As people are growing up, they hit that ages 15 and 16 and always talk about how much they want to travel. And, typically unless they have a family that has a decent amount in the bank, they won’t get that opportunity beyond family vacations. Which is cool, because it is the way most people start seeing beyond the borders of their own cities and countries. Then, growing and growing through college and university, some people take a gap year intending to travel – but many don’t get that far. The debt that comes with studying and general life tends to stack up pretty quickly. Through the 20s is the time most people are carving out a career, and meeting the people who may well one day be their partner – and that eventually they may have children with.
“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience”. -Francis Bacon
Those vacations become family-focused, the priority being safety for the kids, and while safety should always be critical, it can really dampen the flames of travel.
But what about when the kids leave the nest, and you have the disposable income, vacations you can use however you like? Well, then you are looking at some of the best times to travel.
Personal growth happens quickly and what we loved at 16, then 25, and then 35 can differ. Of course, sometimes you will dream about seeing whale tails break the surface of the water throughout the whole time. Other times though, you may initially want to head somewhere like Amsterdam for different reasons than the culture – suddenly when your older ONLY the culture is appealing.
Travelling gets better as you get older. In fact, senior travel and post 35-40 travel is more popular than ever. Here are just a few reasons why.
In your early years, you are beholden to study times and semesters, then when you have children, you will find yourself needed to only take those peak prices to travel. After that, when you are stuck choosing the same time that the rest of the world seems to be on holiday – you can go when you like. You don’t need to battle bank holiday weekend crowds, you won’t need to pay that massive price hike over the summer holidays.
If you decide to go in the middle of March, or the first week in December, you can do so. That freedom to choose is worth its weight in gold.
When you travel when younger, there is often pressure to make sure that you are doing and seeing the popular things. In fact, currently, there are millions of specific age groups that are only travelling to get particular photos for their Instagram accounts. Which is a little sad.
When you are first starting your career, there is often the expectation that rather than going on lavish holidays, or travel around a country for a few months, you will stay and put the hours in, in the office. And that can be a tough thing to deal with. But as you age and you are more established in your chosen career path, the pressure is no longer there. You have shown you are more than capable and more often than not, you have earned the time off.
It is a strange thing to say that being away from your home and the people that you know will make you happier, but it does. When you are away from your friends for a while, you begin to appreciate them more. You will see them in a different light – sometimes good, sometimes bad, but you will always enjoy seeing their faces again.
Stronger sense of self-confidence. When you head out to a different country, you have to pluck up the courage to order the wine, to buy groceries from the supermarket, and sometimes not everything goes to plan. Because you become so self-reliant, your confidence in your abilities grow.
If you tend to travel with a partner, with both of your experiencing some beautiful sights and explosive flavours, it can really strengthen your bond. Even more so because travel can sometimes throw up problems that are difficult – but you face them together, and that is a beautiful thing.
If you don’t have a partner, single senior travel is also on the rise.
Aside from the detox that comes if you happen to get some deli belly while you are travelling, you are less connected to the digital world. While you might still want to scroll the news websites in the morning, if you have time to post on facebook, then the chances are you aren’t really using your travel time to the best of your ability.
In fact, it might be better than you only turn your phone on for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening – so that you aren’t even tempted to start sharing on social media or texting people back home.
Hours waiting in the airport, hours on the plane, travelling from the airport to the hotel or villa, hours exploring. All of those hours give you some serious ‘you’ time. And, it’s not the pampering getting a massage and you nails done kind of you time. It’s the kind of ‘you’ time that allows you to ponder over what has been going on lately. To mentally work through some issues and let them go. Although it might be said that travelling is the best time to add some meditation into your daily routine.
There will come some points while you are travelling that you can pick up some really neat skills. When you were younger, you might not have been so willing to jump into those experiences, but now you are older (and wiser – perhaps), you will jump in feet first. Of course, you will be learning the language as you go because it is important to be able to communicate, but you might learn how to surf, or create amazing Thai recipes, how to loom and a lot about other cultures.
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.” ―Anthony Bourdain
The older you get, the better you are at organizing the things in your life. Which means when you apply that skill to arranging your travel – you are about to create the best trip you can imagine.
You already know what you want to see and where you want to see it, so all that is left to do is create an itinerary and book the tickets.
What You Really Want
The more life you live, the more you know what you do and do not want to do on your holidays. It might be that actually you really don’t care to go and see any of the latest art installations, or the light show. It might be that you want to read a book in the local park for the morning and try the best pastry in the city in the afternoon. The relaxation that comes with doing precisely what you want is pretty big – which adds to your holiday in a new way.
The elephant in the room here might be that the older you get, the closer you are to getting certain age-related discounts for the cost of your travel, your hotels and even your insurances. There are also companies that specialize in getting older travellers really nice discounts – and just because you don’t see one doesn’t mean it isn’t worth asking for one.
Younger travellers are more likely to take risks with things like hotel rooms, connections and even their safety. However, at a certain point, you know you want a comfortable bed, and that to minimize the time you are travelling sometimes you need to pay a little more. And for comfort reasons, it is often more than worth it. But, to really understand why you need to price up, you really need to experience the other stuff first. Wisdom comes with age and experience.
Travelling, as you get older, comes with a whole range of perks. From having the freedom to book out of the peak seasons and enjoy more reasonable prices and a lot fewer people, to opting to get the senior rates on travel where possible. Having more expendable income and a more precise idea of what you want to see and do while you’re away is a big deal. It will mean that you don’t waste time on things you aren’t going to enjoy.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ―Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky