With an increasing amount of travel destinations offering senior-friendly facilities and greater accessibility, families can travel together with more ease. In this article we feature 5 different elderly-friendly travel destinations that you and your loved ones can explore.
1) Cruise Destinations
Cruises are the perfect holiday choice for your family if you are looking for an all-in-one entertainment venue. They have a wide range of amenities and entertainment onboard, ensuring that there is something appealing for everyone in the family and no one will leave the cruise with a dull and boring experience.
There are a variety of reasons why cruises are so popular with seniors, including:
- Everything you need is under-one-roof
- Myriad of entertainment and dining options
- World-class amenities and facilities
- Public areas and certain rooms are wheelchair-accessible
All the facilities and amenities are located together under one roof so everything they need can be found on the ship. Also, public areas are wheelchair accessible, so seniors with mobility issues need not worry about getting around in the cruise. There are a variety of activities which seniors can take part in onboard for free and seniors need not worry about dining options as there are a range of restaurants onboard. Lastly, there are many entertainment options available onboard which are sure to keep the older adults occupied. Ranging from world-class performances to live bands performances, no one will leave the cruise disappointed!
Recommended places: Malaysia (short-haul), Japan, Australia, Hawaii
Accessibility Rating: ★★★★★
Japan is a popular destination among older adults due to the temperate climate, safe environment, popular tourist destinations and delicious Japanese delicacies. A country rich in culture and exotic heritage, there will definitely be plenty of places to visit and explore. Also, Japan is an ageing society so it is no surprise the country is senior-friendly.
Japan is a popular destination for elderly travellers due to:
- Wheelchair-friendly cities (availability of wheelchair ramps at most establishments at elevators at train stations)
- High regard for the elderly
- Friendly and helpful locals
- Free admission/discounts for seniors to many tourist attractions
Most cities in Japan have facilities for seniors to move about easier therefore, mobility should not be an issue when getting around in cities. Seniors are given priority and do not be surprised when the friendly locals reach out to help you! Also, there are many tourists attractions in Japan offering free admission or discounts for seniors so make sure to prepare your passport for verification purposes. However, be sure to ask about these discounts as some attractions do not post signages mentioning about them!
Laid-back Environment: Hokkaido, Kyushu, Kyoto
Fast-paced Environment: Tokyo and Osaka
Accessibility Rating: ★★★★☆
Being a country where great importance is placed on respecting your elders, it is little wonder that China is popular with senior travellers. China also has many natural wonders which are known for their gorgeous scenery, making it great for sightseeing and they are also often rich in history. As China has many cities, there are some which are more developed compared to others so it is often best advised to visit the more developed cities so that mobility will not be an issue.
China is a popular destination for elderly travellers due to:
- Rich cultural history
- Availability of senior-friendly features at popular tourist locations
- Variety of cultural activities to take part in
Some cities such as Guilin are known for their clean air and fresh water therefore making it a very popular tourist destination for elderly travellers. Besides shopping and visiting tourist attractions, senior travellers can feel free to take part in cultural activities such as learning calligraphy or learning the basic Chinese cooking methods to cook Chinese cuisine. Another senior-friendly feature available in China are the availability of wheelchair-accessible ramps and lifts at popular tourists locations. This include Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and Terra Cotta Warriors site. This allows even the disabled to take in the sights of China and to be able to fully immerse themselves in the attractions.
Recommended places: Guilin, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xi’an
Accessibility Rating: ★★★☆☆
Hong Kong has a variety of world-class attractions and offers one-of-a-kind experiences for tourists. In addition, they have beautiful sights located at scenic places and they are also known for having one of the most gorgeous city skyline in Asia. Home to many delectable yet affordable foods such as street food stalls and dim sum, tourists will be spoilt for choices!
There are multiple reasons why older travellers like travelling to Hong Kong, including:
- Well-developed & easily accessible infrastructure system
- Public transports are wheelchair-friendly
- Discounts for seniors at popular tourist attractions
- Delectable and affordable food offerings
As Hong Kong is a developed nation, their infrastructure system is well-developed and easily accessible. If you are considering touring Hong Kong via their MTR, you can purchase the Elder Octopus Card where senior travellers can enjoy concessionary rates for their trips. Also, their public transports are wheelchair-friendly with elevators at every MTR stops and a wheelchair lift for wheelchair users in most of the buses. There are also plenty of popular tourist attractions in Hong Kong and some of these attractions give out discounts for seniors upon showing your Elder Octopus Card! After all that sightseeing and you are feeling famished, dig in to the wide range of food offerings in the city! This include piping hot dim sum, to having a no-frills meal at one of the street vendors.
Recommended places: Victoria Peak, Hong Kong DisneyLand, Temple Street Night Market and Avenue of Stars
Accessibility Rating: ★★★★☆
The last destination to end this list off is scenic Italy! A hot-spot for enriching cultural activities, Italy is also the country with the most number of UNESCO Heritage Sites in the world. Older adults who like to immerse themselves into the rich history and culture of a place, they can consider taking a trip to the cities of Italy! Italy is a place where all of your senses will be stimulated- from soaking in the amazing sights to tasting gastronomic delights, one will definitely be satisfied with what Italy has to offer!
Italy is a hot-spot for older travellers due to:
- Elderly-friendly facilities in popular tourist attractions
- Availability of cultural activities to take part in
- Scenic sights and rich history at the various tourist attractions
Similar to the previous countries mentioned in this list, Italy has multiple museums which are elderly-friendly such as having lifts and benches for the older folks to take a breather. In addition, they even have wheelchairs for loan. If they are tired of sightseeing, consider taking part in local activities where you can soak in all the culture it has to offer. Tourists can consider taking up cooking lessons or sign up for a wine tasting session!
Recommended places: Rome, Tuscany, Venice and Florence
Accessibility Rating: ★★★★☆
With so many destinations offering elderly-friendly facilities, elderly travellers need not worry about traveling to countries which are not accessible for those with mobility issues. So, leave your worries aside and fulfil your wanderlust!
Other Travel-Related Articles:
China Discovery. (n.d.). Senior travel in China. Retrieved from http://www.chinadiscovery.com/travel-guide/senior-travel.html
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Dimen, Y. (n.d.). Traveling with seniors: Top 10 destinations in Asia. Retrieved from https://www.thepoortraveler.net/2017/08/senior-citizen-friendly-destinations/
Fowler, K. (2017, April 3). Senior-Friendly travel destinations. Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/04-03-17-senior-friendly-travel/
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Makofsky, N. (2017, February 8). Good places to travel in Europe with elderly people. Retrieved from http://traveltips.usatoday.com/good-places-travel-europe-elderly-people-104661.html
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