The wanderlust gene knows no age limit, and for seniors who have been bitten by the travel bug, traveling can be an exciting way to spend their golden years.
Staying safe while globe-trotting comes with additional cautions for seniors. We spoke with Amanda Dunning, marketing manager for Elder Treks — a company that sets up exotic trips for people 50 years and older — about recommended safety tips to ensure healthy, happy adventuring.
Georgetown Home Care: How can seniors or their family members figure out what type of travel would be best?
Amanda Dunning: Start with the desire to travel, and picking a destination. Where have you always wanted to travel? Is there a place that has always been on your bucket list or has always interested you? Once you know where you want to go, it’s easier to find a tour or experience that would work for you. Think about things like does group travel suit me? Do I want to take a private tour? How long do I want (or can) to be away from home? What things are important to me — like standard of accommodations, cultural interactions, food, flexibility or scheduled activities? All of these questions will help you narrow down how you want to travel, if you haven’t already thought of these elements before.
GHC: What considerations should seniors take into account when traveling?
Dunning: All travelers need to be realistic and understand what is in store for them in a destination. Make sure to ask a lot of questions to determine what the heat will be like, how long the days are, how much walking is required, what the altitude is, etc. While it might be easy to walk 2 to 3 miles at home, at a higher elevation in the degree heat, it may be a bit more difficult.
The most important thing is to enjoy the experience, so it’s essential to understand what will work best for you. Speak to travel agents or the tour operator to determine any potential challenges and to make sure that you are well suited for the overall experience. This will go a long way toward making sure you come back from your trip raving about the experience!
GHC: What are some of the common myths about senior travel?
Dunning: I think one of the common myths about senior travel is that you can’t get out and explore beyond your own country. At Elder Treks, our mission is providing active adventures for travelers over 50 all over the world. We have trips that range from short walks to trekking adventures, all in small groups of less than 16. From Patagonia to Uganda to Croatia, we explore the world! There are options for traveling outside of big bus tours and outside of your own country.
GHC: What advice would you give to seniors about traveling? Any warnings?
Dunning: Keep exploring!
In terms of warnings, make sure to listen to your doctor’s advice. They know you and your history, and are a great resource to discuss your travel plans with.