Health Benefits of Travel for Seniors

When they finally reach retirement age, many people catch the travel bug. Without having to worry about vacation time, the world can be your oyster (provided you have the savings to do it).

Even if you can’t afford trips around the world, research has shown that traveling (near or far) is a boon for mental and physical health. Seniors in particular can benefit from the mind-and-body workout that traveling requires. If you’ve reached retirement age, adding some travel to your bucket list should be a definite must.

The Mental Benefits of Travel

For one thing, travel is good for the mind. A paper titled “Destination Healthy Aging: The Physical, Cognitive and Social Benefits of Travel” recently highlighted some of the mental benefits that travel can bring to seniors. Things like navigating new cities, exploring museums, having conversations with new people, practicing new languages and seeing new sights can flex the mental muscles, keeping seniors’ brains active and engaged.

There’s also the relaxation component. One might think that retirees aren’t short on relaxation time, but their lives are often full of social, professional and familial events.

“With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome,” Dr. Margaret J. King, director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, told US News.

The Physical Benefits of Travel

Seniors can also benefit from the physical activity that often accompanies travel. Whether it’s walking around museums, jaunting around new cities to see the sights or taking public transit, there are lots of physical challenges that accompany travel. These challenges can help keep seniors healthy and in shape, so long as they don’t push themselves too hard. US News reports that tourists often walk up to 10 miles a day while traveling.

Safety Tips for Traveling Seniors

In order to stay healthy while traveling, seniors need to be diligent about taking care of themselves before, during and after their trips. Here are some tips for keeping your travels healthy and fun:

  • Check with your doctor before you go anywhere. Even if you’re just traveling to a town an hour away, it’s good to let your doctor know what activities you’ll be participating in and who you plan to go with. If you’re traveling abroad, your doctor may also advise you to get certain immunizations before you leave.
  • Look into your prescription situation. If you’re traveling for more than a week or so, be sure you have all your necessary prescriptions filled, and make sure you’ve looked into backup means for obtaining them should you lose them.
  • Tell your family and friends where you’ll be staying and what you plan to do. An itinerary will be very helpful for your loved ones in the event of an emergency.
  • Get travel insurance. Seniors should be responsible about purchasing travel insurance. If something goes wrong and you require medical treatment while abroad (or even just in an out-of-network area), you’ll be thankful you’re covered.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard. If you feel exhausted and like you’ve had enough physical stimulation for one day, go with your gut. Take a breather and relax—that’s what vacation is for, after all!

70 comments

Arabella j.
.about a year ago

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Lenore Kudaka
Lenore K1 years ago

ty

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

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James Maynard
James Maynard1 years ago

Have a lot of travelling left in my bones....just need to scrape up the money to do it!

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Karen C.
Karen C1 years ago

I'm scared that when I become older I'll have to stay in one place for the rest of my life and not enjoy it

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R1 years ago

TYFS

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Loretta Pienaar

73 and, by the Grace of God, I travel regularly, because my children live abroad. It is good mentally. I would have added that all travelers, not only seniors, can't go wrong in being mindful all the time.

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE1 years ago

If only we had the money. I would try to get all the vaccinations but would really enjoy myself.

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Rose R.
Rose R1 years ago

Sounded like good travel advice for ANY age and good LIVING advice even when staying at home. Don't get the "Senior" title. Pretty generic, but useful. More like the advice younger ppl have always gotten from "Seniors". LOL

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