Never too old to travel – not dead yet
You are never too old to travel it doesn’t matter what anyone tells you if you have the will and the way you can travel anywhere in the world. You don’t have to be a millennial or take a travel gap year just pack your stuff and go whether you choose luxury travel or backpacking age has no bearing on the right to travel.
You may be weighed down with medical supplies which take up more room in your carry on you may have physical limitations but don’t let any of that stop you from travelling when you are over 50.
As a woman travelling we are often invisible but I often hear my hubs complaining of the same thing. It seems if we are grey-haired and taking our time getting our great pictures and enjoying the moment we are often treated like we don’t exist. I’ve lost count of the times rude youngsters have walked in front of my camera, bumped me out of the way to get to a table in a crowded restaurant or simply walked into me like I don’t exist.
I’m also losing my patience with perfect Instagram and Facebook posts with young beautiful ladies in pretty dresses posing in front of gorgeous backdrops. I don’t know about you but I don’t bother with mascara and my hair hasn’t been cut in months as for pastels they make me gag.
My hubs is bald and saves us a fortune on shampoo. We may be well over 50 but we saw the Ramones live and lived through the ugly ’70s, survived the disco era and punked out in the ’80s. I hate the term senior, OAP (Old age pensioner) isn’t us we aren’t eligible yet, mature adults – well maybe sometimes, older and wiser most definitely but the “wiser” aspect sometimes escapes us.
I am not a “savvy senior”, we are not “too old to travel”, and we are not “travelling as an older person” like I need soft mushy food and a walker.
I am also getting truly pissed off (please excuse the profanity) but trying to find images of older travellers is virtually impossible. It is ridiculous in this day and age when over 50 is the “new black” and we can afford to travel that the images are either a romantically entwined grey-haired couple with plenty of money or some really old wrinkly hitting 102 used to portray our generation. Is anyone interested in creating a media source for us older travellers? Okay, rant over onto to some great stories.
oh and these are a few of my favourite groups on Facebook
Travel stories from the over 50’s
Travel can be slow, fast, luxurious, or budget. You can camp, backpack take a mobile home, go on a cruise, stay in monasteries, bike around the world. After the age of 50 anything travel-wise is at your pleasure. I once met a man on a cruise who was 90 travelling with his wife.
They took cruises around the world and sometimes he got off in the various ports and just sat and people watched. In Malta, he got a taxi up to the main square and sat there for 3 hours just watching and enjoying the warmth of the pedestrian square, having some lovely Maltese pastries and great coffee. He said “you are never too old to travel” and I believed him then and now.
These are a selection of tips and stories from travellers who are all over 50. Don’t listen to anyone say you are too old to travel.
Tips for travelling when older – Insurance
- Check on your travel insurance requirements – some policies will only cover up to a certain age and some medical conditions make travel insurance pretty expensive.
- If you plan to rent a car check, the upper and lower age limits. In some countries, they will charge you quite a bit extra when you are over 70
- Make sure, if you bring medications or medical equipment that, you have a travel note from your doctor describing your medications and prescriptions.
- Ensure you have an adequate supply of the drugs you need to take daily.
- Check with the airlines you are travelling on what medical equipment can be carried on board and let them know if you have any special needs when travelling such as needing wheelchair assistance.
- Buy a multi-trip policy. If you travel four or five times a year or more, it will probably be cheaper to take out an annual “multi-trip” policy, which will cover you for all the travel you do in that year.
- Many policies are now flexible: you can remove some cover: lost or stolen baggage for example – and reduce premiums as a result.
- Declare your health problems since this is what worries insurers most. If you are taken ill because of a condition that you did not declare when you bought the insurance, your claim will not be paid. Even if you have an annual policy, you must inform the insurer if you develop a condition during the period covered by the insurance. Typical conditions might be high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer, even in remission, but if you are in doubt talk to the company before you buy cover, and have all the details recorded in writing. It may not increase your premium by much and the insurer might not be concerned about it. On the other hand, it might result in a specific exclusion on treatment, or cover might be refused.
