Forget gap years in your student days, one of the best times in life to travel is when we’re a little older. More of us than ever are seizing the opportunity to travel later in life and feeling the benefits too. Travel keeps you active, promotes healthy cognitive function and lowers stress levels, to name a few.
Free from work and with a more comfortable budget, especially if you have been savvy in saving for your retirement, now is the perfect time to get globetrotting and tick off the places on your bucket list. We’ve put together top travel ideas for over 50s to inspire your next trip.
1. Great Ocean Road, Australia
The long flight to Australia can’t always be justified when you have a full-time job or young children to look after. That’s not the case in your 50s or in retirement – the freedom to take an extended holiday is yours. The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most memorable road trip destinations. Along the way you can see the 12 Apostles, historic fishing villages and wild beaches, getting a real taste of what this beautiful country has to offer. And don’t forget about the amazing wineries on the way!
2. Grand Canyon, USA
The Grand Canyon is one of the USA’s most well-known tourist destinations and for good reason. Carved out by the Colorado River and part of a wider national park in the Arizona desert, it is simply awe-inspiring. There is a huge choice of tours available, whether you want to experience the canyon from the sky or from the comfort of a bus. The terrain here is notoriously difficult and rocky but there are spots that offer better accessibility if you want to look around on foot.
3. Rome, Italy
The Italian capital is a must-visit for foodies and culture lovers. Here you can see iconic historical monuments and ancient ruins like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and St Peter’s Basilica. When you’re not sightseeing, indulge in some of Italy’s finest dishes – think fresh pasta, pizza, seafood and traditional sweet treats such as tiramisu and gelato. Rome is a perfect choice for a long weekend away.
4. Kruger National Park, South Africa
Who wouldn’t love to see the ‘big five’ African animals in the wild? In Kruger, you can. A quintessential safari experience is guaranteed on the vast game reserve, with experienced guides on hand to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the local wildlife on 4×4 tours and bush walks. Meanwhile, luxury lodges make amazing places to relax after a day on safari.
5. Havana, Cuba
In the past, Cuba was largely off-limits to travellers. Today it is more open to tourism, making it a great time to visit the lively capital of Havana. Explore historic buildings, bohemian cafes and the city’s art scene by day, before tasting the local rums and perfecting your salsa dancing by night.
6. Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux is true wine country, home to some of the world’s most famous vineyards. Any wine enthusiast will have the trip of a lifetime here, but there is even more than incredible vino to discover. The city itself, half of which is UNESCO-listed, is home to impressive architecture, many restaurants run by prestigious chefs, and beautiful parks and green spaces.
7. Darjeeling Railway, India
If you have always dreamt of seeing the Himalayas but don’t fancy hiking, a ride on the Darjeeling Toy Train is for you. Operating since 1881, the railway line travels over rolling hills through lush jungle and tea plantations, not forgetting views of the stunning Himalayan peaks. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain, can be seen on clear days and is a highlight of the seven-hour journey.
8. Phuket, Thailand
Thai beaches are synonymous with relaxation and the palm-fringed white sands of Phuket, the country’s largest island do not disappoint. With massages and cocktails on the beach being the norm, it’s an idyllic place to celebrate entering retirement or just to give yourself some well-deserved downtime.
9. Lake Bled, Slovenia
As pretty as a postcard, Lake Bled is the most famous destination in Slovenia. Located just a 40-minute drive from the capital of Ljubljana. At the lake’s centre is an island where a 15th-century church stands. Choose to take a rowboat over for a look round or simply take in the view from a lakeside cafe with a piece of Bled Cake, the local sweet delicacy the town is famous for.
10. Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde’s cloud forest gets its name from the mist that constantly hangs in the air. This verdant rainforest is brimming with exotic flora and fauna and is one of the rarest habitats on Earth. With plenty of accessible paths and trails through the forest, there is plenty opportunities to explore the and spot some of the local wildlife.
Whether you use our bucket list ideas to plan a long-awaited holiday or a round-the-world retirement trip, enjoy your next getaway.