When you retire, you don’t want to have to jump through hoops or do a lot of work to have a good time. Instead, most people just want to spend more time with the people they love, indulge in the fruits of their labor, and maybe explore the world or go on a few adventures along the way. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
But here’s the thing: traveling after retirement is much different than traveling in your 20s, 30s, or even your 50s. There are budget concerns, health concerns, mobility concerns, and worries about whether your destination will even be suitable for older Americans (few want to spend their days partying with 20-somethings).
To help you plan your next trip, we put together this list of the top travel destinations for retirees. Each has a little something special for you to enjoy.
- Your Closest National Park: Got a hankering for a little exploring, but don’t have the budget or time to get away really far? Head for your closest National Park. While we did have an issue with littering in some of the parks a few months ago, most have been restored to their former glory. Parks also make a great place to stop over if you’re traveling by RV or hauling a camper!
- A Carribean Cruise: Love the idea of going south to warmer weather and sandy beaches, but have concerns about getting around? New cruises specially organized for senior Americans make trips south a breeze (literally and figuratively). You have a “base of operations” onboard, fully equipped with a spa, physicians, and rest spots, before every excursion. Stopovers in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cuba, Turks and Caicos, St. Lucia, Puerto Vallarta, and so many other incredible paths give you the power to go exploring if you want, or stay on board instead. Flexible!
- Alaskan Cruise: This one’s for those of you who love winter and maybe a little bit of hunting or fishing when you head out into the wild. Alaskan cruises might seem counter-intuitive, mostly due to the cold, but cruising is a surprisingly excellent way to see the rugged coastlines and natural splendor. On a cruise, there’s no trudging through snow and plenty of cozy seating. Pristine vistas filled with whales, glaciers and icebergs dot the landscape. Fishing and hunting tours take you by helicopter into the wilderness for a little safe adventure (sorry – no shooting game from the ship, as fun as it might sound!).
- St. Augustine, Florida: St. Augustine is America’s oldest European settlement; for that reason alone, history buffs should consider it a must-see. But there’s so much else this location has to offer, especially if you’re craving a trip with a bit more than just indulgence. Take one of the easy-traveling sightseeing trolleys that travel the historic district and “explore” without overextending yourself. Snap pictures of your trip after you stop at the magnificent and enchanting Fountain of Youth Archeological Park (okay, that last one is a little tongue-in-cheek).
- Thailand: Tired of the same old, same old? If you’re feeling bored by the idea of a staycation, maybe it’s time to head overseas. Thailand’s deep respect for elders and downright ridiculous low prices make this one place you’ll never want to leave. Plus, you have plenty of options for flexible adventure: laze around on the beach with a good book, rent a little beachside cabin, or explore local Buddhist temples. Community markets are another rich sensory experience, filled with bright fabrics, friendly folks, and plenty of souvenirs to take home with you when you leave. Sublime!
Honorable mentions go out to Malaysia (beautiful landscapes, incredible prices), The Maldives (Stunning, but expensive), and South Africa (expensive, but SO unique). But the biggest takeaway here is that no location is really unsuitable for you if you have the time and the budget to go. There are always options to help you make your dreams come true!