As we’re living longer than ever before and leading healthier and more active lifestyles, more and more of us are exploring different countries, continents and cultures during our retirement years.
In fact, around 36 percent of all travellers are now considered to be ‘mature’, with around 18 percent aged 65 and over.
If you’re planning to travel following your retirement, here are three tips for a successful and stress-free getaway:
1. Don’t Pay Full Price
For retirees living off a state pension, the rising cost of travel can leave you out of pocket when taking trips, even when opting for a local getaway.
Fares for bus and rail travel are continuing to increase, and while these fares covered approximately 80 percent of operating costs back in 2009, they are expected to cover 103 percent by 2018 – meaning the government will actually be making a profit from us in the near future!
The good news for pensioners is that there’s no need to pay full price. For rail journeys, a senior railcard can save you a small fortune. In fact, if you take journeys worth more than £92 within the year, the railcard has paid for itself. For bus journeys, register for your free bus pass. If you live in England, you can travel anywhere within the country using local buses, for free!
2. Consider a Cruise
If you want to venture a little further afield and really see the world, cruise travel is an excellent option for the older generation. Cruising takes the hassle out of travel, simply allowing you to wake up each morning in a new and exciting destination without the need for hauling your luggage, waiting in airports, or spending hours in a cramped aeroplane seat with a small child kicking you in the back!
It’s believed that around one quarter of all cruise travellers are over 60 years of age. The cruise industry is really changing at the moment, and it’s beginning to cater more to solo travellers, so you could even enjoy a relaxing getaway by yourself.
One aspect to consider is the ship you travel on. While all major cruise liners are well equipped for those with trouble walking and getting about, smaller river cruise ships may provide more of a challenge. Many do not include lifts to get between decks, although some, such as Viking Fontane, include stairlifts for the elderly. So if you have mobility issues, always opt for a ship that accommodates disabled travellers.
3. Get the Right Travel Insurance
One thing you may notice is that it can be difficult to find affordable travel insurance if you suffer with any health conditions, or take any medications. It can be so tempting to simply fail to declare any existing medical conditions to get a great deal, but you MUST have valid travel insurance if you plan to take a trip, especially if you’re travelling out of the country.
It’s believed that 12.5 percent of travellers experience some sort of distribution, yet only 29 percent have a valid travel insurance policy.
Typically, you will pay a little more to cover medical conditions, but it’s so worth it, and here’s why: If you have any sort of accident or emergency abroad which is in any way related to a medical condition that you have been diagnosed with, or take medication for, your insurance will not cover you for the cost of treatment.
For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with mobility problems and have a fall, you’ll be liable for the full cost. Us Brits are remarkably naive about the cost of treatment abroad. 47 percent of us think it costs just £5000 to have a broken leg seen to in the United States, for example, when really this cost is around the £40,000 mark!
The term ‘gap year’ is largely applied to young’uns looking to experience the world before heading off to university, but there’s no reason we can’t enjoy a gap year of our own.
Retirement gives us the time and the freedom, to see all the places we’ve dreamed of going, and if you plan on spending a significant amount of time in a different country, pensioners can apply for special retirement visas that allow them to spend more time sightseeing and enjoying different cultures than tourist visas do.
Places such as Australia and Gibraltar, for example, approve retirement visas for those who can contribute financial to the country, such as buying property locally. Retirement is the perfect time to travel, so what are you waiting for? Book those tickets!
This guest post has been supplied by Acorn Stairlifts – a prominent supplier of stairlifts designed to make mobility easy and pain-free for the elderly, disabled, and those with health conditions.