Senior Center

Top Travel Tips for Seniors

By Jan Bolder - March 5, 2014

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One of the great things about retirement is seniors have the time to enjoy all the activities they had to put on hold during their careers, like renewing family bonds, engaging in leisure activities, and traveling the world. With so many different cities and locales to visit, it'd be almost impossible to narrow them down. What's more within reach, though, is how to go about traveling in general.

Check Often, Book Early

It's no secret that the earlier you book a flight or rail ticket, the better your chances of saving. But the old tidbits about flying out on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to save the most money aren't quite as true as legend holds. How that's changed is flight site monitor your activity through cookies, and they can "see" what you've been searching for and when. They then switch their prices around on you once they've figured out you're looking to travel, so the key is to one up the sites themselves.

Instead of needlessly complicating matters‐it involves a bunch of techy computer moves‐make a plan to search for flights on a Tuesday or Wednesday. You'll want to give yourself a couple of hours for the task because your window is short, but checking for fares midweek is your best bet.

To Insure, or Not to Insure, That is the Question

For the most part, insurance companies are soulless, money-sucking bureaucratic nightmares whose only interest is their pocketbooks. But on the rare occasion that something does go wrong—and in most cases, it's a matter of when, not if—they're lifesavers. The question is, though, whether or not to invest in insurance on the off chance that something may go wrong.

If seniors are traveling within the country for a fortnight or less, it may be better to skip insurance (especially if the luggage can fit in the overhead compartment). Odds are, luggage won't get lost or damaged if it's in the bin above your head, and your regular insurance provider may cover you out-of-state. But for longer trips or vacations where seniors stow their luggage under the plane, it's a better bet to go with insurance.

The three main types of insurance are medical, travel and auto. Medical ranges from basic healthcare to emergency evacuations and repatriation; travel can be something as simple as lost/stolen/damaged luggage, or covering the cost of any part of the trip if something goes wrong; and auto insurance can either be extended through the primary provider, or with a credit card.

Grouping Up or Going Solo

The last thing to think about (assuming details like where to go, what to pack, and how much to spend have been taken care of) is whether to go alone or with others. There are benefits to both, and the decision mostly come down to the senior's personality.

Solo Excursion:

  • Freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want
  • Not stuck in a familiarity bubble and forced to meet others
  • Choice of window or aisle seat all the time
  • Have an opportunity to be introspective and get to know yourself better
  • Ability to try new experiences on the spot without a second thought
  • Group Journeys:

  • Bag-watching buddies for bathroom breaks
  • Built-in social network for outings
  • Possible discount rates for groups
  • Choice of staying with travelers or breaking apart for alone time
  • Shared memories and experiences to bond over after the trip is done
  • There are countless ways for seniors to approach their next trip, but these are the most important pieces to keep in mind when planning any vacation.