- If you like to keep active on holiday, check through which activities are included/excluded or, again, you might be left with no cover and an expensive hospital bill.
Getting Travel Insurance when over 50
World Nomads insures up to age 66 you can see their site here
Age UK Travel Insurance is owned by the charity Age UK, which represents Age Concern combined. It offers all types of single-trip and annual policies, with no upper age limit.
Visitors Insurance has a wide variety of insurance packages from foreign national abroad to Missionary insurance and Pre-Existing conditions insurance.
Good to go insurance has policies available for those over the age of 70 and below.
Volunteer Opportunities that include travel for the over 50’s
Over 50 and Overseas International volunteering and travel opportunities for persons over 50 years of age. Whether you have volunteered internationally in the past or are planning your first volunteer trip, this website provides the basic information you can use to identify and carry out your quest.
Volunteer Abroad opportunities abound at Volunteer Forever take a holiday and volunteer your skills and talents gained over a lifetime’s experience.
Find some fantastic opportunities here at High50 – Volunteering overseas combines travel with doing good, and trips range from Europe and the UK to Brazil or a Berber village in Morocco. Cathy Winston picks eight voluntourism trips
Responsible Travel has some excellent voluntourism opportunities available for every age.
Travel stories from the over 50 crowd
Faith and Alan of XYUandBEYOND
My hubs and I are 59 and we have been lucky enough to travel for the past 3 years. We certainly didn’t set out to travel so much, originally we took early retirement to Mexico where we could live on the cheap. We discovered house sitting in Mexico and decided to try for some house sitting jobs in Europe. Well we got the first one we applied for and we were off to Tipperary.
We house sat 7 dogs in Ireland and a few cats, we haven’t looked back and have spent the past two year’s house sitting in Spain, Cyprus, the UK, Ireland and N. Ireland.
These days however we don’t travel as light as we want to. My medications alone take up 1/2 of our usual carryon luggage…sigh…
But we will keep on house sitting and travelling as long as we possibly can. We have decided to create a permanent base in Ireland – Donegal to be exact and we have several upcoming house sitting gigs booked.
Luxury Travel over 50 by Sherrie of TravelbyAsherrieaffair
Once our children were all grown, like many, we found ourselves to be empty nesters. We also found ourselves financially able to do more luxury style travel. Now in our 50’s, it is the only way we travel! Luxury travel for us involves first-class air, 5 Star hotels, Michelin Star restaurants, wineries, spas and private tours.
Flying first class to a destination, we find helps set the tone for the holiday. We arrive rested and relaxed, ready to start exploring. Luxury hotels make a holiday special from the moment you enter their lobby. Receiving first class service, superior accommodations and spa treatments makes you feel special and pampered.
I can honestly say we love and have fond memories in many; High tea at the London Ritz, the view of Rome from our Waldorf suite, Lanai’s Four Season Hotel Gardens, being memorized by the Acropolis and Parthenon’s radiance at night from our suite balcony at the Hotel Grand Bretagne in Athens, serenaded by a violin and piano each night at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio.
Booking private tours, you have the benefit to schedule times, stops and adventures at your own convenience. Taking your time at a site that you have always wanted to see without being told its time to load up on a bus can be worth every penny. Attending private wine tastings gives my husband more insight on the creation and production of the wine, which he loves! The Michelin star restaurants provide a food introduction that you will not find anywhere else, delicious and artistic.
Travelling in our 50’s we have learned to relax and enjoy ourselves more. We attempt to live in the moment and make it as extraordinary as we can at every location and with each experience
Solo Travel over 50 with Faith from TravelwithFaith
I am a solo female traveller, writer, and photographer. I have travelled solo for four years beginning at 70 years of age. I sold my home, furniture and most of my belongings.
