10 June 2019

Summer travel tips for older people

Older couple on the beach

Summer is the perfect time to treat yourself to a holiday to enjoy hot weather and some time to relax. However, travelling can often become stressful and tiring, especially for people who have low mobility, which is why we’re sharing our easy travel tips for your summer holiday.

Choose the perfect hotel

Food buffet

When choosing your holiday destination there are many things to consider. Depending on what kind of getaway you’re looking for, pay close attention to the location of the hotel and the distance it is from the city centre or beach. Also, consider the dates you are choosing to book on, as if you’re after a relaxing and quiet holiday it’s best to avoid booking in the school holidays. Our tip is to list the pros and cons of each hotel and remember to ask each one about their accessibility before you book.

We spoke to Jim from Never Stop Travelling, a travel blog where you can find the best places and things to do around the globe, to find out his recommendations for older travellers: “Whenever you decide on a place to visit, read articles and reviews online to learn more about it. An excellent place to look is on sites such as TripAdvisor since the reviews and discussions from other travellers can be exceptionally valuable. You’ll quickly learn what to see and what to avoid, as well as the best areas to stay.”

Much like when people are comparing stairlift prices, it’s essential to dedicate time to browsing your options. Keep an eye out for holiday deals or use comparison sites to find the best holiday agency at the location of your choice. We also recommend opting for an all-inclusive holiday to make each day easier, and quite often you’ll save money in the long run. Of course, on some nights you can venture out to other restaurants to enjoy a meal, but on days where you have already been busy exploring, you may appreciate not having to travel elsewhere for food.

Stay organised

Open pink suitcase with shoes and sunglasses

The trick to avoiding any nasty surprises when travelling is to plan and organise ahead of time. Even when your holiday is over a month away, it’s never to early to figure out the finer details of your holiday. Start with planning how you are getting to the airport, what medications and clothing you need to pack and if you need to arrange a housesitter. Remember if you do suffer from low mobility it’s a good idea to call the airport ahead of time and arrange assistance. You can make arrangements to have a wheelchair or cart available for you.

Don’t forget about the simple things such as checking your passport is in date, booking travel insurance and arranging transfers to and from the airport on your arrival. It’s also crucial to do your research and check to see if your doctor recommends any vaccines or tablets based on where you are heading. Once you have sorted all these details early, you can feel more relaxed on the lead up to your holiday.

We recommend packing light for your holiday to avoid lugging heavy bags on your journey. Plan your outfits ahead of time to avoid packing too many clothes and pack travel-sized toiletries. To use space efficiently, roll your clothes instead of folding them, which will not only save you tons of space, it also helps avoid creases.

Focus on your holiday itinerary

Holiday plan with maps and camera

It’s a clever idea to also spend time prior to your holiday to write a list of all the things you want to see and do. Although you don’t want to feel like you have a strict schedule on your holiday, it’s helpful to have a rough guide to make sure you don’t miss any favourite attractions.

Jim from Never Stop Travelling continues: “Firstly, don’t cram too much into a day. If you’re always on the move, you’ll rarely enjoy yourself. Seeing the significant sights of any large city in a day is never relaxing. Either give yourself more time or see less.

“Secondly, always leave yourself extra time. If you’re taking a tour make it a half-day tour, not a full day. Leave yourself the other half of that day to be impulsive, and to do whatever you want. That could be to go shopping or, perhaps, revisiting someplace you saw on the morning tour and want to learn more about. If you’re heading out to wander about during your free time, speak with the hotel concierge or front desk to help plan this time, so you’re not packing too much into a few precious hours.”

Consider alternative forms of travel

Flying is quite often the go-to form of travel, however, make sure to consider alternative options that may be more suited to you. If you’re wanting to go on holiday but don’t want to travel far, then consider a staycation, with beautiful beaches on the coast and quaint cities dotted around the UK, you can still enjoy a much-needed break without the hassle of flying.

Cruising is another popular alternative to flying, Jim from Never Stop Travelling says: “If you have low mobility consider going on a river cruise, which has become uber-popular with older travellers. Trips range from a few days to several weeks, giving you access to several cities and countries, without ever having to pack and unpack continually.”

You can take day tours at various stops along the way, set out on your own, or stay aboard. Onboard dinners are usually included although you can also dine on your own at any destination. Also, river cruising means cruising on calm waters. In fact, many times, you don’t even realize you’re moving. Most ships sail to the next port at night, which means you often wake up in a new destination every morning. Best of all, ships often dock downtown, so it’s as convenient as walking out of a hotel right in the centre of a city.”

Have a stress-free flight

Airplane aisle

If you choose to fly on your holiday, there are many easy ways to make your experience more comfortable and enjoyable. When you have got through security, make it a priority to buy a bottle of water to avoid becoming dehydrated during your flight. It’s a good idea to also pack some snacks in your hand luggage, such as energy bars or fruit, in case you feel like your sugar levels have dropped at any point. Whilst you’re on your flight, try to move around every now and again, even if it’s just walking down the aisle and back or stretching in your seat, as it’s important to keep moving. We recommend booking an aisle seat to avoid disturbing other passengers and make it easier for you to move. Another key way to ensure you’re comfortable during your flight is to dress comfortably. Choose loose-fitting clothing and wear layers, as flights often change in temperature.

Save money

Embrace all the perks of getting older and use your senior discounts. Check to see what discounts are available for your holiday, this could mean cheaper flights, hotel rooms and insurance cover. Also, during your holiday keep an eye out for cheaper buses and travel tours, each small discount will add up to a great saving.

Quick travel tips for older people

  • Choose a central hotel
  • Find an all-inclusive deal
  • Pack far in advance
  • Organise travel insurance and transfers early
  • Talk to your doctor before you go
  • Plan your holiday itinerary
  • Consider alternative ways to travel
  • Keep moving during your flight
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Have water and sugary snacks in your hand luggage
  • Check which discounts you can get