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12 Unexpected Destinations For Seniors

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Senior couple walking on the beach in South Africa

Bloubergstrand Beach, South Africa

These 12 unexpected destinations for seniors are full of surprises, allowing you to immerse yourself in histories, landscapes, and traditions. From exploring secluded volcanic slopes at your pace to revealing cultural experiences as a family, enjoying a familiar destination or making a new discovery as a couple, traveling to unexpected places allows us to enjoy the world from a new perspective and find wonder along the way.

1. Thailand

Sanphet Prasat Palace, the principal palace in the early Ayutthaya period, in Bangkok, Thailand

Sanphet Prasat Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand is a tropical paradise and jungle adventure, home to an ancient empire and bustling modern metropolis. From the pristine waters lapping against the idyllic white beaches to night markets erupting with enticing culinary aromas, Thailand can open your eyes to the point at which the marvels of history and modernity meet, whether in the mountains or at the sea.

Obsessed with food that results in bountiful feasts, quiet villages with rural rice paddies, and sacred spaces, Thailand is a rich tapestry of islands and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Thailand travel specialist Jack says, “November to June offers the best weather and it’s outside the Monsoon period”, which can bring to light the variety of natural and cultural wonders for which Thailand is famous.

Whether interested in visiting the bustling markets of Bangkok or eager to lounge on the pristine sands of Koh Tao in between scuba diving instruction, a travel specialist can make sure you travel at a pace comfortable to you. Jack says, “All of the tours would be done on a private basis, with the guide having the control to adapt and change as needed, instead of a standard step-by-step program. Example, if in the itinerary we visited a temple, but you wish to go back to the hotel, no problem.”

When in Thailand, having the flexibility to travel the way you prefer can set the tone for your trip. Whether on a cultural tour visiting ethnic tribes in the north, on a culinary tour of the south in search of traditional Sriracha, or visiting the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, your travel specialist can make sure you have the fluidity and accessibility you need to make your trip as smooth and comfortable as possible.

Learn more: Thailand Tours for Seniors | Thailand Travel Guide

2. Vietnam

Lush green landscape surrounding Ban Gioc waterfall and Quây Sơn River in Vietnam

Ban Gioc Falls in Vietnam

Vietnam is deceptively enchanting, with dazzling metropolises and natural beauty spreading from the luxurious coastline to verdant terraced rice paddies, the banks of the Mekong River, and breathtaking views from the mountains. With a mixture of cultural diversity and natural splendor, it is easy to immerse yourself in the colorful variety Vietnam has to offer, from the greenery of the landscape to the incredible costumes of ethnic hill tribes.

When traveling around the country, Vietnam travel specialist Irene says, “Be upfront with your travel planner about your expectations on the types of activities, accommodation, and cuisine you enjoy most. If you are not comfortable with certain experiences, like dining with locals, eating street food, or spending prolonged hours outdoors, it is totally ok to let your travel planner know in advance.”

By understanding how you feel most comfortable exploring, you can better shape your perfect trip. Irene says, “If you have already given sufficient information on the type of traveler you are and your expectations for the trip, try to trust your travel planner with appropriate recommendations. While it is ok to get reviews online or people you know who have done a similar trip, keep in mind that what people like or enjoy may not always be suitable for you.”

Your trip is personal and how you hope to experience Vietnam will depend on your preferences, what you wish to see, the accommodations you would like to enjoy, and the activities that make you feel at ease, in addition to who you may be traveling with. “Lastly,” Irene says, “if traveling with your grandchildren, be open to having soft adventure excursions that appeal to young and old. Do not cross out activities that look strenuous. Creative arrangements can always be made to accommodate seniors so the tour can be conducted for everyone.”

Learn more: Vietnam Tours for Seniors 

3. Japan

Loan fisherman in a boat on Lake Kawaguchiko with colorful autumn foliage of red leaves framing Mt fuji in Japan

Lake Kawaguchi in Fujikawaguchiko, Japan

Japan is often described as timeless, a captivating destination where visions of the future fuse with ancient traditions. With culture dating back millennia and natural beauty spreading from staggering mountainscapes to renowned cherry blossoms, the distinctive combination of past, present, and future feels seamless. Japan travel expert Jeff says, “Spring is the best time to visit Japan, as the cherry trees bloom and the weather is wonderful for walks in the parks, temple grounds, and shopping areas. Fall is also wonderful, as mountains are painted in fall colors.”