My journey began in Nice, France, which holds a special place in my heart. Overlooking the clear azure blue waters with rocky cliffs, it is paradise. With a positive, relaxed lifestyle and sun most days of the year.
Although intimidating to travel outside my comfort zone, my confidence increased. Each country provided a unique experience. One does not recall all the places you see but you remember the surreal moments and the people you meet along the way.
I rented an apartment in a local neighbourhood in Bucharest, Romania shopping at the local market, making friends with the locals. Erica sold flowers at the market and the first few days she would beg me to purchase flowers. After a few days, I decided to buy flowers daily to help support her.
We became friends and she bought tea, which we shared, at her flower stand on my last day there. The Soviet-era is apparent in Bucharest although there are gems such as a large park to stroll, museums and the food is very good and inexpensive. There is a language barrier primarily among the elderly however, the people are helpful. The young people speak English and open to communicating about life in Romania.
I arrived in Istanbul the day a large cave explosion caused over 300 deaths. People were angry about the riots near my apartment. I was fortunate that the owner accompanied me to the apartment and helped me get food for the evening since it was not safe to go out. The riots continued while I was in Istanbul however, I learned how to avoid them.
Istanbul became one of my best memories: “Have a cup of tea” an invitation everywhere in Turkey; Call to prayer each evening; Tea overlooking the Bosporus with the apartment owners family; Turkish bath; the ferry to the Islands; the palaces; walking the seven hills of Istanbul.
Travel changes you in unexpected ways. One can never return to who you were before. You are never too old to travel. Onward!
Over 50 Travel – Taking a Career Break from Audrey and Andrew of Gumnuts Abroad
Turning fifty is something many of us dread. It just seems so old right? From now on life is a downhill slide into elasticised waistbands and sensible shoes. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I didn’t want to think about my fiftieth birthday, and I was snarky whenever someone mentioned it. Until one day, amongst my moaning and groaning, Andrew and I decided to take a year off work to travel the world.
Suddenly, turning fifty didn’t seem so bad.
The idea that you can only travel long term when you’re either young or retired is crazy. Taking a break from the humdrum of everyday life can benefit everyone – no matter what their age.
Typically, people take a gap year in their early twenties to “go find themselves”. But who you are today at fifty is not the same as who you were at twenty. And taking a career break gives you the freedom to relax, rejuvenate and gain some perspective. It gives you a moment to think about what you want to do next.
It’s the perfect way to mark the next phase of your life.
Although, you may find yourself wearing those sensible shoes. You’ll need them for all the mountain hikes you’ll be doing!
My middle-age invisibility cloak by Rachel of RachelsRuminations
Lately, when I travel solo, I’m essentially invisible. To some, that may seem like a nightmarish scenario, but I love it. At 56 years old, I’m heavier than I’ve ever been, and my age shows in my flabby arms, the lines on my face, and liver spots pretty much everywhere from years of sun damage.
And people don’t see me. Men don’t proposition me in the streets, pinch my butt, or follow me like they used to. Vendors trying to sell me tourist junk give up easily at my firm “No, thank you.” Sometimes they completely ignore me.
What a difference from my younger years! I’ll never forget when I did the typical American backpacker trip around Europe one summer. I was 21 and travelled with a male friend. We had a great time, and, beyond the occasional catcall, I never felt at all threatened until we parted ways for a few days in Italy.
My three solo days in Venice were filled with constant harassment: primarily older men offering to buy me drinks and then arguing with me when I said: “No, thank you.”
“Why not? I’m just offering to buy you a drink! Why do you say no? Come on, come have a drink with me.” And so on.
This happened literally every time I stopped walking, even if I just sat down to eat a piece of pizza. I ended up doing all my eating and drinking while walking, because at least then I could shake them off.
My middle-age invisibility cloak is what I love about travelling solo these days; it allows me to see what I want to see – mostly historical and cultural sights – without trouble or distraction. I can sit down in a café and observe the local scene without anyone seeing it as an invitation.
