One of the greatest gifts of retirement is the freedom to go where and when you want without needing to check someone else’s schedule — your time is your own. The only challenge is deciding what types of travel and recreation are right for you.
The benefits of retirement travel
Few activities engage all the senses the way travel does. From the sensory stimulation of new places, people, sights and languages, to the physical requirements of walking and climbing, travel exercises our minds and bodies while creating excitement and expectation about each day.
Group tours are perfect for senior travel. Not only are all the arrangements made by a coordinator (ideally), but the members of the tour will always be looked after and accounted for. What’s more, senior citizen discounts can help make tours great travel bargains.
Many tours are tailored specifically for seniors. Travel companies create itineraries and schedules according to the needs and interests of older travelers. Elder Expeditions, for instance, offers all kind of adventure for active seniors 50 and older. Odysseys Unlimited also caters to senior travel, creating trips for groups of 12 to 24. There are many other travel organizations that cater specifically to boomers, as well.
More discounts for seniors
AARP travel automatically searches for airlines and hotel rooms with a senior citizen discount. Many hotels and rental car companies offer senior bargains. But buyer beware: not all discount programs are what they appear to be, and some offer far deeper discounts than others. (In some cases, AAA discounts were found to be even better than AARP’s, so shop around.)
What to bring on a trip
Whether you’re heading to Panama City or Patagonia, there are certain things you should bring with you.
1) A wheeled suitcase or wheeled duffle bag
2) A daypack
3) Comfortable shoes
4) Personal toiletries, medication, glasses/contact lenses
5) Money belt or neck pouch
6) Rain jacket/poncho/umbrella
7) Travel alarm (your phone may have one)
8) Voltage converter and appropriate adapters, if traveling outside the U.S.
9) Maps/Guidebooks (or an electronic equivalent)
10) Back-up copies of tickets, passport and other important documents
Other kinds of recreation
You don’t need to leave town to have an adventure. There may be plenty of opportunities for recreation close to home. Most cities have senior groups and centers that plan all kinds of activities — crafts, dances, games — and day trips. Yoga, gardening, model railroads, and golf are all great ways to have fun and indulge favorite hobbies. Volunteer work is another great way to spend time in a worthwhile way — and meet new people, too.
Whether near home or abroad, travel and recreational activities are especially important for seniors. These activities build community and create something to enjoy and really look forward to. Take advantage of the many resources that will help transform your travel and recreation ideas into reality.
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