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Tips for the Active Adult Traveler

three active adult women on vacation laughing

Travel, the zest and precious spice of life. We go away, breathe new air, meet new people, eat exciting food, and soak in our surroundings. We get confused, lost, constipated, jostled, stimulated, overwhelmed and thrilled to the bone. And we always, always return home seeing life little differently. Travel enables us to understand our world a bit better and to see nature, culture and humanity through a different lens. We see ourselves more clearly. And we are better for the experience. Today's active adult has more plans to travel than any of the preceding generation. Here are some website suggestions to kick-start your plans!

The Travel Boom

As compared with The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers—our restless, adventurous and abundant generation—are generally more avid and experiential travelers. If we haven’t already, it’s time to start compiling our bucket lists, and for most of us, travel wishes can come close to filling that big bucket. And whether you’re working or retired, in a retirement community, senior apartment, active adult condo for rent or in the home where you’ve raised your family, it’s important to make time for a trip now and then.

Senior Apartments Have Services for RESIDENT Travelers 

Treplus Communities believes in supporting our residents’ desires to live their very best life. When residents of our senior apartments decide to travel on the wing or on the road, we’ve got resources that provide peace of mind and practical services. Here are just some of the services our active adult can arrange for through our 24/7 Concierge App: House sitting; Pet sitting or boarding; package pickup; refrigerator restocking among others.

Scratching the Travel Itch is Part of Today's Active Adult Lifestyle

Even those fortunate enough to have traveled extensively have places they’d still like to visit. Or a need to return to. If you’re an empty nester, retired or downsized and find yourself wanting to go, there are a multitude of options for not only where you go, but how you go about it.  Today’s travel options range from boots on the ground budget excursions to luxe vacations where we pull out all the stops. There is adventure travel, educational travel, eco-travel. Travel for family get-togethers, travel for relaxation and self-discovery. 

According to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers (2018-2019) 74% of Baby Boomers ages 53 to 71 took at least one vacation with a spouse or other adult, minus children, in 2018. That’s up from 67% in 2017. Boomers took an average of 2.6 vacations without children, the study reports. About 85% of the adults surveyed were empty nesters. 

As active adults, we have more freedom to take on new adventures, whether they be around the corner or around the world.  Discounts abound through websites like AARP Travel, and learning about how to get the best deals can open up a new world of travel and adventure for you as an empty nester.

active adult travelers onsafari

Senior Discounts on Trains, Planes and Automobiles 

Technology has enabled us to throw out the hard copy travel guide. The speed at which new information can be shared about destinations around the globe has upended the travel industry. Technology is a friend of travelers of all ages, and the bonus for Baby Boomers comes in the form of discounts on trains, planes and automobiles (restaurants and hotels, too!). AARP Travel provides an excellent guide to discounts for 50+ and 55+ active adults, as well as other information and tips to make your trip safer and hassle-free.

AARP Travel also studies the trends in travel for Baby Boomers in order to offer deals that fit their tastes most effectively. Most often, Baby Boomers travel domestically, but in 2018, just a little fewer than half (47%) are also planning international travel for special occasions. Many Boomers who are still in the workforce take about 80% of their vacation time to travel. And Boomers do not bring work with them, for the most part!

Travel Websites to Whet the Appetite and Ease the Wallet

There are online resources aplenty for finding good deals on flights, cars and hotels as well as finding the fun once you arrive. Try out travel websites such as Kayak, Momondo and Flyertalk Forum.  Working these websites (and others on the Forbes list of Top 10 Travel websites) can result in significant savings on flights, hotels and car rentals.  

Travel websites like the ones above don’t necessarily deal with “package” travel and “all-inclusive” getaways. Often, package deals include flights and some ground transportation; therefore, revisiting that favorite Mediterranean cruise or long weekend in Branson may require you to adhere to the packager’s itinerary.  These programs are great for those who don’t want to deal with searching for the best rates for each service. They can be good deals, but read the fine print definitely clarify what’s included, and what’s not.

Sites such as HomeAway and Airbnb make it easy for you to find the perfect accommodations to suit your taste. The former focuses on more traditional vacation rental properties while the latter takes on a more varied approach to travel rentals in urban and far flung locations. Both offer simple search interfaces and value-added “Comments” sections that provide the invaluable advantage of others’ experiences (beware the trolls that don’t like anything, or the “advertisements” that say everything was perfect). 

