People over 50 are voracious travelers including single older women and even though travel has been limited recently, it’s still a passion for many of us. Careful trip planning is important to make sure you have the safest and most enjoyable possible, especially these days.
More borders are opening so if you are dreaming about your next vacation read about traveling post-COVID here.
This page was updated on 1/2022.
My hometown is Los Angeles and I love exploring it
I have started a new blog where I write about fun places to see and do in Los Angeles at any age.
Click here to visit Booming in LA.
My travel resource guide
The first section in my trip planning resources guide gives you resources to websites I use and love to help you organize your next vacation. In the second section of this page, you’ll find links that will take you to posts about places that I and several guest writers have been to and written about. The third section is about travel trends for Baby Boomers, how they travel, where they like to visit, and how they take care of themselves while traveling.
Section 1: Best online websites to get you ready for your next trip
Those of us who have reached retirement age and are not ready to be put out to pasture and are looking for new adventures. Our kids are gone and we have more freedom. Senior travel is a huge industry. The trip planning websites and resources that I have listed in the resources below will help make your next vacation more exciting and memorable.
Make sure your paperwork is in place before you leave
If you are planning a trip in the future you must have your paperwork in place well before your departure. That means having a valid passport, necessary visas, and other travel documents that often take weeks or even months to receive.
Check your passport’s expiration date
Your passport must be good for at least 8 months after your departure if you are traveling abroad. To check the status of your passport if you are in the process of renewing it, click on the following link.
Expedited processing may take 12-18 weeks. Click here to see how to get your passport faster.
Do you have the proper visas for the countries you will be traveling to?
Visa requirements change frequently and can be confusing. iVisa makes this process much easier. Process your travel visas from your computer, smartphone, or tablet to save time and to make sure they are available quicker. Although they are not a government agency, they provide a visa checker tool that is up to date, as well as a visa calculator so you will know how much you will need to spend before applying.
The site is safe, reliable, cheap, and accurate. Enter where you are from (your National origin) and what country you plan to visit. It’s simple. If you are ready to check your visa requirements click here.
Travel on the CHEAP so you can enjoy your experiences rather than stress about the cost
As an older traveler, you don’t want to blow your whole wad of retirement money traveling. And for those of us who don’t have much to begin with, there are many ways to save on flights, hotels, and tours if you practice smart trip planning.
First off, don’t forget to redeem your senior discounts
I know it’s hard to think of ourselves as old, but if you are over 50, you are probably eligible for terrific senior discounts. Affinity groups, like, AAA, Senior’s Coalition, AARP, Veterans Organizations, Alumni Groups, etc. offer tremendous savings opportunities for seniors. If you’re not part of an affinity group think about joining one.
Become an AAA member – I’ve been a member of the Automobile Club of Southern California since 1949, which is actually before I was born. (I inherited my parent’s account) I don’t know how many times it has saved me when I had a flat tire, ran out of gas, or needed a tow. If you’re planning a trip, make sure to stop at AAA for tips, maps, and great trip planning ideas.
Other ways to get cool travel discounts
- Groupon Getaways – Want a quick getaway that is affordable and fun? Make sure to check with Groupon Getaways when planning a weekend trip and to find amazing vacation package deals.
- Living Social Vacation and Flight Packages – Groupon and Living Social are under the same umbrella. Find great deals on vacations and flights by checking on Living Social. You may be surprised at what you come up with.
Earn points to get FREE flights and hotel stays
You can save tons of money as an older traveler by collecting points from airlines and hotels so you can get your accommodations and flights for free or discounted when you plan your next vacation.
As a rule, credit cards offer more benefits overall for points than airlines especially if you do not fly frequently. What card you use depends on the location in which you are flying. Recommended cards (subject to change) include Chase Freedom, Citi Double Cash, Wells Fargo Active Cash, American Express, Chase Sapphire, and Capital One Venture.
Travel and stay for FREE as a pet or house sitter
Another way to save money when you travel is to house sit or pet sit in exchange for a place to stay. TrustedHousesitters is a membership program that helps connect home and pet owners with trustworthy verified sitters. They have owners registered in over 130 countries from townhouses in London to renovated farmhouses in Tuscany, apartments in New York, and beach homes in Hawaii.
