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The Senior Travel Guide

As retirement becomes a reality for more and more baby boomers turning 60, their unique interests, styles, and directions are expanding ambitiously compared to senior travelers from earlier decades. 21st century boomers are dedicating more money to travel, so they demand measurable value for what they spend, and dream up ever more adventurous and meaningful journeys.

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 larger scheduled tours, preferring to do much personal research through the Web, while still often working with experts to plan a basic itinerary. Boomers are also looking for opportunities to build friend and family connections through travel, and more paths are opening up daily to encourage that goal.

Senior men and women—most particularly women—are now more than ever pursuing cultural and adventure vacations with a strong learning and volunteer service focus. Such a trend is perfectly in keeping with Transition Abroad's idea, since its founding in 1977, that the desire to learn and to travel in purposeful and pleasurable ways is a lifelong pursuit. The average age of travelers is now 47, 36% of leisure travelers are over 55, and people over 50 make up the vast majority of travelers in the U.S. Seniors travelers are making a difference worldwide in so many essential ways.

Each recommendation in our senior-friendly resource lists and our featured articles has been carefully considered. A high priority has been given to the needs and interests of mature travelers with a global perspective. Feedback is always welcome, as are contributions to the endless new opportunities.—Alison Gardner, Senior Travel Editor for Transitions Abroad

 Featured Senior Travel Articles
Alison Gardner, Senior Travel Editor Alison Gardner on Alternative Travel:
An Interview with the Senior Travel Editor for Transitions Abroad

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 articles touching on all facets of senior travel. Alison's adventures generally transcend age, but still take the unique needs of the mature traveler into account.
Savvy senior traveler Savvy Senior Travelers by Rick Steves
Rick Steves describes the skills and provides tips to help the senior traveler make the most in every way out of their next vacation to Europe, while providing key resources.
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.
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.
Cycling in Puglia, Italy Seniors Cycling in Puglia: Slow Immersion 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, with time to stop and chat, to discover a museum hidden down a twisting alley, to taste sea urchin with a glass of Primitivo at the locals’ favorite bar, or try operating a traditional olive press, or to watch women weaving in the ancient, traditional ways. What better way to do it than by bike?
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!
Senior barging vacations 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.
Ballooning 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.
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 as a senior traveler cycling with her partner across Tasmania — one of the most beautiful islands in Australia.
Costa rica rafting Rafting to a Jungle Lodge in Costa Rica: Indulge in a Sustainable Adventure by Katherine McIntyre
An adventure tour by an 82-year-old woman on a great rafting river in Costa Rica where the destination is a sustainable lodge down the river.
Bran castle, Transylvania Transylvania Facts, Not Fiction: Cultural Tourism with Deep Roots
Senior travel editor Alison Gardner debunks many of the myths surrounding Transylvania as she travels 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 Travel Visiting the Berbers of Morocco by Sarah Massey
An unforgettable small group travel adventure in Morocco as a senior where Sarah had a chance to meet and interact with the Berbers in villages and in their more remote communities.
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 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.
Volunteer at 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.

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.
Baby Boomers and International Volunteer Service
Ann McLaughlin describes a trend in which idealistic seniors are volunteering abroad by contributing their time and expertise even as there is exponential growth in international citizen organizations.
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.
Travel in Swaziland: The Joys of Plans Gone Awry
Dorothy Conlon on her voluntourism and travels within Swaziland, which did not go as planned, but proved more than fulfilling nonetheless.
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 to cultural to volunteering.
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.
My Vancouver Island
Alison Gardner on 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.
Cycling Quebec's Laurentians
A senior tour group cycling through Quebec's beautiful Laurentians proves to be a remarkable experience according to Cherie Thiessen.
Vienna: Ten Tips for Exploring Austria's Capital with a Thin Wallet
Alison Gardner offers budget travel tips and ideas for a visit to Vienna.
Exploring Slovenia and Croatia
Alison Gardner decided to explore Slovenia and Croatia with a group of 12 American and Canadian friends, aged 55 to 75. She found the formerly war-torn countries surprisingly safe for senior travel, and both the dazzling natural wonders and layered history made for a rich cultural travel experience.
Warren Rovetch: The Creaky Traveler
Warren Rovetch shares his extensive travel experience with Alison Gardner and offers advice for mobile senior travelers.
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.
Teach Abroad at Any Age: The Rewards of Working in Shanghai for a 60-Year-Old
Candace Dean describes and recommends her experience teaching schoolchildren as a senior while living in Shanghai, China.
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.
A Kiwi Adventure: Independent Senior Travel in New Zealand
Charles P. Carlson, a retired college Professor, describes an adventurous trek with his wife though the mountains of New Zealand.
Senior Budget 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.
Painting in France 
Sarah Massey describes how she arranged her own painting program in France after retirement.
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.
Families Together: Seniors Take The Whole Gang Along
Arline K. Wills describes a trend where two to three generations of families are traveling together.
Seniors Travel Solo
Arline K. Wills on considerations when opting to travel alone.
Senior Budget Travel
Arline K. Wills offers advice and resources.
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.
Senior volunteer abroad with CCS
Tours for Seniors with French Escapade
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