AgingGreatly.com

How to Travel as a Senior (20 Simple Tips)

If you’re wondering whether to start or continue traveling in old age (depending on when you were bitten by the travel bug), the simple answer is yes. Exploring the world and meeting new people can keep you looking young and energetic longer. Also, there are more seniors interested in traveling nowadays.

How to travel as a senior depends on your interests, budget, personality, among other factors. With a few simple tips, senior travelers can figure out how to best explore the world. These include ways to cut costs, how to travel solo as a senior, and tips to ensure your safety while on vacation. 

This article covers our detailed list of senior travel tips for saving, traveling solo, and ensuring your safety when on holiday. Read on. 

Saving Tips for Senior Travelers

Your budget is a key factor to consider when planning any trip. Even though seniors probably have more disposable income hence a more flexible budget, that doesn’t mean you want to spend all your money on making bookings or paying for travel arrangements. 

You can strategically save on cash when traveling then put the extra amount to some other use like buying souvenirs for yourself and loved ones. Here are some easy saving tips you can implement.

How to Travel as a Senior (20 Simple Tips)

Inquire About Discounts

Being a senior has its perks. There are a number of hotels and airlines that offer senior travel discounts . But most of the time, these won’t be overly advertised. That’s why you should take the initiative and ask about such offers.

Before making a booking, compare the discounts available in various hotels. Then once you find the one that has both a high discount and offering great services, close the deal.

But apart from senior discounts, you can also look for other special offers that you qualify for. Find out about these opportunities for cutting costs. In the end, you’ll definitely choose the offer that allows you to save the most money in the long run.

Travel Out of Season

I know it can be quite tempting to succumb to the excitement of traveling when everyone else is traveling, too, i.e., during high travel seasons. But this is most often going to cost you more than you would want to spend. Hotel prices and airfares skyrocket during high-peak seasons. That’s why it’s better to plan your vacation during the off-peak seasons when price tags are much lower.

If you travel during shoulder seasons (just before or just after the high season months), you can easily save on your vacation costs. From discounted airfares to cheaper hotel prices and affordable entrance fees to attractions. This is just what you need if you want to travel within a budget.

What is more, why not take advantage of the fact that you no longer have strict work schedules that limit your flexibility. So it’s entirely up to you to choose when to go on holiday.

Join Organizations That Offer Senior Travel Discounts

There are different organizations in various countries that entirely focus on retired people. Such organizations may have offers for senior travelers to encourage them to travel. Take, for example, AARP in America. 

This America’s Association of Retired Persons has a number of discounts for mature travelers. You can get hotel discounts, cruises with reduced price tags for seniors, and discounts on car rental services. 

There are also activity and restaurant discounts. All this information can be accessed on their website. Make sure to check frequently because some offers are available for just a limited period of time. 

Use Cheaper Modes of Transport

Traveling by air is often more expensive than other forms of transport. So if you want to pay less, you should definitely try out different means of traveling, for example, using the train. You may find yourself saving up to a few hundreds of dollars in the long run.

You can also opt to rent a car to travel to your destination or just get one on arrival at your vacation spot.

Traveling by train or car is obviously not as fast as taking a flight. But once again, that may not always be a big issue for seniors because of your flexible schedule.  

Book Connecting Flights

If you still want to travel by air, then scout for ways of getting cheaper ticket prices. One solution is in connecting flights. 

Direct flights are faster and generally cost more. On the other hand, booking connecting flights will take more time because of the long waiting hours at airports. But this is well worth it if you will end up paying less. Just carry a book to read when waiting.

Travel With a Group

Traveling with a group can allow you to take advantage of group discounts offered by different hotels or attractions. 

You can either choose to form a traveling group with some of your senior friends or just travel with your family, including your kids and grandkids. This will give you time to also bond as a family. 

If, by any chance, you aren’t a fan of huge traveling groups and just want a solo vacation, then read on for some more tips to help you out with that as well. 

Tips for Solo Senior Travelers

For those who’ve never traveled solo, the idea of going to a new place alone may make you a bit anxious. But if you just look past your fears and plan well in advance, you’ll realize how interesting it is to travel alone.

For one, you get to do what you want, when you want. Being alone means you are also likely to meet and interact with more people. In the process, spending time alone on vacation can offer a great opportunity to discover new things about yourself.

All the same, we can’t overlook the few challenges that come with solo-traveling and especially for seniors. Here are some practical tips to help you travel solo like a pro and enjoy the experience.

Travel Light

How to Travel as a Senior (20 Simple Tips)

Traveling alone means you won’t have someone to hold your bags as you dash to the washrooms or grab a snack. This is one of the reasons you should travel light. 

Carry only what you need and nothing more so as to keep your luggage at a minimum. If all your belongings can fit into just one bag, the better. So, I guess you might want to check out this video that shows how to pack items for three weeks into just one backpack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqc4A3J5rWg

Whenever possible, carry items that can multitask or be compressed and fit in small spaces. For example, get a travel scarf with hidden pockets. A great example is the Elzama Infinity Loop Scarf with Hidden Zipper Pocket . It has hidden pockets where you can keep your passport, credit cards, hotel room keys, or even money. And the scarf itself will also keep you warm during flights. 

For clothes, bring those that are easy to mix and match. Carry shoes that are comfortable to walk in so you won’t need to keep changing from one pair to another. 

But more than just packing light, you’ll need to pack smart. Since seniors are easy targets of theft, ensure as much security of your luggage as possible, e.g., an anti-theft bag like Oscaurt Anti-theft Travel Backpack can keep your things safe when walking around. This backpack has hidden zippers, secret pockets, and is made of anti-cut fabric.  

Volunteer on Vacation

Travelers can create unique itineraries that include offering some form of service to the communities in their destination. The idea of volunteering doesn’t mean your whole vacation has to be about helping others. You can set aside one day or even just a few hours and enjoy the rest of your vacation in leisure activities.

Volunteering on vacation is especially a great idea for solo senior travelers because of the opportunity to mingle with others. What is more, serving the local community will result in such a unique intimacy with a destination. You are not likely to enjoy such a close interaction if all you do is go sightseeing, hiking, and dining (not that there’s any problem doing any of these things).

In your retirement, you can offer the life skills you sharpened all through your working years—just partner with an organization that needs the specific skills that you have. You’ll be amazed at how fulfilling it is to offer your service for free and especially to people that are in dire need for them.

Get a Travel Roommate

This is a great strategy for socializing while traveling solo and, at the same time, cutting on costs. You may have noticed some hotels that charge more for solo travelers. To avoid this extra cost, organize to have a roommate for the time you’ll be staying at the said hotel. 

Check out different tour operators that offer this option. If not, look into online forums that offer solo travelers the chance to pair up with other solo travelers who want to share a room. 

Now, just so you know, having a total stranger for a roommate while on vacation can backfire on you if you get a not-so-easy-to-live-with kind of person. But on the flip side, you may match up with a really interesting individual who may end up being an amazing tour mate for the rest of your vacation.

So, take some time to weigh all your options before making this decision.

Go for a Special Interest Holiday

Special interest holidays are vacations designed around a particular interest, e.g., art, culinary, culture, etc. The point is to bring together people with the same interest for the sake of either learning a new skill or just enjoying their passion.

Solo trips are ideal for this kind of holiday. You may have put off learning a particular skill all your life due to your busy work and family life. Now that you have all this free time during your retirement, you might as well pursue that interest through a special interest holiday. 

It’s never too late to learn a new skill if you just put your mind to it. For example, you can start salsa lessons, take a music course, or learn a new language in the country of origin. 

The best thing about this type of holiday is getting to interact with people of similar interests. That means mingling with travelers of all age groups and cultures. It can be quite refreshing and enlightening.

Document Your Experiences

Even with the excitement of visiting new places, seeing amazing attractions, and experiencing diverse cultures, sometimes solo trips may actually get drab and lonely. 

You are more likely to feel this weird emptiness during idle evenings with no activities planned. Or take, for example, the end of an exciting day when you sit at a table for one and realize there’s no one there to share stories of the amazing adventures you’ve had. But guess what, it doesn’t have to be that dull. These quiet moments are actually the essence of solo trips. Take such times to meditate and unwind. 

You can also document your activities. Write in your journal the experiences you’ve had and maybe even include life lessons you’ve gained from your travels. It’s priceless to be able to refer to such documentations much later and reminisce about the wonderful time you had. 

Whenever you travel alone, it’s important to be conscious of your surroundings and always think of your safety. This begins right from planning your vacation. For example, it wouldn’t be the best idea to travel to a destination whose security is questionable. Pick and choose your travel destinations wisely.

If you feel insecure about a place or a person while traveling, trust your gut, and distance yourself. Sometimes, in extreme situations, you may even need to raise an alarm so that other people can come to your rescue. 

But it doesn’t have to get to that. There are ways seniors can keep safe while traveling or when on holiday. Let’s look at some of those tips. 

Safety Tips for Senior Travelers

How to Travel as a Senior (20 Simple Tips)

Get Travel Insurance

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Even though you are extra cautious during your vacation, having travel insurance will come in handy in case something does happen.

As an older traveler, you are actually more vulnerable than your younger counterparts. Thieves see you as easy prey. So, your security measures need to be above that of the average traveler. Travel insurance is important for travelers of any age, but more so seniors. 

You can get covered for medical issues. For example, the insurance can cover you if you get hurt while on vacation, or maybe you suddenly need extra medication due to unexpected situations like travel delays. If any of these things happen while in a foreign country, it may be harder or more expensive to get the necessary help. That’s when you’ll be glad you got insured. 

You can also get insurance for your belongings. Reimbursement for lost luggage and replacement of stolen valuables are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy with such a cover. So you can at least be less anxious while walking around with, say an expensive camera.

All in all, look at the types of insurances available and identify the one that offers coverage that you need. Also, compare different insurance providers in order to get the best deal available. 

And once you’ve got your travel insurance, remember to carry the details with you on vacation in case you need to make a claim.

Avoid Flashing Your Valuables

Now that you’re older, you probably own more items of high value than when you were younger. That’s great. But these valuables shouldn’t be carried around on each and every trip. If they are not very necessary during your holiday, it’s better to leave them at home where they are safe. That way, you don’t have to worry about losing the items to thieves and pickpockets.

Even so, there may be some valuables you want to carry with you on holiday. A good example is your camera for when you want to take some picture memories. Your wedding band may also be something you wouldn’t want to leave behind.

You’ll, therefore, need to be extra vigilant when moving around with such valuables. Don’t flash these items unnecessarily. If, for example, you are not using the camera, keep it inside your backpack. 

The more people see your expensive stuff, the higher the chances of being a thief’s target. So investing in an anti-theft backpack, for example, is a great idea. Also, keep an eye on all your belongings at all times. This is especially necessary when in crowded places like airports and bus stations.

And in case you leave some valuables inside your hotel room, lock them up in the safe. You can’t trust anyone, not even the hotel staff.

Lock Up Important Documents

Apart from jewelry and expensive watches, your important documents are also very valuable and should be handled with great care.

To begin with, only carry the essential or necessary documents when traveling. Anything that you won’t need should be left back home. If you have several credit cards, you can consider just carrying two of them and leaving the rest behind.

Once booked into a hotel, lock up these documents in a safe. Only take them out with you on the days you truly need to use them. And even then, keep them as close as possible to you, e.g., use a belt pocket to carry IDs, cards, and money.

Keep a List of Emergency Contacts

One of the things that can really spoil an amazing holiday trip is getting scammed or having your belongings stolen. Any disaster, in general, is such a dampener of the excitement of traveling. What is more, it can throw you into a panic mode where you can’t even think straight. 

Finding the phone number for an ambulance, the local police, or the embassy at such a time can be very hard. That’s why you need to prepare for such situations. Have a list of people you may need to call in case of an emergency—for example, your doctor, family, insurance, or your country’s embassy.

Save these contacts, preferably both in soft copy (in your phone) and hard copy (on a small card that can fit in your wallet or purse).

You can go a step further and create an “emergency plan.” Think out and note down the steps to take in case of an emergency. Have this information close to you in your wallet or purse.

Inform Friends and/or Family About Your Itinerary

According to AARP recommendations, you should inform others (family or friends) about your daily plans and whereabouts. This is especially necessary, but not restricted to when traveling solo.

For a thorough approach, send your itinerary to your family or friends back home. Ensure you clearly outline where you’re going, what you will be doing, and for how long. 

Include emergency contacts, e.g., phone numbers of the embassy and the doctor. 

Having all this information will be useful to your family if, for example, you cannot be reached for a long period of time or delay to get back home from a trip when you said you’ll be back.

Watch What You Eat and Drink

Most seniors don’t really have the luxury of eating anything they want because their stomachs have grown a bit sensitive. Some travelers also have multiple allergies. The best way to deal with this is to be very careful about what you eat or drink. 

If you are looking for a place to eat, opt for a popular spot with many customers and try and observe how your food is being prepared. This way, you can be almost sure the food is going to be safe for your consumption.

Keep Enough Meds With You

We all know that with old age comes illnesses here and there. So, if you’re on any form of medication, stick to the doctor’s prescriptions even while away on vacation.

Carry all your meds in a carry-on bag where you can easily access them. Another important thing to remember is to carry extra meds just in case you get stuck during your travels and end up going back home on a later date than you had expected.

But apart from carrying extra meds, have a written list of all the medications you take, both their brand and generic names, their dosages, and information on where to buy them in your destination in case you will need to. 

Exercise Hotel Safety

Most people tend to really trust hotels and feel safe there. But the truth is, you still need to be vigilant at the hotel in order to ensure your safety.

First up, before booking a room, inquire if it has a safety box where you can keep your valuables. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s crucial that you keep your valuable items locked in the safety box whenever you’re not in the room. This is whether there’s a hotel staff in there or not.

Secondly, request for a room that’s close to the elevator. The proximity to human traffic will deter thieves from trying to target your room. 

Another tip is carrying a doorstop. This may come in handy in case your hotel room door lock is not so reliable. 

Lastly, avoid announcing your absence. For example, if you’re leaving your hotel room and want to inform the staff to clean it, do not leave the door sign that requests for room cleaning. This sign will notify any passerby that you aren’t in and so you can easily attract thieves. Instead, inform the receptionist personally as you head out.

Final Thoughts

As you settle into your retirement years, take the opportunity to travel and see the world or visit your loved ones. You totally deserve it after the many years of work that you’ve gone through. 

But before you set out, make sure you arm yourself with the right information on how to travel as a senior. Learn the tricks of cutting on costs, including traveling during shoulder seasons, asking for discounts, and traveling with a group. 

If you are one to go for it solo, then it will serve you well if you learn how to travel light to avoid too much luggage. You may also want to include a volunteer project during your vacation just to interact more with the locals and get that sense of fulfillment.

