Call 7 days a week for free advice

0800 910 0240

Call 7 days a week for free advice

0800 910 0240

Best destinations for older holidaymakers

21st June 2016

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

From time to time, we all need a break from day-to-day life. Whether taking time out to visit friends across the county or jetting off to a paradise abroad, in our retirement years, holidays prove an invaluable opportunity to experience the new, take an adventure, or simply relax.

Finding a suitable destination for our holiday is not without its challenges in our later years, however, when we’re a little older and a little less fearless than we once were. When planning where we want to visit in our golden years, considerations such as our health is a major factor in deciding. We want to be confident that the destination we choose can cater to any accessibility requirements we might have.

While we may think anything too far-flung is off the agenda for those with limited mobility, in reality, there are services available to help older holidaymakers and make travelling somewhere exotic a comfortable experience.

Discover the services you can use when planning your adventure in our guide to the best destinations for older holidaymakers. 

“A home ‘away’ from home”

If you’re keen to take a holiday but long journeys are out of the question, you can get the break you need in a tranquil setting closer than you think.

Richmond Retreats offer accommodation designed to cater to older holidaymakers who may have special requirements. While staying in a traditional hotel may not meet these needs, Richmond Retreats holiday villages are perfect for those looking to meet like-minded friends and accommodate the kind of mobility or care needs we develop in our later years.

There’s plenty of destinations to inspire your next escape, with retreat locations across the country. Choose from the stunning landscapes of some of Britain’s prettiest settings including Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. Each retreat also offers the chance to mingle with other guests, as well as number of on-site facilities to enjoy during your stay.

You might find peace and quiet sitting by the pond at Letcombe Regis in Oxfordshire, revel in community games on the bowling green at Bede Village in Warwickshire, or simply make the most of indulging at the Wellness Spa – a new addition to the Painswick retreat in the beautiful Cotswolds.

Richmond Retreats’ Head of Marketing David believes that everyone, regardless of age, should be able to enjoy their holiday. He says: “I don’t see it being any different to planning holidays when younger.  It is important to look at what you want from the break and what you are able to do; whether that is a relaxing break with everything being catered for, or a week’s skiing or trekking!  The crucial thing is to ensure that your wants and needs are catered for.

Often people don’t have the confidence to go away because of the ‘what if’ scenario.  With our Richmond Retreats these concerns are negated and at the end of their break you can really see how this holiday has improved their whole well-being.

“All of our Villages have our very own domiciliary care teams on site 24/7 and can provide bespoke support packages such as washing, dressing and mobility if required.  This service also gives elder guests who don’t need any support the reassurance that help is available should it be needed.  As our Richmond Retreats are located within our Richmond Retirement Villages guests are surrounded by like-minded people with plenty of activities to take part in should they wish.”

Holidaying nearer to here

Ready to take the plunge and travel a little further from your doorstep? Disabled Holidays can help you find accommodation to suit your needs in a number of destinations in the UK, overseas and on a cruise ship.

Because they cater to those with disabilities or reduced mobility, people using Disabled Holidays to plan their break can book in confidence, knowing that the facilities they need will be confirmed in writing before they set sail, board their flight or start the motor. Whether your accommodation must have a ground floor bedroom, grab rails or a stairlift much like the one you use at home, the majority of their holiday homes have accessibility in mind and they will find the perfect destinations for you to choose from.

Gillian from Disabled Holidays explains why it’s crucial that older holidaymakers take that time to explore and relax away from home: “It can be important to travel and make the most of your freedom, travel has many physiological benefits which include not only being active but can also mean increasing your circle of friends at a time in life where work has finished and social life is changing.

“We have 84 year olds cruising solo for the first time, 90 year old couples journeying from central London to the Lancashire coast to take in the sea air and enjoy all that the area has to offer – we really are seeing many older people enjoying holidays more than ever before.

“Everything we do is tailored to the client’s needs, therefore we work with the client to find exactly what they are looking for in a holiday to ensure it is exactly what they are looking for. We offer the UK’s largest variety of holidays particularly suiting limited mobility and at prices to meet all pockets, be it a last minute break to a trip of a lifetime. We take the stress out of arranging the holiday.”

Gillian says that in the UK, Devon and Cornwall with their promising summer weather, spectacular scenery and fantastic food prove popular destinations for retired guests. While abroad there are plenty of options for older holidaymakers: “For travellers wishing to venture overseas there is so much to choose from; Benidorm continues to be a firm favourite with its long, flat promenade right the way along Levante beach stretching for the glitz of the new town to the tradition of the old. A favourite all year round resort.

Cruises are one of the most popular holidays our older guests enjoy, with a wide variety of destinations to choose from being it dramatic scenery of the Fjords, sun kissed Mediterranean ports or maybe take the opportunity for a longer cruise taking in over 14 destinations.”

