By Vicky Anscombe on 07 July 2015

It's generally known that age isn’t anything but a number - and we couldn’t agree more.

There’s been a huge increase in the number of older people saying ‘Pah!’ to their advancing years, and seeing the world. Which is great. However, being an older traveller brings its own set of advantages and disadvantages; you’ll have more money, but you don’t want wild parties. You’re more confident and savvy when it comes to food and meeting people, but you’re not up for quad biking in the desert. And that’s absolutely fine.

Here are some hints and tips for older travellers who are getting ready to set off on an adventure of their own.

Cruise1st have some hints and tips for young-at-heart travellers:

  • There’s no need to play it safe – use your retirement as the perfect opportunity to explore the far-flung corners of the globe that you’ve always wanted to see.
  • If you’re no longer working, you can take full advantage of the shoulder season, the time of year when travel is cheaper (so in Europe for example, this would be April to early June, and again in September to October).
  • The last thing you want to be doing is pulling around a heavy suitcase, so invest in a lightweight bag, and always pack light.
  • Pack the medications you’ll need for the entire trip, plus a buffer of a week or so - and be sure to take your prescriptions along, too.

Elderly couple having fun travelling

We also spoke to Adam Coulter, the UK editor of Cruise Critic, who has lots of advice for older travellers looking to make some waves.

  • For over 65s, there are multiple reasons as to why a cruise is a great way to explore different parts of the world, particularly parts of the world which may otherwise be difficult to access. It's convenient to arrange as the nuts and bolts of the trip are organised for you, and, in addition, cruisers can visit multiple destinations without lots of transfers and hotel changes, leaving you free to unpack once, and enjoy the trip.

  • Cruises also offer good value, great service and food, plus the opportunity to be pampered and enjoy spa treatments, should guests wish.
  • When it comes to pricing, older travellers have access to certain discounts which aren’t always available to younger people. You’re best off doing your research on the internet, or speaking to travel or booking agents to find out what’s available.
  • For those travelling alone, look for ships with single occupancy cabins, or shop around for the lowest supplement, as the solo supplement charge to reserve a double-occupancy cabin without a roommate can be expensive.
  • Cabin sharing can yield savings, too. For example, Holland America Line offers a single partners share programme, and solo guests can buddy up with someone of the same sex and pay only the per person double occupancy rate - even if the line is unable to find a partner.
  • Travel Insurance is especially important for older travellers, and can help mitigate costs in worst-case scenarios, such as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. It's especially useful for those with medical issues, and even if you have health insurance, this may not protect you while abroad. It’s also worth noting that there are specialist cruise insurer who offer insurance for pre-existing medical conditions and up to an older age.
  • Always check that the activity level of any tours to make sure they’re right for you.  Descriptions of the tours should include this information and highlight any extended periods of walking, standing and uneven walking terrain, as well as activities unsuitable for passengers with pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Passengers requiring wheelchairs or who have difficulty climbing steps should discuss their needs with their tour operator; you need to make sure the holiday fits your needs.
  • If you’re holidaying alone, take the usual precautions that you would when visiting somewhere new; explore with another person or a group, or if you set out alone, make sure someone knows your plans.
  • Older travellers, particularly those who have retired, are likely to be less time restricted, which means they can enjoy longer duration itineraries and may have more flexibility on when they travel. You'll be able to book with later notice, and take advantage of last-minute deals outside of school holiday periods - that means less expensive fares and fewer crowds.

Image credit: Flickr, with thanks to Nagesh Jayaraman and Nithi Anand

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