or purchase a monthly or annual membership. Then you can pick up the car at various locations where they are available. This is perfect if you only drive once in a while and don’t want to deal with the hassle of owning and maintaining your own car. AARP discounts are available. Zipcar is the world’s leading car-sharing network with more than 1 million members and over 10,000 vehicles in urban cities and college campuses throughout the U.S.A, Austria, Canada, France, Spain, Turkey, and the U.K.
Guided tours, sightseeing, and fun activities
I love going on tours whenever I’m in a new city but you want to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate tour operator. There are some tours specially designed for senior travel that will make your experience all the more fun.
- Viator – This online booking site offers tours, sightseeing excursions, activities, and special events. It’s affiliated with TripAdvisor and is based on best reviews with over 60,000 things to do.
- Sightseeing Pass – When you purchase a Sightseeing Pass you’ll find it’s an exciting and efficient way to visit new cities and save lots of money. The pass includes many of the city’s best attractions, hop-on, hop-off bus tours, cruises and will provide you with exclusive dining options.
- 365 Tickets – Buy e-tickets to more than 2000 Visitor Attractions and Theme Parks worldwide. 365 Tickets is built on the latest technology and sells directly with no middleman. You’ll find money-saving packages to get into all sorts of fun things to do in the city you are visiting.
- Tours by Locals – I’ve always found that some of the best tours are given by local residents. Tours by Locals provides private and customized tours by tour guides who live in and know the area you are visiting. They have 3468 Guides in 156 Countries all over the world. You can also use local guides as a more personal alternative to cruise line shore excursions. All you have to do is enter your cruise line, ship and, date to hook up with a guide the moment your ship arrives at a port.
Travel insurance is a MUST especially if you’re over 50
Purchasing travel insurance should be based on your individual needs and is essential to have if you are a Baby Boomer or senior traveler. Make sure the policy you buy will handle chronic or sudden medical conditions that may occur while you’re on a trip.
Even if you are perfectly healthy something could happen that you didn’t expect. Make sure to use travel insurance companies that are age-sensitive.
- AXA Travel Insurance – One factor that’s important to take into consideration when purchasing travel insurance as a senior traveler is the availability of a Pre-Existing condition waiver. AXA offers one for all of its members up to the age of 100 years old. However, members must purchase a policy with AXA within 14 days of making their first booking to qualify for it. Their prices are competitive and they offer the same benefits for people age 0 – 100. You can set up direct billing with hospitals abroad and they have a medical team on staff 24/7.
- Travelex Travel Insurance – This company provides travel and trip insurance and is known as one of the best for multi-generational family travel. Travelex makes it their priority to ensure you have the best vacation possible. Children under 21 are insured at no additional cost and they provide coverage for emergency medical evacuations. Other products include expedited passport services and international driving permits. Travel Safely with Travel America
- Travel Guard Insurance – We’ve used Travel Guard several times and it was always an excellent experience. It’s also one of the most highly rated for senior travel. They offer coverage for unexpected medical expenses while you’re on your trip. You can also track your luggage using their Bag Trak® service. Trip cancellation coverage is standard and there is coverage available for preexisting conditions. Take advantage of the My Travel Guard feature which lets you build your own plan, specifically for your individual needs. Check out their Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver – With the waiver, it’s possible to be covered for some medical issues on your trip, despite your pre-existing condition.
- World Nomad’s Travel Insurance – This travel insurance company is often recommended by top travel bloggers. It works especially well for adventure travelers.
There’s no reason you can’t look amazing when you travel but to save trouble packing you’ll want to find clothes that are travel-friendly and wrinkle-free.
- Herschel Supply Company – This company is based in Vancouver, Canada, and is a design-driven travel-oriented brand that is known for its precise detail. They offer travel products such as backpacks, crossbodies, athletic wear, insulated jackets, outerwear, luggage, and activewear apparel and accessories.
Luggage brands and travel accessories
I believe in traveling as light as possible so you don’t find yourself hauling heavy luggage around. No one wants to get hurt or feel achy when they travel and this is especially true if you’re older.
- Chester – Carry-on luggage is made with some of the strongest and sleekest materials you can find. If you’re looking for a super functional carry-on bag take a look at the Minima Carry-on21.5″ x 13.5″ by 8.5.” It’s TSA and cabin approved with silent 360 multi-directional wheels and an Aerospace-grade polycarbonate hard shell. 7lbs.
- eBags – Find a wide array of top brand travel products that include luggage, purses, and backpacks at affordable prices. eBags has a huge selection of travel-related products at the best prices I’ve found.
- Eagle Creek – This is a one-stop-shop for travel gear, packing supplies, accessories, luggage, backpacks, RFID, travel comfort items, and other travel products.
- Zappos Travel Page – This is new! Zappos, which is known mostly for its shoes, now has a page dedicated to travel products that include clothing, shoes, accessories and more. And, of course, you always want to wear comfortable shoes when you travel especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking on your trip. You’ll find just about every brand you can think of on their website.
- baggallini – I LOVE their RFID protected handbags, backpacks, laptop bags, rolling bags, and accessories. All of their items are sturdy, easy to wash, and will keep your important documents and money safe from pickpockets and thieves.
- TRTL Super Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow – This awesome and super-soft pillow is scientifically designed so it won’t shove your neck forward. Plus, you can wrap it on either side of your neck. If you want to get some shut-eye on a long flight, you will adore this pillow.
Learn a language
- Babbel – The Smart Way to Learn a New Language! – Effective and easy, Babbel is a subscription-based and comprehensive learning system that combines effective education methods with state-of-the-art technology.
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