The freedom that comes with reaching retirement, or near retirement age, is great for many reasons but one of the best has to be the chance to travel and explore the world. Children are grown up, budgets are often bigger, and we have fewer work commitments tying us to desks at home. It’s the ideal time to throw ourselves into amazing travel experiences and collect some stamps in our passports.
From long-awaited faraway adventures to yet-to-be-explored places closer to home, the list of locations to visit is endless. But when the world is your oyster, the question is where to start?
We have selected 10 of the best worldwide travel destinations for over 60s to consider, which will hopefully inspire your wanderlust and help you plan some unforgettable trips. And because everyone’s idea of the perfect over-60s holiday is different, we’ve also broken it down into different holiday types - cruises, road trips, the great outdoors, beach breaks and hobby holidays.
Have a read and let us know which of our suggestions gets your travel senses tingling.
Of course, wherever you go it’s a good idea to compare travel insurance with medical conditions before you set off, just so you know you’ll be protected whatever your travels throw at you.
We may as well start with a big one! A far cry from the typical over 60s cruise destination, Antarctica is a place for the seriously adventure-hungry traveller. What was once reserved for professional explorers is much more accessible to regular travellers nowadays, with tours to the region provided by specialist travel agents. You can even travel on luxury liners. So, those childhood dreams of reaching the South Pole can become a reality (well, nearly!).
Of course, the wildest place on Earth is unthinkably vast, so there are myriad itineraries that you can sign up for. Although you will only ever be laying eyes on a tiny piece of this mesmerising place, it’s safe to say that regardless of which cruise you choose, it will be a spectacular experience. The scenery, the wildlife, the remoteness – it all makes for a once-in-a-lifetime trip and the epitome of exciting worldwide travel. Just make sure that you can safeguard against any pre-existing health concerns flaring up with travel insurance with medical conditions. You’re not exactly a short flight from home, after all!
Danube River Cruise, Central/Eastern Europe
In contrast to the isolation of Antarctica, a cruise along the Danube River takes you through a culture-rich seam of Europe. The continent’s second longest river passes through no less than ten countries
and four capital cities – Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade. That means an obvious perk of a trip down the Danube is the multitude of places you can stop off at, each with intensely interesting heritage and sights.
The beauty of a Danube cruise is that it doesn’t matter whether you only have one week or many – you’re able to witness changing landscapes and cram in a taste of both metropolitan culture and idyllic countryside. Before you step on deck, be sure to look into our cruise insurance
to get the right level of cover for your trip.
Route 66, USA
The first ever completely paved highway in the US remains the ultimate destination for road trippers, and for good reason. It covers an almighty distance all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles and has an almost mythical status, thanks to its starring feature in many a film, book and travel guide.
Whether you go the whole hog or just choose a certain stretch is completely up to you. Either way, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will cross some of the USA’s most famed destinations and attractions along your way.
Route 66 skips the big interstate roads and instead snakes through vibrant small-town America. Thanks to this, you get a properly authentic American adventure. Staying at quintessential motels, tucking into classic American food at roadside diners, seeing captivating views and stumbling across quirky roadside attractions is all part of the package. You’re certain to meet some kind-hearted and interesting people en route, too. Just remember, as medical bills can be costly in the States it’s a good idea to compare and consider travel insurance with cover for pre-existing medical conditions before you travel.
Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
Don’t be fooled by Northern Ireland’s tiny size. There is more than enough to keep you entertained there, from crumbling castles and ruins and bustling Belfast to the picturesque countryside and sandy beaches. The 120-mile long Causeway Coastal Route, which runs from Belfast to Londonderry, is the best way to experience a bit of everything. Choose to drive yourself for the freedom to stop as you please or join one of the many coach tours on offer.
The legendary Giant’s Causeway
is one of the biggest draws to the Causeway Coastal Route. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and every bit as impressive as you would imagine, formed of over 40,000 hexagonal-shaped pillars of basalt rock. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll also be overjoyed to know this is a prime route for visiting the series’ filming locations
, such as The Dark Hedges and Dunluce Castle.
In contrast to the rugged and wild coastline, charming and cosy B&Bs, hotels and pubs are waiting to welcome you all along the Causeway Coastal Route. An Irish whisky or a Guiness and good night’s sleep at one of these rounds off a day on the road in true Irish style.
The great outdoors
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Following in the footsteps of Darwin by taking a voyage to the Galápagos Islands is a wildlife lover’s dream. This is one of the most diverse places on the planet, nature and animal-wise. The landscape is made up of world-renowned beaches, lush forests and volcanic formations, while the extensive list of island inhabitants includes iguanas, giant tortoises and sea lions.
To get the most out of your time on the islands and leave with a better understanding of the natural world, hiring a guide or booking onto a group island hopping tour
is highly recommended. Not only will you get expert insights into all things nature, but they will arrange visits to the best places for the specific activities you want to do, such as hiking or cycling. Try to check out the sustainability commitments of any tour operator, as unsustainable tourism is an issue for the islands.
