Over 50 traveler tips
Over 50 traveler tips for the older and wiser way to travel.
1. If you are an over 50 traveler, and well over backpacking, cheap accommodation and bad food, consider group travel. There are some great destinations where group travel is the most practical way to go. Such as the Antarctic, Russia, parts of China and so on.
If you want to go solo don't rough it, you deserve some comforts. Leave the roughing it to the youngsters.
2. Have you thought of ocean or river cruising? It is a fantastic way for over 50 traveler. You only have to unpack once and you get to see the world at a very relaxing pace. Your fare covers accommodation, food and some entertainment and often your flight to the start of the trip.
3. What about bus or train travel? They are a lot more comfortable these days to when I traveled in the 70's. Buy rail passes before you leave Australia for some excellent savings on transport. Eurail passes are a great way to see Europe. In Japan the rail passes are the cheapest mode of transport and they have the fastest and most comfortable trains. They run on time too, right to the minute. Check on the internet for rail passes or ask your travel agent.
4. If you are traveling with another couple of friends, consider furnished apartments/condos/villas instead of hotels. Many of the hotels (Europe and USA) wouldn't meet the value/comfort standards of a reasonable Australian motel.
Think of the advantage of having plenty of space to move.
5. Hire a car in Europe, USA, Britain. Think twice before hiring a car in Asia. Very scary. It is often cheaper to organise from Australia but beware of rip offs and small print. Best to do it through your travel agent.
Within Britain it is nice to drive and be more independent.
You can stay at B&B's or pubs where you get accommodation and food at reasonable rates.
6. Make sure wherever you go you break your journey. For the over 50 traveler,it doesn't matter what anyone says a long haul is tiring. Especially if you arrive in a different time zone to when you left.
Most airlines have stopovers in Singapore, Bangkok,Malaysia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Hong Kong.If you can do it book your luggage straight through and take only a carry on bag of necessities. You will feel much better with a stopover.
7. Throw away any old luggage that does not have telescopic handles and smooth running wheels. You will be thankful. Avoid back breaker luggage.
Make sure you pack separately (if you & partner have all of your luggage in one bag and it goes missing, you both lose) then you can share some things if you lose your luggage. Invest in little travel packs to keep things in your bag tidy. Plan light, pack light and repack even lighter.
Buy a lightweight back pack for day trips. Take it on the plane as carry on luggage. You can then get away with carrying a few extra kilos.
8. Think about upgrading to business class or 1st class even better. Some airlines now offer upgrade deals for over 50 traveler. Check the off season as well.
This is one of my favorite tips, pay for as much as you can as early as you can. This gives you time to pay it off (credit card) and only worry about your costs whilst traveling. I pay for my fares at about 1 year in advance and have my accommodation paid in full by 3 months before travel.
Always keep a few US dollars in your bag as they are used all over the world and have been a help many times when I have not been able to change Australian currency or any other.
9. Make sure you plan for your trip. Start researching airfares 12 months in advance and try to pay for them then. Research has shown that international airfares do not go down they increase over the year.
If it is a last minute idea to go away then by all means search the internet for last minute deals. Think of spending at least a week in each destination. Take your time and enjoy the experience. Rushing from place to place is not enjoyable at our age.
10. Lastly relax - things go wrong wherever you are overseas or at home. Most people overseas are friendly and helpful and the food is exciting not frightening (well China was a little bit). But if you don't like it then don't eat it but at least try it. The locals will respect you if you try it.
Hygiene standards vary so use commonsense. Take the antiseptic wipes with you and when in doubt wipe over everything. Eat where you feel it is safe. Sometimes if you can see into the kitchen it is safer than the places you can't. Do not eat fresh food without washing it first. You wash it not the vendor. I have seen some horrible places where food is washed (eg sewers)
Now that you are an over 50 traveler you have earned the right to be comfortable and be able to relax.
Lastly check out our
International travel checklist for over 50 traveler
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