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Senior Travel Abroad

The Guide for Mature Travelers

Senior Travel in Poros.
A panorama of Poros, Greece. Photo by Lies Ouwerkerk.

  Explore Senior Travel Abroad Options

With retirement becoming a reality for more and more people worldwide turning 60, their unique interests, styles, and directions are expanding compared to senior travelers from earlier decades. On average, 21st-century seniors, having more disposable income, are dedicating more time and money to travel, demanding measurable value for what they spend. Seniors dream up ever more adventurous and meaningful journeys, and there are more independent travel options, tours, and volunteer programs to satisfy their wanderlust.

With a mission to be more "in control," many seniors are turning to customized travel, often in small groups or even as individuals, rather than more extensive scheduled tours, preferring to do much personal research through the web while still constantly working with experts to plan a basic itinerary. Seniors also seek opportunities to build new friendships and revisit family connections through travel. More paths are opening up daily to encourage such unique desires and goals.

Mature men and women—particularly women—are more than ever pursuing cultural and adventure vacations with a strong learning and volunteer service focus. Such a trend is ideally in line with Transition Abroad's idea based upon our experience that the desire to learn and to travel in purposeful and pleasurable ways is a lifelong pursuit.

"About four in ten travelers 50-plus expressed an intent to travel internationally," according to AARP. "Travel remains the top priority for discretionary income among travelers 50-plus," ranking first by far. Worldwide, senior travelers are becoming the "new backpackers" in travel in terms of numbers and often have far more disposable income to enable them to do so. For many, travel opens up new perspectives never ends, and living abroad for millions is rapidly becoming the ultimate goal.

