Travel Advice

How to Travel Independently in Later Life

Travel Independently
Written by Aswini Vadapalli

More and more older travellers are choosing to make their own travel arrangements as opposed to booking package holidays and tours. That’s the finding of a new survey of mature travel trends by Avanti, a specialist travel insurance provider for over 50’s.

According to the study, 60% of people aged 65 and over now go ‘DIY’ when they travel abroad, with the numbers of independent senior travellers doubling since 1998.

However, there are still signs that older people are more reluctant to go independent than younger age groups. By comparison, more than three quarters (76%) of 16 to 24 years olds now handle all accommodation and airline bookings directly themselves rather than using travel agents or tour operators.

And while overall a similarly high percentage of people believe independent travel represents better value, this falls to 64% of over-65’s – and just over half of older men (56%).

According to Brad May, Chief Marketing Officer at Avanti, package holidays and excursions, including cruises and group holidays, are likely to still appeal to older travellers on the grounds of convenience and service. “Buying a package holiday can feel like a safe, less-risky choice for holidays where all the finer details are taken care of,” he added.

But clearly, a substantial and growing number of older people are also keen to take advantage of the value and flexibility that independent travel provides. So what tips and advice can help senior citizens looking to jump on the DIY bandwagon?

The internet is your friend

Perhaps the biggest catch-all piece of advice any person of any age can be given when looking into independent travel is to make use of the internet. In truth, if it wasn’t for the web, package holidays might still be the preferred choice for how people see the world. But the rise of sites like Skyscanner, Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Kayak, Trivago and many more which search and list accommodation and flight details from around the world, with direct links to booking platforms, have fundamentally changed the travel industry. You don’t need a middleman to make a booking for you anymore. It’s all just a click away.

And while being able to find and book flights and a hotel room for your preferred destination on the dates you want breaks the back of organising a trip abroad, the internet offers so much more besides. There are literally hundreds of fantastic travel websites out there, providing everything from advance bookings for hotel transfers and car hire to in-depth destination guides, forums, online audio tours and more.

There are now some truly amazing websites which will take care of virtually every aspect of your trip for you. Worried about remembering all the important dates and times, or the address of your hotel on arrival? Just set up an account on Tripit and create your own bespoke itinerary from your booking confirmation details. Enjoy the convenience of an agent or tour operator booking you seats at a restaurant or giving you directions to a local attraction? Sign up to Fancy Hands and you get your own dedicated digital assistant to do all that for you!

As well as advance planning, it’s also great to have internet access as you travel so you can look up any information you need as you go. With international mobile data plans now so affordable, it makes sense to take a smartphone with you, buy a roaming bundle or insert a local SIM at your destination. With mobile internet at your destination, it’s like having a tour guide for any place on the planet in your pocket. And the key benefit is flexibility – with the internet as your guide, you can travel your way, as and when you want to.

About the author

Aswini Vadapalli

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