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Top 9 Travel Tips for Seniors Planning a Vacation

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Senior couple hiking the Brenta Dolomites Trentino, Italy

Brenta Dolomites Trentino, Italy

Our top nine travel tips for seniors planning a vacation help simplify what you need to know before and during your trip.

Traveling is about giving you new insight into the world and ensuring you have the best time when exploring a familiar destination or someplace new. The best way to ensure your trip brings the right thrills and excitement is by preparing to ensure you enjoy the activities you prefer for the best experience.

Every traveler is different, but our nine recommendations for a great vacation can help you travel safely, actively, and enjoyably.

Overview
  1. 1. Know Your Limits
  2. 2. Choose the Right Destination
  3. 3. Find the Best Time to Go
  4. 4. Plan Ahead
  5. 5. Select the Right Flights & Prepare for Challenges
  6. 6. Consider Travel Insurance
  7. 7. Pack Wisely
  8. 8. Actively Manage Your Medications and Health
  9. 9. Keep Your Friends and Family Informed
  10. Start Planning Your Senior Trip with Zicasso

1. Know Your Limits

Senior woman at Greek amphitheater ruins

Greek Amphitheater in Side, Turkey

No matter where in the world you choose to go, you want to feel comfortable to enjoy the overall experience. How you travel is entirely up to you, but understanding your goals and needs is paramount to ensuring the overall quality of your time away. When planning your trip, you should consider what brings you the most joy and comfort. You can also define what makes you uncomfortable, be it stifling heat, a stiff bed, or too much time driving between destinations.

“We make the impossible possible,” says Jason, a Peru travel specialist. “Don't always believe what you may read online, as we take each trip on its merits and work from there. With the right attention to details, guides, and route planning, 90 percent of destinations are accessible, even to those of lesser mobility.”

Every trip you take is about how you can best experience the world around you, but that can be different for everyone. While you may enjoy walking around an ancient ruin from sunup to sundown, a friend may prefer to sit in a seaside cafe and listen to the waves. You must be honest about your likes, dislikes, and concerns to ensure you and your travel specialist cover every base and eliminate every hurdle.

Learn more: Senior Travel Guide

2. Choose the Right Destination

Senior couple at Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

“Travel opens the world and people should always strive to go to the places of their dreams when they can,” says Marcus, a Turkey travel specialist. Consider what you have always wanted to see and do, and connect with a travel specialist to learn more about what is possible. The right destination for you is subjective, but your goal should dictate where you travel more than anything else.

You may need to consider those you are traveling with, perhaps extended family, friends, a spouse, or partner. Who you travel with, the time of year, the comfort of your party, and your goals will be the most significant factors in what destination you should choose.

You are not limited in where you can or should travel. Instead, the world can easily open up to you and your preferences, as long as you understand them. By focusing on the right reasons for traveling to a specific destination, you can avoid many of the pitfalls other travelers may face, thereby ensuring your trip meets and even exceeds your expectations.

Learn more: 12 Unexpected Destinations for Seniors10 Best Destinations for Senior Travelers with Zicasso

3. Find the Best Time to Go

Group of senior friends having a drink outside ski cabin in Italy

South Tyrol, Italy

The key to finding the best time to go is understanding what you want, how you want to experience your destination, and what factors you feel are important.  A travel specialist with expert knowledge of their destination will assist you in planning the best trip according to your preferences, goals, and needs. Their local experience can also help ensure you visit during the best time for you, instead of on a generic timeline.

The different times of year to visit specific destinations will vary and do not always divide strictly into a “best time to visit” versus other times to travel. If you are not limited to a specific time of year, you could experience the diversity of a destination based on the time of year you do visit. For example, a Serengeti safari may sound appealing during the peak of the Great Migration between June to August, but it also brings lots of crowds and high prices. If you prefer smaller crowds, you may enjoy the experience more in January or February.

Learn more: Guide to the Best Places to Travel by Month

4. Plan Ahead

Senior couple dining outside in Spain

Madrid, Spain

You may have decades of travel experience and understand what you love about specific destinations, the adventure of a new place, or the type of exploration you prefer, but no matter how long you’ve been traveling, the earlier you plan, the smoother your logistics. Whether an expert traveler or a novice, planning ahead is key to ensuring you have a quality and comfortable trip, no matter where you decide to visit.

The benefits of working with a Zicasso travel specialist include their ability to help you plan, reserve, and book your preferred trip to destinations around the world. "[A travel specialist] can offer the best transportation, reservations at the best restaurants where you can have your meal with no waiting, assistance 24/7, hotels with big rooms and elevators, senior-oriented guides, tickets with no line, soft itineraries, and more," says Nadia, a travel specialist to Italy.

Depending on when you plan to travel, you may be contending with large crowds, weather conditions, fully-booked transportation, or top restaurants unable to accommodate your reservation. By planning in advance, you can ensure the right hotel room, a table at your preferred restaurant, or the availability of a particular guide. There are plenty of last-minute or unplanned experiences you could have anywhere in the world, but by planning early, your preferred activities and experiences will likely be yours.

Learn more: 5 Reasons to Work with a Zicasso Travel Specialist

5. Select the Right Flights & Prepare for Challenges

Airplane in flight over clouds during sunset

Planning for flights and travel logistics sets the tone for the entire experience. When traveling anywhere in the world, it takes work to find a flight that is efficient with your time and provides the right seats so you get to your destination comfortably.