There are also certain times of the year that are best for certain experiences, so do a little research before you decide on dates. For instance, early December is when turtles lay their eggs on the beaches and young albatrosses fledge their nests.
The Rocky Mountains, Canada
The lakes, peaks and national parks of the Canadian Rockies are up there with the finest in the world. Visitors to the region are overwhelmed with choice when it comes to what to see. Just a few of the thousands of spots with stand-out scenery are Horseshoe Lake, Athabasca Falls and the Icefields Parkway, which is the road connecting the stunning national parks of Banff and Jasper.
Hiking is the obvious way to enjoy this mountainous haven and there are countless trails that are well-traversed and suitable for varying abilities. However, there is always the option to give your feet a rest and even indulge in a little luxury with a ride on The Rocky Mountaineer
. This train line is a great way to cover more distance and see as much of western Canada’s incredible natural beauty as possible with its see-through glass roof.
If you’re after an over 60s holiday full of sunshine and relaxation then a beach break is the way to go. You could pick pretty much any Greek island and be treated to a dazzling line-up of beaches and that’s certainly true of the largest of them, Crete.
The island’s 650-mile long coastline is fringed with pristine white sands lapped by vivid blue waters, backdropped by rocky hills. The laid-back atmosphere and the picture-perfect setting make it a supreme beach getaway destination.
Among the many beautiful beaches worth visiting in Crete is Balos in Chania, a lagoon which is often compared to the Caribbean. There’s also Glyka Nera, which can only be reached by foot or boat. It’s known as ‘sweet water beach’, because of the freshwater sources that are responsible for the trees that grow there.
We should also mention that there are lots of other activities to be done on the island. You can go hiking, wander round archaeological sites, and take boat tours. But with beaches, this good, don’t feel guilty if the majority of your holiday is spent stretched out on a sun lounger and cooling off in the brilliantly blue sea.
St Lucia, Caribbean
Are you one of the 60-somethings who has finally got a chance to go on a solo or couples getaway without the kids? A luxury beach holiday in the Caribbean is surely the ultimate escape.
As with those in Greece, the Caribbean islands all deliver fantastic beach experiences. St Lucia alone has plenty, each a little piece of paradise where white sandy beaches meet clear blue seas, backdropped by verdant jungle. Reduit Beach, Pigeon Island and Anse Chastanet are among the most idyllic. It’s impossible to exaggerate just how dreamy these beaches are.
With numerous high-end resorts right on the beach to choose from, you can take in these surroundings while sunbathing, sipping on cocktails and indulging in top-notch Creole cuisine. Pure bliss.
As well as travelling, our 60s and beyond are the ideal time for putting more energy into hobbies. Take this up a notch and combine your next big trip with one of your big interests.
For anyone who’s a wine aficionado, Champagne in France is a great setting for a hobby-led holiday. Now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the region is, of course, famous for the chalk-soil vineyards from which the esteemed sparkling wine is produced. There is a mix of international brands and small winemakers whose cellars and vineyards you can arrange tours around, along with tastings. You’ll get to grips with the history and science of winemaking at the same time.
The scenic landscapes and world-class wines are reason enough to give into your Champagne cravings and book a short getaway here. But if you did need any more excuses, the region’s food, culture and sights are worth shouting about, too.
Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Here’s one for the foodies. If you’ve got a taste for South East Asian cuisine, how about a food tour through Vietnam? The country is famed for its flavourful food, such as pho, which is the national dish, banh mi and mi quang.
By going the distance from Hanoi in the north down to southern Ho Chi Minh, you don’t only get a glimpse at how the country itself changes; you also get to know the differences and similarities in regional food. Both these major cities and lots of the towns in between have cookery schools that will host you and leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of Vietnamese food – not to mention improved cooking skills!
There are many food-related group tours through Vietnam, so this is also a great way to mingle with like-minded travellers at the same time as following your foodie passions. You could return with a notebook full of recipes and a new group of friends.
What’s the best travel insurance for over 60s?
Now we’re sure the travel bug is kicking in, it’s a good time to remind you to arrange your travel insurance before you head off on your next getaway. There is no ‘one size fits all’ travel insurance for over 60s – it all depends on your specific travel plans and requirements.
Lots of the destinations we’ve listed here are a good distance from the UK, which might be a bit of a worry if you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition. There is no need to let this stop you considering them as your next holiday location though. We have travel insurance
with pre-existing medical conditions covered, to put your mind at ease.
Have a chat with Insurance Choice about your holiday plans and we will compare travel insurance with cover for pre-existing medical conditions that meets your needs. It doesn’t matter whether that’s health travel insurance, cruise insurance, an annual policy or anything else – we can help you get the right cover, whatever your needs and travel style. Start by getting a quote from us today.