3 Ideal Vacations for Seniors

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Summary: Vacations for both seniors and the elderly can be immersive and rewarding if you plan ahead and choose well.

Traveling only gets better with age. Without the pressures of scheduling time off work or working around your kids’ school schedules, vacations can be what they’re meant to be: relaxing, enriching and truly enjoyable experiences.

According to recent statistics, seniors are increasingly embracing travel as a way to stay active, engaged and fulfilled. A 2024 AARP travel trends report found that “a majority of adults (64%) age 50-plus are making leisure trips their priority, with 29% looking to “seek unusual or off-the-beaten-path destinations.”

The same survey pointed to more than 1 in 10 travelers 50 and older needing accommodation for a disability. The primary disability was issues with mobility (78%).

With this in mind, let’s explore three ideal vacations for seniors that offer a stress-free blend of adventure, relaxation and accessibility.

Best vacations for seniors

Here are some of our favorite vacation trips for seniors:

1. Cruise the open sea

Whether it’s sailing across oceans to different countries or a long weekend trip down a river, a cruise can make the perfect vacation. Most reputed cruise companies go all out to make the experience enjoyable for every passenger and take care of every detail. From wallet-friendly options, plenty of scheduled activities and facilities to suit people of all abilities, cruises make an ideal vacation for seniors.

That’s not the only reason they’re so popular. Here are a few more.

  • Since you typically pay for everything up front, you likely won’t have to worry about unexpected costs as you travel.
  • You can relax knowing the cruise line experts have lined up activities for you to enjoy. There will likely be a variety of games, groups, exercise classes and recreational activities to choose from, most of which are typically included in that up front cost.
  • When you take a cruise, the travel itinerary is set. That means you’ll know where you’re going, so any research about what to see and do off the boat is much simpler. The cruise line will even provide suggestions for what to do on land.
  • On most cruises, your meals are typically included in the price of your ticket. Often, cruises hire top-rated chefs and food service professionals, so you might want to bring your elastic pants.
  • Cruise ships tend to have large, flat walking surfaces connected by elevators and with little need to use stairs. They can come in very handy if you are planning a vacation with limited walking.
  • Most cruise lines also offer value to seniors with bus tour or hired taxi options for onshore activities at a port of call.

2. Plan the bucket list trip

Retirement is the perfect time to start crossing off destinations that have been sitting on your bucket list for years. Larger trips require more planning and savings.

So how can you satisfy your travel itch and check off bucket-list items? It’s simple: Look at what’s nearby! Kilimanjaro may be a must-see, but your state’s foothills may be pretty spectacular, too.

Try visiting local destinations first while you save for your dream destination.

Here are a few more bucket-list trip tips:

  • Travel in the off-season

October through April is generally when you can find lower airline prices to European destinations. Hotels often have lower rates during these times, too!

  • Ditch the hotel room for a bed-and-breakfast

A bed-and-breakfast can offer many advantages, starting with the price! They also allow you to experience the culture of the location you are visiting.

  • Make the most of public transportation

Day passes for public transport are almost always cheaper than the cost of a rental car. Many airports have routes directly from the airport to the city center making transportation easier from the moment you arrive.

  • Leave nothing to chance

Want to escape to an exotic paradise which is both accessible and bucket-list worthy? Do your research and see if there are all-inclusive resorts for that also offer viable options for seniors with limited mobility that are close to home.

Want more help to get you started on your bucket list? Here are some tips to fulfill your dreams without breaking the bank.

3. Embark on an Educational Excursion

It’s important to continue challenging yourself on an intellectual level in retirement. A fun way to do this is to make every trip a learning experience.

Whether you become a tourist in your own town or in a new city, educational vacations allow you to expand your horizons. Learning about different cultures can provide your brain with the mental stimulation it needs to stay healthy.

Any vacation can be made educational, but consider these two cities for U.S. destinations packed with learning opportunities and several experiences perfect for seniors

  • Washington, D.C. 

From the Smithsonian to the National Mall to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, our nation’s capital is full of great, educational attractions.

And the best part? Many of these attractions, including museums and historic sites are free and provide wheelchair accessibility and guided tours, ensuring that seniors with limited mobility can make the most of their visit. In fact, the nation’s capital is ranked as a top 5 US city for wheel-chair accessibility and among the best in the world.