The beauty and accessibility of Japan make it easy to enjoy for senior travelers, no matter the type of experience you prefer. Jeff says, “Japan has an amazing train system that makes traveling easy, though there are stairs to climb. Luckily this is not an issue for seniors as there are also escalators and elevators at all stations. Traveling by train is so easy, as you do not need to worry about where you are going, you just sit in the train and watch the countryside.” The country is mobile-friendly, especially in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, which are comfortable and accustomed to travelers from around the world.

Whether you would like to stay in a traditional ryokan or witness a Sumo tournament, watch the cherry blossoms fall, or visit an ancient temple, it is essential not only to know what you want to do, but any limitations as well. Jeff says, “We take the time to know our travelers and then build trips that they will love. If they cannot climb stairs, then we arrange accommodations with few stairs, even when they are staying at a ryokan inn.”

Part of visiting a new destination is remaining open to the experience of discovery. It is not just about expectation, but the anticipation of the unexpected. It is in Japan’s diversity that you can experience the true essence of the country, as it shares remarkable traditions and a vision of the future. Jeff says, “Japan is an old country with many beautiful sights, sounds, and tastes. Stay open to new ideas and be willing to try new things. Also, take breaks and visit convenience stores as they have some of the best snacks and drinks in Japan.”

Learn more: Japan Tours for Seniors | Japan Travel Guide

4. South Africa

Two giraffes in South Africa

South Africa is a country of astounding diversity, from the wildlife adventures to the dramatic scenery, the remarkable history, and exceptional coastline. With some of the African continent’s best safari destinations in which to find the Big Five and access to the remarkable culture, from the Winelands to Soweto, the landscapes are wondrous and timeless. With endless possibilities, you can travel the gaping gorges, experience seclusion in a star-studded desert, or embrace the lively ambiance of Cape Town, in addition to finding inspiration from elephants to lions.

Traveling as a senior in South Africa is easy, comfortable, and exciting. Luxury accommodations can immerse you in the wilds of the savanna or reveal the gorgeous panoramas spanning the coastline. South Africa travel specialist Neil says, “South Africa has good infrastructure, with easy access to safari destinations and other main attractions. Combine this with a private tour guide who looks after your every need and you will have a winning combination for a luxury, stress-free vacation.”

By working with a South Africa travel specialist, you can experience the country as you prefer. Sample the delectable wines, travel to the edge of the Cape of Good Hope or the top of Table Mountain, visit the Apartheid Museum, or relax with a sundowner while overlooking a distant pool known for attracting elephant herds. By sharing your travel preferences, your preferred experiences, and any mobility limitations or concerns with a travel specialist, you can plan accordingly to have your perfect trip.

With established tourist infrastructure, a reputation for exceptional safari excursions, and well-trained local guides who can give you deeper insights into the landscapes, cultures, and wildlife, you are guaranteed a profound and comfortable experience.

Learn more: South Africa Tours for Seniors | African Safari Travel Guide

5. Tanzania

Leopard on a tree branch in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Tanzania is the embodiment of safari destinations, giving you views of lounging lions, long parades of elephants, and the secluded luxury of a wilderness resort. But beyond the safari adventures, Tanzania emanates majesty, from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro to the endless grasslands of the Serengeti, the pristine white sands of Zanzibar’s beaches to the crystal-clear waters of Pemba Island.

Tanzania is the perfect place to find guided adventure and relaxation, especially from December to February, during the migration in the southern Serengeti, which severely shortens travel time. When searching for the best place to experience the beauty and wonders of the country, Tanzania travel specialist Tehsin says, “The best destination for seniors in terms of accessibility and enjoyment is Northern Tanzania, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, and, of course, the Serengeti.”

Each destination can give you a different view of Tanzania’s natural charm by giving you a different perspective of the wildlife and wilderness. Tehsin also recommends extending any visit with a beach visit to Zanzibar. “A slow-paced trip allows you to relax along the way.”