Lastly, your safety should be your number one priority as you roam the world. Get travel insurance and always be aware of your surroundings. Being older, thieves already think you’re an easy target, so don’t make yourself even more prone to theft by carelessly flashing your valuables. All in all, keep your family and close friends informed of your whereabouts. Travel safe.

  • Smarter Travel: 6 Savings Secrets for Senior Travel
  • Smarter Travel: 7 Safety Tips for Senior Travelers
  • Rick Steves: Savvy Senior Travelers
  • Love Exploring: Senior travel: 11 tips for traveling alone later in life
  • Sunshine Retirement Living: Making Travel Safe and Easy as a Senior
  • Travel And Leisure: 5 Tips for Traveling Solo After Retirement
  • Expert Vagabond: 25 Important Travel Safety Tips Everyone Should Know
  • Sixty And Me: 6 Ways To Find Amazing Senior Travel Discounts And Budget Travel Options

Hey there, my name is Anja, I’ve seen and supported my mom’s incredible transformation in her fifties. Seeing how my mom “awakened” and took full control over her life really impressed me. I got inspired and started dreaming about how we could inspire more people, especially women, to open up and create a second life for themselves. That’s how the idea of aginggreatly.com came to life…

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Eight days of free public transport

As a Victorian Seniors Card holder, you can explore Victoria with free Festival travel from Sunday 1 October to Sunday 08 October 2023

On this page:

Where can you go, using your myki, travelling in regional victoria, information on regional town buses and v/line services, regional buses, unreserved v/line services, reserved v/line services, plan your journey.

Victorian Senior Card holders can enjoy Victoria with eight days of free public transport from 1 to 8 October 2023.

Free public transport is available to all Victorian Senior Card holders. Jump on public transport for free to visit attractions across Melbourne as well as regional and rural locations.

You’ll be able to travel for free on all public transport in Victoria, including:

  • Melbourne trains, trams and buses
  • Regional trains, coaches and buses (including regional town bus services) as listed below.

The V-Line bookings open at 10am on Tuesday 5 September .

From 1 to 8 October 2023 you won’t be charged when you touch on and off.

Throughout the rest of the year, top up with myki Money if you travel occasionally, or myki Pass if you travel often. Your card isn’t locked to myki Money or myki Pass – choose each time you top up.

Find out more at ptv.vic.gov.au External Link or call 1800 800 007.

Mobile myki is also available for Victorian seniors. For more information visit Public Transport Victoria mobile myki website: www.ptv.vic.gov.au/mobilemyki External Link .

Register your card online to protect your card’s balance if it’s lost or stolen.

  • You need to reserve a seat on long distance V/Line trains and some coaches. To book a seat on V/Line Services requiring reservations call 1800 800 007 from 10am, Tuesday 5 September onwards.
  • Seats can fill quickly – book early.
  • You’ll need to collect your tickets within 48 hours.
  • You can only travel free in economy class.
  • You can book a return journey for up to four Victorian Seniors Card holders. If you are planning to make a group booking for up to 19 travelling on a V/Line train service, or 12+ travelling on a V/Line coach service, visit your nearest station or agent from 10am, Tuesday 6 September onwards.
  • If you make a booking and aren’t able to travel, let us know. We can give your ticket to someone else. Some important tips for travelling on board trains, trams and buses:
  • Touch on – have your myki ready so you can touch on.

Travel for free during Seniors Festival free public transport on regional town buses in:

Travel for free without booking a seat on trains and coach services, including those starting or ending at:

  • Ballarat/Wendouree/Ararat
  • Bendigo/Eaglehawk/Echuca
  • Geelong/Marshall

You will need to reserve a seat before travelling for free on these services. Check whether you need to book before travelling by looking for an 'R' on V/Line timetables. Reserved services include:

  • Albury/Wodonga
  • Warrnambool.

You can plan your journey using the PTV app or visiting the PTV Journey planner website External Link .

Once you have entered your 'From' starting point, you then need to select the most appropriate option for you and complete your planning.

Visit the PTV website External Link for more information.

  • Festival and awards
  • Metro travel
  • Regional travel

Reviewed 11 September 2023

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  • Senior Travel

Senior Travel Tips: How to Have Great Adventures as an Older Adult

By Publisher | Last updated April 22, 2022

For a senior, travel can be an excellent way to stimulate the mind, connect with a wider community, and just have fun . Exploring new environments and meeting new people can help older adults stay both physically active and socially engaged . Whether the idea is to experience more of the world, spend time with loved ones, or just take a break from the everyday routine, travel can bring enormous rewards.

Getting older certainly doesn't have to keep anyone from having new adventures. An AARP survey of adults between the ages of 54 and 72 found that virtually all of them planned to take at least one domestic trip in 2019. Nearly a third anticipated taking four or more trips. What's more, almost half said they expected to travel both within the U.S. and internationally.

Check out the information below to discover more than two dozen practical tips related to navigating air travel, organizing a trip either for or with an elderly parent, and traveling as an older adult. Explore a list of tour companies and cruise lines that cater to the needs of seniors. And learn about ten budget-friendly destinations within the U.S. that offer good value for older travelers.

This article contains affiliate links. We are compensated with a small commission, at no extra cost to you, for sales made through the links.

Air Travel Tips and Tricks

Flying is often the quickest and most convenient way to travel, but it can be stressful and confusing. Here are a few things you can do to make the experience easier and more pleasant:

1. Ask about senior discounts .

Some airlines offer reduced fares for older adults, although they might not widely advertise such fares. For instance, Delta has a senior discount in some markets, but it's not available online; you can only get it by calling the reservations department. United Airlines offers special senior fares on some routes. However, you may need to call and ask what's available (and be sure to check if it's any cheaper than the normal adult rate). Notably, Southwest Airlines has a senior discount in the form of reduced Anytime fares for adults over age 65. These senior fares are refundable and can be booked either online or by phone.

2. Check in online if possible.

Most airlines allow you to check in for your flight through their websites or mobile apps up to 24 hours in advance. In most cases, it's better to check in online rather than at the airport. Some budget airlines, such as Spirit, charge a fee to check in at the airline counter. Plus, checking in from your computer or phone lets you save time at the airport. You can bypass the ticket counter and go straight through security to your departure gate if you only have carry-on luggage. (However, you might have to check in at the airport counter if you are requesting a wheelchair or other airline personnel assistance.)

One of the biggest advantages of checking in online is being able to select your seat. To take full advantage of this, you should check in early for your flight. That's because the earlier you check in, the more seats you will have to choose from. So if you're hoping to sit near the front of the plane or avoid the middle seat, it's a good idea to check in online as early as you can.

Keep in mind that Southwest Airlines does things a little differently. It assigns boarding positions rather than specific seats. Depending on what type of fare you purchase and when you check in, you will be assigned to A, B, or C zone, with a number between 1 and 60 (where A1 gets on first and C60 gets on last). Your place in the queue determines when you get to board; once you are on the plane, you are free to choose any available seat. So on Southwest, checking in sooner will not get you a specific seat, but it will get you a better boarding position.

3. Print your boarding pass.

Technically, if you check in online and have a smartphone , you don't need to print a boarding pass in most cases. You can simply show the agent the electronic boarding pass that was sent to you when you checked in. (Note that an e-ticket is not the same as a boarding pass.) However, it's wise to have a paper copy of your travel documents in case your device runs out of power, or there is some other type of technical problem.

You can print your pass on your home computer when you check in online, at the self-serve check-in kiosks in the airport terminal, or the airline's ticket counter. The good news is that you do not have to check in twice on connecting flights on Southwest or most other airlines; you should receive all of your boarding passes at once.

4. Get to the airport early.

Even if you have checked in online, you should be at the airport at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to take off. (Allow at least three hours for an international flight.) That's especially important if you are checking baggage, since you will need to drop off your luggage at a designated counter by a certain time.

If you are traveling domestically and only have hand luggage, things are a bit simpler. In such a case, if you check in online, all you have to do at the airport is go through security and find your departure gate. However, you never know how long the security line will be, so it's still wise to arrive early. And if you have mobility issues, be sure to allow for extra time so that you're not rushed.

5. Speed through security.

Older travelers can get a bit of a break when it comes to security screening. For instance, if they're over 75, seniors do not have to take shoes off at airport security (although the shoes may still be swabbed for traces of explosives). They can also leave light jackets on.

Medically required liquids and gels are not subject to the same size restrictions as other carry-on liquids. However, they need to be screened separately, so you can speed things up by packing them in a Ziploc bag that is separate from your other liquids. Keep the medications in an easily accessible part of your carry-on bag. Tell the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer about them when you get to the checkpoint.

If you have a disability or medical issue, you may want to fill out a TSA Notification Card so you can communicate your condition clearly and discreetly. For example, if you have a metal hip implant, you can note it on the card so that the officer will know that you are likely to set off the metal detector. In that case, you would be subject to a pat-down or screening via a full-body scanner.

Travelers of any age are eligible for TSA PreCheck , which gives them the privilege of not removing their shoes, belts, jackets, laptops, or liquids during screening at participating airports. To get TSA PreCheck, you must apply online, go through a short in-person appointment involving fingerprinting and a background check, and pay the $85 fee. (Some credit cards cover this fee or allow you to use frequent flyer points to pay for it; check with your credit card issuer.) If approved, you will be covered for five years.

If you travel internationally, Global Entry works just like TSA PreCheck, with the added benefit of expedited lines for customs and immigration upon re-entering the U.S. It costs $100 for five years.

6. Try to get expedited boarding.

Being one of the first to board a plane lets you get settled in your seat sooner and avoid being shuffled along in a long lineup of people. It also gives you a better chance of finding space for your bag in the overhead compartment. In some cases, boarding earlier can also mean securing a better seat.

Here's how you can try to make sure you take your seat early, depending on the airline you use:

Older adults with disabilities can get on the plane during preboarding. You can also avoid long lines by purchasing Priority Boarding, which lets you board ahead of other economy passengers. However, you cannot buy Priority Boarding if you purchase a Basic Economy fare (i.e., the cheapest one).

You can ask to be in the preboarding group if you need assistance due to a mobility challenge or other type of disability. American divides its regular boarding into nine different groups. First class, business class, and elite status customers get on first. However, you can opt to pay for Priority boarding, which gets you on with group four. As with United, Priority is not available to passengers on Basic Economy tickets.

On Delta, seniors who need extra time or help to board can take their seats during preboarding. Otherwise, you can pay $15 per flight to ensure your spot in the Main Cabin 1 group. Main Cabin 1 boards after families with young children, upper-level elite passengers, and Delta-branded credit card holders, but before most economy customers.

Passengers with disabilities are eligible to preboard the plane. Alternatively, you can choose to pay for an Even More Space seat, which comes with a few inches of extra legroom and lets you preboard. Even More Space also lets you use special security screening lines in participating airports.

Seniors can board early on Southwest in certain cases. For instance, if you need a particular type of seat due to a disability or need someone to assist you during boarding, you may get on the plane during the preboarding process. If you just need a bit of extra time to get settled, you will be permitted to board between the A and B groups.

You can also pay for Early Bird Check In to have Southwest automatically reserve a boarding position for you 36 hours before departure. While you do not have to check in yourself with Early Bird Check In, you can get your boarding pass by going online no sooner than 24 hours before your flight leaves, clicking "check in," and printing your pass. It's not crucial to do this at a certain time, since your spot in the queue will have already been assigned. Early Bird Check In does not guarantee A group boarding. However, it does boost your chance of securing a better boarding position. Some people believe Early Bird Check In is worth it if you have strong feelings about where you sit and don't want to stress about having to check in exactly 24 hours before your flight.

7. Don't be afraid to bring a mobility device.

Most airlines allow you to bring canes, walkers , wheelchairs, and even electric scooters along for no extra cost. If you can't walk to your seat, you can transfer from a wheelchair into a special aisle chair that is narrow enough to fit down the aircraft's aisle.

Depending on the size of your device, you can bring it right into the cabin and store it in an overhead bin, under the seat in front of you, or in a separate storage area. If it doesn't fit in any of these places, the airline will check it as cargo for no additional fee. When you reach your destination, the device will be brought to the aircraft door for you unless you request to pick it up at baggage claim.

8. Get convenient and durable travel gear

Having gear that can safely, conveniently, and durably hold your belongings will help make your trip easier. Here are some good examples of travel essentials, which are available for purchase through the following Amazon affiliate links:

  • A secure and easy-to-use passport holder or travel pouch to keep essential belongings, like ID, credit cards and cash, safe and close by. One that can be worn around the neck may be especially handy for those who can be forgetful.
  • Durable, lightweight luggage that's easy to identify, pull, and carry.
  • A suitcase marker to help identify your bag from everyone else's and make it easier and quicker to pick up your belongings from luggage carousels.
  • A waterproof toiletry bag to store your personal care essentials and protect your other belongings if something containing liquid/gel/cream breaks or opens during transit.
  • Durable luggage tags to identify your checked bags if the airline tags come off, and to identify your carry-on bag in case it's misplaced or needs to be stowed after you board the plane.
  • A travel pillow and blanket can help make the trip a lot more comfortable. Planes can be cold, and the seats can be difficult to nap in. So a small pillow and blanket can help make the trip more restful and enjoyable.

How to Arrange a Trip for an Elderly Parent

It can be challenging to work out the travel details for an aging parent. There is no age limit for flying alone. However, it can be dangerous for elderly people to fly by themselves if they aren't prepared. Here are some tips to help you get your elderly mom or dad from Point A to Point B safely and comfortably:

1. Choose travel times and routes carefully.

It's best to go for the shortest and most direct route, even if it costs a little more. Your goal should be to keep things as simple as possible, so the fewer connections, the better. And pay attention to the type of aircraft your mom or dad will be on: Some airports do not use jetways for smaller planes and instead require passengers to climb a set of stairs to board. (However, federal law stipulates that planes with at least 19 seats must have mechanical ramps to assist with boarding.)

Also, try to arrange travel times for when your parent is most alert and energetic. That might mean avoiding early morning or late afternoon departures if possible.

2. Make special requests by phone (and follow up).

You can book a trip online. However, it's sometimes easier to make special requests like wheelchair assistance, bulkhead seats with extra legroom, or expedited boarding if you speak to a human being. Proper arrangements can be especially important if your parent will need help getting to their seat rather than just to the plane.

Airlines are required by law to provide wheelchair service for free to any traveler who requests it. If your loved one has challenges with walking but doesn't need a wheelchair, ask if they can ride on an electric cart through the airport.

If your mom or dad uses portable oxygen, find out if the airline requires any medical documentation to transport it. Also, be sure to let the airline know of any special dietary restrictions your loved one has.

Don't forget to reconfirm all arrangements as you get closer to the travel date. The extra effort is worth it for your peace of mind.

