Adventure holidays for over 50s
Let’s face it – no one dreams of spending their retirement thinking about wills, trusts and pensions. And while those things are important, nothing beats sailing round the Caribbean, climbing Tuscan hills or riding a bullet train to Tokyo. Or, with the way travel is changing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, could your perfect getaway be closer to home? From getting stuck into activity holidays in the Lake District, to kayaking Helford Passage in Cornwall, the UK offers a lot of exciting experiences to explore.
So, if you're ready for an adventure near or far, check out our guide to holidays for older people and start planning your epic travel experience.
Why it's time for an adventure
For many people, being over 50 is just the right time to embark on some well-deserved travel. Perhaps your kids have left home and your time is no longer tied to school term dates. Or perhaps you’ve recently retired, and now you have more annual leave than you can believe.
If you’ve been able to save a substantial sum from your pension, your retirement is the perfect time to pack your bags and escape, explore, and watch the world go by. You certainly won’t be the only one – in fact, according to travel agent TUI, in January 2021 the over 50s were responsible for 50% of all their web bookings.
On the face of it, there’s no real difference between an over 50s adventure holiday and any other activity-filled holiday you’ve experienced before. Sure, you might be less likely to visit a party resort in the Mediterranean these days, but if you’re in good physical condition, there’s a great variety of active over 50s holidays on offer.
If you love the outdoors, walking holidays are a great way to get some oxygen in your lungs, stretch your legs and feast your eyes on stunning scenery. Popular destinations for walkers include the fjords of Norway, the foothills of the Pyrenees, or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, the UNESCO-recognised Kumano Kodo pilgrimage in Japan’s Kii Peninsula.
Alternatively, a round-the-world trip beats even the most ambitious of youthful gap years. Travel restrictions allowing, if you don’t fancy pulling on the walking boots, let the train take the strain on the Trans-Siberian railway, or cruise into the Arctic Circle and see the Northern Lights.
UK adventure and trekking holidays for the over 50s are just as breath-taking as those abroad. The English countryside is brimming with wild beauty, mountains to climb and unforgettable activities to enjoy. Popular treks include conquering the mighty peaks of Snowdonia, exploring the dramatic scenery of Jersey and horse riding from Wale's Wye Valley to the sands of the Dovey Estuary - an exhilarating journey that covers 100 miles over six days.
What’s more, one of the best things about travelling in the UK is its compact size and transport links. If you fancy a break from all the trekking, take a scenic train through the Scottish Highlands, or sail a boat around the English Channel.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with simply taking a beach holiday and a few good books. But if you really want to set the pulse racing, active holidays for seniors can include kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, sandboarding and scuba diving – take your pick!
How to prepare for an over 50s travel adventure
Before you pack your bags and lace up your hiking boots, there are some things you should prepare before your big break.
- Make sure you have travel insurance in place, so you’re covered for any flight delays, cancellations, and medical emergencies. The level of cover you select should depend on factors such as trip duration and your medical need.
- When it comes to planning your itinerary, be realistic about how much travelling you want to do, and factor in plenty of breaks. You may have a bucket list of experiences to tick off, but sometimes travelling at a slow pace gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a local culture.
- If you’re spending a lot of time in transit, you might have a fair bit of down-time – including the possibility of delayed flights to missed connections. Pack some reading material to ensure you never get bored.
Should you travel solo?
Everyone’s different, and while some people love travelling with their partner, friends or family, some of the best over 50 travel adventures can be done solo. Exploring on your own can be a fantastic way to meet new people, and strangers are often friendlier than you think! While group travel is a popular type of holiday for seniors, not everyone wants to hang out with people solely in their age bracket.
Cruise holidays are a great way to travel solo, as the sociable atmosphere and mix of people means if you ever get lonely, it won’t be for long. The downside of solo travel is that you won’t be able to split accommodation costs with a roommate, so you may need to set aside more funds.
Use common sense to stay safe
As you know, misfortune can strike at any moment, and while you shouldn’t be unduly alarmed about your personal safety, it’s worth taking sensible precautions. If you’re travelling to a politically unstable part of the world, check the latest Foreign Office travel advice for further security information.
When you’re out and about, keep your money and valuables out-of-sight, and stick to well-lit main roads at night-time if you feel unsafe. It’s also a good idea to learn the local emergency phone number and some key phrases in case you need to alert the police. But of course, you don’t want to be so risk-averse that it spoils all your fun, so exercise common sense and remember to enjoy yourself.