As with any destination, how you experience Tanzania depends on your goals and preferences, but working with a safari travel expert and sharing the types of trip you hope to have will ensure your best trip. Tehsin says, “You can truly appreciate your surroundings in Tanzania. It is not about aiming to tick off a bucket list, but the aim to experience authentic Africa.” Working with a travel expert can “... offer on-the-ground flexibility, on a day-to-day basis, for the trip to be faster or slower, or even include unscheduled downtime whenever you like.”

Learn More: Tanzania Tours for Seniors | African Safari Travel Guide

6. Kenya

Two zebras in tall grass

Kenya conjures images of endless savannas speckled with massive herds of wildlife, where the landscape - from the snowcapped equatorial mountains or the soulful drama of the Great Rift Valley - promises adventure. The epic scenery stirs a longing for a deeper connection to the diversity of the land, abundant wildlife, and distinct cultures.

“Kenya’s tourism board’s slogan is ‘Magical Kenya’,” says African safari expert, Michelle. “And this rings so true. There is a sense of cultural pride and some of the best game-viewing in Africa. Knowing that extremely qualified guides, luxury vehicles, and a good choice of well-established, bigger lodges can cater for seniors’ needs makes it a great option for older safari-goers.” Whether arriving directly at your lodge with a fly-in safari for a shorter connection or having a private driver that can stop at local markets along the way, you can arrive at your lodge in a manner comfortable to you.

A safari experience in Kenya is perfect for seniors with or without mobility concerns, making some of the most remote corners of the protected wilderness accessible. Michelle says, “Hands-on assistance at all times and attentive guides can literally walk with guests each step of the way. Adapted safari vehicles are available for those travelers who may require a wheelchair. Using the same 4x4 vehicles to get from Nairobi to Maasai Mara or Amboseli, for example, as well as within these parks, means clients can get to ‘know’ their safari vehicle and how best to get into and out of that.”

The true majesty of Kenya stems from its surprising variety, which makes it much easier to travel, explore, and discover as a senior in a safe way. “Some travelers prefer not to stay in Nairobi at all,” Michelle says. “But at least one night upon arrival is important to either rest and acclimatize to the time-zone change or to visit some of Nairobi’s key places of interest. Kenya is also in East Africa, which is easily combined with Zanzibar for the ‘beach-and-bush’ combo’.” A Kenya travel specialist can make sure your time in the country is all about your preferred experiences.

Learn More: Kenya Tours for Seniors | African Safari Travel Guide

7. Egypt

Resort on the Red Sea in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

As the home of enchanting pyramids and preserved ancient temples, the aromas of spices filling a labyrinthine bazaar, and the morning Islamic call to prayer, Egypt is a captivating destination with layers of history, culture, and prestige that transcend time. Whether looking for an adventure or interested in a slower pace in the countryside, the best time for seniors to visit Egypt is between October and April.

Egypt travel expert Mahmoud says, “Most seniors are concerned about the amount of walking they will have to do and how comfortable the accommodations will be”. When working with a travel specialist you can ensure your trip is tailored to your needs and goals. We plan the perfect itinerary for you, provide a friendly, professional, and knowledgeable Egyptologist guide, plus reliable and comfortable vehicles during every transfer.”

Planning ahead will ensure you have a perfect trip. With travel insurance, you can plan for any unforeseen challenges. Mahmoud also suggests you “carry your prescriptions with you and any medicine you are on, as it may be a bit difficult to find your medicine in Egypt. So taking your medicine with you will make things much easier for you.”

Egypt is a grand destination in which to immerse yourself in ancient wonders. By understanding your limits, your travel specialist can help you plan ahead for any mobility issues or the possible desert heat. Mahmoud says, “Review your itinerary and make sure it has everything you are looking for. Request any changes before the trip start date to make sure it has everything you want, as this is going to be a lifetime experience.”

Learn More: Egypt Tours for Seniors | Egypt Travel Guide

8. Morocco

Desert sand dunes in Morocco

Sahara Desert in Morocco

Morocco is often considered the gateway to Africa. With an impressive connection to ancient cities, antique trade routes, epic mountains, sweeping desert sands, and the endless warmth of local hospitality, you can find a taste of the exotic or the charm of timeless luxury. Morocco blends African and Arab heritage, makes age-old customs accessible, and creates a tangible atmosphere that can easily enchant you.