You can also have a verified house or pet sitter look after your home when you go away.
Trusted Housesitters is globally recognized for providing outstanding service to its members.
Another option is MindMyHouse.com
Take advantage of restaurant DEALS to save money eating out
If you are traveling within the United States, take advantage of restaurant coupons. There are great deals everywhere you go if you plan ahead. Many establishments also offer early dining specials to seniors as well.
- Restaurants.com has coupon deals with over 62,000 restaurants all over the United States. Find discounts, deals, and coupons for your favorite dining spots, or give someone the gift of a night out on the town.
- Groupon and Living Social are sites that will help you find great deals on local restaurants as well as culinary events, and other fun events. Discover deals in your hometown or the city you’re visiting.
Travel insurance IS A MUST if you are over 50!
Traveling when you are older is incredible but the last thing you want to happen is to get sick or hurt when you are away from your regular medical providers. Don’t take chances! Make sure you are covered for any incident that could happen by purchasing travel insurance.
- VisitorsCoverage – is an aggregate travel insurance site that will help you find the most affordable plan for you with the right company. They work with multiple insurance companies and you can get set up with coverage within 5 minutes on their website.
The BEST travel websites for booking hotels
It’s always a good idea to use a travel agent who can help you with trip planning and give you their recommendations but you should also check with the online sites below to make sure you’re getting the best price.
- TripAdvisor – Before you go anywhere check with TripAdvisor to find reader reviews for hotels, restaurants, and activities. I never go anywhere without consulting them. And now, you can also book amazing deals on hotel reservations and flights. You’ll find ideas and tips for activities, restaurants, tours, and more all over the world.
- Agoda.com is excellent for booking hotels, flights, rental homes, and car rentals, especially in Asia. It’s based in Singapore. If you’re traveling to an Asian destination, you can’t beat it for the best hotel deals and vacation rentals in that area of the world. You can also find excellent prices for travel in Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.
- Booking.com – This site does it all and is one of the most popular sites to book hotel stays. You can also get great deals on flights.
The BEST websites to book airline flights
The search engines below are tops for booking flights. Why spend more on an airline ticket than you need to? Save money to enjoy your vacation instead. You may want to give several of them a try to find the best rates.
- Skyscanner – This travel search engine uses a unique technology that connects to hundreds of airline, hotel, or car rental sites to give you the lowest prices out there. They also have a free and easy-to-use smartphone app.
- Trip Advisor – Get some of the best deals on flights on this amazing site.
- Agoda.com – Use this search engine especially if you are booking flights to Southeast Asia. It’s a top search engine.
- Momondo always comes up as one of the top flight search and travel engines. Frommer ranks it in the top 3.
- Kayak – under the same umbrella as Booking.com and Agoda, is also a good choice to look for flights as well as hotels and cruises. Find the Best Deals on Flights with KAYAK
- Expedia – Although it’s come down in the ranks as far as best deals on booking flights it’s a trusted and well-known search engine.
- I would also check out Google Flights because it is Google and Skiplagged, which has become #1 on Frommers for finding the best airline rates.
Do you love cruising?
Because of COVID 19, cruise ship lines are implementing strict health protocols and may require vaccinations in an effort to make cruising a safe way to travel.
I love traveling to Europe and for me, one of the best ways to do it is to take a river cruise. River cruise ships are smaller and more intimate than large cruise ships. (although I love those too) You will land at quaint little ports, walk off the ship, and into a town or village. We took an AmaWaterways river cruise from Budapest to Prague for the Christmas Markets and it was amazing!
While you are there you can meet the locals and experience their culture. Then, you’re back on board for dinner for a relaxing float past medieval castles and picturesque scenery. The next day, wake up in another charming town. Another plus is that you have almost zero chance of getting seasick.
You may find river cruising to be the best option as the pandemic fades out as they can better control passenger safety because the ships are much smaller with approximately 150 passengers as opposed to thousands.
No matter how you love to cruise, you will get great deals and have amazing experiences by clicking the links below.
