Older travellers

Age is rarely a barrier to travelling. In fact, if you’ve retired you may well find you have more time than ever before to see the world.

Before you go

When it comes to deciding where you want to go and where you want to stay you’ll face the same choices as any other traveller. But there may be some extra things you want to consider. For example, if you have mobility issues you’ll need to take this into consideration when deciding where to go (steep hills and a rugged terrain may be unsuitable) and what sort of accommodation you book.

It’s also worth thinking about if you want to stay in a lively resort or a quieter part of town. And while some people may like a vibrant family hotel others may prefer something more tranquil.

Here are some more things to consider before you go.

  • Check the latest travel advice and entry and health requirements for the country you’re travelling to on the Foreign & Commonwealth website.
  • If you need to have any vaccinations or start any course of medicine, such as malaria tablets, visit your doctor in plenty of time before you go on holiday.
  • Even if you don’t need any particular vaccinations it’s worth visiting your local GP to make sure you’re in good shape ahead of your trip.
  • If you’re travelling in the European Economic Area or Switzerland don’t forget to take your EHIC card as this entitles you to the same state-provided healthcare as the local people.
  • If you take regular medication you need to check if you can take this into the country you’re visiting. For more on this see the Department of Health website Travel Health Pro. And remember to always carry spares and divide up your medicine between your hand luggage and other luggage when travelling in case you lose one set.
  • If you have health issues find out where the nearest medical facilities are to where you’re staying and how you would get help in an emergency.
  • Take a first aid kit and if you’re going anywhere hot see our top tips for staying safe in the sun guide.
  • If you plan to do a lot of walking or any other strenuous activities while you’re away make sure you get fit beforehand.
  • If you have any mobility issues and you’re travelling by plane tell the airport and airline as they may be able to make special arrangements for you.
  • The same goes for wherever you’re staying. Make sure you discuss your needs with your accommodation provider.
  • Take out adequate travel insurance. Some policies only cover people up to age 65 so you may need to shop around for a policy and don’t forget to tell your insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions you might have.

While you’re away

The most common accidents on holidays are trips and falls. Areas where accidents are most likely to happen include balconies, stairs and around swimming pools. For tips on how to avoid accidents and ensure your accommodation is safe see our guides on hotel and self-catering accommodation.

Most countries drive on the right hand side of the road. This can be confusing if you’re used to traffic coming from the opposite direction and means you need to take extra care when crossing the road abroad. For tips on road safety for pedestrians see our guide.

Stomach upsets are not uncommon on holiday particularly if you’re adventurous about what you eat, are in a hot climate or are drinking more alcohol or fizzy drinks than you normally would. Our food and water safety guide has tips on how to reduce the risk and what to do if you do fall ill.

If you need a local doctor your accommodation provider, travel company or travel insurer should be able to help you. It’s also a good idea to have the phone number of the local emergency services stored in your phone (in the European Union this is 112) in case you need to call them in a hurry. For more on what to do if you need medical help see our guide.