Old cities that feel like mazes, mountaintops blanketed with snow, and sand dunes baked in desert sun can make Morocco seem inaccessible, but the country is actually known for welcoming seniors with mobility or accessibility issues. When working with a travel specialist you can plan ahead to overcome any challenges that may hinder your perfect Morocco trip, as well as give you access to the right guides, accommodations, or transfer assistance you may need.

Marcus, a Morocco travel specialist, says, “Providing 24/7 ground support and lots of pre-trip information is part of being a good travel specialist. For instance, most of my clients take me up on my offer for a long conference call 14 days before departure to go over almost every detail of the trip. This brings up many questions and allows me to share tons of info I could never send in an email or fact sheet.”

You should always take your trip at your pace to better appreciate the dynamic culture and remarkable scenery of Morocco, whether sipping tea in a rooftop cafe overlooking Djemaa El Fna Square or watching the tanners in Fez. By traveling at your pace you have a better connection to your surroundings and can ensure you stay hydrated. You can also understand your comfort level, from a dietary perspective to riding a camel.

Learn More: Morocco Tours for Seniors | Morocco Travel Guide

9. Peru / Machu Picchu

Marhcu Picchu with guard house in Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Peru radiates history, culture, and adventure. From the banks of the Amazon River to the ruins of Machu Picchu, the high-altitude waters of Lake Titicaca to the mysteries of the lowland Nazca lines, discovering Peru is like uncovering a tapestry of ancient wonder and modern vibrancy. Nature and culture create endless opportunities across the country, especially for seniors during the dry season from May to September.

With so many options to experience it is important to pay attention to logistics and any possible health issues that could come up. Peru travel specialist Jason says, “The idea is not to learn of any underlying health issues after the trip has started and then maximizing the trip to include the most possible activities in a safe manner. By listening to and understanding your individual needs and capabilities, we can plan the best trip for you.”

Visiting Peru often raises many questions for senior travelers, especially when considering possible issues like the effects and challenges of traveling at high altitude, how to best prepare for your trip, or whether you will be fit enough to walk the one-day Inca trail. “On a practical level, the planning and routing of itineraries to adapt to the altitude is essential,” Jason says. “We have had people of almost 90 years old visit Machu Picchu and people in their eighties do the one-day Inca Trail hike.”

By understanding your limits and sharing any limitations or concerns you may have with your travel specialist, you can remain safe while also exploring the diversity of Peru’s mountains, lowlands, coastline, and jungle. Peru is a country of heritage and action, but your travel specialist can make each corner accessible to you, whether you are in search of adventure on the Inca Trail, eager to find macaws in the rainforest, interested in seeing condors in Arequipa, or prefer to travel at a calmer pace with a scenic flight over the Nazca lines.

Learn More: Peru Tours for Seniors

10. Ecuador / Galapagos Islands

Sea turtle in the Galapagos Island, Ecuador

Ecuador is an enticing wave of cultural beauty and natural wonder. Colonial centers reflect the heritage, white beaches provide endless surprises, Andean traditions radiate marvelous colors, and the untouched Amazon creates an alluring ambiance, all cast in the shadows of the pristine wilderness around the Galapagos Islands. The entire country is accessible to seniors and entirely captivating year-round.

When visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands many seniors wonder if they will physically be able to make the trip. But Jason, an Ecuador and Galapagos travel specialist, says,”It is all about listening and talking to you, about understanding your needs and having those needs met”. Planning your trip ahead ensures that you can account for any seen and unforeseen challenges, whether dealing with mobility issues, a history of fatigue, or simply your preference for traveling at a particular pace.

Ecuador will definitely delight you, but may also surprise you, especially when learning that its capital, Quito, has an altitude of 9,350 feet above sea level, making it the second-highest capital city in the world. The country is also home to five UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Galapagos Islands. Whether you plan to cruise around the untouched archipelago or explore the wider diversity from coastline to jungle riverbanks, preparing yourself for the variety of altitudes, landscapes, and activities is essential.