Disabled Holidays have the following tips for deciding where you would like to travel:

  • Think carefully what you would like to get from your holiday. Ask our experts for their advice, they’ve travelled a lot. If you need flat areas they can advise the best locations for this. If you need to be near medical care they can advise as well.
  • If travelling alone, select a holiday where you can meet new people who may enjoy similar activities to you.
  • Consider where you are travelling to and the climate for the time of year travelling. If you find extreme temperatures difficult it is important to consider the time of year you travel.
  • Ensure passports and travel documents are up to date.
  • If taking medication ensure you have sufficient both for the trip and beyond (just in case of delays).
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance cover for all pre-existing conditions.
  • In overseas climates, the sun can be much hotter and a higher factor protection may be required particularly on cruises where a sea breeze can be deceiving.

Travelling to far-flung places

For the more adventurous traveller, only a trip to somewhere exotic will do and while the idea of travelling half way around the world could be daunting to the rest of us, Accomable can make finding somewhere secure and comfortable simple.

Accomable, a website that lists over 500 accessible places to stay in more than 40 countries, makes it quick and easy to identify the perfect holiday accommodation to meet your requirements. Whether you’re looking for an apartment with step-free access and roll-in showers or a villa with pool hoists, you can filter the list by the specialist equipment you need in an instant. The community section on the website allows you to ask questions from others who’ve used this service, as well as sharing your own tips and experience so you get a first-hand account of the accommodation.

The company itself understands how crucial it is to make sure that where you stay has everything you need to feel confident and safe on holiday. CEO Sirin Madipalli, himself a keen traveller with spinal muscular atrophy, set up Accomable as a way of enabling those with restricted movement to see more of the world sharing his own experience of the accommodation he’s stayed in along the way and inviting many holiday groups to list their suitable places. Today, the website features a wide range of holidays homes from long boats to yurts and destinations around the globe, there’s plenty to discover and you’re never too old to set out on a new adventure.

Accomable’s Katie adds: “Retirement is a fantastic time to go travelling. We meet many older people who always wanted to travel but couldn’t because of children, money and simply not having the time. Suddenly retirement comes and the opportunities are endless.

“If you’re travelling independently, and there’s every reason to - many retired people do, it’s worth planning ahead in terms of where you’re going to go and where you want to stay.  This is especially true if you have any mobility issue or use a wheelchair, as accessible rooms with good step-free access and adapted bathrooms can book up quite quickly. It’s also worth letting a friend or relative know a brief itinerary of where you’ll be staying on your trip, in case they need to get in touch.”

For inspiration, you can talk to the staff at Accomable who know the listed properties inside out and will be able to point you in the right direction of destinations that suit your holiday goals, helping you to build an itinerary to suit your pace and interests.

“Destinations like South Africa, the USA, Australia and New Zealand are on many people’s bucket lists, and are ideal for older travellers, boasting mobility-friendly infrastructure, great hotels and services, not to mention world class attractions and natural wonders,” says Katie.

“If you enjoy driving, a very relaxed road trip in South Africa would be a great starting place. From the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, it’s an easy 40 minutes' drive to the gorgeous winelands of Stellenbosch and some of the world’s best beaches. And the rand is very weak at the moment, so lovely accommodation, restaurants, and local wine is available at brilliant prices.”

For sun seekers, Matthew from Just Travel Cover further recommends the Mediterranean climes saying “The Balearic islands are always a favourite destination for older travellers with plenty of choice from the party island of Ibiza to the quiet relaxing spots such as Majorca & Menorca.”

Going further afield can leave us all feeling more cautious, however, and to put your mind at ease travel insurance is an absolute must before you travel abroad. Fortunately, Just Travel Cover makes finding a policy to suit your needs simple and the website can help you compare travel insurance to get the best deal possible. Matthew continues: “Buying travel insurance is not always straight forward and some people need more guidance than others that’s why we always go above and beyond to deliver an easy, friendly & efficient service.

“Travelling the world can be exciting and give a feeling of freedom, but what happens if something goes wrong? We want customers to have the peace of mind that they have the correct cover in place should something happen. Medical and repatriation bills can run into the hundreds of thousands and without the correct insurance you always run the risk of being hit with a huge bill. We will always taylor a policy to a specific customer to ensure they have the perfect cover for their trip.”

Wherever you decide to go, having that security in place before you set sail means you can relax and truly enjoy your time away. There’s so much of the world to see and regardless of age or medical condition, you deserve that time to explore be it half way around the world or just beyond your back garden. 

Still unsure of where to go? Age UK provides information and advice on holidays and travel and can help you decide where you’d like to visit next. Whether it’s an escorted trip across the globe or a historic break in the UK, you’ll find guides on just about every kind of holiday imaginable so be inspired and get away this summer!

Image Credit: Deon Maritz (wikimedia.org)