Boomers On The Move: Travel Tips For The Over 50 Crowd
It may be a cliché, but the oft-heard observation that 50 is the new 30 certainly applies to travel. While being over 50 makes you a “senior citizen, it doesn’t necessarily put you in the “travel for the elderly” category that involves rocking chairs on the porch of luxury resorts or resting on cruise ship deck chairs with a blanket on your lap.
Today’s over 50 travelers are healthier, in better shape, more adventuresome and travel more often than previous generations. So-called elderly travel” category has morphed from the rocking chair into “getting out there,” as cruise commercials exhort. And let’s not forget that age hath its privileges and perks.
Discounts and Perks
Many travel providers cater to seniors because they know that the over 50 set tends to have a lot of leisure and disposable income. A plethora of senior discounts, perks and deals are available if you know where to find them Start with an internet search for “senior travel discounts.” Beyond that, check the web sites of your preferred hotels and the attractions that interest you to see what perks and pricing are available. Some travel discounts are available at age 50 while others are offered to those over 60, 62, 65 or even 70.
While you are on the web, shop carefully. Some senior discounts are truly discounts but some are just marketing ploys that might cost more than the lowest available rate, especially when it comes to airlines.
Senior airfare discounts are not common anymore, but some do exist or offer fewer travel restrictions rather than a price break. Check airline web sites or call their reservations lines to check what’s available before you make reservations. And be sure to ask if the senior fare is the lowest available. Sometimes it is not.
Amtrak plays fewer fare games than airlines and offers senior discounts of 10%-15% off the lowest fare.
If you can’t find senior discounts, ask anyway. Many resorts, hotels, restaurants, tour operators and travel providers offer special discounts for older travelers even though they don’t advertise them heavily.
If you are not an AARP member, you should be. It’s easy to recover your $16 per year membership and more with just one discount on a hotel, rental car or tour. Check http://discounts.aarp.org/travel/.
Cruises (ocean or river) are popular with seniors because, in essence, the trip is the vacation. Your hotel and restaurant, entertainment and amenities are on board and shore excursions are an added highlight.
If you have a choice of land conveyance, the train is usually a far better choice than car or bus, especially in Europe or parts of Asia where modern, dependable and comfortable trains are the norm. For European train travel, compare the price of a Eurail pass versus individual fares for the trip you have planned. Sometimes, one or the other makes more sense.
Pick Your Destination Carefully
Some highly-advertised destination, tours and cruises target young people and/or young families. Unless you’re traveling with the kids and grandkids, they might not be for you. If you want a relaxing trip without hordes of kids, loud music and wild partying seek out cruises, hotels or destinations that promote quieter options for the same destinations.
While enjoyable travel should not be a pentathlon or endurance test (except for the ultra-adventurous), mobility and fitness can be issues for over 50 travelers.
If you’re disabled, you don’t have to stay home. Just plan carefully. Check to be sure that conveyances you will use and places you will stay can accommodate wheelchairs, walkers or other mobility aids. Know both your legal rights and the conditions you can expect. If you check in advance with your tour provider or conveyance operator, most are happy to accommodate you.
Fitness is frequently an issue even if you are not mobility-restricted. It is always a good idea to maintain a level of fitness that will allow you at least to get on and off trains, buses and boats and walk a short distances, climb stairs or moderate hills since travel frequently require us to be able to do so to fully enjoy the trip.
Use good sense in picking a destination and expected activity level that is appropriate for your fitness level. Strenuous hiking and cross-country cycling require far more fitness than leisurely strolls and window shopping in picturesque town centers.
In general, while traveling, drink plenty of fluids, get up and walk around the cabin on long airline or train trips and avoid foods that you know you wouldn’t eat at home.
Simply Smart Travel Tips