Whether it’s a bucket-list trip to visit the Eiffel Tower or a cross-country road trip to see family, seniors are traveling more than any generation before them.
But unfortunately, like many others across the nation—51 percent of seniors find booking travel to be difficult and oftentimes overwhelming. Below are our top tips to make reserving your next trip a breeze.
Be safe: Check amenities
The best part of a vacation is the mental and physical relaxation associated with the experience. To get a fuller picture of what to expect at your destination, you should read reviews by locals and tourists alike. Look for reviews about traveling to and from the hotel, local eateries and entertainment, and overall accessibility.
When planning your vacation destination, there are quite a few things you should keep in mind regarding amenities:
- Health care: Are you near health care facilities?
- Mobility: Is this site easily accessed?
- Location: Is everything you need close to you?
- Language: Is this an English-speaking country?
Interestingly, a CBS survey ranked Alaska, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Italy as the top vacation spots for seniors largely because of the amenities available. While the desired features will differ for everyone, this often-overlooked topic can make or break your next trip.
Have fun: Travel with family
According to the U.S. Census, by 2020 one in three adults in the U.S. will be a grandparent — meaning more trips with or to see the grandkids. This is especially true due to the fact that this group will be vastly more tech savvy and mobile than the previous generations before them.
Family travel offers the opportunity to make new memories with the ones you love the most, while maximizing your time together. For many people across the nation, their family is spread out among many states. By using a vacation as an excuse, you can get your family together in one place — especially if you choose an exciting location like the beach or the mountains.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a majority of seniors across the nation fund the entire trip for the whole family. This is a testament to the financial stability of this generation of seniors; the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that grandparents today have more money than previous generations and are more likely to financially support their family members.
Ultimately a meaningful family trip is being surrounded by the people you love. Whether it’s an exotic location or simply the grandkid’s house, family travel will be a huge trend for the foreseeable future.
Keep it simple: Consider a cruise
If you’re looking for an affordable and exciting option, a cruise may be a great alternative. Once you’re aboard, there is little additional expenses and incidents that you may face.
Cruises are also predictable. They offer all the amenities seniors need in one place, and require very minimal planning. The best part is, cruises are an easy way to cross off bucket-list destinations, such as Alaska or the Bahamas, without having to plan an entire travel itinerary.
If you don’t want to venture out to the open sea, river cruises are also a great option. Many parts of central Europe offer river cruises, such as along the Rhine river. From this cruise, you can visit the countryside of Germany, taste wine from the Netherlands, and get an entire European experience aboard one ship.
Hire help: Work with a professional
If you’re one of the more than half of seniors who find booking travel to be difficult, you may consider hiring a professional travel planner. A travel advisor can offer both personalized travel recommendations and arrange all the details for you. Or you can join 82 percent of baby boomers who are part of loyalty programs to help book your travels.
Another popular option is to join a travel club. Travel clubs are a great opportunity to save money and hassle when it comes to planning a vacation. These groups are also a great way to meet others in your area who have similar interests as you.
There are a variety of travel clubs to choose from, depending on your interests. If you like your vacations to be exploratory and bold, check out adventure clubs such as Elder Treks or ROW Adventures. If you want to vacation like a local, research the Global Greeter Network. Global Greeter Network offers a system of volunteers around the world that will show you around your travel destination for free, usually through a walking trip.
Stay protected: Travel Insurance
Lastly, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance if you don’t already have it. Medicare offers very limited services outside of the United States, but some Medicare Supplement plans do cover foreign travel.
Travel insurance can be bought directly through a booking agency, or added to your healthcare plan. The latter option is often much simpler, because you do not have to continually purchase it with each trip — instead you are covered any time you travel.
Travel insurance plans typically cover:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Canceled flights
- Trip refunds
- Lost luggage
What is covered depends on your exact plan, but what you know is covered is your peace of mind, wherever you are.
Travel should not end once you hit retirement. With these tips, you can plan safe, exciting trips for years to come.