3. Pack appropriately.

It's a good idea to encourage your parent to pack as light as possible. Your loved one may be able to avoid checking in luggage and waiting for it at the baggage carousel if everything fits in one carry-on-sized roller bag. If they check a bag, remind them not to put any important documents or medications in the checked bag. Those should go in hand luggage. Also, all liquids should be easily accessible for security screening .

If your senior has a cell phone, make sure it's programmed with your contact information, as well as any emergency contact numbers they may need. If your parent does not have a cell phone, consider getting a prepaid one for the trip. If necessary, show him or her how to place and answer a call. You might also want to write down the steps he or she should follow to get in touch with you.

4. Arrange transportation to the airport.

If you cannot drive your parent to the airport yourself, you could book a taxi or arrange a ride with a service like Uber or Lyft. Organizations like ITN America and Papa offer transportation services specifically for seniors. Another option is to contact a volunteer driving program in your parent's local area.

5. Get your parent to the gate.

Did you know that you can accompany your elderly parent to the gate if you obtain an escort pass? To request a pass, go to the airline check-in counter with your parent and present a government-issued photo ID. (It sometimes helps to call about a pass a day or two before the flight.) An escort pass lets you take your parent through security and to their departure gate.

If you can't be at the airport with your parent, talk to the airline about arranging free assistance. You could also choose to hire a concierge service like MUrgency or Royal Airport Concierge Service to help your senior manage luggage, check in, and get through security screening. And if you're willing to spend more for a dedicated escort, Flying Companions can provide full-service travel assistance, including a companion who will accompany your parent from their home to their final destination.

6. Coordinate arrival.

Make sure a family member or friend will meet your parent at the destination airport. Many airlines will provide an escort pass to allow you to meet a disabled passenger at the arrival gate. However, that only works for domestic flights. Because of customs and immigration rules, you cannot go to an incoming international flight gate. If your mom or dad needs help to clear customs, talk to the airline about having a wheelchair attendant meet them at the gate.

How to Travel With an Aging Relative

Shared travel is a fantastic way to create lasting family memories. However, traveling with an older parent does require careful planning. Start by reviewing the above tips about choosing travel times and routes , making requests for assistance , and packing appropriately . Then read the following tips to learn how you travel with an elderly parent:

1. Select a destination.

Try to pick somewhere that appeals to both of you. What's on your mom or dad's bucket list? How can you make that happen?

Remember that if your senior has mobility issues, you may want to avoid cobblestone streets and hotels with no elevators. It's also a good idea to research the whereabouts of hospitals and pharmacies at your destination so that you can be prepared in the event of a medical emergency.

2. Check with the doctor.

Before planning any trip:

  • Ask your parent's doctor if your parent is physically capable of handling the trip.
  • Get advice about how to manage your parent's medical conditions during travel.
  • Learn how to adapt the medication regimen for a different time zone.
  • Find out if vaccinations are necessary.
  • Get a signed note from the doctor that details all of your mom or dad's prescriptions.
  • You might also want to ask the doctor to provide a statement about things like knee or hip implants your parent has that could set off security alarms.

3. Consider an organized tour or cruise .

When it comes to senior travel, tours can be an excellent choice because they offer convenient ways to get around unfamiliar areas. Many are geared to the needs of older adults but also accommodate younger travelers. WheelchairTravel.org outlines some of the best wheelchair-accessible tours around the world, and offers resources to help with booking a trip where your mobility needs are met.

Cruises are also very popular multigenerational trips because they are virtually all-inclusive vacations. Seniors and their families can unpack once, see many different ports, and take advantage of unlimited dining and entertainment. Plus, many shore excursions are organized with the mobility-challenged in mind. And most ships have wheelchair-accessible public areas and staterooms as well as onboard doctors and medical facilities.

4. Get travel insurance.

This is essential if you plan to leave the country. Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, will not cover your elderly parent outside of the U.S. (although a few Medicare Advantage plans will). So you should look for a policy that covers him or her in case of a medical emergency abroad.

You should also consider insurance if your trip involves high prepaid non-refundable costs, such as a cruise or bus tour. Travel insurance may allow you to get some of your money back if you or your parent gets ill and can't travel, or if a hurricane disrupts your cruise plans.

According to the AARP, travel insurance is best purchased from a broker rather than directly from a tour operator or cruise line. You can research costs and coverage at sites like SquareMouth and InsureMyTrip .

If you are traveling domestically and all you have reserved are airfare and hotel rooms, you may be able to cancel without penalty or get some kind of credit. In a case like that, you might not need insurance. And check the benefits on your credit card before purchasing any insurance; you may have enough protection that an insurance policy is unnecessary.

5. Plan to take it easy.

Don't pack too much into your itinerary. Rest time is important for everyone, but especially for older adults. Allow for afternoon naps if your parent is used to taking them. Try to limit excessive walking and be prepared to take more breaks than you normally would. Also, be sure to budget extra time to navigate attractions, especially if you must search for elevators or ramps as alternatives to stairs. Patience is key.

6. Maintain a routine.

Some seniors are adventurous, but others find comfort in the familiar. If your mom or dad has dementia or some sort of cognitive impairment, it's wise to stick to a predictable schedule as much as possible. Eating and resting at the usual times can lower your elderly parent's stress level and help keep him or her from becoming agitated.

7. Set aside time for yourself.

Try to plan activities that you can do with your parent and a few that you can each enjoy on your own. When booking accommodations, consider getting separate rooms so that you can each have some private time apart. Or choose a type of vacation that lets you pursue different activities and get together for meals. After all, no rule says you have to do everything together. Giving each other some space can go a long way toward the success of a holiday.

How to Travel as an Older Adult

Smiling man with a grey beard and a hat standing on a city street holding a map and pulling a rolling suitcase

You travel as a senior by assessing your needs, wants, and priorities (and taking advantage of discounts whenever possible). Read through all the tips in the above sections, then have a look at these travel suggestions for older adults:

1. Always ask about senior discounts.

It never hurts to ask, and it could score you some good deals that aren't even advertised. Consider joining organizations like the AARP , American Seniors Association , or Association of Mature American Citizens , all of which offer travel-related discounts to their members. Keep in mind that these are lobbying groups that take specific stands on political issues. If you disagree with a group's viewpoint, you might want to pass on becoming a member.

2. Go in off-peak seasons.

You probably have the flexibility to travel when it suits you. Avoiding the prime tourist season can help you save money and avoid crowds. But make sure you pack for unpredictable weather and research some indoor activities so that you can stay out of the cold or rain. Also, be aware that some museums and other tourist sites have limited hours or are completely closed off-season.

3. Get insurance.

Travel insurance can save you money if anything happens that affects prepaid, non-refundable reservations before or during your holiday.

Travel medical insurance is crucial if you plan on leaving the U.S., since Medicare and most other health insurance plans do not apply outside the country. You might also need medical coverage if you will be traveling domestically but outside your approved network of healthcare providers. But make sure to carefully study each insurance policy; most do not provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.

4. Pack light, but bring the essentials.

Limit the amount of clothes you bring and plan to do laundry frequently. You can always wash items in a hotel room sink and hang them to dry. The less you have to lug around, the more mobile you will be.

That said, you should throw in a few items to make your trip easier.

If your eyesight isn't what it used to be, bring a magnifying glass to help you read small print.

If you use a hearing aid, bring an extra set of batteries.

And if you're going abroad, bring a list of your medications' generic names in case you need a refill. Some pharmacists in foreign countries may not recognize American brand names.

5. Think about security.

If possible, arrange to have someone check on your home periodically while you're out of town. And don't tempt burglars by announcing your travel plans on social media. To avoid becoming a target for thieves during your trip, leave the gold watch and fancy jewelry at home, and don't flash too much cash around. You might want to wear a money belt under your clothes to help keep your valuables secure.

Here's another tip: Don't hang the "please make up my room" sign on the door of your hotel room since that signals to potential thieves that you're not there. Instead, inform the front desk that you're going out, and that housekeeping is welcome to clean the room.

6. Minimize the moving and unpacking.

The best senior vacations are often those that don't try to cover too many sites in too little time. Think about basing yourself in a central hub and taking short day trips to surrounding areas. Or take a cruise that lets you explore a variety of destinations without having to change accommodations.

7. Choose centrally located hotels.

Staying near the major attractions (or at least close to public transit options) makes it easier to get back to your room to relax at the end of a long day.

If you have mobility issues, ask for a ground-floor room and find out if the hallways or doorways can fit a walker or wheelchair.

Also, check whether the hotel is on a steep hill or in an unsafe area.

8. Consider staying in hostels.

Did you know that hostels are not just for 20-something backpackers? Independent-minded travelers of all ages can take advantage of cheap, no-frills lodging all over the world. Many hostels offer private rooms with en-suite bathrooms, and there is usually a shared kitchen where you can prepare your meals. Sometimes a simple breakfast is even included in the rate.

9. Swap houses.

Exchanging houses with other travelers for a few days, weeks, or even months is a great way to save money on accommodations and immerse yourself in the local culture at the same time. Sites like HomeExchange and Home Exchange 50plus can help you arrange the details.

10. Go sightseeing early or late in the day.

Getting to an attraction right at opening or just before closing helps you avoid extreme temperatures and large crowds. If you're in an unfamiliar city, starting with a one- or two-hour bus or boat tour can orient you to the area's attractions and help you determine what you'd like to explore in more depth.

11. Consider a guided tour.

Bus tours and cruises can be excellent ways to travel for seniors. Everything is planned, organized, and coordinated by someone else, so you don't need to worry about logistics. But it's still important to find the tour or cruise that suits you best. If you are considering senior travel groups, here are a few questions you should get answers to:

  • For a bus tour, how much time will you spend on the bus each day? For a cruise, how many days will the ship be at sea as opposed to in port?
  • Will headsets be used to make it easier for passengers to hear the guides when touring museums and other sites?
  • Can the bus or ship accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters?
  • Will there be enough time at each stop to use the restroom and still explore the sites on a bus tour?
  • What is the activity level of the tour?
  • How much free time will you have?
  • How early must you get going in the morning?
  • How centrally located are the hotels or cruise ports?

Travel Tour Companies for Seniors

Organized tours are popular among older adults who want to let someone else take care of a holiday's details. And with some companies offering discounts to members of organizations like the AARP, senior travel tours can offer great value.

Whether you want to explore a destination by bus, train, or even on foot, there are plenty of companies that can help you maximize your vacation enjoyment. Here are a few that are aimed specifically at seniors:

  • Road Scholar : Offers educational tours for adults over age 50. (The organization formerly known as Elderhostel is now called Road Scholar.)
  • Grand Circle Travel : Specializes in senior group travel.
  • Overseas Adventure Travel : Features small group expeditions for travelers over age 50.
  • YMT Vacations : Offers guided tours for mature travelers.
  • Adventures Abroad : Organizes small travel groups for seniors over 50.
  • ElderTreks : Focuses on adventure travel for seniors.
  • Walking the World : Offers walking tours around the globe for the 50-plus crowd.

Many other tour companies don't have age restrictions but tend to appeal to an older demographic. Here are a few options you may want to consider:

  • SmarTours : Offers escorted tours for travelers of all ages; pricing includes airfare from the U.S.
  • Wheel the World : Provides customized tours and travel itineraries for popular destinations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
  • Discover Corps : Coordinates volunteer vacations for seniors and their families throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
  • Globus : Offers an enormous variety of escorted tours all around the world. Their target market is people 50 to 70 years old.
  • Rick Steves' Europe : Organizes group tours of Europe that are popular with the over-50 crowd.
  • Vacations By Rail : Offers rail tours throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
  • Brand g Vacations : Operates land tours and river cruises for the LGBTQ crowd; the average passenger age is 55.

Want a relaxing way to see the world and meet new people? Check out cruises. For senior singles and couples who are eager to enjoy a wide range of activities and connect with other mature travelers, cruising can be a great option. Many ships offer activities like trivia games and dance classes that allow you to mingle with people who share your interests. And some ships organize get-togethers and social activities specifically for solo travelers.

Here are a few cruise lines that cater to older adults:

  • Holland America : Holland America is one of the best cruise lines for mobility-challenged seniors. It has accessible rooms and routes on all ships and special lifts that allow wheelchair-bound guests to transfer to tender boats while still seated. It also accommodates single senior travel with a special program that allows solo guests to be matched with a same-sex roommate to avoid paying a single supplement.
  • Oceania : Oceania cruises feature smaller ships and port-intensive itineraries aimed primarily at active adults over age 55. Unlike most lines, Oceania's rates include airfare, all specialty dining, Wi-Fi, and shuttle service from its ships to the city center in each port of call.
  • Royal Caribbean : If you're looking for a mega-ship that is packed with activities for multigenerational groups, Royal Caribbean is the line for you. Its fleet features the largest ships at sea. It also offers accessible staterooms and shore excursions along with discounts on select sailings for guests over 55. While this line is a popular choice among families, its older, smaller ships tend to attract more mature travelers.
  • Fred. Olsen : With an average passenger age of 65 and single occupancy staterooms available on all ships, Fred. Olsen cruises make great solo travel tours for seniors. The British-based line was named the "best ocean cruise line" at the Silver Travel Awards three years in a row.
  • Avalon Waterways : Focused on river rather than ocean cruising, Avalon offers small ships, spacious cabins, and fares that include wine, Wi-Fi, and some shore excursions. However, seniors with mobility challenges should be aware that while some Avalon ships have elevators, they do not have wheelchair ramps. And passengers must climb a set of stairs to take part in the mandatory safety drill.

10 Good Budget Destinations for Seniors

Are you yearning to get away from the everyday? Check out a few senior-friendly travel destinations here in the U.S. that don't have to break the bank:

1. San Antonio, Texas

Older adults looking for history, culture, and Tex-Mex cuisine can find good deals in San Antonio. Admission to the Alamo and the homes of the San Antonio Missions is free. Plus, you can stroll the River Walk, visit the Japanese tea garden, or browse through the biggest Mexican market in America without spending a dime. The city is also easy to navigate by streetcar or bus.

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Famous for barbecue and blues music, Memphis is both an affordable and appealing vacation destination. Explore the neon and nightclubs of the Beale Street Entertainment District or catch free outdoor concerts at the Levitt Shell. You could also hop on a free shuttle for the journey to Graceland (and if you get there between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., you can visit the meditation garden and see Elvis's grave for no charge).

3. Phoenix, Arizona

With year-round sun and more than 180 golf courses, Phoenix has established itself as a haven for retirees seeking warmth and relaxation. There's plenty to do if you're on a budget, including exploring dozens of mountain and desert trails. You can learn about American Indian culture at the Heard Museum (free on certain days each month). Or you can take part in a free city-wide art walk on the first Friday of every month.