One of our favorite travel websites is Luxe Adventure Traveler, which combines high adventure with luxury accommodations and great dining experiences. Jennifer and Tim, the purveyors of this beautiful website, are an adventure couple that loves “a bit of luxury” (and a glass of wine) at the end of the day. By day, they’re exploring an expansion bridge along the coast of Northern Ireland. By night, they’re enjoying local cuisine at a top-rated restaurant. 

We found them after reading Jennifer’s article “Why I Don’t Like Airbnb,” where Jennifer recounts the advantages of 24-hour staffing, hot breakfast bars and security measures that hotels offer. She’s not a hater, just an experienced traveler who knows what she likes. Hey, we know Airbnb’s not for everyone! 

Current Luxe Adventure Traveler website topics include:

  • Best European Ski Getaways
  • Chasing the Northern Lights
  • 14 Best European Christmas Markets to See in Your Lifetime
  • The Luxe Adventure Traveler Guide to Christmas in NYC
  • Fregate Island Private: Unique on Earth

That last topic is about Fregate Island in The Seychelles. Only about 2% of visitors to the island chain nation are Americans—this tiny country is in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and it’s dreamily pure and unpolluted by the trappings of the tourist industry. It’s been developed using mostly eco-friendly practices and (hopefully) will stay pristine for a long time to come.  

african american senior couple eating ice cream

55+ Travel Websites That We Love

The more specific you get in your tastes, the more you may appreciate an age-specific guide to travelling. While these abound, there are two (NP: maybe should add one more) that stand out as really terrific:

Travel Past 50-Tom and Kris, a husband and wife team (and former newspaper and magazine publishers) describe international travel, UNESCO Heritage Sites, World National Parks, hiking European, South American and Asian mountain trails, and more. Beautiful photography.

GoNomad- Very useful and informative website run by Max Hartshorne; articles on getting the most out of your Eurail Pass, new exhibitions in Washington, DC, things to do in Dover, Delaware and the sheepdogs of rural Spain. Topics like Animal Stories, Cultural Festivals and Food and Wine are refreshingly new and diverse. This website keys in on fun and easily attainable destinations and activities that 55+ travelers will love!

Travel for Lifelong Learners

Founded as Elderhostel with a focus on travelling for retirees and active adult empty nesters, the lifelong learner organization that is now widely known as Road Scholar has been around since the 1970s. This organization offers trips targeting all ages as well as the Baby Boomer experience that will rock your world. We think the bio from the Road Scholar website says it best:

We are a diverse community of knowledge seekers and explorers, united in the belief that lifelong learning is a vital part of overall wellbeing. We believe in living life to the fullest at every age — by experiencing the world, and not just looking at it. By meeting new people, touching history where it happened and delving deep into the cultures and landscapes we explore.

Alongside renowned experts, our participants experience in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning opportunities by land and by sea on travel adventures designed for Boomers and beyond…. Road Scholar is proud to offer 5,500 learning adventures in 150 countries and all 50 states, serving more than 100,000 participants per year. At any given time, 2,000 Road Scholars are experiencing the world on our learning adventures.

Even if you’ve never travelled this way before, Road Scholar has trips and treks that are suited to many specific interests and passions. It’s an absolute must for active adults wishing to jumpstart their empty nester or post-retirement years! 

One of the company’s most popular trips is an 11-day multisport adventure in Costa Rica, featuring kayaking, rafting, hiking and Latin dance lessons. Other hot destinations for the “fit, adventurous empty nester tribe” include the lush, green landscapes of South India, game reserves in Tanzania and beaches of Zanzibar, the Baltics and Eastern Europe, the jungles and mountains of Peru and the U.S. National Parks

Semester at Sea is the perennial program for the lifelong learner dreaming of travel and adventure on the high seas. This 50-year old organization combines coursework with multi-country studies and meaningful, hands-on experience in the global community. The average 100-day voyage includes:

  • 10-12 docking destinations
  • Four continents
  • Travel 20,000-25,000 nautical miles
  • 100 -105 days of shipboard classroom learning
  • Choose from 20 to 25 fields of study

Ranging from under $5,000 to over $50,000, many of the lifelong learner excursions are not cheap. Road Scholar offers scholarships and grants for those who do not qualify financially, including those directed specifically at caregivers, to provide respite and refreshment for adults who have devoted their lives to caring for family members.

The first step toward your next adventure is a single click. Check out these and other travel websites to get an idea for what you’d like to do. Thanks to an avid, passionate online travel community, there is plenty to research and learn about, even before you set out.

Treplus Communities wishes you all the best on your next great adventure! 

active adult senior couple traveling in Italy