Senior Travel - Vacations
Older Americans often look for different destinations as well as a means for getting there. Sure there are times when you want your grandchildren with you, but there are also times when you’d like some solitude—the ability to relax and get away for some “quiet time”. Whether you’re traveling to a place you’ve never been before or back to a resort or community you love, your needs and desires may be very different from those of your children or grandchildren.
Travel tips from the U.S. Department of State
The first step to an enjoyable vacation is planning a safe vacation. There are many things to think about both before and during your vacation; what to pack and what to leave behind, safety precautions while traversing foreign streets, staying in hotels or riding public transportation. And, what steps should be taken if you are the victim of a burglary or mugging. The U.S. Department of State address these and many other useful topics on its website. Click here to view
Weather conditions at U.S. airports
If you want to check conditions of airports you may land at or where you might be changing planes check the FAA's site
Healthy travel information from the CDC
The Center for Disease Control provides information on destinations around the world.
This site includes a map where you can easily find travel health information. Do you need a vaccination, is there a travel risk, find local clinics, etc. wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.aspx
Traveling outside your timezone
If you want to know the time it is at your destination, this site will tell you http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/
Airline Bereavement Policies
Each airline has a different policy. Some have a flat discount and some have no special rates at all. Most require you travel within a few days of the funeral and must be booked directly with the respective airline and not via a third party. Call the airline for details.
Airline Portable Oxygen Policies
Portable oxygen concentrators have overcome the mobility challenges of home units, giving travelers no reason to be homebound if they are dependent on oxygen therapy. They are available for rent and can be used on planes, cruises or during an entire vacation
Home Exchange 50plus
Swap your home with other like minded boomers and seniors for vacations in your own country or worldwide. Home & Hospitality Exchange lets you travel and save thousands at the same time. Stay free - travel more. This site is specifically for the older traveler.
A cruise or a resort vacation?
There are many reasons for both. To enjoy a cruise you need three things for maximum enjoyment.
- Good Weather. If the sea is rough most vacationers will not enjoy the cruise no matter what else happens.
- The right ship. Each vacationer looks for different amenities in a ship. Some want a casino, others play areas for children, others a cozy bar and some the opportunity to be entertained at Broadway or Las Vegas style shows.
- People with similar interests and in the same age group. Unless you plan to spend the entire time with your family or as a secluded couple it is important to be able to converse and interact and even make friends with others on the ship. Before you leave, compare popular plans with Travel Guard cruise insurance for a custom comparison for vacation coverage.
Of course weather, friendly people with some of the same interests and the right amenities are important at a resort, but you are not trapped in this location so you are able to explore other areas more easily.
It is also generally easier to get information on a resort to better determine if this is where you wish to spend your vacation.
If you want a beach as opposed to a swimming pool a resort is a must. If you get seasick a resort is a must. If you want to play golf or tennis or rent a car and drive around a resort is a must. (Of course when a ship is in port some of these activities are available to you.)
As a general rule most resorts allow for more personal space than a cabin on a cruise. Your rooms are larger and there is usually less waiting to use various facilities, less crowds and, if you wish, a slower pace.
The key to choosing which is best for you is doing some research and using a travel agency that has had clients on that particular ship at that time of year or who have visited that resort. Better yet if your travel agent has been there personally and can tell you first hand the pluses and minuses.
Cruises for Seniors, Vacations for Seniors, Resorts for Seniors
Older Americans often look for different destinations as well as a means for getting there. Sure there are times when you want your grandchildren with you, but there are also times when you’d like some solitude—the ability to relax and get away for some “quiet time”. Whether your traveling to a place you’ve never been before or back to a resort or community you love, your needs and desires may be very different from those of your children or grandchildren.
While planning your trip think about where you will be staying while on your vacation. If you are not as mobile as you once were don’t be shy about calling different hotels or resorts to ask about the floor plan or if there are any unique architectural (winding staircases) or topographical (located atop a steep hill) quirks. If stairs are a problem, ask for room on the ground floor, or at least make sure there is an elevator. On his website, Rick Steves covers these topics and has many other practical tips for the vacationing senior; click here to visit Steves’ site.
If you are planning an extended stay vacation, whether it is within the U.S. or abroad, this site will help you find accommodations.
Traveling outside your time zone and want to know the time it is at your destination.
This site will tell you http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/
This is an interesting site for exploring destinations around the world including cruises. Travel Wizard has over a 1000 videos of destinations so you can see where you plan to travel to. Most are upscale or luxury. http://www.travelwizard.com/
www.kayak.com/ monitors prices for flights, hotel, car rentals, etc. using the feeds of many travel sites as well as the airlines, hotels and car rental sites themselves..
www.seatguru.com/ allows you to pick the best seats by airplane and airline, see luggage restrictions, check which seats have more legroom, and even helps you upgrade to first or business class..
www.travelzoo.com/ offers great deals on flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages and specials.
farecompare.com/ does exactly this. Compare fares and find a cheap flight.
flyspy.com/ finds inexpensive flights and also finds the best flights to gather frequent flyer miles.
www.goby.com/ According to this site whether you're looking for the perfect bed and breakfast or a romantic get-away, a hiking trail or even a cool new museum, create an adventure with Goby.
Other sites to research of destinations, hotels, cruises, and side trips before you book. TripAdvisor.com, CruiseCritic.com, Travelpost.com, and FrugalTraveler.com
Safest Places to Travel alone for Women in Asia
#1 Singapore # 2 New Zealand #3 Tiawan To see the entire list and the crime rate, personal safety and safety at night etc. click here.