These details can play a huge role in how you travel, especially when considering concerns like whether flying in and out of the same airport may impact your overall travel time. When working with your travel specialist, you can ensure you understand the critical logistics of your trip.

Flight cancellations and delays do happen, and the immediate steps you take in those instances can reduce disruptions to your plans. It is always best to fly direct when possible rather than miss a connecting flight due to a cancellation or delay. Check the status of your flight before traveling to the airport.

If a flight is delayed or canceled after you have reached the airport, stand in line at the airline desk to speak with an agent. While waiting, call the airline, use their app, or visit their website, using the service that responds the fastest.

Have your flight details and any preferred flight alternatives ready to speed up the process. You can also book a refundable ticket with a different airline in case the original airline is unable to accommodate you with an immediate replacement. For help on ways to manage your flights and speed up the process at the airport, you can use:

  • The airline’s dedicated app
  • Flightware, which offers real-time checks for flight delays or cancellations
  • Clear, a registered traveler program to verify identities at contactless kiosks
  • Global Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protected program that pre-approves travelers of low-risk

When considering your flights, you can always talk with your Zicasso traveler care specialist for assistance. They may be able to point you in the best direction for airlines to consider, those to fly in and out of depending on your proposed itinerary, and the best considerations for your flights depending on the season.

6. Consider Travel Insurance

Traveler in autumn at Mt Fitz Roy in Patagonia

View of Fitz Roy near El Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina

Everyone has their own level of comfort when taking risks. You may have felt fine not purchasing travel insurance in the past, but times have changed and the assurances travel insurance offers can provide comfort and help in unforeseen circumstances.

Travel insurance policies differ in coverage offered and reimbursement levels. Some of the most popular policies provide coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, medical insurance and emergency evacuations, lost luggage and more. Zicasso’s partner, Arch RoamRight, can help with an insurance quote and further information.

7. Pack Wisely

Senior female traveler with luggage at the airport

Packing is an essential part of travel, but can be challenging. Many people tend to overpack, which may add to the overall monetary cost of the trip and the unforeseen physical toll as you are forced to carry your luggage between transfers, accommodations, or destinations.

As a senior traveler, more mobile luggage may help you travel better. Wearables and accessories can be essential aspects of your packing list that could account for weather conditions or special circumstances at your destination. You may need batteries, hearing aids, certain medication, paperwork, and specific toiletries. What you need versus what you want to take can quickly add up.

“Travel without valuable jewelry. Travel with comfortable clothing and footwear. Think carefully before packing and keep your luggage to a minimum,” recommends Kieran, an Argentina travels specialist. No matter where in the world you are traveling, you should aim to keep your packing list versatile and straightforward. Keep medications, copies of important documents, glasses, a light sweater, mobile phone, hat, comfortable shoes, and chargers with adaptor cords.

8. Actively Manage Your Medications and Health

Senior woman removing mediation from yellow pill box

Managing your medications is only a part of managing your health during your trip. You must make sure you bring enough medication with you for the duration of your journey and keep the original prescription bottle with you in case of an emergency. Your medications may be a lifeline, so transporting them, keeping them safe and near to you, and making sure they are labeled correctly are important factors for ensuring your safety.

Your decision to travel in the hands of an experienced travel specialist with a local network in place can make all the difference should any health issues arise. “Every major destination in Thailand where we go with our clients has private medical facilities with excellent service and where English is spoken,” says Jack, a Thailand travel specialist. Depending on where you are visiting, you could travel with an extra week’s supply of medication as travel arrangements can change or be impacted by unforeseen circumstances. To manage your medication correctly, you should also bring copies of your prescriptions if you need to visit a pharmacy during your trip. “It’s always good to make sure you have a list of the medicines and the doses,” Jack adds.

Every destination is different, and making sure you are covered is vital for your health, no matter where you visit. When working with a Zicasso travel expert, they can help guide you to keep you safe and healthy in a new place.

9. Keep Your Friends and Family Informed

Senior travelers taking a selfie while kayaking in Thailand

Ko Samui, Thailand

Traveling safely around the world is not just about what you pack or how you act when visiting a specific destination, but is also about the details you work out with those at home in advance. You should always give a copy of your itinerary to a family member, close friend, or someone you are regularly in contact with in case of an emergency. Travel is an exceptional experience, but can come with challenges, especially when visiting someplace new.

Providing a loved one with information such as your itinerary, contact numbers, medication, and copies of essential documents makes it much easier to help you or reach you in case of an emergency. With your itinerary should be the updated contact information of your accommodations in each location in case you cannot be reached.

“Provide your kids with a copy of the itinerary with contact details of the hotels and your travel specialist,” recommends Kieran, an Argentina travel specialist. Keeping these details in mind can make your travel experience much easier and more comfortable for everyone.

Start Planning Your Senior Trip with Zicasso

Senior couple on the beach in South Africa

Bloubergstrand with view of Table Mountain in South Africa

Traveling is an exciting way to discover new corners of the world, whether exploring a tropical landscape or wandering through a medieval city. As a senior traveler, you have unique travel opportunities and can find more inspiration in our Senior Travel Guide.

Our travel specialists can customize any trip to your needs and preferences, and are ready to make your dream trip happen. Discover our most popular trips for seniors with our sample itineraries on Tours & Vacations for Senior Travelers. When you are ready, you can speak with a local Zicasso travel specialist to plan your best trip.

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