If I need to interact with someone – to order food or ask directions, for example – I can, but then I’m left alone. At the same time, I get treated with polite respect everywhere I go, presumably also because of my age. It’s wonderful!
Over 50 Travel by Juergen and Yasha of dare2go
It was 2005: we’d both just turned 50 and were about to go deeply into debt to build our ‘dream home’.
One day, Juergen says: I don’t want to build the house. I want to go travelling.
Without hesitation, Yasha answers: YES!!!
So we sold just about everything, invested the result, flew to the US, and started our new life in a very different ‘dream home’ in 2006. It was a slide-in camper on a pick-up truck, which we drove from Alaska to Patagonia.
After 3 years or so, we decided it was time to sell our mobile home and return to ‘normal’ life in Australia. The global financial crisis had hit us hard, and we weren’t feeling so secure anymore. We bought a little house and looked for work – not an easy task at 50-something!
We spent the next 3 years planning how to get back on the road. This time we really did build our ‘dream home’, with our own hands, and without enormous debt. It took us a year in Germany – 2013. In 2014, we were back in South America, picking up where we left off in Santiago de Chile.
We have discovered that once the mobile home was built and shipped to South America, we needed very little to live on. If we were pushing the budget a little, we would drive less because fuel is always the biggest expense. Just find somewhere nice and stay awhile.
It is 2018: we are now 63. After 4 years in South America, we are back in Germany to change vehicles – we’re keeping the house though. Then we will continue overlanding in Europe, the UK, parts of northern Africa and the Middle East.
We love the overlanding life in our ‘dream home’.
Travels with Dad – he’s 60 From Dane at Holidayfromwhere
I set off on a major solo trip when I was 22 travelling through 4 continents and 20 something countries. My father suggested that we meet up in Peru; I am not sure he was serious but when I took him up on the offer, he kind of backed off a little. I think he was concerned about maybe holding me back. He was freshly into his 60s and I am pretty sure he thought he would slow me.
I managed to convince him it was actually a good idea and he booked his tickets.
I flew into Lima from New York and he was waiting for me when I arrived.
It was super nice to see him and especially see such a familiar face after several months on the road alone.
We had already sort of planned things but nothing was set in stone so we figured it out and decided to see a few places on the way before finally stopping in Cusco to do the Inca trail.
When we arrived at our group meeting Dad was by far the oldest person there I think by almost 20 years and he got worried that he would not be able to keep up being a 4-day pretty intense at altitude hike.
Almost everyone was early 20s. As it turns out though it made the entire experience so much more amazing, there was two super out of shape people in our group and then my Dad who was a builder his whole life and always active in sports so he was in pretty decent shape for an ‘old guy’.
Everyone in our group seemed to race to the endpoint along the trail as quickly as possible each day while I hung back with dad and the two others and we took our time, actually enjoyed the view and hike and talked and listened to our guide at the back give a pretty good history of everything along the way.
On the last day when we stood on top of Machu Picchu together, it was incredible. It seems weird to be proud of your father for something as growing up it is almost exclusively the other way around but after 13 years of consistent travel and 70 different countries, this is still one of my most fond travel memories and something that I think I will treasure forever.
Over 50 Travel by Jo Castro from Lifestylefifty
Up until the age of around 50, travel was really gung-ho for us. We rarely booked in advance and were more likely to just take advantage of time, when it became available and good offers when they came up. Then we’d throw a few things into a suitcase, pack up the kids, boots, bad attitudes and all and off we went.
From around the age of 50, I realised travelling had become easier (because our children were grown up) but actually, I had been left with residual anxiety. I found I had more time to think about what I might have forgotten or been in the process of forgetting,
I began to worry if the house would really be okay in our absence, and yes, sorry, I began to ask myself things like, “Did I turn the iron off?” and “Will the accommodation we’ve booked really be alright?”