After you retire you can travel when you want and this is more useful than you might think. Plan a trip to Europe during travel’s offseason, September and October and January through April. Flights and hotels will be cheaper and the streets will be less crowded. Furthermore, traveling to Europe during the winter months can provide an excellent retreat from cold weather. Plan a tour of the cities and towns along the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas in January and February; the weather is temperate and traveling via train will allow you to easily visit many wonderful destinations along the Western Italian and Southern French coasts.
Below is a list of the most popular European senior vacation destinations from Seniortravelhub.
• London, England
• Venice, Italy
• Madrid, Spain
• Meteora, Greece
• Florence, Italy
If relaxation is all you’re after you might want to avoid an overcrowded city like Paris or a raucous city like Amsterdam.
There are great vacation destinations within the U.S. as well. Here is a useful website with a long list of vacation ideas.
The most popular travel destinations in 2012 according to Gogobot
2. Las Vegas
3. San Francisco
5. San Diego
8. New York City
15. Cape Town
16. Los Angeles
18. Rio de Janeiro
21. Phnom Penh
22. Washington, D.C.
23. Greater New York City
24. Hong Kong
There are many countries where the dollar goes further and there are many products where Americans can save when they shop while traveling. This area will primarily address shopping in Europe; of course there are huge savings in other parts of the world as well.
The dollar goes further in Greece, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Morocco, Portugal and Spain; countries where the dollar is currently strong.
As far as places to shop within countries you visit consider shopping in flea markets, especially in pricier countries like England. There are many open air markets in Europe like Portobello Market and Fulham Road in London and Waterlooplein in Amsterdam, El Rastro in Madrid and the Puece St. Ouen flea market in Paris. When you shop in these markets you must negotiate vociferously to get the best price and be aware that much of what you may be buying is likely to be a “knock-off” or counterfeit as opposed to the “real thing”. Products can also be unsafe and subject to confiscation by customs when you return to the U.S. Also remember if you are directed to certain stalls or shops by a guide or hotel employee they are quite likely to be getting a commission or “kick back” on whatever you purchase.
Do not purchase food overseas without first checking to see if the food item is permitted in the U.S. Entry areas into the states have sniffer dogs to check for items that are forbidden even if they are packed in your luggage.
If you plan to shop overseas you should check the cost of your planned purchase at home before you leave. If you do so you will have a better idea as to the savings you are achieving. You should check on the quality of the goods you are planning to buy so you will have this information in hand when you shop overseas.
Check U.S. customs rules prior to departure to see the items and total value you may return with duty free from the country you are visiting. Family members living in the same household can combine their personal exemptions.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
There are all kinds of reasons we travel: to volunteer, to work abroad, for research and for fun, but to protect yourself from unexpected, unpleasant, and sometimes very expensive surprises it often helps to have travel insurance.
Here are some of the reasons you should consider travel insurance:
- Illness or injury
- Hurricane or natural disaster
- Bankruptcy or financial default of a travel supplier (like an airline or tour)
- Terrorism or mandatory evacuation orders
- Death or hospitalization of your host
- Damage or vandalism to your home
- Victim of assault
- Theft of passport and other theft
- Local ambulance services
- Physician and nursing services
- Surgery, anesthesia, X-rays, and lab expenses
- Prescription drugs
- Emergency medical and dental treatment
- Reimbursement for lost, stolen, or destroyed baggage and personal effects Reimbursement for the non-refundable trip costs if a trip has to be cancelled Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of a traveler’s remains
If you’re on Medicare, you may think that it covers you no matter you are, but you would be wrong. Medicare health coverage stops at the U.S. border, as does most private health care coverage. Some Medicare supplement plans include a minimal amount of travel medical coverage, but if you’re seriously injured or hospitalized, it may not be enough.
In a foreign country, travelers are often required to pay for their medical care prior to receiving treatment. If a medical facility isn’t close by and you have to be evacuated to a place where you can receive treatment, those costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and higher.
Travel insurance for volunteer trips
Volunteering is a great way to put your valuable knowledge, experience, and energy to work for a good cause, but some volunteer programs don’t include medical and evacuation coverage in their program costs.
Just as a single long-term illness can drain your retirement savings here in the U.S., a single accident outside your health coverage network area can cost you tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars.
If you fall off a ladder while repairing a school in Mexico, for example, it’s likely that you’ll have to pay for your medical care upfront, but a travel insurance plan with travel medical coverage will reimburse you for those costs, including:
If your injury is serious and you have to be evacuated to a facility where your condition can be treated, having emergency medical evacuation coverage means that your travel insurance company will arrange, coordinate, and pay for the costs necessary to get you to a medical facility.
Plan limits range from $10,000 all the way up to $1,000,000, but most travelers find that between $50,000 and $200,000 in evacuation coverage is plenty, depending on how far they are traveling and how far they will be from good medical help.
Travel insurance for vacations
Should you have to cancel your trip - or interrupt it and return home after leaving - you could be out thousands of dollars in prepaid non-refundable trip costs.
Some of the covered reasons for trip cancellation and interruption include:
Travel insurance with trip cancellation/interruption coverage can protect retired travelers from large financial losses due to cancelled or interrupted trips as long as you’re canceling or abandoning your trip for a reason that is covered by the plan.
Travel insurance for expats living abroad
Lots of retirees are retiring abroad, where housing and the cost of living is substantially reduced and their savings can go farther. Depending on the country, however, you may or may not have access to local health care without bringing your own coverage with you.
Do your research, but if your target retirement destination requires you to have medical coverage (and many do), you can get long-term travel medical plans that are renewable.
With your travel medical coverage in hand, you’ll know you can pay for the medical care you receive outside the borders of your home country for as long as you choose to live abroad.
A good resource for researching travel insurance and travel medical plans for seniors is Travel Insurance Review (http://www.travelinsurancereview.net).