- MSC Cruises -part of the MSC Group is the Swiss-based, world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, sailing year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba and the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, China and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman
- Cruise Direct – Cruise Direct has some of the best discounts for cruise destinations all over the world. The major cruise lines they cover include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. You can often book last-minute cruises at the best prices.
If you are adventurous, you may even want to try sailing. Read about my 3-week sailboat trip to Saint Vincent of the Grenadines and Grenada here.
Direct booking for hotels
There’s nothing worse than staying at a substandard hotel or vacation rental. Since it’s where you’re going to be spending time to rest up in between adventures you want to make sure it’s comfortable, convenient, and safe.
The next time you are planning a trip, check out the hotel travel sites below because they have a wide variety of options that will fit your budget whether you’re watching every penny or you want a deluxe experience.
- Hilton Hotels, includes Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, Doubletree, Tapestry Collection, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home 2. They all offer outstanding rooms and services throughout the world. You can join Hilton Honors and earn points for future visits. If you’re an AARP member you’ll receive a 10% discount.
- Best Western Hotels – I’ve always had good luck with Best Western Hotels in the United States and have stayed in them many times. Their rooms are affordable if you’re on a budget and well-maintained. Best Western offers Senior Discounts so make sure to ask for it when you book your reservation.
- Wyndham Hotels and Resorts – You can find Wyndham Hotels and Resorts throughout the world and earn Wyndham Rewards each time you stay there. Don’t forget to ask for your 10% Senior Discount through AARP or AAA.
- Motel 6 – Motel 6 also offers Senior Discounts. It’s known for its “no-frills” affordable rooms if you don’t want to spend all your cash on hotels along the way. You may want to check reviews before booking as some are better than others.
- Radisson – Radisson hotels are available worldwide and are known for their outstanding service and properties. If you join Club Carlson, you can earn points to stay at Radisson Blu, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM. The are committed to delivering a clean and safe environment through Health and Safety.
- Extended Stay America – With over 625 hotels across the U.S., Extended Stay America offers affordable suites that don’t feel cramped as well as fully-equipped kitchens, Free GRAB-and-go breakfast, on-site laundry, and other amenities. It’s perfect if you are staying for a long period of time as they have weekly, biweekly, and monthly rates.
- Sandals and Beaches Resorts – Enjoy a luxury inclusive vacation in the Caribbean where you never have to worry about tipping, where to eat, or what beach to go to. It’s all there in one place. They are perfect venues for weddings, and romantic holidays, and some are designed for the entire family.
- VRBO – This company is part of the HomeAway family, the world’s leading online marketplace for the vacation rental industry with sites representing over 1 million paid listings of vacation rentals in 190 countries. It’s also a part of the Expedia, Inc. family of brands. Through VRBO, owners and property managers offer an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, including more room to relax and added privacy, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodation.
Unless you are staying at an inclusive resort where you never leave the property, you’ll need to get from place to place. You can always rent a car or take advantage of trains, buses, or tours to get you where you want to go.
- Rail Europe – This is your one-stop-shop for train travel on the European continent. Enjoy the view and get to your destination fast, especially if you take a high-speed rail trip. We loved taking trains throughout Spain, Italy, and Poland. It’s comfortable, efficient, and safe.
- Hertz Rental Cars – You can get AARP and AAA discounts at Hertz for rental cars.
- Auto Europe – This site offers the best auto rates in Europe. It’s been around for 60-years and has partnerships with all the most reputable car rental companies. If you find a lower car rate, they will lower their rates to beat the price. They also have a 24/7 service hotline – available from pick-up to drop-off and over 20,000 convenient pickup/dropoff locations throughout Europe.
- Big Bus Tour – I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Big Bus Tour we took in London. It’s the best way to get around the city. And what’s cool is that there are Big Buses throughout the U.S. and the world. Their Hop on Hop off buses are guided tours (often conducted live) that highlight points of interest but are entertaining and informative as well. Read my review here.
- Ride share companies like Lyft and Uber make getting around town easy and safe because you have limited contact with the driver – These companies are getting more expensive in the U.S.A. but in countries like Mexico their response time is fast, and efficient and the rides are affordable. We took Uber everywhere in Mexico City. The drivers arrived within minutes and it was ultra-cheap.