4. Las Vegas, Nevada

Older adults can score some great deals in Sin City. Casinos like Silverton and Station offer special senior deals on dining and gaming on certain days. And outside of the casinos, you'll find an abundance of free attractions. You can tour the Ethel M Chocolate Factory (and maybe get some free samples), check out the floral creations at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden, or catch the street performers at the Venetian.

5. Branson, Missouri

This cozy town in the Ozark Mountains is a fantastic low-cost destination for seniors who want a relaxing getaway. You can explore miles and miles of woodland trails for free. You could also take in a country music show or live theater performance, play a round at one of Branson's many golf courses, or ride an old-fashioned paddle-wheeler. And senior discounts are widely available at area hotels and resorts.

6. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque offers plenty of affordable fun for older adults. Explore the Old Town, drive along historic Route 66, go on a free winery tour and tasting, or check out the ancient stone images of the Petroglyph National Monument. If you visit in October, you can catch the world-famous International Balloon Fiesta.

7. Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola is a small city with a huge number of inexpensive activities for older travelers. It costs nothing to tour the National Naval Aviation Museum, watch the Blue Angels soar through the skies, browse the fresh produce and fine art of the Palafox Market, or go birdwatching on numerous nature trails. You can even rent a special type of wheelchair to help you enjoy the area's white-sand beaches.

8. The Grand Canyon

You can experience the awesome majesty of one of the world's most stunning natural attractions for surprisingly little cost, especially if you have a camper or RV. Seniors can get a lifetime national parks pass for $80 or pay $35 per vehicle to enter the park for a week. If funds are tight, try visiting on one of the entrance fee-free days .

9. San Diego, California

Sunny San Diego is an excellent vacation destination for older adults. Hotels are relatively inexpensive, and the downtown trolley offers an easy and affordable way to get around. Explore the historic buildings of the Old Town, tour a WWII-era aircraft carrier, or check out the many museums of Balboa Park. You could even take a short ferry ride over to the island of Coronado for only $5 each way and explore a multitude of unique restaurants and shops.

10. Charleston, South Carolina

For some Southern charm at a reasonable price, consider a trip to Charleston. You can stroll past beautiful antebellum mansions, take a carriage ride through the downtown area, or wander through historic churches and burial grounds. Take a free tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation, explore Fort Sumter, or just relax on the beach. There are endless options.

Keep Exploring

Senior travel can be immensely rewarding. So read through the list of tips above—and start planning your next adventure!

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Not all seniors are into cruises and bus tours: Here are 5 active trip ideas for 50+ travelers

The internet offers a bewildering array of senior travel tours and ideas for older travelers. Many of us have the time and resources for serious travel and we’re aware of the health benefits of physical activity. But we are also a diverse group, so not all of the senior adventures that pop up on the web or in brochures will be relevant to all of us.

For one thing, the senior age range (50 and older) is wider than that of any other group. We bring to the table a variety of life experiences and physical capabilities. A friend my age (74) spent last summer vacation doing her “usual activities”: cycling, canoeing and backpacking. I prefer to take long walks to get to know a destination. Other seniors use their vacations to visit the best dude ranches or luxury glamping resorts or simply take advantage of AARP travel discounts at nice hotels . 

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Some active seniors may not want to go full-speed on every day of a trip. Some may have health or mobility issues, or be traveling with someone who does. We may wish to travel with people who have very different interests and physical capabilities –  a skip-gen vacation with our grandchildren, for example. And while some seniors have very specific bucket lists, many simply want to go somewhere, do something and stay healthy. 

Here are five different types of trips for active seniors that take into account a variety of travel styles and interests. 

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1. National parks and state parks

In recent years, many older travelers have opted to “roam near home,” choosing senior adventures that offer active pursuits but don’t require long plane trips. The 63 U.S. national parks are superb travel destinations for seniors to pursue biking, birding, water sports, climbing, diving, fishing, hiking and wilderness backpacking, horseback riding, water sports and winter sports. Breathtaking scenery can also be found at Canada's national parks . 

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State parks are generally less crowded and can be equally rewarding for senior adventures. Several national parks could fit inside the 6 million acres of Adirondack State Park in New York. Beautiful Letchworth State Park and Franconia Notch draw visitors from all over the world. Hikers, cyclists and riders can enjoy hoodoo rock formations at Texas'  Palo Duro Canyon and seasonal wildflowers in California's  Anza-Borrego Desert .

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2. Walking, hiking and cycling tours for active seniors

Many tour companies offer walking and cycling adventures that allow active seniors to combine outdoor and urban experiences. European tours are especially well designed for taking walkers and cyclists into beautiful towns and countryside on a single trip. Country Walkers and VBT Bicycling Vacations offer both U.S. and international tours with guided and self-guided options and they provide all the support you’ll need. 

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Most tour companies specify a trip’s activity level and many will tell you approximately how many miles you’ll cover each day on foot or bike. Active travel specialist Backroads also categorizes its tours according to traveler type; while it does not list a “50 and older” group, active seniors who enjoy traveling with family or a variety of age groups may fit under “family” or “20 and older.” And a new division of Backroads, Dolce Tempo , offers several levels of “easygoing” excursions.

Tours marketed specifically as senior adventures are no less exciting than others. Eldertreks includes destinations as varied as the Silk Road, southern Africa and Madagascar in its offerings. Its five activity levels are geared to seniors. Senior Cycling focuses on the eastern U.S. and Canada. And Road Scholar has an impressive list of walking and hiking trips and a few cycling trips that include kayak and barge journeys.

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3. River cruises for seniors

River cruises combine the opportunity to experience different places with the chance to easily disembark at ports offering walking, cycling and other sightseeing options. Travelers are assigned cabins for the trip’s duration and may choose not to disembark at a given stop. This makes river travel ideal for the active senior with a less active travel partner or partners.

In Europe, riverboats from many companies sail the Rhine, Danube, Douro, Seine and Volga. Walking tours and just plain wandering are available at nearly every stop and many companies now make free bikes available for independent touring. Some offer guided excursions at ports where cycling is especially good. 

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Viking River Cruises provides a bicycle tour of the Kinderdijk windmills as part of an Amsterdam-to-Antwerp voyage. Avalon Waterways passengers may choose an excursion in Austria’s Wachau Valley and its active Discovery River Cruises sail the Ganges, Mekong, Nile and Peruvian Amazon as well as the European rivers. Uniworld has a Budapest-to-Passau voyage where cyclists can ride one-way on several stretches. AmaWaterways features a wellness program on each of its ships and offers cycling tours of many ports, as well as some hiking options. 

4. Extended stays

Like river cruises, extended stays in a single destination allow seniors with differing activity levels to enjoy a vacation together. Resorts make it possible for some guests to stay on the beach or by the pool while others take the bus into town or arrange for tours and other activities. Seniors who love all aspects of planning can use vacation rental booking sites like Vrbo or Airbnb to investigate and schedule their own outings. 

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The educational travel company Smithsonian Journeys takes a different approach with its cultural stays. One-week visits in places such as Barcelona, Krakow and Italy’s Lake District come with itineraries that allow seniors to be as active as they wish in exploring the neighborhood and region. Three-week “Living-in” stays in Andalusia, Florence and Aix-en-Provence place travelers in apartment-hotels and offer interest-based threads that include cooking, language instruction and hiking. 

5. Skip-gen vacations

Skip-gen travel is an emerging trend where grandparents and grandkids vacation together while skipping the generation in between. Children help keep seniors active, though it can be challenging to find activities that the both generations can happily share.

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Road Scholar, a pioneer in this area, offers some 150 different multigenerational and skip-gen “learning adventures” throughout the world. Tauck offers “kid-tested on-tour adventures” like zip lining in Costa Rica and jet boating in Alaska with its Tauck Bridges program. Small group guided tour company Intrepid Travel designates certain tours for families only. Like Backroads, Intrepid offers many active travel choices but does not specifically address seniors; some trips may require especially fit grandparents.

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9 Best Vacation Destinations for Seniors

Whether you're looking for a relaxing retreat or an active getaway, I have a resort for you.

do seniors travel free on weekends

You're retired — and vaccinated — and it's time to treat yourself to a well-deserved and probably long-awaited vacation. With no time constraints, you can plan a stay of a few weeks, and you might appreciate the convenience of a destination resort that lets you arrive, unpack, and enjoy dining and most activities on site.

Like many retirees, you're game to try something novel or pick up a new hobby, and you want to continue (or start) focusing on your well-being and health. The right mix of relaxation and activities, opportunities for time outdoors, pampering, and fun should complete the picture. A place designed for adults might be ideal, and perhaps a (short) visit and some entertainment for the grandkids and family would work well, especially if your get-togethers have been limited over the past year.

We've searched for a few places based on these amenities, and we have suggestions for you here. We hope at least one will spark your vacation imagination and get your planning started.

Suncadia Resort: Cle Elum, Washington

Set in Washington's Cascade Mountains and the Wenatchee Washington National Forest, this picturesque resort offers rich scenery, crisp mountain air, and a variety of outdoor activities. Choose The Lodge for panoramic river and mountain views or The Inn, an elegant lodge with golf course views.

Play golf, try your hand at archery, or grab an axe and heave it at the target. (Yes, axe throwing is a popular new activity!) Hike or stroll along deer and elk trails, rent a bike, canoe, or kayak, or find your inner artist with a resort-provided acrylic painting kit or a tie-dye lesson. Begin the day with guided meditation or a full-body outdoor workout class. Fit in a spa treatment for some pampering. Should the grandkids arrive for a visit, there's a pool, stuffed bear factory, and plenty of ways to play at Suncadia.

Big Cedar Lodge: Ridgedale, Missouri

This wilderness resort in Missouri's Ozark Mountains is set on 4,600 acres of natural beauty. A wide variety of accommodations lets you choose the perfect place to stay, whether you decide on one of the three grand lodges, a cozy private log cabin, luxurious cottage, or a glamping unit at Camp Long Creek.

Five golf courses and practice facilities include the new Payne's Valley course, driving range, full-swing simulator, and the Tom Watson putting course. Sharpen your aim at the Bass Pro Shops Shooting Academy with sporting clays, American Skeet, and more. Hike, bike, take a scenic nature walk, or journey to Top of the Rock Lost Canyon on an electric cart for waterfalls and lake views. Fitness classes, exercise equipment, and a personal trainer are available. If the grandkids visit, they'll love the Kids Adventure Club and Nature Discovery Center.

Lone Mountain Ranch: Big Sky, Montana

Just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, the ranch is set in the Montana Rockies about 40 minutes from Bozeman Airport. Stay in one of 27 historic log cabins, ranging from one to six bedrooms, each individually named and offering wood stoves, cozy rustic furnishings, full baths, forested settings, and stunning views.

In true ranch style, there's horseback riding, with backcountry trails and experienced wranglers to ensure a memorable experience for riders of all levels and ages as well as naturalist guided hikes, mountain biking, and fly fishing, for first-timers or seasoned anglers. Paddle a canoe or kayak or spend a day floating down the Madison River in a tube. Take an excursion to Yellowstone National Park, curated by an experienced guide. Start your day with an outdoor yoga class, and then have some fun with archery or axe throwing. Adventure programs for youth are available as well.

Mission Point: Mackinac Island, Michigan

This waterfront resort boasts the longest lakeshore on the island, and guests can stay in the Main Lodge or the more secluded Straits Lodge with dog-friendly rooms. Guest rooms and suites in both lodges feature comfortable furnishings, and the Bois Blanc Suite offers 1,500 square feet, full kitchen, and laundry facilities — ideal for longer stays.

Relax on the expansive lawn in an Adirondack chair, stroll downtown for shopping (Don't miss the famous Mackinac Island fudge), play golf, swim in the pool, or soak in a hot tub to your heart's content. Treat yourself to an afternoon at the Lakeside Spa and Salon. The vintage feel of the island, a National Historic Landmark, is enhanced by its ban on motor vehicles as well as its historic architecture and relaxed pace. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride to learn about the island, and you'll be transported to another era.

Montage Palmetto Bluff: Bluffton, South Carolina

Guest rooms, suites, cottages, and residences are available in the 20,000-acre community that encompasses a nature preserve, two picturesque villages, a riverfront marina, and Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, making it easy to choose accommodations for your visit. In fact, should you fall in love with the Lowcountry lifestyle, moss-draped oaks, and natural beauty, you might make a permanent home there as many visitors have over the years.

Play golf at the May River Golf Club, kayak, canoe, or take a boat tour and spot dolphins cruising along with you. Sporting clay stations wind through a 40-acre forest for shooting practice and games. Tennis, bocce ball, and pickleball courts are offered for both play and instruction, if you want to improve your skills. Stroll or take a leisurely bike ride among tree-lined paths. When the family comes to visit, the youngsters will enjoy Paintbox for games, crafts, movies, scavenger hunts, nature walks, and outdoor activities, and they'll thrill to the treehouses as they climb to the observation deck.

Cavallo Point: Sausalito, California

Located at the foot of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and set among 75,000 acres in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Cavallo Point offers stunning scenery, world class dining, and a variety of experiences. Historical architecture blends with contemporary design, giving guests the choice of historic or contemporary-style rooms, many boasting views of San Francisco Bay, in a serene setting just minutes from the city.

Hike, bike, run, or walk during the day, and spend the evening around an outdoor fire pit. Take a guided hike, yoga class, sunset cruise, or an exciting Seaplane or Helicopter tour. At the Healing Arts Center & Spa, guests can choose from a variety of wellness experiences. Cooking classes and demonstrations are offered, and the Cavallo Point Oyster Experience features chef Tony Adams shucking and grilling fresh oysters to be served with expertly paired wine and cocktails. Camp Cavallo for Kids keeps them busy with nature hikes, art, games, and historic exploration.

Arizona Biltmore: Phoenix, Arizona

If classic luxury is the vacation style you're after, the newly renovated Arizona Biltmore , a Waldorf Astoria Resort, should be high on your list. Built in 1929, the 39-acre estate at the base of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve is reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour with 701 accommodations (including 36 suites, 28 cottages, 54 villas) and Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design.

Closed for more than a year for major renovations, the resort reopened in May 2021 with new restaurants, a day spa, and seven pools including an adults-only pool and family pool with a 65-foot water slide. Play golf, tennis, or pickleball or take advantage of concierge arrangements for hot air balloon rides, stargazing, biking, hiking, and more. At Tierra Luna Spa, select from a range of curated therapies or join a yoga or aqua aerobics class. Be sure to order a Tequila Sunrise at the Wright Bar where the cocktail was invented.

Bungalows Key Largo: Key Largo, Florida

This all-inclusive, adults-only resort is a tropical oasis where you can choose from a variety of activities or just relax in a poolside cabana. Stay in a waterfront bungalow or one set among the lush gardens with a soaking tub and outdoor shower.