For us now though, the best holidays are active ones. It’s almost as if we’ve realised that our health is not guaranteed and that the sun, sand and beach holiday does little more than lead us to big bellies and skin cancer, plus these days’ cocktails, although lovely, can be a bit of an anti-climax after the first one.
We’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of holidays to come. We both enjoy cycling and this seems a good way to go for the future because let’s just say we used to enjoy hiking, but now, well … knees.
We’ve been on a world cruise and I can say it was absolutely marvellous and that cruising will definitely be on my agenda in the time ahead.
I realise that as time marches on, if I want to see lots more of the world, there isn’t time for slow, in-depth cultural travel and that a short glimpse of a place giving me an idea of it, is probably better than not seeing it at all.
Then there’s the fact that travel by ship gets you to a lot of places which are tricky to get to by plane, and sea journeys in themselves are relaxing. The fact that everything is done for you once on board and there are no taxis to worry about or dinner reservations to make are another bonus for my 60+ self.
When we were younger, we believed a cruise was something only the older folk did.
Well, I hate to say it, but … !
Hiking over 50 by Talek from TravelswithTalek
Hiking the great outdoors is invigorating. There are some hiking trails that I especially love because they are beautiful throughout the entire trail. Whether you are scaling a challenging trail or strolling along a well-worn and level path, there is plenty to see. One such hike is the primaeval forest on New Zealand’s south island. The humidity there is almost 100%. Surrounding vegetation is thick with exotic insects.
Giant ferns and other bizarre plant-life loom overhead. Everything is carpeted with a moist moss in every variation of green. It’s like walking in a film set of Jurassic Park. During the day, this makes for a fascinating hike in alien-like surroundings. But if you go on a midnight forest hike, the glowworms put on a “light show” for you.
Bring a flashlight, walk deep into the forest on the hiking trail then turn off the light. You will see thousands of lightning bugs twinkling in the total, absolute darkness like stars over a moonless desert sky.
Torres del Paine in the Chilean Patagonia is another great place for a hike. A nice level path around a lake formed by glaciers is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Even better is to pack a picnic lunch and eat it while viewing the beautiful scenery.
These activities connect you with nature, get your blood pumping and help you feel a part of something greater than yourself.
Grandmother – Grandson Travel by Evelyn Hannon of Journeywoman
Looking back to the early Eighties and leading to the present time, it’s wonderful to see the strides that have been made in the women’s travel market. From a few brave adventuresses who ventured out to explore the world, to the first newspapers and magazines that began writing about them, we have come a very long way, ladies. Today the two largest niches in travel are (1) females (2) the over 50 population.
Since 1994, Journeywoman has been forecasting the next trend when it comes to females and travel. No, we don’t have a crystal ball but we do have 55,500 women worldwide who read our monthly newsletter. It is via our reader questions, their valuable travel tips and our Facebook Communications with them that we are able to stay ahead of the crowd.
This is what I’ve been hearing. Grandparents taking grandchildren on adventures is not a new thing. Grandmother, mother and teen-aged daughter travel is no longer a novel idea – it’s a female tradition that goes on as long as all involved are willing and able to participate. However, for a grandmother-grandson duo, there seems only a very short window of opportunity to enjoy each other’s travel companionship.
The cutoff age for teenage boys is generally about 15-16 and then the young man in question will no longer be interested. That’s why I initiated this Iceland trip now all the while making sure that Josh had his responsibilities during the week (taking the photos) and I had mine (writing this story). It was a week of discovery for both of us and I am filled with pride at the results of Josh’s work. You can see his Iceland Photography Album here.
I urge other grandmothers to try this concept as well. Why not negotiate a destination with your grandson? Make sure it is the type of trip that will accommodate both of your energy levels and any common interests you might have. Choose something that doesn’t put a strain on your budget and before departure create some ground rules for what you expect from each other. Then, go! I think you will never regret it.