Tours, sightseeing, and fun activities
I love going on tours whenever I’m in a new city but you always want to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate tour operator. There are some tours specially designed for senior travel that will make your experience all the more fun.
- Viator – This online booking site offers tours, sightseeing excursions, activities, and special events. It’s affiliated with TripAdvisor and is based on best reviews with over 60,000 things to do. I took a Viator tour in San Miguel de Allende and my tour guide turned out to be a high school classmate.
- Sightseeing Pass – When you purchase a Sightseeing Pass you’ll find it’s an exciting and efficient way to visit new cities and save lots of money. The pass includes many of the city’s best attractions, hop-on, hop-off bus tours, and cruises and will provide you with exclusive dining options.
- Tours by Locals – I’ve always found that the best tours are given by local residents. Tours by Locals provides private and customized tours by tour guides who live in and know the area you are visiting. They have 3468 Guides in 156 Countries all over the world. Try book a Tours by Locals tour as a more personal and more affordable alternative to cruise line shore excursions. All you have to do is enter your cruise line, ship, and date to hook up with your guide the moment your ship arrives at a port.
Travel gear and clothes
Look amazing when you travel with easy-to-pack clothing and just the right travel gear to suit your needs.
- Herschel Supply Company – This company is based in Vancouver, Canada, and is a design-driven travel-oriented brand that is known for its precise detail. They offer travel products such as backpacks, crossbodies, athletic wear, insulated jackets, outerwear, luggage, and activewear apparel and accessories.
- baggallini – I LOVE their RFID-protected handbags, backpacks, laptop bags, rolling bags, and accessories. All of their items are sturdy, easy to wash, and will keep your important documents and money safe from pickpockets and thieves.
- Eagle Creek – This is a one-stop shop for travel gear, packing supplies, accessories, luggage, backpacks, RFID, travel comfort items, and other travel products.
- Zappos Travel Page – This is new! Zappos, which is known mostly for its shoes, now has a page dedicated to travel products that include clothing, shoes, accessories, and more. And, of course, you always want to wear comfortable shoes when you travel especially if you’re planning to do a lot of walking on your trip. You’ll find just about every brand you can think of on their website.
- eBags – Find a wide array of top brand travel products that include luggage, purses, and backpacks at affordable prices. eBags has a huge selection of travel-related products at the best prices I’ve found.
Learn a Language
Babbel is a leader in the online language learning industry, Babbel is an international success with millions of active subscribers and ranked as the world’s #1 innovative company in education.
Give the Gift of Travel to someone you love!
Tinggly offers gifts for men, women, couples, thrill-seekers, students, and travel lovers. Buy a gift of two nights in an Italian hotel, a hot air balloon flight, a bungee jump, a staycation, or give a gift card to let them choose their own gift. It’s such an interesting concept.
Section 2: Where I’ve traveled and written about it
I’ve been lucky to have gone on several dream trips in my lifetime and I have written about them in this blog. A few posts were written by other writers who have shared their experiences and they give you details about trips they’ve been on.
Click on the travel directory links below for any countries or destinations that spark your fancy. My hope is that our stories will inspire and assist your future trip planning.
My best tips to make travel over 50 easy
Click on the links below to find posts that feature travel tips and travel gear recommendations I’ve learned during my journeys.
Section 3: Baby Boomer travel trends
If you are a Baby Boomer then you may find the information on Boomer travel trends below interesting when planning your next trip.
The trends below were collected before the pandemic but still reflect what Baby Boomers have in mind when they are trip planning and traveling throughout the world.
According to Google, the most popular places for Baby Boomers to travel are:
Now that Baby Boomers have children who have left the nest and parents who may have passed on they have more freedom to travel. According to AARP, people over 50 take an average of 4-5 trips per year both international and domestic.
And just because Boomers are older it hasn’t stopped them from adventure travel. They are hiking, biking, walking, mountain climbing, scuba diving, skiing, motorcycling, camping, glamping, and even flying through the air. There are no limits to what Baby Boomers can do if they want it bad enough.