Water sports include kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and swimming in the protected bay where you might see manatees and dolphins glide by. Don your snorkel gear to float among colorful native fish. Join a beachfront yoga class or do your own workout at the full-service Fitness Tiki Hut and then head to the Zen Garden Spa's steam room, sauna, or outdoor treatment cabana for a soothing massage. Find your spot at the Sunset Pool, and sip frozen drinks while you work on your tan. Watch the sun go down on a catamaran cruise with a cocktail in hand.

Rancho Bernardo Inn: San Diego, California

Guest rooms, suites, and specially designed accessible rooms are set among lush gardens for a secluded feel. Private patios and balconies offer garden, spa, or golf course views. The resort 's 250 acres and San Diego's perfect weather provide opportunities for al fresco dining and outdoor activities.

Play golf at the pristine 18-hole course, relax by the pool, or have fun with lawn games like cornhole, croquet, or oversized Connect Four. Tour the Chef's Garden to see the source of the restaurants' fresh ingredients or get some ideas for your home garden. Spend some time at the spa, take a sunset yoga class, or arrange a private session. You can interact with a trained bird of prey with a private falconry encounter. If young ones visit, they'll love the "dive-in movies" at the family pool, the well-equipped game room, and San Diego's nearby attractions.

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Best Senior Travel Destinations in 2024

amie-clark

With COVID-19 vaccination rates on the rise, it looks like this summer will be safer for travel than the last one. Especially if you and your loved ones are vaccinated, there’s no reason you can’t get out of the house and explore what the country has to offer.

No matter what your budget or style preference, there’s a vacation destination for you. The following senior travel destinations are some of my personal favorites, in addition to those of our staff writers.

1. US National Parks

There’s more than one reason for preserving natural beauty, and one of those is so people can continue to view it, savor it, and, ideally, go back home with a keener, and broader, appreciation of the value of the world around them. The U.S. currently has 59 protected areas. Having taken Amtrak up to Montana’s East Glacier National Park, as well as having driven to the Grand Canyon, this writer can honestly state that, not only was the cost of these comfortable trips surprisingly low but the memories also remain indelible.

From California’s Death Valley to Alaska’s Denali, from Florida’s Everglades to Utah’s Canyonlands –– nature’s offerings are infinite, awe-inspiring, and deeply inspirational. For more details on what any of these parks can offer in the way of accommodations, tours, classes, and other recreational activities, check out the National Park Service website. Also, be sure to look into the national park pass for seniors .

Biking in Badlands National Park

2. Disney World, Florida

It’s forgivable if the first thing that comes to mind after reading “Disney World” are the sights and sounds of lots of excited children and long lines. With new COVID restrictions in place, however, park attendance is limited, and rigorous safety measures have been put in place, ensuring that guests will have a socially distanced and pleasant experience. True, Disney World does not offer senior discounts on tickets or accommodations, but you may find discounts at other sites like AAA or AARP.

My personal favorite park would have to be Epcot. Older adults, especially, can appreciate the park’s world showcase, which takes you on a culinary and visual journey through 11 different countries, including Mexico, Japan, and Italy. Even if you can’t currently travel the world, Epcot creates as entertaining of a simulation as possible.

3. Sedona, Arizona

When most people think of Arizona, their mind tends to conjure up images of cacti, rattlesnakes, and scorching hot temperatures. Departing from this image is the beautiful town of Sedona, Arizona. Less than a two-hour drive from the Phoenix airport, Sedona is a sightseer’s dream with its beautiful red rock cliffs and rock formations. Oh yeah, and unlike other parts of the state, Sedona’s average summer temperatures rarely exceed 90 degrees.

Some of my favorite activities in Sedona include hiking, bird watching, and Jeep Tours of the geological wonders. Especially for those into yoga and New Age medicine, Sedona has plenty of offerings. Additionally, if you simply want to kick back and relax, Sedona offers many hotels and resorts, and nothing beats taking in the stunning sunset at Cathedral Rock.

Sedona's Cathedral Rock at Sunset

Although Alaska is one of the least frequently visited states in the country (possibly due to its distance), there’s no beating the natural wonders of this state. For those inclined towards outdoor activities, Alaska contains 17 national parks. For those who want a more relaxing trip, Anchorage and Juneau offer all the creature comforts you’d expect.

With COVID rates trending downwards, it’s also a great time to book one of the fabulous cruises along the Alaskan coast. They’re a great way to take in the natural wonders while staying in resort-style amenities, not to mention you’ll be enjoying this all in average temperatures around 70 degrees.

Alaskan Coastline

5. Pacific Coast Highway, California

If you’ve ever considered hitting the road with your loved ones and exploring the country via RV , then there’s one route I can’t recommend enough: the Pacific Coast Highway. People often call California its own country in and of itself, and if you travel even part of this 600 mile stretch of coastal road, it’s easy to see why.

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH for short), spans all the way from San Francisco to San Diego, and it’s considered one of the most scenic and beautiful roads in the world. From the glistening fields of wine country down to the surfing villages of southern California, there’s something along this road for everyone.

6. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Long popular with tourists, this senior-friendly city only becomes more so as time goes on. Culturally, there are few cities of this size that could offer more and, thanks to technological advances, the ways to appreciate it also continue to grow. If you want to see the city and the surrounding area from a fresh perspective, then why not engage in the two-and-a-half-hour scavenger hunt from Tour Beaver.

While covering about one-and-three-quarters miles, and using smartphones or tablets, the players are fed clues and puzzles which they solve, while simultaneously exploring the city. If the scavenger hunt idea appeals to you, Santa Fe is only one of many cities that offer them. Keep in mind that there are those who say the best time to visit this lovely, sunny city is from September to November when the temperatures are most comfortable for the majority of folks. No matter when you go, though, take your sunscreen.

The Best Months to Travel in the Best Years of Your Life

Are you thinking about a late summer vacation? You should be! There are so many wonderful reasons to take a vacation in August, September, or October. As a senior living out your retirement, you are no longer burdened with a work rigid schedule or the challenges that come with back-to-school activities. Take advantage of your freedom and read about the perks of taking a late summer vacation!

August: The World Is Calling

A cost-effective way to check off “exotic world travel” from your bucket list is to book your dream vacation for mid-to-late August. Prices start to drop as tourists head home.

While the Mediterranean countries are still basking in the hot sun, the Scandinavian countries, with their comfortable temperatures and Northern Lights, make memorable travel destinations.

August is the vacation month for many Europeans, so crowds on the streets of Paris and London start thinning. Europe offers a wealth of urban delights such as Prague in the Czech Republic, Budapest in Hungary, or Vienna in Austria. Since you have the luxury of leisure, instead of a hectic tour of 10 cities in 10 days, pick one spectacular location and savor the sights. Linger in the outdoor cafes. Enjoy a less demanding itinerary.

Closer to home, golfers and anglers will find the mountains of Pennsylvania, New York, and New England abound with the top-rated greens, fast-moving streams, and quaint little towns.

Splurge with an overnight at a local B&B or a couple’s day at a spa. The latest trend in B&B hospitality includes fresh-from-the-garden meals.

With no school groups to crowd your view, enjoy the exhibits at local museums, historic homes, or gardens. Some of the best reasons to retire to Pennsylvania are also the best reasons to visit! Imagine exploring your nation’s birthplace without fighting traffic and waiting in line with other summertime tourists.

Check out end-of-the-season group rentals. Beaches and lakes make an inviting girls-only trip.

Travel Tip #1: Be sure to wear flats on cobblestone streets. Use the hotel safe for your valuables, passport, etc.

September: Water Temperatures Are Ideal, Crowds Have Checked Out

September may be the perfect month to head to the beach, as temperatures, crowds, and lodging prices all tend to start dropping around this time of year. Your only company on the sand may be a flock of seagulls and a few treasure hunters. There will be no long waits at restaurants. Don’t forget to schedule a boat trip, fishing trip, or for the more adventurous, an evening kayak paddle on the ocean.

If you find that you like off-season vacation-style living, you may want to check out Acts Retirement’s 10 Reasons to Retire to South Carolina. Here’s a hint, southern-style hospitality combined with coastal views tends to make people very happy.

Take a drive or bus ride through the countryside before the leaf peepers jam the roads. Don’t miss the antique stores and roadside produce stands along the way. Local apple orchards often include a taste of fresh-made cider, slices of apple pie, and bags of your favorite Macs (not the computer!).

Bring back childhood memories with a trip to a country fair. Take a selfie with a prize-winning sheep, thrill to the roar of tractor pulls, or enjoy a nostalgic ride on a merry-go-round. Of course, you’ll ruin your diet with the pleasure of sampling funnel cakes, sausage smothered in onions and peppers, and cotton candy. But what are vacations for if not letting loose and enjoying life?

Organize your own bus trip. Limousine rental companies welcome mini-bus or six-passenger town car rentals during the week. Gather a group of history buffs, art lovers, or other like-minded day-trippers and split the rental. You are the masters of your travel itinerary and can stop along the way at cute stores and eateries.

Travel Tip #2: Leave your expensive jewelry at home.

October: Harvest Celebrations Abound

October brings harvest season, Octoberfest merriment, and dozens of other reasons to get out of the recliner. Check your local newspaper for all the Fall events in your area or enjoy a vacation filled with crisp autumn sights, sounds, and smells.

All nature lovers must experience the beauty of the northeast’s changing seasons. The vibrant colors of the leaves mixed with a slight chill and warm cider are enough to make anyone giddy to pull out their plaid and travel to Pennsylvania, New York, or Connecticut. Rent a cabin and make a week or weekend of it!

Combine a visit with grandkids and a weekday tour. While the kids are in school, explore the local area. Make a family visit an opportunity to expand your horizons.

Senior Safety Travel Tip: Don’t hesitate to tell your innkeeper or hotel concierge your itinerary. Tell them where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Keep a cell phone on you at all times, along with your hotel and family contact information.

Retirement should be some of the best years of your life! Open yourself up to new experiences and new possibilities. You’ve worked to build the world we live in, now it’s time to pick your head up and experience it.

Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here

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A Guide to Travel for Seniors: Destinations, Tips and Precautions

A senior couple enjoys a quiet moment in Paris along the Seine.

Retirement offers seniors the perfect opportunity to indulge in travel, explore new destinations, and create unforgettable memories. However, traveling as a senior comes with its own set of considerations. 

In this guide, we’ll suggest great trips for seniors over 60, including places to visit, essential tips and some precautions to take so you can make the most out of your travels.

Best Vacations for Senior Travelers

There are a handful of senior-friendly travel destinations, both near and far, that can offer fun, accommodating experiences.

Europe is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an ideal vacation spot for senior travelers. Explore iconic cities like Rome, Paris, and Barcelona, where you can wander through historic landmarks, indulge in world-class cuisine, and admire art masterpieces in renowned museums. 

You could also purchase a rail pass and see the sights of Europe from the comfort of a train. For example, take a scenic journey through the Swiss Alps, or discover the beautiful Mediterranean via Spain, France, and Italy.

For seniors who prefer to stay in the United States, there are a number of places you can explore (along with National Parks, below). Wherever you go in this beautiful country, you’re sure to find wonders and friendly people.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers a warm climate and a world-renowned arts community, along with authentic Southwestern cuisine. Branson, Missouri, offers unlimited entertainment, more accessible and affordable than Las Vegas. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, is a walk through history, and Washington, D.C., connects you to this nation’s heritage. 

The Complete Guide to Senior Health and Wellness Cover

As people grow older, their health and wellness needs change. Read our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Health & Wellness for Seniors" for everything you need to know about staying healthy and happy as we age.

National Parks

The great outdoors call to many seniors, and U.S. national parks offer endless opportunities for adventure and natural beauty. Visit Yellowstone National Park to witness geothermal wonders like Old Faithful and spot wildlife such as bison and elk. 

Explore the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Grand Canyon from scenic viewpoints or take a leisurely hike along the rim. Acadia National Park in Maine offers a perfect mix of coastal scenery, hiking trails, and charming seaside villages, ideal for a relaxing getaway.

Cruises offer seniors the opportunity to explore multiple locations with ease and comfort. Choose from a variety of options, including river cruises along the Danube or Mekong rivers, or ocean cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, or the Mediterranean. 

Onboard amenities cater to all interests, from relaxing spa treatments and gourmet dining to enriching lectures and cultural performances. Plus, the all-inclusive nature of cruises eliminates the hassle of planning and allows for effortless relaxation.

Cultural Tours

Delve into the heart of a vacation spot with guided cultural tours that cater to senior travelers. Discover the rich traditions and history of Japan on a tour that includes visits to ancient temples, tranquil gardens, and bustling markets. Explore the vibrant souks and historic landmarks of Morocco, from the bustling streets of Marrakech to the serene Atlas Mountains.

Anywhere you go, with the help of local guides, you can find new experiences and learn about different cultures, widening your own horizons.

Coastal Retreats and Beaches

From the tranquil shores of the Caribbean to the rugged coastlines of the Pacific Northwest, there are plenty of options for seniors seeking sun, sand, and sea. Choose a resort in Maui, Hawaii, where you can unwind on pristine beaches, or opt for the charming coastal towns of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, known for their scenic beauty, historic lighthouses, and fresh seafood. 

Whether you prefer lounging by the water, exploring coastal trails, or taking scenic boat tours, coastal retreats offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure for senior travelers.

These locations cater to the unique interests and needs of senior travelers, providing opportunities for relaxation, enrichment, and unforgettable things to do. Whether you prefer exploring historic cities, cruising serene rivers, or immersing yourself in nature, there’s a perfect travel experience waiting for you.

Tips for Senior Travelers

Seniors, like any travelers, should map out their visits to get the most out of their journey and to minimize disruptions. Here are a few things to think about:

Plan Ahead: Research your vacation spot thoroughly and organize your itinerary in advance. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure that you don’t miss out on any must-see attractions.

Consider How To Travel: If you’re traveling by car, prepare to make frequent stops. As a senior, you may need to take a break and stretch often. If you’re planning to fly, try to book a non-stop flight. With careful organization, you can avoid long layovers or inconvenient connecting flights. 

Pack Light: Traveling with less luggage can make navigating airports, hotels, and transportation much easier. Stick to essentials and choose versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched.

Stay Connected: Share your travel itinerary with family or friends and stay in touch regularly, especially if you’re traveling alone. Think about using a smartphone or wearable device with GPS capabilities for added safety.

Embrace Slow Travel: Be realistic about how much you can do in a day and allow yourself a chance to slow down and savor the moment. Take time to appreciate the little things, whether it’s enjoying a local meal or watching a sunset over the ocean. 

Be Open to New Things: Traveling is an opportunity for personal growth and discovery. Try new foods, meet new people, and step out of your comfort zone.

Precautions for Senior Travelers

Seniors should always take extra precautions when traveling, whether domestically or abroad. Medical conditions, mobility, and other considerations should be factored in.

