I love to find venues where I can hook up with experienced travelers and learn from them. One group, I’m involved with is a Los Angeles travel meetup group. It’s led by Elisa who has traveled to 85 countries, mostly by herself. At our last meetup, we talked about where we’ve been, where we’d like to go next, and then she gave us tips and suggestions for best travel gear and online booking sites.
Some of the countries she’s traveled to are places I would never have thought to visit like living in a leech-infested hut in Papua New Guinea or a remote spot in Mali. She’s pretty adventurous, over 50, and hasn’t stopped traveling yet.
I wanted to share some of the recommendations she and our group of world travelers discussed.
The hardest part about traveling when you’re over 50 is getting through the airport. But, did you know you can get through airport security with a simple tap of your finger using CLEAR? Once you’re a member, all you do is go to the CLEAR kiosk and look into the screen or use your fingertips. It will recognize you and give you your security clearance. How easy is that?
When our group of travelers was asked what our favorite online booking sites for flights were, here’s what they came up with. And remember, you can get great deals on flights, hotels, and more when you save up your points and take advantage of senior discounts.
- Skyscanner – This is one of the best sites, according to Frommers to find the best deals on flights. You will always find excellent rates.
- CheapOair – This is an independently owned company. They are more competitive for international flights rather than domestic and you can find great deals. They also offer hotels, cars, cruises, and vacation packages.
- Google Flights – Not surprisingly, Google’s search engine finds excellent prices on flights.
- Expedia – This site searches millions of flights as well as hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. They have a price guarantee and no cancellation fee if you have to cancel your hotel reservations.
Best online travel sites to find hotels
- The top of the list in our group is TripAdvisor – It’s the best online travel site to get feedback from travelers who have been to a destination and experienced it first hand. I rely on it heavily to look for ideas for hotels, places to eat, and activities when I’m planning a vacation. You can now book hotels and vacation rentals directly on TripAdvisor and it will usually give you outstanding rates.
- Booking.com – It is owned by the Priceline group but offers a wider selection of options and it’s easy to navigate. You can plan your entire trip on it because it also includes flights, cars, trains, buses, and business apartments.
- Gate1 Travel – This was our group’s hands-down favorite tour company and everyone who has used them raved about this company.
- Walks of Italy – This suggestion came from me. We loved our Walks of Italy tours when we were traveling in Italy. We did a foodie tour in Rome and a tour of the Vatican.
- Country Walkers – Love seeing nature and walks in the countryside? You can find walking tours all over the world and enjoy them at your own pace. Some tours are guided and others are self-guided. Walk a few miles a day or find longer treks depending on your preferences.
- Viator – You can always search for tours practically anywhere you want to go on Viator.
- Big Bus Tour – Walking is wonderful but sometimes it’s easier and less time-intensive to take a bus. We adored our Big Bus Tour in London and took advantage of the Hop on Hop off Bus while we were in Rome.
- Rail Europe – The best way to travel through Europe is by train. It makes life so easy! If you book a high-speed train it will take you where you want to go in much less time and it’s so comfortable.
- 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.
Best Travel Gear
Elisa haunts the 99 cent Store and often finds amazing (and super cheap) items to use on her trips. She buys lightweight rubber placemats there to use for wrapping breakable items she purchases on her trips. They also have infinity scarves made out of microfiber that can double as a face mask (to avoid germs) or can be used as a quick-drying towel. Dollar stores are also the cheapest places to shop for travel bottles, plastic bags, and sample size products.
- If you’re looking for luggage, Ebags is a fabulous online shopping site for name brands at the best prices. They have a wide range of nifty travel gear that includes purses, backpacks, organizers, packing cubes, RFID bags (to protect your credit cards), and other travel accessories.
Packing cubes were popular with our travelers and come in all sizes including long, which are great for undies, socks, bras, bathing suits, etc. Compression packing cubes will decrease the space you use in your suitcase and keep your clothes from wrinkling.
- Zappos Travel Page – Travel-Friendly Clothing, Shoes, Accessories, and More
- Herschel Supplies – Carry a small day pack to keep your arms free and to store brochures, snacks, cameras, and other essentials. Herschel supplies has stylish and well-made women’s backpacks as well as gorgeous travel clothes and accessories.
- One travel-savvy woman traveled to 91 countries with only a carry-on. She loves Calpac’s hardshell carry-on bags and Samsonite under-seat bags.
- Clark’s Shoes – The ultimate in comfort and class for stylish travelers who don’t want sore feet. They are like walking on clouds.
- Tom’s Shoes – Tom’s is known for its casual slip-on canvas shoes and is perfect to wear going through security and on a plane. It’s a give-back company as well. Proceeds from sales go to designated charities.
You may also enjoy:
- 10 Winter Travel Packing Tips and Advice for Baby Boomers
- A Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel Light and Nifty Over 50
Other do-dads that our group of travelers love
- Inflatable footrest – If you have trouble with edema on flights, like many of us over 50 do, don’t forget to bring along an inflatable footrest. This puts your feet in a more comfortable and healthy position especially if you’re on an overseas flight.
- Light slippers to wear on the plane – Take your shoes off on a long flight, put on some comfy socks, and relax. Then, easily slip on light slippers when you have to go to the restroom to protect your feet from germs. This will help keep your feet from swelling up and protect your health.
- TRTL Super Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow – This is amazing! It doesn’t shove your neck forward and you can wrap it on either side of your neck. Plus, it’s super soft.
- Waterbag to protect electronics – If you’re going to be in rain, are river rafting or anywhere you can get splashed, make sure to store your camera, cell phone, and other electronics in a plastic water bag that won’t leak.
- I personally love my Canon Powershot camera because it’s affordable, light-weight (so it doesn’t strain your neck), and easy to use on auto. It also has a killer zoom lens that you can’t get on a smartphone.
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