Fit to travel
Inspiration for your next holiday! Feel free to travel whenever you like.
Travel is one of life’s most rewarding experiences, and as the saying goes, is the one thing you can buy that makes you richer.
There are so many advantages to exploring the world, from simply releasing us from the pressures of everyday life, to proven, sustainable health benefits. Did you know that taking regular holidays has been scientifically found to cut a person’s risk of a heart attack by up to 30 per cent, to reduce the risk of depression and to improve brain health? (dailymail.co.uk).
In this age of constant communication, taking time to go ‘off the grid’ is really important, simply as it increases our real, face-to-face interactions and reconnects us to the people around us. Many of us feel that a change of scenery means we can truly relax and this has been backed up by a recent study which revealed that the post-travel benefits of feeling well-rested, less stressed and generally happier can last for weeks after returning home (verywell.com).
Of course, this is all on top of the fact that travel is hugely enjoyable for the pure exhilaration of it! Learning about other cultures, trying new foods and visiting beautiful and fascinating locations often become the stuff of treasured memories.
As we get older, many of us are lucky enough to have more time and money available to travel and we think there’s no better time. There’s a whole world out there and more ways to explore it than ever before. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has noted that “older holidaymakers are travelling further and are seeking more active or adventurous holidays” (abta.com), so with that in mind, we’ve gathered some ideas and inspiration for your next travel experience.
Freedom to travel whenever you like
Not being confined to going abroad during the school holidays or, if you’ve retired, during annual leave, opens up the whole year for travel. Going away outside of the peak holiday seasons can mean cheaper deals and quieter destinations – altogether better value.
The traditional ‘summer holiday’ is still a popular choice, but more of us are opting to take a higher number of shorter holidays during the year, rather than one main trip. In their 2017 Holiday Habits report, ABTA state that the average number of holidays taken by people in the UK has risen steadily over the past few years; from 3.1 in 2013 to 3.8 in 2017 (abta.com).
Having said that, there may be nothing stopping you from taking a longer trip away. Studies have found that the physical and mental health benefits of travel are multiplied by longer holidays, so if you’ve always dreamed of taking that once-in-a-lifetime adventure and ticking some long-awaited items off that bucket list, now could be the perfect time.
The beauty of going solo
Solo travel is on the rise; Travel Weekly reports that it’s one of the three largest travel trends amongst consumers in 2017 – alongside multi-generational travel and touring and adventure trips (travelweekly.co.uk). What’s more, it’s over 65s that are fuelling this surge as the age group most likely to holiday alone. In the past year, 18 per cent of over 65s took a solo trip, 81 per cent of them because it meant that they could do exactly what they wanted to (ABTA Holiday Habits report 2017).
Travelling by yourself can be a fantastically liberating and empowering experience. Far from being lonely, many solo holiday-makers say it’s a great way to meet and befriend like-minded people from all over the world, and there are lots of travel and accommodation options that facilitate this for lone travellers.
For example, specialist solo travel companies for mature travellers, such as One Traveller, offer group holidays and tours for people who want to travel alone, but as part of a group of others doing the same. These trips can provide the best of both worlds, with your own room and time to yourself, but plenty of group meals and social activities too. With an expert guide on hand, this kind of solo group travel can be a great way of exploring a destination that may feel too challenging to visit completely on your own, say, due to a language barrier.
For first-timers, lone travel can seem daunting, but as the above statistics show there are plenty of other older travellers exploring the world solo, meaning you’ll be in good company. With one solo trip under their belts, many say they would definitely travel alone again, so with any luck you’ll be glad you took the plunge!
Group tours and adventure travel
Of course, you don’t have to be a solo traveller to take part in a group trip. Many couples join larger groups in order to tour a country or group of countries, which can be tricky, or at least very time-consuming, to organise yourselves. Travel companies that specialise in group travel take care of all the logistical details involved in a tour, such as border crossings, travel arrangements, even accommodation booking. There will also be an experienced guide with you at all times, usually from the country you are visiting, who acts as a font of local and cultural knowledge.
Group travel also enables you to have a go at activities or adventures you may have always wanted to do, but could feel nervous to try without the reassurance of others around you. Many companies recognise the growing demand for more exciting and aspirational holiday activities. So, as long as your doctor is happy for you to do so (if you have a medical condition), you could fulfil your lifelong ambition to sleep under the stars on an African safari or trek the Himalayas with the security of a group and a qualified guide. Take a look at Silver Surfers and Responsible Travel for more travel ideas.
Discover wellness holidays
If refuelling and revitalising is more what you’re after from a holiday, you could make your wellbeing your focus on a health-conscious break or in a place believed to have natural healing properties. Wellness holidays, including yoga, spa and/or meditation retreats, are designed to give you time to recharge your batteries, focus on your own peace of mind and establish healthy habits you can incorporate into everyday life. These holidays, like those offered by Skyros and Spa Dreams, are often set in peaceful and beautiful locations, giving you a stunning setting you can also explore in your spare time.
Alternatively, why not visit a destination known for its innate health-boosting qualities? Mineral-rich natural hot springs and thermal mud baths occur in many places the world over (for example the Blue Lagoon in Iceland) and have long been associated with wellness and vitality, and even if nothing else, offer a wonderful outdoor-bathing experience. It goes without saying that the benefits of these pools should never substitute any medication or treatment you may have been prescribed by a health professional but, with your doctor’s blessing, can be a great complement to your overall wellbeing.
We hope these travel ideas have given you some food for thought as to where you could go and what you could do next time you jet off on holiday.
Travel is such a joy; we hope you’ll feel confident to explore the world wherever you decide to go.