Consult with Your Doctor: Before embarking on any trip, especially if it involves long flights or strenuous activities, consult your doctor. Ensure that you’re physically fit for the journey and discuss any necessary vaccinations or medications you may need.

Purchase Travel Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance can cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unexpected events. This will provide peace of mind in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Pack Medications and Medical Information: Carry an ample supply of any prescription medications you need, along with a list of medications and your medical history. It’s also a good idea to have copies of your prescriptions in case you need refills during your trip.

Stay Hydrated and Rested: Traveling can be exhausting, so make sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Take breaks when needed and listen to your body.

Be Mindful of Mobility: Choose destinations and activities that suit your mobility level. Research wheelchair accessibility, if needed, and opt for accommodations and tours that accommodate senior travelers.

Come Home Again to a Senior Lifestyle Community

By taking necessary precautions, choosing suitable locations, and following these tips, senior travelers can embark on unforgettable journeys filled with adventure, relaxation, and cultural enrichment. 

When you come back home, you can find a comfortable, supportive space at any Senior Lifestyle community. At Senior Lifestyle, we can help you live a worry-free life while we take care of the everyday needs of living, such as cleaning and meal preparation.

Find out more about Senior Lifestyle or schedule a visit today.

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Top Senior-Friendly Vacations | Best Getaways for Elderly

Retired and ready for your next adventure? We’ve rounded up the best senior-friendly vacations for you. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a companion, these destinations offer accessibility, tailored activities, and discounts for senior citizens. From breathtaking natural wonders like Niagara Falls and Alaska to vibrant cities like Branson and Washington , D.C. , there’s something for every senior traveler.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose senior-friendly vacations that offer accessibility and tailored activities.
  • Destinations like Niagara Falls and Alaska provide stunning natural beauty.
  • Cities like Branson and Washington , D.C. offer vibrant attractions and cultural experiences.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of senior discounts and travel packages.
  • Plan your dream vacation and create unforgettable memories as a senior traveler.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a must-visit destination for seniors. With its magnificent natural beauty, there are plenty of accessible options to explore. Take the famous Maid of The Mist Boat Tour for the best views of the falls, or check out the Cave of The Winds Tour for a more adventurous experience.

Niagara Falls State Park has recently been renovated to increase accessibility, with ADA-compliant routes, accessible overlooks, and wheelchair rentals available. It’s an ideal spot for senior citizens.

Experience the awe-inspiring power of the falls:

  • Take a boat tour on the iconic Maid of The Mist for an up-close experience with Niagara Falls.
  • Embark on the Cave of The Winds Tour to get close to the falls and feel their mist on your face.
  • Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Niagara Falls State Park, taking in the breathtaking views and accessible walkways.

Whether you prefer a thrilling adventure or a scenic walk, Niagara Falls offers something for every senior traveler. Plan your visit to this natural wonder and create unforgettable memories.

Branson, Missouri

Branson , Missouri is a perfect vacation destination for older adults, offering a wide variety of senior-friendly activities and attractions. From golfing and museums to live shows and shopping, Branson has something to suit every taste. Known as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World,” Branson offers a vibrant entertainment scene that rivals even Las Vegas, but at a more affordable and accessible price point.

One of the top attractions in Branson is the Titanic Museum, where visitors can step back in time and experience the grandeur and tragedy of the famous ship. The museum is designed to be fully accessible for seniors, with ramps and elevators providing easy access to all areas. It’s an educational and immersive experience that shouldn’t be missed.

For nature lovers, the Top of the Rock trail offers breathtaking views of the Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake. The trail is well-maintained and accessible, making it suitable for older adults who want to explore the beauty of the region. Along the trail, there are also picnic areas and benches where seniors can take a break and enjoy the scenery.

Branson is also home to several accessible campgrounds, allowing seniors to enjoy the great outdoors in comfort. With amenities like paved paths, accessible restrooms, and designated accessible campsites, older adults can have a memorable camping experience while still being able to navigate their surroundings easily.

“Branson, Missouri offers a variety of activities and attractions perfect for senior travelers. From golfing and museums to live shows and shopping, there’s something for everyone.”

H3: Senior-Friendly Activities in Branson

  • Visit the Titanic Museum and immerse yourself in the history of the iconic ship.
  • Take a leisurely stroll along the Top of the Rock trail and enjoy stunning views of the Ozark Mountains.
  • Explore the vibrant Branson Landing for shopping, dining, and live entertainment.
  • Indulge in a round of golf at one of Branson’s many golf courses.
  • Experience the thrill of live shows featuring music, comedy, and more.

Alaska’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife make it an ideal vacation destination for senior citizens. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a nature lover, Alaska offers a unique and unforgettable experience. From its majestic glaciers to its snow-capped mountains, this vast state has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a convenient way to explore Alaska’s beauty, consider taking a cruise from Seattle or Vancouver. The cruise allows you to witness the stunning glaciers and picturesque landscapes from the comfort of a luxurious ship. It’s a senior-friendly option that offers relaxation and magnificent views.

For those who prefer a more affordable alternative, the Alaska Marine Highway System and Alaska Railroad Corporation provide convenient transportation options. These options are not only budget-friendly but also offer discounted fares for seniors. You can savor the beauty of Alaska’s landscapes while enjoying comfortable and accessible travel.

One popular excursion for cruise ship passengers is the Skagway White Pass Railroad. This historic railway journey takes you through breathtaking canyons and offers panoramic views of Alaska’s natural wonders. It’s an excellent way to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery and learn about the state’s rich history.

The Majesty of Glaciers

“Alaska’s glaciers are truly awe-inspiring. The sheer size and beauty of these natural wonders will leave you speechless. It’s a sight that every senior traveler should experience at least once in their lifetime.”

Whether you choose to explore Alaska by land or sea, this extraordinary destination promises unforgettable memories and incredible adventures. Don’t miss the chance to discover the wonders of the Last Frontier.

Florida’s warm weather and accessibility make it a top choice for senior travelers. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, the Sunshine State has something for everyone. From world-famous theme parks like DisneyWorld and Universal Studios to pristine beaches and cultural attractions, Florida offers a diverse range of senior-friendly activities.

For those looking to relive childhood memories or create new ones with grandchildren, DisneyWorld and Universal Studios provide discounted tickets and special amenities for seniors. Experience the magic of Disney and explore the thrilling rides and attractions at Universal Studios.

Florida is also home to beautiful, accessible beaches that cater to seniors. Pensacola Beach and Miami Beach are renowned for providing wheelchair-accessible amenities, such as ramps and beach wheelchairs, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the sun and surf.

To delve into the rich history of Florida , don’t miss the opportunity to visit St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States. Take a guided trolley tour and discover the city’s architectural gems and fascinating stories from its past.

Here’s a list of senior-friendly activities and attractions in Florida:

Florida’s combination of beautiful weather, diverse activities, and senior-friendly amenities makes it an ideal destination for older adults. Whether you’re seeking fun and excitement or a tranquil coastal retreat, Florida has it all.

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Colonial Williamsburg is a budget-friendly and educational destination for senior travelers. Explore the historic buildings, museums, and shops that recreate the 18th century Virginia. The gardens and buildings are largely wheelchair accessible, and folding wheelchairs are available for rent. Watch craftsmen at work and learn about the history of this important era in American history.

“Colonial Williamsburg offers a unique and enriching experience for senior citizens.”

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of colonial life as you stroll down the streets of this living history museum. From charming taverns to era-specific costumes, Colonial Williamsburg provides an authentic glimpse into the past.

If you’re looking for senior-friendly activities during your vacation, Colonial Williamsburg has you covered. Take part in guided walking tours, carriage rides, or try your hand at historical trades and crafts. There are also educational presentations and interactive exhibits that allow you to delve deeper into the history and culture of the colonial era.

As a senior traveler, you can also take advantage of special discounts. Many hotels, restaurants, and attractions offer senior vacation discounts , making your trip to Colonial Williamsburg even more affordable.

Experience the charm and history of Colonial Williamsburg, and create lasting memories as you step back in time.

Witness the past come to life at Colonial Williamsburg, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of 18th century Virginia.

Hawaii’s natural beauty and tropical paradise make it a popular destination for senior travelers. With senior tours that cater to a more relaxed pace, you can enjoy the best of this island paradise.

Visit volcanoes, tour Pearl Harbor, and explore the stunning beaches throughout the Hawaiian islands. Many beaches and attractions are accessible for seniors using wheelchairs or walkers. Hawaii offers a unique blend of relaxation and adventure for senior citizens.

“I had the most wonderful experience exploring Hawaii as a senior traveler. The stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality made it a trip to remember!” – Mary Johnson

Senior-Friendly Activities

During your vacation in Hawaii , there are plenty of senior-friendly activities to enjoy:

  • Take a relaxing sunset cruise to admire the breathtaking coastline.
  • Experience a traditional luau and immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture.
  • Embark on a guided tour of the stunning Na Pali Coast in Kauai.
  • Explore the historic Pearl Harbor, an important piece of American history.
  • Indulge in the local cuisine with a food tour, sampling fresh seafood and tropical fruits.
  • Engage in leisurely beach walks and soak up the sun at iconic spots like Waikiki Beach.

Washington, D.C.

Washington , D.C. is a top choice for senior travelers looking for an exciting and accessible vacation. With its rich history, iconic landmarks, and vibrant culture, the nation’s capital offers a plethora of attractions suitable for all ages.

One of the biggest advantages of visiting Washington, D.C. is its excellent transportation system. The MetroRail provides convenient access to all the major sights, making it easy for seniors to navigate the city. Whether you’re visiting the National Mall to see the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument or exploring the Smithsonian museums, the MetroRail ensures a smooth and stress-free travel experience.

For seniors who prefer not to walk long distances, motorized scooter rentals are available in the city. These scooters provide a comfortable and efficient way to explore Washington, D.C.’s numerous museums, such as the National Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Washington, D.C. offers a wide range of senior-friendly activities during vacation . From guided tours of the U.S. Capitol and the White House to leisurely boat cruises on the Potomac River, there is something for every interest. For those who appreciate history and culture, a visit to the Library of Congress or the National Archives is a must. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy a peaceful stroll through the enchanting United States Botanic Garden.

With its vibrant neighborhoods, delicious cuisine, and lively entertainment scene, Washington, D.C. is a city that caters to everyone. From the trendy shops and restaurants of Georgetown to the vibrant nightlife of Dupont Circle, there is never a dull moment in the capital.

Senior Travel Tips for Washington, D.C.:

  • Plan your visit during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall to avoid the crowds.
  • Take advantage of senior discounts available at many attractions and restaurants.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and lightweight clothing to navigate the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
  • Stay hydrated and take breaks in shady areas during the summer months.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions, especially in crowded areas.
“Washington, D.C. offers a wealth of attractions and activities for senior travelers. With its accessible transportation system, senior-friendly landmarks, and vibrant neighborhoods, the nation’s capital is an ideal destination for an unforgettable vacation.” – Traveler’s Review

With its accessibility, senior-friendly activities, and wealth of attractions, Washington, D.C. is a city that caters to the needs and interests of senior travelers. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply enjoying the vibrant energy of the city, Washington, D.C. is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience.

These top senior-friendly vacations offer tailored activities, accessibility, and discounts for elderly travelers. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural exploration, there’s something for every senior traveler. From the natural wonders of Niagara Falls and Alaska to the vibrant cities of Branson and Washington, D.C., these destinations are perfect for your next getaway.

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Niagara Falls with its accessible routes and boat tours. Explore Branson, Missouri, renowned as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World,” for an affordable and accessible alternative to Las Vegas. Discover Alaska’s breathtaking scenery through discounted cruises or train rides, and enjoy the warmth and accessibility of Florida’s theme parks and beaches. Dive into American history at Colonial Williamsburg or relax in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. Finally, immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Washington, D.C., with its accessible transportation and attractions.

Plan your dream vacation and create unforgettable memories as a senior traveler. With the best vacations for seniors and top vacation destinations for older adults , your next adventure awaits.

What are some senior-friendly vacation destinations?

Some senior-friendly vacation destinations include Niagara Falls, Branson, Alaska, Florida, Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C.

What makes Niagara Falls a great destination for senior travelers?

Niagara Falls offers accessibility and plenty of options for exploration, such as the Maid of The Mist Boat Tour and the Cave of The Winds Tour. The Niagara Falls State Park has recently been renovated to increase accessibility.

What activities and attractions are available for seniors in Branson, Missouri?

Seniors can enjoy golfing, museums, live shows, and shopping in Branson. The city is known as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World” and offers a more affordable and accessible option compared to Las Vegas. Attractions like the Titanic Museum and Top of the Rock trail are senior-friendly.

Why is Alaska a must-visit destination for senior travelers?

Alaska’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife make it an ideal vacation spot for seniors. Seniors can take a cruise or explore the state by land, with affordable alternatives like the Alaska Marine Highway System and Alaska Railroad Corporation offering discounted fares. The Skagway White Pass Railroad is a popular excursion for cruise ship passengers.

What does Florida offer for senior travelers?

Florida provides warm weather, accessibility, and a variety of options for senior travelers. From theme parks like DisneyWorld and Universal Studios to accessible beaches and guided tours, there is something for all interests. Beaches like Pensacola Beach and Miami Beach offer accessible amenities, and St. Augustine provides guided trolley tours to explore local history.

What makes Colonial Williamsburg a budget-friendly destination for senior travelers?

Colonial Williamsburg offers a unique and educational experience for senior travelers. Seniors can explore historic buildings, museums, and shops that recreate the 18th century, all at an affordable price. The gardens and buildings are largely wheelchair accessible, and folding wheelchairs are available for rent.

Why is Hawaii a popular destination for senior travelers?

Hawaii’s natural beauty and tropical paradise attract many senior travelers. With senior tours that cater to a relaxed pace, seniors can visit volcanoes, tour Pearl Harbor, and enjoy the stunning beaches throughout the Hawaiian islands. Many beaches and attractions are accessible for seniors using wheelchairs or walkers.

Why is Washington, D.C. a top choice for senior travelers?

Washington, D.C. offers accessibility and a wealth of attractions for senior travelers. The city’s MetroRail system provides easy transportation, and there are plenty of accessible options for exploring museums and landmarks. Motorized scooter rentals are available for those who prefer not to walk long distances.

What are some of the best senior-friendly vacation destinations overall?

Some of the best senior-friendly vacation destinations overall include Niagara Falls, Branson, Alaska, Florida, Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C. These destinations offer tailored activities, accessibility, and discounts for elderly travelers.

Source Links

  • https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/senior-travel/best-resorts-for-retirees
  • https://www.rd.com/list/trips-for-seniors/
  • https://www.seniorly.com/resource-center/senior-living-guides/6-vacations-for-seniors-with-limited-mobility

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Senior Travel Made Easy!