You can spend your time searching for penguins, resting on the shore of a volcanic island, visiting the equatorial line, wandering the narrow cobblestone streets of a colonial village or indulging in a wonderland of chocolates. Visiting Ecuador opens a completely different world of natural, historical, and cultural splendor, no matter your interests.

Learn More: Galapagos Islands Tours for Seniors | Galapagos Islands and Ecuador Travel Guide

11. Iceland

Sunset over the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall with Kirkjufell mountain in the background in Iceland

Kirkjufellsfoss with Kirkjufell Mountain in Iceland

Iceland is a symphony of elements that creates magic, a destination that can turn the eyes of even the most jaded traveler. Untouched nature creates a dazzling wilderness where fire and ice meet, with tunnels woven into glaciers, volcanoes dripping magma, and puffins hiding in dramatic coastal cliffs. The most accessible regions for seniors can take you to Reykjavik and the south coast year-round for an unparalleled introduction to the significant power of nature.

It is a destination of diversity, of endless beauty spreading from the horizon into the sky. Iceland travel specialist Andres says, “You can visit Iceland any time of the year for different reasons. It is more about preferences. The autumn is my favorite season. Winter has not arrived, high season is over, the autumn colors make the island more colorful than ever and the Northern Lights are keeping us awake.”

No matter the season in which you visit Iceland, you can expect a personal touch with local hospitality and pace that forces you to consider the splendor of your surroundings. It is a landscape that can immerse you in adventure, but at your own comfort level, where you can wind through fjords, trek across glaciers, plunge into hot springs, or simply bask in the expanse of sparsely populated nature beneath the dancing Northern Lights or beaming Midnight Sun.

Your best Iceland experience will open your eyes to breaching whales or erupting geysers, with plenty of attention paid to your travel preferences. Andres says, “A travel specialist offers high-class personal service, with great emphasis on holding phone calls and going over your trip request in great detail”. The personal touch of a travel specialist can be the biggest differentiator in understanding what you wish to see, the experiences you hope to have, and the best way for you to enjoy your entire Iceland trip.

Learn More: Iceland Tours for Seniors | Iceland Travel Guide

12. Costa Rica

Senior couple hiking in the wilderness

Costa Rica is a boundless world of natural wonder with unique wildlife, exceptional beaches, soaring volcanoes, and near-mythical cloud forests. From coastlines to mountainscapes, you can find exceptional luxury and quiet village seclusion any time of the year, with good weather, including during the rainy season. Senior travelers can relax in resorts overlooking the Pacific or find the perfect jungle lodge in which to search for birdlife and rambunctious monkeys.

Costa Rica travel specialist Catalina says, “Costa Rica requires a law of accessibility for the hotels, which means most hotels offer access for seniors and people with some mobility restrictions. So basically seniors are able to  access all areas in Costa Rica.” Whether or not you are traveling with mobility and accessibility issues, understanding the logistics of your itinerary will help ensure your perfect vacation.

Working with a Costa Rica travel expert can help you explore your options and preferences when discovering the biodiversity and culture of the country. Whether you prefer to sail through the sky on a zipline excursion in Arenal or drift down the canals of Tortuguero in search of jaguars or manatees, snorkel at Manuel Antonio National Park, or listen for endangered squirrel monkeys in the Osa Peninsula, a travel specialist who understands the local challenges can make sure you accomplish your goals.

By understanding your needs when visiting Costa Rica you can be better prepared for your style of exploration, such as changing your accommodation to be closer to a national park or needing more time with a private guide to search for a quetzal during a birding expedition. In the end, exploring Costa Rica is easy and accessible, with a travel specialist making sure you feel comfortable during your trip.

Learn More: Costa Rica Tours for Seniors | Costa Rica Travel Guide

Plan Your Next Senior Trip To An Unexpected Destination

Senior couple taking a selfie while snorkeling

Traveling as a senior is liberating and allows you to explore the world at your pace. Whether you like to indulge in the tropics, with their idyllic beaches, or bask in cultural excursions with historic marketplaces, you can discover new opportunities as a couple, with friends, or as a family when you speak with a senior travel specialist free by filling out a Trip Request or calling 1-888-265-9707.

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