I strongly advocate everyone travel when younger – especially in one’s 20’s and 30’s, when you may see many long-term benefits. And if you cannot do so then, then consider taking time out in your 40s to get travel experience.
I have previously written about travel while young, but what about when older?
- Except for car rental, there is no specific age limit for global travel. It depends on one’s health, fitness and energy.
- Plan trips according to your health and fitness. As we age, we may not have the endurance to get up at 6:30 am, then do extensive walking and hiking all day. This depends on each individual – I know an 80-year-old that was backpacking in the mountains of Mexico a few months ago!
- Strength can affect ability to carry a backpack all day or lift luggage into overhead racks.
- Different kinds of trips require different abilities. Traveling on foot with a backpack and sleeping in possibly noisy places is one option. Traveling by train and backpack or rolled luggage is another. Many accommodations in some European countries require carrying luggage up and down steep stairways. For organized tour groups, some manage the luggage for you while some require you to carry your own luggage. The easiest option for some might be fully supported guided tours and cruise ships.
- I do not handle loss of sleep as best I once did. If I have not slept well, I no longer seem to have much of a buffer to push through the day. When I was younger, I could cope after a short night. It may be wise to keep this in mind and schedule some down time during travels, to catch up. Similarly, how do we handle jet lag as we get older? I have no idea. One recommendation I read was to have everything planned out for your arrival so you do not have to think! Just find the bus, tram or taxi to get to your hotel, plan ahead to know where to find local stores, restaurants or other services you may need. Possibly schedule some light days the first 2 or 3 days as you accommodate jet lag.
- Rental car age limits – In some cases, laws may restrict rentals to below a maximum age limit, but often, age limits are set by the rental companies. Most seem to have a maximum age limited between 70 to 80 years ago, with most at age 75 or higher. If you page down this page, you can find minimum and maximum age limits for European countries. In some cases, persons older than the max age limit can still rent a car but may pay significant daily surcharges.
- Be sure to obtain health insurance for your destination. Most U.S. health insurance, and Medicare, provide no coverage when outside the U.S. Unfortunately, as we get older, travel health insurance prices rise very rapidly. Again, an advantage of traveling when younger – over 60, 70 or 80 and your insurance rates will be many times greater than when in your 20s or 30s.
This post may be updated with more information in the future.