Senior Travel Central is here to help with all facets of travel with, you, the senior traveler in mind.

Whether you are a seasoned traveler or you delayed your travels until now, the information here will make your travel planning simple in every way.

We will help you find:

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Clubs Often Find Great Travel Vacation Deals For Seniors.

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Find Walking Tours for Seniors.

Walking/Hiking Tours Offer a Slower Pace to Take In The Sights.

Best Travel Deals for Seniors

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Best Travels Destinations for Seniors

Find The Best Travel Destinations for Seniors.

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Discover Long Stay Vacations Available for Seniors.

Snowbird Lifestyle

Everything Seniors Need To Know About The "Snowbird Lifestyle"

How To Be a Snowbird.

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The Best Travel Planning Tips.

Planning Can Prepare for Smooth Travels.

Travel Safety Tips

Travel Tips to Keep You Safe.

Security During Our Travels Is a Must.

Our Personal Travels Find The Best Activities & Things To Do

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Stowe, VT for Seniors

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Rutland Vermont

Rutland, VT for Seniors.

Discover The Many Things To Do In Rutland

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Wells, ME for Seniors

Discover The Many Things To Do In Wells

Ogunquit Maine

Ogunquit, ME for Seniors

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Cape Cod, MA for Seniors

Coming Soon!

Find some of the best senior vacations and destinations with your ideals in mind such as the best senior travel deals, transportation, passports when needed, travel insurance, safety, health restriction travel plans and senior handicapped travel. 

Perhaps we can help you whether you plan to travel alone, or with a senior travel partner, or with any of the numerous senior travel groups.  

In short, we hope to provide you with the knowledge to become savvy travelers with nothing to hold you back, ready for many enjoyable trips.

When asked, “ What are you going to do when you retire or now that you’re retired?”

The most frequent response is, “Spend more time with grandchildren and travel”.

You take care of the grandchildren and we’ll take care of your travels!

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My husband, Jim, and I are seniors who enjoy travel. We will share our personal first hand experiences and the first hand experiences of others. 

Learn from these experiences about destinations, restaurant reviews, do’s and don’ts, even things we forgot about or overlooked to make a more enjoyable experience.

Travel is our reward for having more free time. It is fun and can be a major incentive to stay healthy.

We can visit family and friends including reconnecting with some who we haven’t seen in a long time. 

Travel keeps us active. It is wonderful for brain health because of the new experiences.

Use our information for your personal travel planner (assistant) to plan your trip and answer all of your questions. 

Not all travelers are created equal. Some will have very little limitations while others will have more.

You will find resources here to make your travel dreams easy no matter what level you are.

Get insights into handicapped accessible travel issues such as hotels, resorts, cruises, restaurants, even beaches.

Here are some of the topics we plan to include as we build this website. 

We hope you come back often as our information grows and expands to help with your travel plans!

Our Travels

Learn from our first hand experiences with reviews, tips, things-to-do and recommendations.

Areas we covered so far:

Stowe Vermont for Seniors

Rutland Area Vermont for Seniors

Wells Maine for Seniors

Ogunquit Maine for Seniors

Upcoming Areas coming soon:

Cape Cod Mass. for Seniors

Burlington Vermont for Seniors

Montpelier Vermont for Seniors

Planning Your Next Trip

How to plan your trips/travels to get the most enjoyment for your memories. Planning for smooth hassle free vacations, getaways, long term stays.

Here's 25 Best Travel Tips for Seniors .

Best Senior Travel Deals

Find the best deals for senior travels whether it be on a budget or a luxurious cruise or resort.

Senior Group Travel

Discover unique senior travel groups, travel clubs, travel partners or traveling alone.

More info on Travel Groups for Seniors

Senior women have always enjoyed traveling.

Whether it be solo or with family or with friends, group travel could be just what you are looking for. 

More info on Travel Groups for Women .

Senior Travel Clubs

Travel Clubs can be a great resource for your travels. You may find new friends in the club at the club meetings. The advantages of clubs may be discounts, travel destination information and advice from experienced travelers.

More info on Travel Clubs for Seniors

Walking Tours for Seniors

Walking Tours for Seniors can be a simple tour of a city, town, an attraction or a guided walking tour with local guides or a group vacation tour as short as a day or much longer.

Older travelers have found that walking or hiking at a slower pace often enables them to witness the natural beauty and spectacular views of a destination.

More Info on Walking Tours for Seniors

Transportation Choices to Start

Choose your travel via transportation mode such as car, bike, boat, RV, train or plane.

Safety Always a Must

Consider your safety such as your medical insurance cards, avoiding scams, prescriptions, hospital locations.

More info on Safety Travel Tips for Seniors

So Many Destination Possibilities

Deciding on the destination possibilities of international travel or domestic locations that are attractive and accommodating to seniors.

Find the Best Travel Destinations For Seniors

Types of Travel to Consider

Discover various types of travel including:

  • Adventure Travel
  • House Exchanges
  • Weekend Get-Aways

Insurance, A Valuable Safeguard to Avoid a Bleak Outcome

Information on travel insurance and why it is so important for seniors, what it covers and doesn’t cover, when to purchase a policy to protect the possibility of cancellations.

Ready to Pack Your Bags, Let’s get started!

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Benefits and Entitlements

If you're 60 or over or you have a disability, you might be eligible for public transport concessions – from discounts on your rail journeys to a free bus pass.

What transport concessions are available?

Can i get a free bus pass, can i get a discount on train travel, can i get a london freedom pass, what if i have difficulty using public transport, what if i'm unable to use public transport, more travel concessions questions.

There are several national public transport concessions available to older and disabled people. Some entitle you to discounts on your fares, while others allow you to travel for free.

Eligibility for these concessions depends on whether you have a disability or your age. 

Depending on your age and your circumstances, you might be able to get one of the following free bus passes, which allow you to travel free on local buses:

  • an older person's bus pass
  • a disabled person's bus pass

What age do I have to be to get an older person's bus pass?

You can get an older person's bus pass when you reach State Pension age, which is currently 66 for both women and men.

Apply for your older person's bus pass on GOV.UK

If you're 60 or over and live in London, then you can get free travel on buses, trains and other modes of transport in and around London with a 60+ London Oyster photocard.

Apply for your 60+ London Oyster photocard on the TFL website

How can I get a disabled person's bus pass?

There's no central provider of the disabled person's bus pass – to find out if you're eligible and how to apply, you need to get in touch with your local council.

Find your local council and apply for a disabled person's bus pass on GOV.UK

Are there any other discounts if I'm an older person or I'm disabled?

It's a good idea to contact individual transport operators to see if they offer discounts.

For instance, National Express offers Coachcards. These are discount cards for older or disabled customers. You buy them for a set fee of £15.00 and they get you a third off the cost of your travel across the year.

Find out more and order a Coachcard on the National Express website

Depending on your age and circumstances, you might be entitled to one of the below railcards:

  • a Senior Railcard
  • a Disabled Person's Railcard

Both railcards are discount cards. You buy them for a set fee to last either 1 or 3 years and they get you a third off the cost of your train travel.

Can I get a Senior Railcard?

The Senior Railcard is available for anyone aged 60 or over to buy.

You can apply on the Senior Railcard website using a valid passport or UK driving licence as ID. Or, you can apply in person at most staffed railway stations.

Find out more about the Senior Railcard and apply online

Can I get a Disabled Person's Railcard?

The Disabled Person's Railcard is available to you if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • you're registered as deaf or use a hearing aid
  • you're registered as having a visual impairment
  • you have epilepsy
  • you receive a disability-related benefit, such as  Personal Independence Payment
  • you receive War or Service Disablement pension
  • you receive Attendance Allowance
  • you receive Severe Disablement Allowance
  • you receive War Pensioner's mobility supplement

Find out more about the Disabled Person's Railcard and apply online

Freedom Passes give London residents free travel in the city – including National Rail services, the Underground, buses, river services and trams – and free local bus journeys nationally.

If you live in London, you can apply for a Freedom Pass if one of the following applies to you:

  • you've reached State Pension age
  • you have a disability.

Find out more about Freedom Passes and apply on the London Councils website

National Rail has an interactive tool called Stations Made Easy, designed to help people find their way around stations and find more accessible routes, avoiding potential difficulties like stairs. This may be helpful if you have difficulty using public transport because of your health. 

Find out more and use the tool on the National Rail website

If you're disabled, you can't use public transport, or you don't have access to a car, you might also be able to use a community transport scheme – such as a social car, dial-a-ride, or taxicard scheme.

Shopmobility schemes help people shop in town centres by lending out wheelchairs and scooters. Some local councils also offer concessions on local public transport.

To find out what's available in your area, you can contact your local council or your local Age UK.

Find your local council on GOV.UK

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No, you can't use a free bus pass on National Express buses. To get senior concessions on National Express you need to buy a senior coachcard, which costs £15 a year.

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12 things to do in the Seattle area this weekend

Welcome to the weekend! From Memorial Day ceremonies to day trips for a long weekend, here’s our latest on local things to do.

Memorial Day weekend events

  • Check out some of the community events happening around the Seattle area this weekend , from ceremonies and services honoring the holiday to a few beloved community festivals.

Eats and drinks

  • Want to celebrate spring by dining outdoors? These five newish restaurants around Greater Seattle have nice patios and great food.
  • Hanging out in North Seattle? Our food writer suggests superb dumplings, tacos and fish and chips around Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood.
  • Make your own chili crisp with this recipe from a Seattle Instagram star (and learn about how the super-umami condiment got a cult following).

Outdoors and travel

  • A train ride, a lovely lunch, the cutest movie theater and cocktails at a classic saloon — food critic Bethany Jean Clement and movie critic Moira Macdonald enjoy a perfect day trip in Centralia. Follow along here.
  • Plus, here are five other great day trips from Seattle that the Dinner at a Movie duo has found.
  • For a more nature-oriented adventure, hike through wildflowers and enjoy the wine scene in Yakima Valley .
  • Looking for a local hiking or camping adventure? Check out our new outdoors guide as you gear up for summer.

Movies and TV

  • University of Washington graduate Scott C. Johnson’s book about the Hollywood Con Queen has been adapted into a docuseries now streaming on Apple TV+ .
  • Heading to the theaters? Check out what our reviewers though of “Evil Does Not Exist,” “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” and other recent releases .
  • Add these outdoor art experiences , which are all free to visit, to your calendar for May and June.
  • Get a jump-start on Seattle Public Library’s 2024 Summer Book Bingo with these four book recommendations . (Yes, there are prizes involved.)

Guide to a great Seattle summer in 2024

  • Dinner at a Movie takes the best-ever Seattle summertime day trip 
  • 5 best day trips from Seattle, chosen by our food and film critics
  • Seattle Shakespeare in the park and more outdoor performances in summer 2024
  • 8 essential things to do during summer in Seattle 
  • Outdoor movies and drive-ins around Seattle in summer 2024

Most Read Entertainment Stories

  • Bumbershoot announces knockout music lineup for 2024
  • Pearl Jam's world tour has a different look. This WA artist designed it
  • 7 top music stars playing the Seattle area in spring 2024
  • Seattle Art Museum organizes Ai Weiwei major retrospective for 2025

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

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Memorial Day Weekend in Los Angeles: Best Things to Do

Memorial Day Weekend in Los Angeles: Best Things to Do

Enjoy the long weekend and have some fun with our guide to Memorial Day weekend in Los Angeles.

California.com Team

May 21, 2024

Memorial Day in Los Angeles offers a plethora of activities and events for locals and visitors alike. As the unofficial start of summer, this holiday weekend is the perfect opportunity to explore the vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and unique attractions of LA. Whether you're looking for family-friendly fun, live music, or a taste of the city's rich history, here are the best things to do in Los Angeles this Memorial Day.

1. Experience the L.A. County Fair

The L.A. County Fair, held at the Fairplex in Pomona , is a beloved tradition that runs from May 3 to 27, 2024. This annual event is perfect for families and offers a wide range of attractions and activities. From thrilling carnival rides to fascinating exhibits, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Food enthusiasts will be in heaven with the fair's eclectic selection of indulgent treats. Try the deep-fried hot sauce, deep-fried butter, or the unique chicken and waffle on a stick. Other mouth-watering options include French toast bacon bombs, truffle-gouda bacon fries, and vegan burritos. Tickets purchased online range from $10 to $25 for adults, while kids' and seniors' tickets cost between $10 and $12. Don't forget to plan for parking, which costs $20 in advance or $25 at the gate.

do seniors travel free on weekends

2. Celebrate at LA Fleet Week

LA Fleet Week is another highlight of the Memorial Day weekend, celebrating the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. This event takes place at the Port of Los Angeles and offers free public ship tours, military displays, and live entertainment. It’s a fantastic way to honor those who have served in the armed forces while enjoying interactive exhibits and demonstrations.

3. Attend Topanga Days Country Fair

For a more laid-back experience, head to the Topanga Days Country Fair. This annual event in Topanga Canyon offers a bohemian vibe with live music, local artisans, and plenty of activities for the whole family. The fair is known for its eclectic mix of performers, from rock bands to folk singers, making it a great spot to enjoy some quality live music in a picturesque setting.

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4. Dance at the Fiesta Hermosa Beach Music Festival

The Fiesta Hermosa Beach Music Festival is one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in Southern California, held over Memorial Day weekend. Located in downtown Hermosa Beach , this festival features more than 300 artists, crafters, and vendors. Live music spans various genres, ensuring there's something for every musical taste. Enjoy the beautiful beach backdrop while browsing the eclectic stalls, sampling delicious food, and soaking up the festive atmosphere.

5. Explore the Petersen Automotive Museum

For car enthusiasts or those looking for an educational outing, the Petersen Automotive Museum is a must-visit. Located on Wilshire Boulevard, this museum offers a stunning collection of classic cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles. It's a great way to dive into automotive history and see some truly unique exhibits. The museum frequently hosts special events and exhibitions, so there's always something new to discover.

do seniors travel free on weekends

6. Visit Other Great LA Museums

Los Angeles is home to a plethora of world-class museums , perfect for a cultural outing during Memorial Day weekend. Consider visiting the Getty Center for its impressive art collection and breathtaking views of the city. The Natural History Museum offers fascinating exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to gems and minerals. The California Science Center, home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, is another excellent choice, especially for families with kids.

7. Relax on the Beaches

Of course, no Memorial Day weekend in LA would be complete without a trip to one of its stunning beaches . Whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of Venice Beach, the picturesque views of Malibu, or the family-friendly vibe of Santa Monica, the city's coastline offers the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.

Memorial Day in Los Angeles is a time to enjoy the city's diverse offerings, from lively festivals and fairs to cultural outings and beach days. Whether you're a local or a visitor, there's no shortage of exciting activities to make your holiday weekend memorable. So, gather your friends and family, and celebrate the start of summer in style with these fantastic LA events and attractions.