  • Santa Fe, New Mexico

Before it was formally a U.S. state, Native Americans and Spanish conquistadors inhabited New Mexico, enriching Santa Fe with an eclectic culture.

Wander through the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum or the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, tour historic Native American Pueblos, or visit a variety of historic parks and national monuments within the area.

For a foreign educational vacation, scan a list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. These locations are conserved as areas or structures of international importance. From scenic parks to ancient ruins, there is plenty to learn by visiting any of these locations.

Travel planning for seniors

Traveling as a senior comes with its own set of considerations, but with proper planning, it can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

So before hopping on a plane to somewhere sunny and warm, here are some vacation ideas for elderly travelers to consider:

1. Choice of destination

A major decision you need to make before your vacation is the choice of a location. When selecting a destination, take into account factors such as climate, accessibility and your personal interests.

Consider whether you prefer a beach destination for relaxation, a cultural hotspot for exploration or a nature retreat for outdoor activities.

Destinations with mild weather and a variety of attractions suitable for seniors are often the most appealing. Researching potential destinations and reading reviews from other travelers can help you make an informed decision.

2. Vacation budgeting 

Planning a well-deserved vacation can be as much fun as the travel itself! And that includes looking into how to make travel fit your retirement budget.

Determine your total travel budget, taking into account expenses such as transportation, accommodation, meals, activities and souvenirs.

Consider whether you can take advantage of senior discounts or travel deals to stretch your budget further. All-inclusive packages can also be a cost-effective option, as they often include meals, drinks, and activities in the upfront price.

Be sure to budget for unexpected expenses and set aside some extra funds for emergencies. Here are 5 more tips to get you started. Here, travel insurance for seniors can be helpful, offering some reassurance and security during travel. When selecting a policy, focus on medical coverage, trip cancellation protection, luggage loss and evacuation services. Familiarize yourself with policy details, particularly concerning pre-existing conditions and age limits.

3. Your health

Another factor to consider when planning your getaway is the state of your health. Visit your doctor so they can help you to identify and deal with any considerations you need to take into account, to travel safely.

Make sure you’re stocked up on any prescription medications because many international destinations likely won’t support your personal prescription needs. And you are saved with troublesome task of refilling your medications in a foreign location.

Also, it might be helpful to consider how accessible your vacation destination is, if your or your travel partners have mobility limitations. Are you comfortable traversing across natural parks or woodsy countryside that may not have flat, even walking trails? Are excessive stairs an issue?

Fortunately, many cities in the world have thoughtfully transformed into destinations that people of all abilities can enjoy! There is also a plethora of phone-based and online apps to help ensure smooth and enjoyable trips, especially for seniors over 60 and 70.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are in life, now it’s time to enjoy your perfect vacation!

Enjoy your vacations with your loved ones

In conclusion, seniors have a wealth of vacation options available to them, ranging from relaxing river cruises to adventurous road trips and rejuvenating wellness retreats.

With these tips, you can carefully plan your travel without compromising your unique needs and staying within your budget.

Whether you’re dreaming of cruising through the open seas, going on a bucket list trip or an immersive, enlightening experience, there’s a perfect vacation waiting for you. At Mutual of Omaha, we have the resources to help take the worry out of your next trip with some handy tips and how-tos.

Frequently asked questions 

Q1. What are the best destinations for senior vacations?

Travel sites and tour companies offer mouthwatering options for seniors based on affordability, accessibility and attractions. These range from Kyoto in Japan which gets top billing for senior-friendly infrastructure and instagrammable architecture, to Istanbul in Turkey, that represents an intriguing marriage of the East and the West. If you plan to stay in North America, the Canadian Rockies and Hawaii are big draws for seniors, offering dramatic landscapes and age-friendly travel.

Q2. Are these vacations suitable for solo travelers?

Absolutely! Many seniors travel solo and find these vacation options to be both safe and enjoyable. Cruise ships and resorts often offer onboard activities, social events and accessible spaces where solo travelers can connect with fellow passengers or guests.

Q3. Are there discounts available for senior travelers?

Many airlines, hotels and tour operators offer discounts and special deals for senior travelers. Be sure to inquire about senior rates when booking your trip to maximize savings.


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