As the saying goes, traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. And as a senior, you’ve earned your time to travel. The world’s a beautiful place, and we all should see as much of it as we can in our lifetime.
Best of all, there are many benefits of travel for seniors. Add it to the list, among proper diet and exercise, of keys to a long and healthy life. You may travel simply for enjoyment or the desire to do something different, but along the way, you’ll relieve day-to-day stress, meet new people, broaden your horizons, and improve your outlook on life in general.
Benefits of Travel
Travel provides a path to a healthy aging process by contributing to a longer life and more satisfying retirement. The benefits of travel for seniors include improvements to your mental, physical and emotional health, which has been shown through extensive research. Studies have found that:
- Travel keeps seniors moving and active, often providing more opportunities to move than staying at home. Older adults who are more physically active have lower rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and many other diseases.
- Travel can increase confidence as senior travelers overcome fears and leave their comfort zone.
- According to Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D., ABPP, president and founder of the Brain Health Center, Inc., “Because it challenges the brain with new and different experiences and environments, travel is an important behavior that promotes brain health and builds brain resilience across the lifespan.”
- One study found that women who vacationed every six years or less had a significantly higher risk of developing a heart attack or coronary death compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.
- Another study showed that men who did not take an annual vacation had a 20% higher risk of death and 30% greater risk of death from heart disease.
- Travel offers social benefits too. It can help you deepen relationships with traveling companions and offers opportunities to meet new people as well.
It’s time to see the world. But where to go? While individual circumstances vary widely with regard to budget, interests and physical abilities, here are a few enticing destinations that are sure to spark your motivation to get packing.
For a unique experience that doesn’t require a passport, consider an Alaskan cruise. The word “epic” doesn’t do America’s wild playground justice. Take an excursion and paddle among the whales or hike as bald eagles soar above. Or just kick back and simply appreciate the chance to be surrounded by wilderness and perhaps spot some wildlife. This trip can be as active, or relaxing, as you’d like.
No matter where you are on the outdoorsy spectrum — from those who take in the Grand Canyon from up on the rim to those who paddle through it on a raft — the wonders of the U.S. national parks system are accessible to visitors with a range of interests and physical abilities. And for $80, Americans ages 62 and older can purchase a lifetime senior pass from the National Park Service. That’s an unbeatable option for seniors on a budget.
Central Europe’s Rivers
River cruises have become one of the hotter senior travel trends recently. They’re a great way for seniors to journey through scenic swathes of Germany, Austria and Hungary, via iconic waterways such as the Danube and the Rhine. Itineraries often string together up-close views of bankside castles, vineyards, storybook villages, and showstopping cities, including Vienna and Budapest.
If taking it easy is what you’re after, the Caribbean supplies an ideal setting, with its white sands, sky-blue waters, and perfect weather. Those who have trouble getting around might want to see the region via ocean cruise. All the major lines have worked to make their ships and excursions more accessible for all passengers (if you have specific needs, call ahead to let the cruise company know).
Miami Beach is a well-known senior-friendly travel destination and for good reason. It has plenty to offer retirees, including warmth, sunshine, beautiful stretches of sand and plenty of culture. Beyond the picturesque beachfront resorts, the city itself has a multitude of fantastic museums along with an abundance of shopping opportunities. The tropical oasis of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, one of the country’s very best, is nearby as well.
Travel With Others
For some seniors, traveling solo isn’t very enticing. If that includes you, consider joining a senior travel group. You can travel with other people your age, make new friends and create great memories. Here’s a few large, established national options.
ElderTreks is a travel company designed exclusively for the 50-and-older crowd. The travel groups consist of up to 16 people, and the locations are exotic with itineraries designed specifically with seniors in mind.
Road Scholar is designed for anyone 50 and older interested in traveling to learn. There are dozens of trip options that include everything from a night at the symphony to an afternoon at the baseball park. And you can choose a trip based on your activity level and ability.
Along with all the other benefits of travel for seniors, for those residing in a senior living community, traveling becomes even easier. Imagine not having to worry about home maintenance or upkeep while you’re away exploring the planet. Life Care Services® owns and operates senior living communities all across the country. To find a community near you (or even one you have to “travel” to), use our location tool.