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Things To Do Travel

Remember last year’s memorial day travel jams chances are they will be much worse this year.

FILE – Travelers move through a security checkpoint in Denver...

FILE – Travelers move through a security checkpoint in Denver International Airport ahead of the Memorial Day holiday on May 26, 2023, in Denver. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement and the air over the 2024 Memorial Day weekend. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

FILE – Motorists traveling on Interstates 90-94 head north of...

FILE – Motorists traveling on Interstates 90-94 head north of Chicago on Memorial Day, May 26, 2023. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

You didn’t think summer travel would be easy, did you?

Highways and airports are likely to be jammed the next few days as Americans head out for Memorial Day weekend getaways and then return home.

AAA predicts this will be the busiest start-of-summer weekend in nearly 20 years, with 43.8 million people expected to travel at least 50 miles from home between Thursday and Monday. The Transportation Security Administration says up to 3 million might pass through airport checkpoints on Friday alone.

And that is just a sample of what is to come. U.S. airlines expect to carry a record number of passengers this summer. Their trade group estimates that 271 million travelers will fly between June 1 and August 31, breaking the record of 255 million set – you guessed it – last summer .

The annual expression of wanderlust is happening at a time when Americans tell pollsters they are worried about the economy and the direction of the country.

A slowdown, and in some cases a retreat, from the big price increases of the last two years may be helping.

Airfares are down 6% and hotel rates have dipped 0.4%, compared with a year ago, according to government figures released last week. Prices for renting a car or truck are down 10%. The nationwide price of gas is around $3.60 a gallon, about 6 cents higher than a year ago, according to AAA.

Johannes Thomas, CEO of the hotel and travel search company Trivago, said he thinks more customers are feeling the pinch of prices that have plateaued but at much higher levels than before the pandemic. He said they are booking farther in advance, staying closer to home, taking shorter trips, and compromising on accommodations — staying in three-star hotels instead of five-star ones.

Many travelers have their own cost-saving strategies, including combining work and pleasure on the same trip.

“I have largely been able to adapt by traveling at strange hours. I’ll fly out late at night, come in early in the morning, stay longer than I intended, and work remotely,” said Lauren Hartle of Boston, an investor for a clean-energy venture firm.

Hartle, who flew from Boston to Dallas on Wednesday for a work conference, plans to attend a summer family gathering in North Carolina but is otherwise considering trips closer to home — and maybe by train instead of plane.

Catey Schast, a nanny and piano teacher in Maine, said her Boston-Dallas flight cost $386 round trip. “It wasn’t terrible,” but it was higher than the $200 to $300 she paid in the past to visit family in Texas, she said.

Schast plans a beach vacation in Florida in July. High prices could discourage her from taking other trips, but “if I really want to go somewhere, I’m more of a how-can-I-make-this-happen type of person, as long as I have the time off work.”

As in past years, most holiday travelers are expected to travel by car – more than 38 million of them, according to AAA. The organization advises motorists hoping to avoid the worst traffic to leave metropolitan areas early Thursday and Friday and to stay off the roads between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

“We haven’t seen any pullback in travel since the pandemic. Year after year, we have seen these numbers continue to grow,” AAA spokesperson Aixa Diaz said. “We don’t know when it’s going to stop. There’s no sign of it yet.”

There’s certainly no slowdown at airports. The number of people going through security checkpoints is up 3.2% this year. The TSA said it screened 2.85 million people last Friday and nearly as many on Sunday — the two busiest days of the year so far.

TSA predicts it will screen more than 18 million travelers and airline crew members during the seven-day stretch that begins Thursday, up 6.4% from last year. Friday is expected to be the busiest day for air travel, with nearly 3 million people passing through checkpoints. The TSA record is 2.91 million, set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

“We’re going to break those records this summer,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

The agency, which was created after the 9/11 terror attacks, has struggled at times with peak loads. Pekoske told The Associated Press that pay raises for front-line screeners have helped improve staffing by reducing attrition from more than 20% to less than 10%.

Airlines say they also have staffed up since being caught short when travel began to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring and summer of 2022.

With any luck from the weather, travelers could see fewer canceled flights than in recent summers. So far this year, U.S. airlines have canceled 1.2% of their flights, according to FlightAware data, compared with 1.4% at this point last year and 2.8% in 2022 — a performance so poor it triggered complaints and increased scrutiny from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Even before the holiday weekend started, however, storms caused widespread cancellations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the biggest hub for American Airlines. The carrier dropped more than 200 flights, or 5% of its schedule, by late afternoon.

Stranded travelers were not happy.

“Our flight got canceled right before the check-in. And now there’s no flights here until Friday because (open seats on other flights) went really quickly. We might wind up driving. Isn’t that terrible?” said Rosie Gutierrez of Allen, Texas, who was trying to get to Florida along with her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

American’s chief operating officer, David Seymour, said the airline has beefed up its staffing and technology in preparation for the seasonal rush.

“It’s a long summer, but we’re ready for it. We have the right resources,” he said.

American is offering its most ambitious summer schedule ever — 690,000 flights between May 17 and Sept. 3.

United Airlines forecasts its biggest Memorial Day weekend, with nearly 10% more passengers than last year. Delta Air Lines expects to carry 5% more passengers this weekend, kicking off its heaviest summer schedule ever of international flights.

According to AAA, the top domestic and international destinations are familiar ones. They include Orlando, Las Vegas, London, Paris and Rome.

So what about nervousness over the economy?

It’s important to note that people often say their own finances are better than average. In an AP survey from February, 54% said their personal situation was good — but only 30% felt the same about the nation’s economy.

That could explain why they can afford to splurge on travel.

Rebecca Santana and Rick Gentilo in Washington contributed to this report.

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do seniors travel free on weekends

Fireworks, concerts and more happening in San Diego Memorial Day weekend

S AN DIEGO ( FOX 5/KUSI ) — Memorial Day weekend is coming early again this year. As you prepare for the long weekend honoring those who have died in service to our country, the unofficial start of summer has no shortage of things to do.

Among the memorial services , cookouts and beach days most of us are planning on attending, we have compiled a list of things to do from fireworks and concerts to sports games, Memorial Day festivals and family-friendly events.

Memorial Day weekend is one of the long weekends you can almost count on seeing fireworks.

Locally, SeaWorld San Diego is putting on fireworks everyday over Memorial Day weekend. From May 24-27, SeaWorld will hold a daily Flag Ceremony at 10 a.m., along with live music at SkyTower Lawn.

Parkgoers and those nearby can watch the fireworks every night from Saturday, May 25 to Monday, May 27. Don’t miss as SeaWorld honors the military with a fireworks salute 10 minutes prior to park close at 9 p.m.

Enjoy free, live music at the Del Mar Plaza from 3 to 7 p.m. on Memorial Day — Monday, May 27. Listen to tunes by American Mile on the Ocean View Deck, with a front-row seat to the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The Memorial Day Live Music: American Mile event is free and open to the public.

G-Eazy is heading to San Diego’s Parq Nightclub with Shabazz and DJ Quiz on Saturday, May 25 at 9:30 p.m. You can get tickets online here .

San Diego County’s free “ 2024 Summer Movies in the Park ” series kicks off this Memorial Day weekend on Friday at Waterfront Park. The season starts at 6 p.m. Friday with a showing of “Barbie.” To celebrate the start of the season, there will be a variety free activities for kids and families, including music, games, bounce houses, themed crafts, among other free activities. 

Coronado Summer Concert Series : Over Memorial Day weekend, the annual Spreckels Park summer concert series presents the Coronado Concert Band on Sunday, May 26 at 4:30 p.m. Then at 6:30 p.m., Laurie Beebe Lewis & The Electric Underground will take you on a trip with music from the 1960s.

Chilean and Mexican musician Mon Laferte is bringing the “Autopoiética Tour 2024” to Gallagher Square at Petco Park on Sunday, May 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online here .

A few days after Memorial Day weekend ends, Jordan Davis is bringing his “Damn Good Time World Tour” to Petco Park on Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m. With hit songs “Buy Dirt” and “Take It From Me,” Davis is bringing the party with Mitchell Tenpenny and Ashley Cooke. Tickets are available online here .

Atomic Groove’s Memorial Day Kickoff Dance Party Happy Hour is taking place Friday, May 24, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Belly Up in Solana Beach.

An Evening with Natalie Merchant – Keep Your Courage Tour, originally scheduled for Sept. 29, 2023, has been rescheduled for May 25, 2024. Tickets for the original show date will be honored on the new date. The show at Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay is sold out.

Honor the brave men and women who serve aboard the USS Midway

Memorial Day aboard USS Midway Museum : This Memorial Day weekend, the USS Midway Museum is honoring the men and women who have served with Legacy Week from May 24-27.

Some of the events you can expect during Legacy Week at the USS Midway Museum are the Remembrance Wall Exhibit; Top Gun Party & Movie Night  (Sold-Out) ; Mesa Continuing Education Choir; Meet the Aviators; and Author Book Signing.

On Memorial Day, the USS Midway Museum is holding a Memorial Day Wreath Ceremony in remembrance of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. This event is free and open to the public. The museum noted guests must arrive at the ceremony by 9:20 a.m. to receive complimentary admission to the museum following the ceremony.

Liberty Station: From Barracks to Brews — Take a tour of the former Naval Training Center in Liberty Station to learn what its like to join the Navy. Cap off the tour and the completion of your “training” with a snack and a brew. Tours started March 21, and take place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Sports games

The New York Yankees are heading to San Diego for a series against the San Diego Padres over Memorial Day weekend.

  • Friday, May 24, 2024 – 6:40 p.m. vs. New York Yankees
  • Saturday, May 25, 2024 – 6:40 p.m. vs. New York Yankees
  • Sunday, May 26, 2024 – 1:10 p.m. vs. New York Yankees

San Diego Strike Force vs Frisco Fighters : The San Diego Strike Force take on the Frisco Fighters on May 26 at 3:05 p.m. for the Indoor Football League game at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Tickets are available online here .

Memorial Day festivals

The Santee Street Fair and Craft Beer Festival is taking over East County on May 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with live music and entertainment, food and craft vendor booths, carnival rides and much more. The event is free and open to the public. The local Boy Scouts will have a pancake breakfast where proceeds directly benefit the Boy Scouts.

Legoland California Resort  in Carlsbad is gearing up to debut North America’s first-ever  LEGO World Parade  on May 24. The  LEGO World Parade  will feature six floats inspired by your favorite LEGO themes, along with entertainers in glittering costumes as they march, sing, and dance across the park. It is included with your Legoland ticket or pass and will take place about an hour before close.

The Rancho Bernardo Historical Society’s 17th annual Pancake Festival will honor our Military on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. at Webb Lake Park in Rancho Bernardo. Pancakes will be flipped by Los Rancheros Kiwanis Club and Poway Kiwanis Club. Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, juice, yogurt, and coffee.

Massive Memorial Day Weekend Bar Crawl is happening all weekend at DAY N NITE SD. Get ready for a bar-hopping adventure as you celebrate Memorial Day Weekend in downtown San Diego.

The City of Solana Beach and Solana Beach Veterans of Foreign Wars are holding their annual Solana Beach Memorial Day Celebration on Monday, May 27 from 11 a.m. to noon. The event is happening at the La Colonia Park Veterans Honor Courtyard and will pay tribute to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. The event is free and open to the public.

Click here for a list of more Memorial Day ceremonies happening around San Diego like the Fort Rosecrans Memorial Day Ceremony, Mt. Soledad Memorial Day Ceremony and the Miramar National Cemetery Veterans Memorial Service.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX 5 San Diego & KUSI News.

Fireworks, concerts and more happening in San Diego Memorial Day weekend

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    Victorian Seniors Card holders receive significant discounts and benefits on public transport. These are: A Seniors myki and concession fares on trains, trams and buses, including V/Line trains and coaches. This is a 50% discount on a full fare. Free weekend travel in any two consecutive zones and on regional town buses.

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    By incorporating leisure time into business travel, seniors can explore new places during their free time and extend their trips to enjoy the travel benefits for older adults. 3. Plan Budget-Friendly Trips. Booking in advance and considering alternative modes of travel can help seniors save money while enjoying their travels.

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    Reserved V/Line services. Plan your journey! Victorian Senior Card holders can enjoy Victoria with eight days of free public transport from 1 to 8 October 2023. Free public transport is available to all Victorian Senior Card holders. Jump on public transport for free to visit attractions across Melbourne as well as regional and rural locations.

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  9. Senior Travel Tips: How to Have Adventures as an Older Adult

    5. Speed through security. Older travelers can get a bit of a break when it comes to security screening. For instance, if they're over 75, seniors do not have to take shoes off at airport security (although the shoes may still be swabbed for traces of explosives). They can also leave light jackets on.

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    From a train journey through the Canadian Rockies to a tour of the pyramids in Egypt, these are the top vacations for seniors over 60. With 61 being the average age of retirement in the U.S., your ...

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    2. Walking, hiking and cycling tours for active seniors. Many tour companies offer walking and cycling adventures that allow active seniors to combine outdoor and urban experiences. European tours ...

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    Cavallo Point: Sausalito, California. Courtesy of Cavallo Point. Located at the foot of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and set among 75,000 acres in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area ...

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    Keep calm all summer long; subscribe to our newsletter! Things to Do Memorial Day Weekend in Atlanta with Kids. Kickoff to Summer at Two Bridges Park Dunwoody - FREE! Friday, May 24, 2024

  26. 12 things to do in the Seattle area this weekend

    Memorial Day weekend events. Check out some of the community events happening around the Seattle area this weekend, from ceremonies and services honoring the holiday to a few beloved community ...

  27. Memorial Day Weekend in Los Angeles: Best Things to Do

    Whether you're looking for family-friendly fun, live music, or a taste of the city's rich history, here are the best things to do in Los Angeles this Memorial Day. 1. Experience the L.A. County Fair. The L.A. County Fair, held at the Fairplex in Pomona, is a beloved tradition that runs from May 3 to 27, 2024.

  28. Things to do in the Seattle area over Memorial Day weekend

    Saturday. 🇺🇸 Enjoy a patriotic concert at the Museum of Flight, featuring a set by the Boeing Employee Concert Band in honor of Memorial Day. All active-duty military and vets, plus up to ...

  29. Remember last year's Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be

    AAA predicts this will be the busiest start-of-summer weekend in nearly 20 years, with 43.8 million people expected to travel at least 50 miles from home between Thursday and Monday.

  30. Fireworks, concerts and more happening in San Diego Memorial Day weekend

    Locally, SeaWorld San Diego is putting on fireworks everyday over Memorial Day weekend. From May 24-27, SeaWorld will hold a daily Flag Ceremony at 10 a.m., along with live music at SkyTower Lawn ...