Anna Quindlen, an American author, journalist and opinion columnist once wrote, “The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.”
You have been patient, worked diligently and saved your whole life for retirement, so now that it’s here and life is short, what will you do? For many, this is a time to explore and see the world and for the first time in your life, you have the time to go where you want and to do what you want. As you get older, you realize the value in experiences and how far greater that is over physical things and as a senior, you have earned your time to travel.
The best part of this is that there are many benefits of travel for seniors. Among proper diet and exercise, you can add travel to the list as well for key components to a long and healthy life. Traveling as a senior can enhance your confidence, overcome fears, help leave your comfort zone, offer social benefits and opens the door to learn different cultures and experiences. It can help you deepen relationships with traveling companions and promotes opportunities to connect and meet new people.
Not only does travel provide a pathway to healthy aging, but also contributes to a longer life along with a more satisfying retirement! These benefits include improvements to your mental, physical and emotional health. Studies have found that travel keeps seniors active which provides more opportunities to move than staying at home. Older adults who are more physically active have lower rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and many other diseases.
- One study found that women who vacationed every six years or less had a significantly higher risk of developing a heart-attack or coronary death compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.
- Another study showed that men who did not take an annual vacation had a 20% risk of death and 30% greater risk of death from heart disease
- Ordinary activities that are commonly associated with traveling such as: visiting museums, playing puzzle games, reading newspapers and even listening to the radio have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 47 percent.
When it boils down to actually planning a trip and traveling, the thought may seem overwhelming at first with what to pack and thinking of everything that could go wrong. The “what if’s” magnify and unfortunately stop some people from seeing the world. Here are some tips for a smoother travel:
- When to travel: avoid holiday travel, as it is so much more expensive and overwhelmingly crowded.
- Booking a flight: the best time to book a flight is on a Tuesday after 3:00 p.m. 6 weeks out before travel. Why? It is the least expensive and can be all completed online. We LOVE a great deal!
- Arrival: having transportation arranged upon arrival is critical unless you only require a taxi. This is a great way to avoid spending even more time at the airport after a long flight along with avoiding long lines.
- Hotel VS Airbnb: consider all of your options before booking a place to stay and the amenities you’re looking for. For example, if you are wanting room service and a concierge, then stay in a hotel. If you prefer more space/freedom, an Airbnb can be the perfect option.
- Packing: If you plan your daily activities ahead of time you will be able to plan clothing accordingly. Check what the weather will be like and always pack comfortable!
- Documentation and money: make sure to have all required documentations before traveling and create a budget before you travel as well as figuring out safe places to keep your cash/cards like a fanny pack rather than a purse!
If you’re having a hard time figuring out just where to go for vacation and/or destinations, here is a list of ideas:
- S. National Parks
- The Caribbean
- Central Europe’s Rivers
- Santa Fe
- Machu Picchu
- Canadian Rockies
- Augustine, Florida
- South Africa
Where will your next adventure lead you? It’s up to you now that you have the time and resources, so get out there and explore often- your mind and body will thank you and it’s up to you to make the most of it!