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Older travellers; Travel in your 80s and beyond

Older Travellers; Travel in your 80’s and beyond

For curious and adventurous individuals, the thirst for new experiences doesn’t cease with age. Wanting to discover more about the world doesn’t stop when you get older, it just means you go about it in new ways. This blog details travel in your 80s and beyond. Odyssey Traveller welcomes octogenarians on our small group tours, even a solo traveller with an interest in our style of vacation and adventure travel with a group of like-minded people.

Our varied destinations and itineraries cater to seniors and mature travellers of differing ability. You’re not just watching the world from a bus window, you explore these landscapes and scenery, learning about countries’ histories from our leaders and local guides. As a traveller in your late 70s and 80s, you benefit from our years of expertise in senior travel. We like to boast that our most senior traveller is aged 91 years old, and going strong! You are never too old to go on travel adventures, exploring the Pyramids of Giza, the glaciers of Iceland, or go on shore excursions in Chile and Argentina!

Vatnajökull, Iceland
Sphinx and Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt

Understanding, care and flexibility

We offer understanding, care, and flexibility. Most of our activities are optional, meaning you are welcome to sit things out if you prefer. Best of all, on an Odyssey Traveller small group tour, you will be travelling with like-minded individuals. And, with a bit of luck, making lifelong friends. Read on for tips on travel in your 70’s & 80s. For more information on Odyssey Traveller and our educational small group tours, visit our website. Alternatively, please call or send an email. We’d love to hear from you!

Why travel in your 80s?

Simple answer? Why not! Many octogenarians speak of the sense of freedom they experience in their eighth or ninth decade. It might be the freedom of more spare time, or freedom from caring about the expectations of other people.

But of course, there are logistical issues to consider. Your mobility might not be what it used to be, and it can be nice to feel supported in the far-flung destinations you choose to visit. This is why a small group tour can be ideal. You get to share your experiences and reactions with like minded people. You can feel confident with the expertise of your group leader and guides. And you will be a valuable part of a small group with our capped participant numbers: at Odyssey Traveller, our tours average eight participants. Below are 16 tips on travel in your  70s, 80s and beyond!

1. Be honest with your travel provider, and yourself.

At Odyssey Traveller, our number one priority is that you have an enriching and enjoyable experience. In order to make this happen, it’s important we understand you and your individual needs. For travel at any age, an honest relationship with your travel provider is important. Sharing with them your hopes and limitations will help them to tailor your holiday to your needs. For those fascinated by the industrial revolution, Britain’s History through its Canals and Railways could be the perfect fit! Or perhaps you are drawn to the arts: consider the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival small group tour to explore their beguiling operas. Or, for the adventurous, perhaps the pyramids of Egypt is on your bucket list? Talk to us about your own bucket list today!

2. Older travellers must pace themselves!

Your enthusiasm for travel may not have dampened, but, of course, some accommodations must be made! Our tour leaders are approachable and understanding. Wherever possible, you are welcome to opt out of an activity, or perhaps spend a day at leisure close to the hotel. We recommend you familiarise yourself with the full itinerary of your tour. This way you can anticipate the energy stores you will need to get yourself through. Rest up in your evenings and take care of yourself (and each other) each day of the tour. This begins from the moment you leave home for the airport.

3. Work with the airline about your needs, and have an active flight!


A significant part of your overseas journey will be the flight itself. Be open with the airline about your needs. Detail your mobility and mention any aides you will need to pack with you. On the flight itself, it’s best to avoid alcohol and sleeping pills. Instead, commit to move as much as you can. Drink plenty of water and undertake regular leg exercises. Qantas has provided a great guide to healthy flying here.

An aisle seat is a great option because it enables you to walk up and down the aisles and stretch your legs. If you are at risk of deep vein thrombosis or DVT, consider wearing compression socks. Your GP can help you to arrange this. More travel tips especially for seniors can be found here.

4. Assessing and maintaining your health

Before setting off on your next adventure, it’s important to check you are in good health. We want your travel experience to run as smoothly as possible. It can be helpful to understand and anticipate potential health issues, and know how to manage them so they have minimal impact on your participation in your tour. Remember, age doesn’t have to be a barrier if you are fit and healthy! Know your abilities, as well as your limitations. And take them seriously.