If you are a Baby Boomer and have physical challenges it doesn’t mean you can’t venture out. You can take a cruise, ride the rails, sail, go road tripping in an RV, or relax at a spa. I’m always ready to drop what I’m doing to discover new places and things to do.
One aspect of travel that’s trending with the Baby Boomer demographic is to interact with locals and become immersed in the local culture.
The Baby Boomer generation as a general rule prefers to stay in hotels or cruise ships as opposed to rented homes and hostels mostly for comfort and service. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a given that they book rooms at large and familiar hotel chains. Some opt for locally-run boutique hotels, which are unique, smaller, and provide a more authentic experience. And likewise, some choose to take eclectic small group tours or private tours to soak up the local flavor rather than crowded tourist excursions.
Purposeful travel has also gained popularity with Boomers who have time on their hands. Some take nature or wildlife expeditions to learn about conservation or cultural explorations where you volunteer as part of your trip package. Discover Corps is dedicated to just that and was founded by a former Peace Corps volunteer. Read this example of purposeful travel to Guinea, West Africa, here.
Baby Boomer travel spending
Mature travelers tend to spend more money than younger people when they are on a trip. One reason is comfort. Unless they are in great shape, they don’t want to climb into the upper bunk of a sleeper car or squeeze into a tiny Tokyo cubical or hang out in a hostel when they could get their Z’s sleeping on a nice cushy hotel bed.
For those who love nature and camping but prefer not to rough it, there are glamping, houseboat, and RV experiences, you can enjoy that make camping easier and more comfortable. If you are over 65, don’t forget to purchase your National Park Senior Pass because the National Parks are magnificent.
Where there’s a will, there is a way
A Baby Boomer who is retired may travel on long-extended trips without worrying about going home for their job. Others, who never saved up a large nest egg are finding creative ways to travel for free or at a low cost. Some have left life-long careers or businesses to become travel writers, private tour operators, or seminar speakers on cruise ships.
Connecting with family far away
Not everyone has dreams of seeing the world and would rather travel to visit family members who live elsewhere. They may also offer to give their children a break and take the grandchildren or other relatives on trips.
Multi-generational travel is another way to spend quality time with multiple family members. The entire family may choose to rent a lodge to enjoy a ski vacation, enjoy an inclusive resort, a cruise, or gather in an ancestral location for a family reunion.
Health and travel
Health is always a concern for Baby Boomers who love to travel so it’s important to purchase adequate travel insurance. Not every insurance company offers emergency services for people 65+ and Medicare doesn’t cover all expenses overseas. If you are on Medicare, make sure to do your research to know what coverage is available in your destination.
Wellness travel is also a trend. Baby Boomers often enjoy going to a relaxing wellness retreat or sometimes venture to foreign countries like Costa Rica to seek alternative medical treatments.
Travel alone or with a friend
Solo travel, as well as girlfriend getaways, have become popular with Baby Boomer women, especially those who have lost a spouse or just need a getaway. The advantage of solo travel for women over 50 is that solo travelers can take their time, tour at their own pace, and seek experiences that are of interest to them and them alone. Traveling with a girlfriend is practical because each woman can look out for the other in case of an emergency.
Ride the waves
Cruising has always been a popular way for older people to travel. Cruise passengers unpack once and the ship will stop at multiple ports. Tours and activities are provided to please everyone’s interests.
River cruises offer passengers higher safety in regard to health and they can return to the ship without going through crowded security checkpoints. They are able to get to know their shipmates because everyone eats together in a smallish dining room.
Vacation selfies are not just for Millenials
20 somethings aren’t the only ones who are posting their vacation photos on Instagram. Baby Boomers are memorializing their travel and posting photos on their IG accounts using their smartphone or light-weight camera.
They may not be showing off their bodies like some of the younger travelers do and may choose to find objects to hide behind, but they aren’t afraid to be their authentic selves in photos.
Just a caution though, as I found out on a trip to Mexico, don’t try to take a video while walking backward on cobblestones. I almost fell flat on my face but caught myself and will never do that again.
Happy trip planning!
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