  Featured Senior Travel Articles
Alison Gardner, Senior Travel Editor Alison Gardner on Alternative Senior Travel
We are proud to to have Alison Gardner as the Senior Travel editor for Transitions Abroad. She is host of the most thoughtful and inspiring website for the mature traveler currently on the web, where she offers her views on the many exciting alternative travel possibilities abroad for seniors. Alison personally describes trends and selects her favorite sources for such information, while providing many adventurous, inspiring, and informative articles.
Volunteering overseas over 50 Over 50 and Volunteering Overseas by John Dwyer
Well over 50 and still volunteering overseas, John describes his vast and unusual experience. He offers seniors and volunteers of all ages advice and accumulated resources John joined the Peace Corps in 1991 at age 56 to make a difference.
Savvy senior traveler Savvy Senior Travelers by Rick Steves
Key tips and skills to help mature travelers make the most in every way out of their next vacation to Europe.
Volunteer vacations for seniors Volunteer Vacations: Seniors Have a Different Agenda by Alison Gardner
The unique characteristics of the volunteer vacations selected by seniors, including a discussion the many programs available for this form of immersion travel abroad.
Senior barging tours Barging Vacations Offer a Grassroots Taste of Europe by Alison Gardner
Some of the best options for a canal and river barging vacation that allows time for cultural exploration at a slow pace.
Senior voluntourists Learning to Love (Senior) Voluntourists by Alison Gardner
Alison elaborates on her optimistic view on the nature and development of voluntourism and voluntourists—a term she coined in the 1990s—and discusses the growing role boomers have played in its development.
Costa Rican Adventures Adventures to Remember in Costa Rica by Lies Ouwerkerk
An illustrated series of adventures on small group tours with a teen during a visit to Costa Rica, where wildlife and natural beauty are abundant and the people hospitable and kind.
Ballooning tours in Cappadocia, Turkey Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey by Alison Gardner
An exhilarating trip of her hot air balloon over the volcanic landscapes and stone-house communities in Cappadocia, Turkey. Alison also provides resources for ballooning in beautiful locations around the world.
Costa rica rafting tours Rafting to a Jungle Lodge in Costa Rica: Indulge in a Sustainable Adventure by Katherine McIntyre
An adventure tour by a senior woman on a great rafting river in Costa Rica where the destination is a sustainable lodge down the river.
Travel India's Andaman Islands India’s Andaman Islands: Remote, Rare and Rustic by Alison Gardner
Alison and her husband embark on a voyage to India's Andaman islands, a respite from their busy life in Kolkata.The trip is illustrated and reveals very beautiful islands and lands, an extremely rich and ancient cultural history, along with an unexpected adventure.
John Dwyer with his daughter in Oslo Traveling with Your College-Aged Granddaughter: A Successful and Memorable Trip to Europe Together by John Dwyer
Our Senior Volunteering editor strongly recommends traveling with your college-aged grandchildren. A trip with his granddaughter throughout Europe was a success and he provides tips based upon his experience.
Senior travel cycling in Puglia, Italy Seniors Cycling in Puglia: Slow Travel in an Unspoiled Region of Italy by Cherie Thiessen
...the best way to see a place is to go slow and to put yourself in the middle of it... What better way to do it than by bike?
Senior travel in Laos Traveling Through Laos, At Last by Sheila Signer
...There is plenty to learn...about in Laos, but plenty also to enjoy. Now, with a government softening toward the foreign visitors, its people are finally getting their piece of the tourism pie. Go now, while most of the country retains its pastoral pace!
Cycling in Tasmania Tasmania in the Slow Lane: Cycling as Seniors Across One of Australia's Most Beautiful Islands by Cherie Thiessen
An independent itinerary senior travel vacation cycling with her partner across Tasmania —one of the most beautiful islands in Australia.
Tour Bran Castle in Transylvania Transylvania Facts, Not Fiction: Cultural Tourism with Deep Roots by Alison Gardner
Many of the myths surrounding Transylvania are debunked as she takes a senior tour to the famous region of Romania with other Eldertrekkers.
Travel in BC, Canada Intimate Glimpses of Canada's Wild West Coast by Alison Gardner
...Mothership Adventures caught my attention with a five-day small-ship cruise that combines an abundance of nature and rugged scenery with opportunities to learn about the rich Aboriginal history and present day culture. An Elder from the First Nations (native) community of Alert Bay cruised with our group, most of whom pretty well fit the definition of elder in their own right. All were adventure travelers with cultural and educational curiosity...
Senior Group Travel Morocco Senior Small Group Tour Visiting the Berbers of Morocco by Sarah Massey
An unforgettable senior group adventure tour in Morocco where the author had a chance to meet and interact with the Berbers in villages and in their more remote communities.
Volunteer in Cuba Volunteering in Cuba: Forming Friendships, Building Bridges, and Helping Our Neighbors by Lynn Lotkowictz
A participant in a group volunteer program in Cuba via Global Volunteers, an organization that includes many seniors in its groups, describes her experience, which was so powerful and positive she concludes that she must return.
Volunteer at a day-care in Ecuador Volunteering in Ecuador For "Grown Ups" with Lead Adventures and Villa Tica Daycare by Alison Gardner
From the capital, Quito, to the edge of Ecuador's Amazon region, I shared a 6-hour car trip with Daniel Fludgate, who dedicates a month's holiday each year to volunteering in some part of the world. For his vacation, he had chosen a wild animal rescue center run by an Ecuadorian family. On an entirely different mission, I was roaming the country to research a variety of volunteer opportunities, particularly those suitable for independent adult travelers from about 35 years to senior-hood...
Volunteer in Italy with WWOOF Volunteering at Organic Farms in Italy with WWOOF at 59 by Venetia Sherson
Venetia draws upon her experience WWOOFing in Italy—or performing volunteer work on organic farms—to describe a unique worldwide organization that accepts the participation of everyone from children to seniors.
New Zealand adventure for seniors Senior Adventure Travel in New Zealand by Charles P. Carlson
A retired college Professor describes an adventurous trek with his wife though some of the most beautiful mountains and landscapes of New Zealand.
Motor Homing in Europe
Tips, resources and links for motor homing in Europe — a flexible travel mode ideal for seniors and families that often results in meeting Europeans.
My Vancouver Island by Alison Gardner
Exploring the natural wonders of one of the most interesting islands in North America — a place of wild beauty which people of all ages, from children to seniors, can enjoy.
Professional Services Volunteering Over 50
John Dwyer on the many volunteer opportunities and organizations for senior professional services experts who are not specialized in medicine and teaching.
Volunteering Abroad from A-Z: A Perspective From an Experienced Senior
Dorothy Conlon reflects upon her unique perspective as a senior experienced in many volunteer projects, who has seen trends come and go, and emphasizes the underlying value to the local community and as meaningful experience.
Adventuring Abroad: An Experienced Senior Sees Travel as a 3-Course Feast
Dorothy Conlon reflects upon her unique perspective as a senior experienced in many types of adventure travels around the globe—from solo to group tours to cultural to volunteering.
Exploring Slovenia and Croatia by Alison Gardner
Exploring Slovenia and Croatia with a group tour composed of 12 American and Canadian friends, aged 55 to 75. She found lands of dazzling natural wonders and layered history making for a rich cultural travel experience.
Seeing and Traveling Through Vietnam 30 Years Later
Karen Kaiser, now a more senior traveler, describes her experience returning to Vietnam 33 years later to explore beautiful regions she had not able to travel to previously.
Cycling Quebec's Laurentians
A senior tour group cycling through Quebec's beautiful Laurentians proves to be a remarkable experience according to Cherie Thiessen.
10 Tips to Explore Vienna on a Budget
Alison Gardner offers budget travel tips and ideas for a visit to Vienna.
Volunteer and Make Retirement Count
Volunteering as a senior with Global Service Corps in Tanzania.
Teaching Jobs at International Schools for Newly Retired Teachers
Kathy Fritts describes everything you need to know to start an adventurous career as a senior or after retirement.
Traveling Abroad with Elderly Parents
Experienced globetrotter Veronica Hackethal provides practical tips and excellent advice on traveling abroad with senior parents.
Hosteling for the Young at Heart
Bill Hrick provides practical accommodation tips for solo senior travel abroad on a budget.
Senior Travel in Australia and New Zealand
Marilyn C. McDonald offers inside tips and advice for those who plan to travel in the land down under.
Retire and Learn French on the French Riviera 
Ferriel Brooks discovers as a senior in retirement that learning French when living in France transforms the expatriate experience.
Retirement in Mexico
Habeeb Salloum describes many wonderful options for retirement in Mexico.
Seniors Travel Solo
Arline K. Wills on considerations when opting to travel alone.
Senior Budget Travel
Arline K. Wills offers advice and resources.
Seniors Traveling Abroad with the Extended Family
Arline K. Wills describes a trend where two to three generations of families travel together.
Italy on Your Own: Tips from a Senior
Don Bowling offers tips for staying safe and enjoying Italy based on his experience as a 72-year-old male in Florence.

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