Making Memories through travel From Cindy at TravelingAdventuresofafarmgirl
My mother is a goer. My dad was not. Over the years, if she wanted to travel, she had to leave him behind so we got into the habit of hitting the road especially late May, early June. For us, for years, we have been making memories through travel.
One of our favourite trips was to St. Francisville Louisiana to an Audubon Pilgrimage where we toured beautiful antebellum homes and saw amazing gardens. I wanted to take the ferry across the river to stay at a cool little inn. We crossed over and parked and had to cross a police line to get to our hotel.
Worried about our safety, we were relieved when we learned that the police had caught a fryer on fire that was the extent of the danger we were in. We then had a room the size of a matchbox, but we will forever remember the beauty of the area and seeing that yellow tape around that building next to our hotel!
I have dragged her through Indiana to wonderful museums, and to antique tractor haunts where she was looking at her watch. Some trips are close to home like one to St. Louis to see a hat exhibit at the Art Museum and others to fun destinations like French Lick for her birthday celebration with my sister Debbie.
There is nothing like hitting the road and really spending time together to make memories with your family. Put the phone away except to take a picture, grab a family member or two and make some memories while you still have the chance.
Travels with Dad by Beth from TravelwithBeth
Hi, my name is Beth Phillips. I am 55 years old and I travel with my 86 year old father, Loren Phillips, in his 1995 Roadtrek RV. It is fully self-contained and we journey around the back roads of America. We make it an adventure and have loads of fun together. I live in San Diego, California and my dad lives in Ohio, where I grew up, in the USA.
We often encounter some interesting experiences that lead to funny stories. Actually, that generally happens whenever we’re together, not just when we travel. Fortunately, we get along well as it is a small RV and we are in close quarters. We share the driving and he’s pretty flexible when I want to do something a little out of the way. Here is a little excerpt of one of our adventures this spring.
What a great day full of exciting changes in the weather and scenery! Dad and headed north from Phoenix, AZ USA with our first stop in Cottonwood, AZ to have lunch with my lovely cousin Sandi Fields. Sandi picked the Black Bear Diner for lunch. It was super yummy. Now, anyone who knows me knows that if I can start my day out seeing a bear, (even if it is only a bear cafe) you know it’s going to be a good day!
After lunch, dad and I proceeded north with our end destination being Cottonwood campground in Canyon de Chelly National Monument in northeast Arizona. Along the way we encountered some rain, some snow, then 60-degree temps, Fahrenheit then whiteout snow conditions at 7000 feet elevation around Flagstaff, Arizona.
The changing conditions made for beautiful skies and dramatic shadows and colours on the canyon walls. With the combination of Sun and rain in the sky, I was certain that we would see rainbows and unicorns. None showed up. I think the leprechauns were too busy gathering the pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow to spend on green beer on Saint Patrick’s day. I’m not sure where the unicorns were.
Dad was gracious enough to indulge my desire to drive through Winslow, Arizona so I could stand on a street corner. Wait, that doesn’t sound quite right. Even though he has no idea who The Eagles are or anything about the song “Take it Easy”, when we arrived at the street corner with the statues and the signs, he decided it was pretty cool and wanted to have his to picture taken alongside Glenn Frey’s statue as well. Pretty hip of him, huh?
We made it through all the weather to Cottonwood campground where we are warm and toasty inside the Roadtrek tonight. The wind is howling a bit outside, but dad and I don’t mind. We had a great adventurous day. Even more fun to come tomorrow. Stay tuned!
So there you have it some great stories from those of us over 50 and travelling – so what are you waiting for – get out and do your own travelling, it’s never too late.
Everyone is embarrassed by their travel f**k ups – don’t be over the course of time they become great stories to tell everyone. Here is a 3 part article on Epic Travel F**k Ups and Fails that will give you some real laughs and maybe you will see your own story here.
Are you over 50 and travelling? Tell us your stories.
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