Senior-Friendly Travel Destinations
For anyone who loves traveling, the urge to see the world doesn’t disappear because of age. However, the older we get, the more difficult traveling can become. Although we’ve all heard the saying “the journey is more important than the destination,” this doesn’t necessarily ring true for senior travelers, who should take care when selecting travel destinations.
These popular travel destinations have all these senior-friendly considerations, and more.
Important Considerations for Senior Travel
When looking for a senior-friendly travel destination, the following are important considerations:
- Access to amenities
- Access to a doctor, if needed
- Accessibility for seniors with limited mobility
- English-speaking destinations (especially important should you need medical advice, prescriptions, etc…)
The United States
Many areas of the United States are popular destinations for seniors from around the world. But American seniors who can’t get out-of-country medical insurance or who simply aren’t interested in traveling abroad also travel extensively to senior-friendly spots like Florida, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Texas during the winter months. In addition to these popular (and well known) senior-friendly retirement and travel destinations, consider:
Scottsdale is a popular desert resort community that’s been designed with seniors in mind. The dry, warm climate is also home to mountains and lakes, which attracts older adults who love the outdoors. The area is accessible for seniors with mobility limitations and also offers golf, shopping and dining options.
Palm Springs and the surrounding area is a hot spot for senior travelers who go for the beautiful weather and scenery, as well as the area’s world famous luxury resorts, golf, shopping and dining.
Branson is the place to go if you enjoy country music and live theater. The golf courses in Branson are beautiful, and the area also has lots of accessible shopping and dining.
Charleston is a great option because older adults can get around easily via a tour bus. There is plenty to do and see in this town, especially if you’re a history buff (there are lots of American Revolution and Civil War points of interest). A great thing about South Carolina is that seniors have city amenities as well as beachfront vacation options (check out Kiawah Island, for example).
For Americans who want to travel, but not stray too far from home, or Canadian seniors who can’t get out-of-country medical insurance, Halifax, Montreal, and Victoria are popular destination spots. Here’s why:
Halifax, Nova Scotia
The east coast is a popular summer destination for Canadian seniors who are unable to leave the country, as well as for American seniors who are looking for an affordable summer escape that’s quiet and offers amazing ocean-views. Nova Scotia has one of the oldest aging populations in Canada, which means that the province offers the senior-friendly amenities and accessibility that are critical to a senior-friendly holiday destination. Seniors can enjoy touring the historic Halifax harbor, eating fresh lobster and seafood, and walk miles of pristine beaches.
Montreal is one of Canada’s most popular tourist spots (attracting 9 million visitors each year). Although parts of the city have cobblestone streets and the area itself is quite hilly, seniors with limited mobility can access wheelchair-accessible stations throughout the city, many which offer elevators. A number of the city’s popular tourist attractions are wheelchair friendly, including:
- Notre-Dame Basilica
- The Botanical Gardens
- The Fine Arts museum
With great restaurants and lots of accommodations to choose from, Montreal is a great destination for seniors, especially those who are Canada-bound and looking for a city with a European feel.
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is a great year-round destination spot for seniors, especially those who are waiting to begin an Alaskan cruise (it’s a popular port for cruise ships). Downtown Victoria is easy to walk around and wheel-chair accessible with interesting local shops and First Nations artisans. Popular attractions in Victoria include whale-watching on glass-bottom boats, as well as museums and historical spots.
For those who want to travel abroad, Europe is a great continent to explore because it has the amenities seniors need as well as accessible transportation options that provide access not just to major city centers, but also to the countryside. Moving from one European country to another is also possible and especially easy for seniors who are on a group tour.
It’s a great idea to stick to European countries where English is the primary language so that if anything goes wrong the language barrier won’t cause an added layer of difficulty. Countries like England, Scotland and Ireland are popular choices. These U.K. destinations all have accessible transportation and amazing historical and cultural landmarks to explore. Plus, all these countries have lots of coast line so that seniors can enjoy both city charms and a relaxed, coastal trip.
For seniors who are looking for more adventure, try one of the Greek islands. Greece has a reliable cab system, as well as infrastructure that make it easy to get around. The one caution is that English isn’t spoken everywhere, so language could become a barrier for senior travelers. While some Greek islands are aimed at younger travelers looking to party, there are some islands that have fewer crowds and noise, including Corfu, Santorini and Lesbos. These destinations offer a relaxed, calm atmosphere as well as waterfront accommodations, restaurants, and shopping.
While many ancient buildings in Europe aren’t accessible, Rome in Italy is an exception. Most of the attractions, hotels and restaurants are fully wheelchair accessible and the sidewalks around the city also have wheelchair ramps.
European River Cruising
European river cruising is geared towards seniors and offers a great way to see many European cities from the comfort of a cruise ship, which is comparable to a luxury hotel. River cruises are perfect for seniors with limited mobility because they offer views of Europe’s most popular destinations from the comfort of the deck.These ships are not as big as the huge ocean liner cruise ships that carry thousands of passengers. Instead, with most accommodating just over 100 people, a river cruise is an intimate and comfortable way to tour Europe.
Although traditional cruise ships are bigger than European river cruises, they are still a great way for seniors to travel, especially those looking to explore a number of destinations. Alaskan and Caribbean cruises are popular among seniors, and a number of cruise lines cater to older clientele (Holland America has accessible cabins, amenities, and transfers; and Silversea Cruises has a medical center on-board with a doctor and nurse, plus all accommodations are suites).
Ultimately, whether or not you choose one of the popular travel destinations mentioned here, it’s important that your choice is senior-friendly. Look for a destination that gives you access to the amenities you need, is mobility accessible, doesn’t provide language barriers and has access to reliable medical care, just in case you need it. When you ensure your travel plans are senior-friendly you’ll be able to spend more of your trip enjoying the adventure and less time worrying about the logistics.
What has been your favorite travel destination? Share your favorite destinations and travel considerations with us in the comments below.
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