Whether you still consider yourself an adventurer or you have hardly any travel experience under your belt, exploring the world may look a bit different when you’re 50 than it did when you were 20.
While you’ll certainly still be able to go anywhere you desire, the way you do it can be affected by things such as physical ability, access to medications and health services, whether you have a travel companion or not, comfort levels, dietary restrictions and more.
So needless to say, at a bare minimum you’ll probably have to do a bit more planning and prepping than younger travelers.
Of course, the culture and experience that come along with travel are beyond worth it.
So here are some ideas for making it a bit easier.
1.- Use a travel agent
Hiring a travel agent to arrange your flights and accommodations may seem a bit old school, but it can actually be super helpful and it may even save you money.
These days there are an obscene number of booking engines on the Internet and truth be told, it can be quite overwhelming, especially since some of them are not on the up-and-up.
A travel agent will get you where you want, when you want and for the right price too.
Unless you’re already very familiar with booking travel online or directly, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort by turning it over to the pros.
2.- Choose a vacation tour package
If you know where you want to go, but you have no idea what you want to do when you get there, or if the thought of trying to navigate sightseeing and meals in a foreign language is a bit intimidating, a vacation tour package may be the thing for you.
Many reputable tour companies offer packages that include accommodations, meals, sightseeing, guided tours, transfers and sometimes even airfare.
I’m not talking about all-inclusive resorts where you stay on one property your entire trip, but rather a company that guides you throughout your destination, possibly with stays in various cities and/or regions, so that you can get a real feel for the culture, environment and history of your destination.
There’s nothing wrong with traveling solo if you feel comfortable with, but if you’re not sure it’s the right thing for you, you might consider looking into group travel.
Many companies similar to those that offer vacation tour packages (or even some of the same), also offer group travel packages.
These trips allow for a set number of travelers in each group and everyone stays at the same place, goes on the same tours at the same times and eats meals together.
There are travel options like those offered by Gen Xer Abroad, that attract midlife women and offer exciting excursions around the world.
It’s a great way to make connections while you’re away and allows you to spend time with other people even if you’re traveling alone.
Also read: Yes, you should travel solo, here´s why
4.- Do your research
Make sure you do plenty of research on your destination.
While you probably won’t have many issues in well-developed countries where English or Spanish are widely spoken, you may be unprepared for the challenges of many far-flung, more adventurous destinations.
If you have any health issues, you’ll want to know what medical care is available to you in your destination and if your insurance will cover treatment.
If you have dietary restrictions, you’ll need to be sure that you’ll be able to find meals that you can eat.
Is the walk from a parking lot to one of the top sites on your list long and treacherous?
If so, can your body handle it? Is there another way up?
Be prepared to research the things you may take for granted at home.
5.- Pack for the unknown
Even if you’ve researched every last detail, there’s always an unknown element when it comes to travel.
Make sure you’re prepared for it. Usually, your suitcase is the best place to start.
Make sure you pack all prescription and over-the-counter medications you may need, including pain medication, vitamins, anti-diarrhea/nausea medications, etc.
You may not find a good alternative where you’re headed.
Also be sure to pack a change of clothes in your carry on, in case of lost luggage, spills, etc., especially if your final destination is a lengthy trek from your origination point.
The smart technology in your phone and/or tablet are invaluable tools for modern travel.
In an instant you can translate a menu, pull up a map, find out the opening hours of a museum and get help in case of an emergency.
Call your cell provider and find out what you should do to ensure that you have adequate data for an international trip and if you don’t how you should go about acquiring it.
Be sure to get the Wi-Fi password at your hotel first thing so you can take advantage of all the information about your destination that is literally at your fingertips.
I travel often and the very first thing I do when I get to a hotel is log into the Wi-Fi and find a restaurant for dinner and then I plan out the next day.