Holiday Planning Tips for the Over 50s

Top tips to help make your next trip effortless and simple

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Silver Travel AdvisorWe all know that getting older doesn’t stop you travelling and exploring abroad – in fact, the over 50s make up over 35% of all overseas travellers today. You’ve worked hard your whole life and with less ties than ever, now is the perfect time for packing your suitcase and seeing the world. There’s a huge range of options available for the older traveller, from backpacking to luxury cruises, but preparing for your trip takes a lot of organisation and planning. So while you’re showing no signs of slowing down your travel plans, there’s no reason that you can’t make the whole process a little bit easier for yourself.

Use a holiday reviews and hotel reviews site

It’s a good idea to check the latest reviews about the place where you are staying and using a good holiday reviews and hotel reviews website where the reviews have been written by independent travellers means that you should get an objective opinion. Tripadvisor is of course the best known site, but there are other options. And of course, for the more mature traveller, reading the reviews here on silvertraveladvisor means that the review has been written by someone like you. Our holiday and hotel reviews are frequently complimented as being not only independent but very helpful and relevant.

Enjoy your freedom

If you’re retired, or no longer need to fit around the needs of children, then book outside of school holidays for a cheaper and less crowded trip.

If you’re happy to leave your trip to the last minute then keep an eye out for late bird deals and offers on breaks to make a saving on your holiday.

Where to go?

Silver Travel AdvisorIt’s easier than ever to travel and the world is your oyster, but make sure you pick the right destination for you – will you be able to handle extreme heat, poverty, basic transport or long flights? Do you get seasick or tire easily? It’s important to bear all these factors in mind when choosing a destination.

There may be plenty that you want to see and do, but be careful not to push yourself too hard and always maintain an awareness of your fitness limitations and what it is that you want to get out of your trip – you are likely to have far more fun if you do.

Our readers often view us as the silver tripadvisor and our holiday reviews make selecting the perfect destination easy. 

Time is of the essence

If you do opt for a last minute trip, then make sure you have time to organise everything you need, particularly if you’re travelling long haul. Visas, vaccinations, passports, insurance and medication all take time to arrange and are vital to consider before you can take your trip. If you’re short on time it may be best to stick to short haul and European destinations so you don’t end up being left under prepared. 

Let others do the hard work

Organising a host of transport or accommodation options can be a faff, so consider booking a full package tour, such as a coach holiday. Coach companies will collect you either from your home or from designated pick up points and then arrange all transportation and accommodation from there. You will be able to enjoy a range of locations but without the stress of having to arrange each segment of the journey. Similarly, for long-haul destinations, a cruise is ideal and means you can relax on a luxurious ship and wake up each morning in a new and exciting place.

Coach trips and cruises also provide great opportunities for socialising and a driver or tour guide will generally be available to show you around each area you visit and help with any issues you may have. 

Packing to perfection

Most importantly, pack light! Check that your luggage weight is manageable before you set off on your trip - you don’t want to be aching by the time you reach your destination. Lighten the load even further at the airport and grab a trolley– even for luggage with wheels.

Pack plenty of light layers – that way you can stay prepared for all weathers and eventualities. Even in the hottest destinations evenings can be quite cool and air conditioning even cooler, so make sure you have warmer clothing in your case. 

Take a good case

Silver Travel AdvisorWhether you’re flying, driving or sailing, it’s likely you’ll need to lug your bags around somehow, so make sure your luggage is suited to your needs. Pick a case with a long handle and a distinct colour so it can be easily spotted in baggage reclaim or the hold of a coach.

Most cases have wheels these days, and four wheels are even better than two when it comes to travelling with ease, as four-wheelers allow you to move the case in all directions rather than limiting you to dragging it behind you. Extendable upright handles will mean you can travel with ease, with less strain on your back.
For your second bag or hand luggage, choose one which stacks conveniently on to your suitcase to save you performing a balancing act.  

Medications and vaccinations

As with all travellers, the over 50s need to ensure they have all the relevant vaccinations before going abroad, particularly on long-haul journeys. Visit the NHS website for recommendations and further information. Take plenty of medication with you and consider asking your doctor for extra supplies - you won’t always be able to purchase it on your trip. Keep some in your suitcase and some in your hand luggage, just in case you end up being separated from your main case. 

Keep moving

If you are seated for any length of time – particularly on a plane – make sure you stretch and stand up regularly. Older travellers are at a greater risk of developing deep vain thrombosis (DVT) and regular exercise and plenty of fluids are the best way of preventing it. Consider picking up a pair of flight socks – they’ll aid in the prevention of DVT, help keep swollen feet at bay and revitalise tired legs after a long day of sightseeing. 

Travel insurance

Travel insurance can be slightly more expensive for seniors, but it is far more essential. You can use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Europe, which can be purchased online or from the Post Office. Although this is useful, it is definitely no substitute for personal holiday insurance. Visit a price comparison website such as for quotes, as costs can vary dramatically. 

Stay safe

Plan your itinerary carefully and leave a copy of it with friends, along with contact details for your hotels or tour agent – it’s best that people know where you are and can contact you in an emergency.

Most importantly, follow all tips for your safety, protection of valuables and culturally appropriate behaviour given by travel guides or tour reps.

To find a holiday from one of Silver Travel Advisor’s recommended partners, go to our Find a Holiday page.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • Jenny-Lunn
    almost 6 years ago
    I remember as a child we often used to go on Tailor Made holidays. This was in the sixties, and my father did all the driving. I look back on those times with great affection. We were given an itinerary and I remember how exciting it was wondering what the next venue would be like. Ah - happy days!

    Unfortunately neither my husband nor I could contemplate driving abroad, but a driver would be a good idea. I am also happy with coach holidays as I like to be led, rather than to lead, but my husband is not keen on the idea, although we have had some good holidays in the past with Riviera Holidays and have met some interesting people including one couple with whom we have formed a lasting friendship.

    Oh yes - definitely take a plug with you! I have noticed that some countries do not provide these as standard. Last year we went to Krakow and were told that apparently these are not provided and are rarely used in washbasins in Poland. Something to remember ....
  • ESW
    almost 7 years ago

    For those of us used to doing our own thing on holiday, the regime of a coach tour could be the kiss of death. The other alternative is a tailor made holiday. There are many companies who specialise in tailor made. It is more expensive than group travel, but on a genuine tailor made holiday you can pick and choose where to go and how long to spend at the different places. Most companies work closely with you at the planning stages until you are happy with the proposed itinerary. You can either hire a car or have your own driver (with or without a guide). This also has the advantage of stopping in smaller hotels that aren't large enough to cope with a coach tour.

    Another advantage is knowing you have the back up of the company if there are problems during your holiday. We were in China in 2009 when there was the big earthquake. Part of our itinerary took us into regions suffering from after shocks. The local agent decided it would not be safe to travel into these areas and a completely new itinerary was planned for us within 24hours.

    Cut down on the amount of clothes you take with quick drying underwear and shirts which can be hand washed at night using shampoo and are dry enough to wear next morning. We recommend Tilly for underwear and Paramo for shirts.

    Make sure you pack a universal plug as wash basins may not have plugs!