If 2020 put a dent in your travel plans you’re not alone. Like so many others, older adults found their dream retirement travel plans disrupted by the pandemic. It was hard to even know when to begin making travel plans again and some seniors, perhaps those with a compromised immune system are still reluctant to start travelling again. The good news is that with both impressive virtual reality technology and “IRL” (In Real Life) travel now opening up, you have options! 

Go Virtually Anywhere – Virtually! 

If you are familiar with the expression “the world is your oyster,” with virtual technology the saying has never been truer. It means the world is yours to explore, to seek out and find your own “pearl,” your own favourite place to be. With today’s virtual technology, the world truly is yours to explore – all from the comfort of your own home! 

Why Virtual?

  • For many older adults, travelling virtually helped them manage lockdowns without going stir crazy and for still more seniors, it continues to be a safe way to “travel” the world without any worries about the pandemic, Covid-19 testing or even so-called “Vaccine Passports.” 
  • Perhaps you’re just not comfortable yet with the thought of crossing borders or worried about travel insurance. 
  • We might be young at heart but some of us may have learned the hard way that the heart is a fickle thing and the health risks of travelling far from home are not something you are willing to take even if the world is willing to welcome you. 
  • If this sounds like you, virtual travel may be just what you need to help you “escape” from reality. In fact, even for those who are active, ready and willing to travel – some adventures might be too much for those 50+ folks who have some mobility challenges like a bum knee from too many years on the slopes. Even if you CAN and DO still travel, an excursion to Machu Picchu or mountain climbing in the Himalayas might not be on your bucket list. Once again, that’s where virtual travel comes in – allowing you to explore those places that you might not be able to explore on your own. 
  • As an added benefit, in addition to not needing a passport, virtual travelling will cost you a whole lot less than flights, hotels, car rentals and dining out! 

Options for Virtual Travel

  • Options for travelling can be found in abundance online with tour companies offering a variety of experiences from learning tours that travel through historically significant sites, religious excursions, special interest tours such as “espionage” spy tours around Britain and so much more. 
  • There are tours you can take from your computer and tours that involve the use of a virtual reality headset. This latter option is ideal for those “senior seniors” who might be at the stage where they are living in an assisted living facility and/or for whom travelling out of country is simply no longer available to them. 
  • VR headsets are readily available at any number of big box retailers who offer electronic technology and some local libraries are even loaning out VR headsets so if you can’t hit the open road, hit your online options for travel instead – you won’t be disappointed!

Ready to Really Hit The Open Road? Now You Can!

Kids these days use the acronym “IRL” to talk or text about things happening “In Real Life.” If you’re ready to consider travelling IRL, much of the world is finally opening up and ready to receive you! There are plenty of options for senior-friendly travel whether alone or in groups and an entire mature adult travel industry geared to meeting the specific needs of older adults. It’s time to do some research and planning!

Some of you may choose to ease into the travel experience again. After all, it’s been awhile. 

Stick Close To Home

Have you considered exploring your own country? We are learning more and more about folks who are choosing to stick a little closer to home and who are falling in love with their own home country all over again. Perhaps you chose to emigrate to North America? What drew you here? Why Canada or why America? Think back to that time in your life and what appealed to you and then plan a trip that has you criss-crossing the country you willingly CHOSE to live in. We know the sales of recreational vehicles are through the roof right now and that’s because they are a fantastic, self-contained way to explore. If you have any lingering doubts about exposure – this might be an ideal way for you to travel as you bring your kitchen and bedroom/bathroom on the road with you! 

Retired and Ready to Explore?

If you are the mature adult who chose retirement in 2020 or even early 2021, with plans to use your considerable time and resources to explore the world, now you finally can. Whether you plan for an immediate flight to explore Europe, seek warmer weather through the winter months and into 2022 or are thinking of travelling next year, you will find a variety of flexible options at your disposal. Airlines and travel companies are taking Covid-19 into consideration with some offering options like “No Change Fees” if you have to alter your dates of travel due to a localized outbreak. Insurance companies are catching up in terms of providing options that cover illnesses like Covid while travelling or coverage if contracting Covid prevents you from travelling. Probably the best advice right now, even if you have years of experience globetrotting and love the spontaneity of “picking up and going,” is to NOT just do that. Right now, travel really does require a little bit of advance planning. 

Things to consider include:

  • Vaccinations – Are you up to date on all vaccines not just the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Is your Covid-19 vaccine recognized in the country you wish to visit? (Some countries have put restrictions on certain vaccines.)
  • Do you need proof of vaccine?
  • Will you need to have a Covid-19 test prior to travel and/or prior to returning home?
  • Check for mask mandates with your airline, cruise ship and in the countries you are visiting and ensure you have a ready supply with you in case they are hard to find at your destination of choice.
  • Health Insurance. Even if you normally travel without this, times have changed. You might want to consider health insurance and confirm any specific riders on the policy that either include or exclude Covid-19 and related illness. 
  • Cancellation policies. You will want to be a bit more vigilant when it comes to examining the trip cancellation policies of your airline, hotel, cruise ship or tropical holiday destination. You might be at the point where you are enjoying your “disposable” income but you don’t want to dispose of it for no reason like a last minute cancellation with a no money back policy!

The world really is starting to open up again and if you’re a senior with time on your hands, then perhaps it’s time to make some travel plans, (emphasis on the planning!) Whether you choose to ease into it with a local adventure or fly across the world, just make sure you are fully prepared for any eventuality – including of course, the eventuality of having fun!