Now that some semblance of normalcy is returning thanks to the efforts of our health care workers and everyone that’s done their part in getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control, domestic (and some international) travel is once again becoming possible and safe for the vaccianted (the CDC still suggests not traveling if you’re unvaccinated). We suggest you wear a mask, social distance, and get a COVID vaccine as soon as you can (if you haven’t already), and follow all the rules and regulations of traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s vacation season again! While many head to the beach or the far-flung shores of Europe, others will be taking a “staycation.” This is when you take some time for yourself at home, away from work and worries. But, when you’re retired, nearly every day can be a staycation, so we recommend taking a trip!
Travel can be incredibly worthwhile, especially for seniors. Whether it’s a day trip or a weeklong adventure, a vacation can be a life-changing experience for you in many ways.
Keeps You Happy and Active
One of the advantages of a destination vacation is the physical act of traveling. It can seem easy to get stagnant, especially if you’re sticking around the house. A staycation tends to mean relaxing at home, while a trip gets you out of the house and active. Even leisurely destinations like all-inclusive resorts or cruises give you access to a pool or events that get you up and moving.
Taking part in a family vacation is an excellent way to stay connected with your loved ones while sharing once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Traveling, especially with a group or your family, is also effective at combatting isolation in seniors. Taking part in a family vacation is an excellent way to stay connected with your loved ones while sharing once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Since travel can be difficult to schedule for some families, especially those with kids that are in schools, you can also seek out a senior travel club.
These groups are filled with like-minded seniors looking to explore the world. Some groups offer travel discounts, publications, and information. Others will organize trips that can introduce you to new friends that share your passion. Luckily, there are lots of travel groups all over the country, both national and local. All you have to do is find the right group trip for you!
Adventures Protect and Sharpen the Mind
Taking some time away is perfect for sharpening the mind in multiple ways. Chief among these is that a vacation gets you away from stress. There’s a reason vacations are called rest and relaxation. Even if you’re retired, the stressors and responsibilities that any of us have at home can wear away at you. Healthy relaxation (avoiding unnecessary stress but still exercising and not being a couch potato) is key to aging well, since stress is terrible for the aging mind. Alternatively, relaxation can prevent heart disease, depression, and a host of other conditions. The fun and relaxation of a vacation can also make you happier, which offers its own health benefit!
A new environment can teach you new things about your world and yourself.
Adventures are another advantage of traveling for vacation. While you can have new experiences at home, exploring a new destination offers a host of discoveries. A new environment can teach you new things about your world and yourself. This, in turn, keeps your brain young, since active learning is extremely healthy for your brain. This is especially true if you’re learning a new language for your trip!
Ways for You to Travel
Wanting to travel and actually traveling are two very different things. It’s not surprising that 76 percent of Americans polled wanted to travel more than they currently do. How do you bridge the gap between wanting and doing? Affordability is one of the biggest reasons people don’t travel. This ignores that there are many affordable places to travel for vacation. You can also save money or develop a retirement savings plan to make a trip more doable. There are also the clever ways you can chip away at the prices. First, there’s the aforementioned senior travel groups, but you can also speak with a travel agent or use a service like Airbnb. There are many ways to make travel less expensive.
Affordability is one of the biggest reasons people don’t travel.
Next, you’ll want to pick where you travel. For some ideas, check out our senior trip articles — 5 Great Vacations for Seniors and Best Spooky Spots for Seniors this Halloween (if you’re in the mood for something a little different!). You can also check with AARP or AAA, who offer many sponsored trips throughout the year. Ultimately, find a place that excites and inspires you, and you can’t go wrong. Finally, prepare in advance for your trip to ensure you have a stress-free vacation. This means knowing how your Medicare coverage works on the road.
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Traveling is a healthy way to enjoy a vacation that can enrich your life. Even if you’re a homebody, the benefits of a destination vacation make it worth getting out of your comfort zone. It’s never too late to travel, and there’s a whole world out there waiting for you. Bon voyage!