- Travelling on your own doesn’t mean travelling alone — ask travel agents and specialists for recommendations
- Be aware of policies ahead of time, such as travel insurance, airport security, laws and cultural guidelines
- Keep important documents in a safe place, before leaving the house, hotel and during your travels
If you are planning to travel, there’s a lot to consider — your budget, your documents, packing your bags, accommodation, transport, insurance, safety…
If you’re an older Australian, you may have the time and flexibility to think carefully about these things, but you may also have other new challenges to think about, such as accessibility, your health and your safety, along with all of the complicated online planning and finding someone to help.
Travelling alone presents an interesting series of things to think about as well, because a lot of that assistance can feel difficult to access.
However, travel can be a great way to escape the world as you get older, allowing you to see the things that you missed out on when you were younger, letting you pick your own path and do as you please.
The Aged Care Guide to solo travel for seniors will cover the benefits, risks and support options that older Australians should watch out for before buttoning their holiday-ready Hawaiian shirts or adjusting their work ties for work-related travels.
Benefits of solo senior travel
Self-discovery and reflection is something that seniors may benefit from through travelling alone, by visiting places they once knew from a different era, be it local, interstate or international.
Retirees may feel that they have opened up a whole new world by exploring a new city at an age where they feel comfortable getting out of their comfort zone and embracing the unique and exciting mysteries of foreign cultures, wines and attractions.
A famous poet once said:
“Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. It will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling than that.”
With that in mind, not all of us like to face the world alone and for older people wanting to find a social group in their golden years, there are plenty of great initiatives available that can help you travel with ease and meet like-minded people.
Seniors Travel Tours from Solo Connections, Travel at 60 and National Seniors Travel all present a great opportunity to rekindle your old soul with people looking to get out and explore alongside you. With guided professionals there to show you the time of your life, there’s a way to safely explore the history which you have come to appreciate later in life.
Most guides and tours will offer you a plan to suit your needs if you wish to wander about independently.
Risks of solo senior travel
As laws evolve and change to meet the needs of the present day, it can be hard to find out what you need to pack, what you’re allowed to pack and what you can or should do to stay safe and secure when you’re away from home.
However, it’s important to get out of the house and by being aware of the risks, you’re already one step ahead of some tourists.
Travel agents are experts in pairing you with their trusted and reputable guides and packages, which are suited to your accommodation, transport and personal needs, along with helping you find a package within your budget.
Tourists and vulnerable travellers, including people who may have a physical or neurological impairment may be targeted in particular, as other countries in the world may have different rates of poverty or law enforcement presence.
Knowing to stash valuable items in safe locations is important, whether that’s through secret bags which you can tuck under your shirt or ensuring locks are on all luggage and placing items in your bags, if needed.
Divide your money to ensure that if someone were to pickpocket you or something were to go wrong, you would not be stranded and without cash.
To avoid being targeted, ask for a guide or a supervised travel experience through your agent, as trustworthy guides recommended by your agent will know the culture and know how to handle certain situations.
Knowing how to get around once you’ve arrived at your destination can be another thing that you may wish to bring up with your travel agent, along with whether there are numbers you can call or ways to protect yourself in case of an emergency.
Health and travel insurance are key, particularly when travelling to the United States of America (USA), as private healthcare providers in the USA may bill you with expenses which are far greater than healthcare or emergency services in Australia.
Support options for solo senior travel
Luckily, there are several support options available to help you take the first steps towards planning a safe and personalised travel experience.
Australian Seniors Travel Insurance offers adjustable plans based around pre-existing medical conditions, with cover for emergency medical services, trip cancellation and adjustable packages for different travel conditions, such as snow, cruise, domestic or multi-trip journeys.
Flight Centre has many in-store locations, with an online finder to help you locate your nearest available agent and dedicated travel plans dedicated for senior jetsetters.