Top 10 travel destinations for over 50s
Travelling can open the doors to much more than just an enjoyable holiday, and exploring the world in your 50s, 60s and beyond can have health and wellbeing benefits. Those who travel tend to stay more active throughout later life and reduce their risk of heart disease, excessive stress, and depression.1 Travel is an excellent way to broaden your horizons, meet new people, have new experiences and continue learning and growing as a person.
If you’re considering exploring the world in your 50s (and beyond) but aren’t quite sure where to go, here are some top destinations to consider.
London is one of the most exciting cities in the world for older travellers, and offers endless day trips, tours and museums to enjoy. Alongside the most famous London landmarks there are many unique experiences to place on your travelling calendar. The Chelsea Flower Show goes for five days annually during May in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. It’s one of the main events from the Royal Horticultural Society and is world renowned for its beauty and majesty.
You might also enjoy the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, or other popular activities such as the Tate Modern or the Natural History Museum. The Borough Market is one of the oldest markets in Europe, and has the added bonus of being undercover, and providing generally good access for those who are less mobile, or who are utilising public transport.
Alaska is a land of majestic beauty, and there’s no better way to see it all than by travelling aboard a cruise ship. In fact, Alaska was one of the top destinations for cruise passengers over the age of 50 in 2018.2 History enthusiasts might enjoy the Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry in Wasilla, which also offers a discount for senior travellers.
You’ll find that Alaska is a senior-friendly town with cooler weather; beautiful, easily accessible scenery and landmarks; and practical benefits such as plenty of shopping centres and pharmacies to purchase essentials. Seniors are also entitled to many discounts throughout Alaska4, including at restaurants, retail outlets and even select hotels.
Oahu, Hawaii, USA
If walking, shopping, swimming and relaxing is on your agenda, Hawaii is a great getaway spot for singles and those with partners alike. With great golf courses, excellent beaches, and a whole range of tropical wonderlands to explore, you’re sure to find something fun to do on the American oceanside. Many experienced travellers suggest that the island of Oahu is the best for senior travellers, as you have everything you’ll need in one spot – the best shopping, plenty of museums, easily accessible beaches and more.
The U.S. National Park Service offers discounts for senior travellers (over the age of 62), to many historic sites and recreation activities. U.S. locals get up to 50% off but there are many smaller discounts available for senior tourists as well. Diamond Head State Monument is breathtaking, and costs only $5 per car, or $1 per pedestrian tourist, making it a cheap and easy way to spend an afternoon. Walk for some exercise or take the car if you feel like relaxing and taking in the scenery.
France is an excellent location for older travellers as you can access so many of the beautiful provincial towns by rail – and if you’re over 60, you might be entitled to a Senior + railcard, and you do not need to be a French citizen to purchase one. There are so many places to explore, for example, travel by train to the Luberon, a beautiful area in central Provence, in the south of France.
There, you’ll find such local delights as a lavender museum, the Vaucluse natural springs, and The Domaine de la Citadelle which holds wine tastings, winery tours and hosts local produce events. There are many food and produce markets, as well as quaint local villages to explore. Buy some pain, patisserie, fromage and red wine and set off for a picnic when the weather permits.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Australia’s very own Great Barrier Reef is something every Australian should explore in their lifetime. While you might have visions of scuba diving lessons and sailing adventures, one of the best ways for older travellers to experience the reef is with a simple snorkelling tour.
Snorkelling is a low impact, fun, no-experience needed activity that can be enjoyed by people of almost all fitness levels. If snorkelling is not your idea of fun, then book a tour in a semi-submersible boat, and experience the reef in all its beauty without the need to ever get wet. Seniors who like a bit more action can even book a helicopter tour. Make sure you do your research, as many tour companies have discounts available for seniors during the low season, typically from May to October.
Las Vegas, USA
While many people think that Las Vegas is a party town for twenty somethings, it’s actually an excellent destination for older travellers, and has many senior-friendly activities all accessible easily by bus. Many tours even include a lunch and drinks package, as well as hotel shuttle facilities, so your whole day will be a breeze.
Many seniors love boot scooting and country music and Las Vegas is a great place to try out both! There are boot scooting classes which can be fun for people of all fitness levels, and themed restaurants for you to try, such as the famous Toby Keith's on Las Vegas Boulevarde.
Florence, or Firenze to the locals, is a place that many people have on their “bucket list” and it’s a perfect place to travel as a senior. Explore the cobbled streets by walking from the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station towards the Duomo cathedral, then head down to the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone arch bridge over the Arno River. Walking might be taxing for some seniors, so take frequent refreshment breaks at standing cafes to break up your journey.
Leave ample time for any art, or museum visits; for example, the Uffizi takes a rather long time to see properly, many travellers leave themselves three hours or more. Florence can get very busy (and hot) over summer, so to make the most of your Italian adventure, look to travel between March and May or around September/October.
Uluru, Alice Springs, Australia
If you have never seen Uluru in anything but photos, you will be amazed and astounded by its natural, breathtaking beauty. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is managed by Parks Australia and offers ranger guided activities, such as the Mala walk, and a presentation on traditional women's tools at the Cultural Centre.
Many of the Cultural Centre’s activities are free, however all visitors to Uluru will require a Park Pass, which is very affordable at around $25 per adult, with proceeds from the pass funding many local indigenous community projects. Bring your own lunch, and enjoy this at the beautiful undercover picnic area, or book a bush tucker tour and sample the local delights. If you have a Seniors Card, you may be eligible for further discounts, so check local government resources.
Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand is a favourite hotspot for over 50s, and Queenstown is a perfect place to base yourself for a range of exciting activities. Less mobile travellers will really enjoy an overnight cruise to Milford Sound. Many cruises offer reasonably priced food and beverage packages, so you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery without having to hike up hills or worry about the weather. Make sure you register your travel in New Zealand as this helps you remain safe.
Skyline Queenstown offers a range of fun activities, some more active than others. The Gondola allows you to take a scenic tour to the top of Bob’s Peak and lets you drink in all the breathtaking views from the comfort of a temperature-controlled cabin. They even have dinner and wine packages available, if you’re looking for something a little bit special. More active seniors might enjoy mountain biking, or the luge rides.
Portugal is a favourite with seniors due to its warm climate, serenity and slower pace of life. It’s also great value for money, with the cost of living in Portugal among the lowest in Western Europe.3 Spring and Autumn are the best times to visit, to avoid the harsher weather in the hotter or cooler months.
Wine lovers will adore the many varieties of port wine available in Porto, but there are so many reasons to visit this coastal city in northwest Portugal. The Livraria Lello is a famous local bookshop located in civil parish of Cedofeita, Santo Ildefonso. It’s known for its crimson staircase, and is nestled between many interesting landmarks, such as the Clérigos Church and tower, and the gorgeous Luís I Bridge. The cobbled streets of Ribeira have many small bars and restaurants that serve classic Portuguese dishes, and allow senior travellers to sit and relax while planning the next leg of their journey.
Wherever you decide to jet off on your next getaway, it’s important to plan ahead and stay safe while you’re there. Even a single unexpected incident can affect your holiday plans and leave you out of pocket for large expenses, such as missed flights, lost or stolen property, and even medical emergencies.
Organising travel insurance before departing is the best way to ensure you’re covered in case something goes wrong, so you can enjoy your travels without worrying about what could happen.
28 Jan 2016