5. Check with your GP or relevant specialists

We recommend that senior travellers make an appointment with their GP or relevant specialists while planning their trip. Tell them your intentions and ask for their honest opinions on your capacity to get the most out of your tour. Ask them for recommendations on how to safely improve your fitness. It’s also a good idea to pay another visit just prior to your departure. They can check you are in good health and have all the medications and first aid you need to pack with you. Don’t forget to enquire about vaccinations, too.

6. Visit your dentist

Make sure you are up to date with your dental appointments. The last thing you want is a toothache to impact your time away.

7. Think about your diet.

An enjoyable part of small group tours is the anticipation and preparation. Now is the time to try to achieve the best level of readiness you can. Be mindful of how you are treating yourself in the lead up. Eat well. You might also like to familiarise yourself with the cuisine of your chosen destination! This is a fun way to prepare.

8. Improving your fitness

A reasonable level of fitness will mean that you can participate in more, and feel less tired. Under the advice of your health professional, work on how you can improve your fitness. This may be as simple as taking walks instead of driving, or getting out and playing with the dog. Ask your friends about their fitness routines. Your upcoming trip might be the perfect motivation to form a neighbourhood walking group or join a class at the local gym or community centre.

9. Our fitness level indicators for older travellers

All of our tours feature an Activity Level. The description of these is available here. Your job, in concert with your health and fitness providers, is to assess your fitness level so you can be sure the tour is well suited to you. Even though Odyssey Traveller offers flexibility, and you can opt out of activities wherever possible, for your own enjoyment and a feeling of being part of the group, its best to be on the safe side. Better to underestimate your fitness than overestimate it. Just try to become the healthiest version of yourself that you can. Here are all of our level 1 tours – these are classed as introductory and include our summer schools. Level 2 tours can be found here. Our tours range all the way to level 5 so do check the classification of the tour you are interested in.

10. Use of a walker and other mobility aides.

Another thing to bear in mind is the use of walkers and other physical aids. You are, of course, welcome to bring these along, but its essential you let your travel company know in advance. You will also need to inform the airline and speak with them about accessibility. Some of Odyssey Traveller’s tours cover uneven terrain. This is often detailed in the Activity Level. If you are concerned, get in touch with your travel provider for a chat. We are always happy to speak to future travellers.

11. Courtesy to your group members

One of the very best parts of a small group tour is the people you meet and the friendships you form. At Odyssey Traveller, you will be travelling with like minded individuals and couples aged in their 50s and over. Of course, group travel also means that each member impacts on the others. In a way, you are working as a team. It’s important to be honest about your abilities because you don’t want to hold others back. Although you are welcome to sit out particular activities, tour members want to share experiences as a group. This is why it’s important to talk to your travel provider while planning your tour.

12. A companion may be ideal

It can be helpful to travel with a companion, especially if you have mobility issues. It can assist you to feel supported, and we’re sure your companion will enjoy themselves too! Having a companion might mean that you can participate that little bit more. So consider whether you have a partner or friend who is interested in small group, educational travel, too. Alternatively, if you are a solo traveller, you might like to read this article for further advice.

13. Travel insurance for seniors is available

Travel insurance for seniors is a must for any overseas holiday. Many insurance companies have experience with travellers aged over 80. Speak to your travel provider or a trusted agent about your options. This is for the sake of your own peace of mind. Odyssey Travellers can assist with independent advice. A key product many  mature and senior travellers are purchasing is cancellation  insurance for up to a year out from departure. Some travel insurers for seniors offer cancellation insurance as part of their standard package.

14. Consider your destination and do some research

Okay, so your next steps? Number one, of course, is to consult your bucket list. Where are the places you have been dreaming of visiting for as long as you can remember? Or the far-flung destinations that hold memories for you? Perhaps you are looking to revisit sentimental cities. Or you might want to learn more about a culture that interests you. Once you have identified the places you wish to visit, start researching! Head to the library, search the internet. Track down people you know who have visited. Check out the reading lists we recommend for each of our tours. And then, with some knowledge, think about how you can make your dream a reality. Perhaps the walking tour of France isn’t possible, but the Senior Travellers guided educational small group rural tour of France might be just perfect for you.

15. Record your memories

This is so important! Come home and share your stories with your friends and family. Inspire others around you to be as adventurous and inquisitive as you are, and to know that octogenarians are valuable contributors to our world.

Cherry blossom in Yoshinoyama, Japan


Are you ready to join your first (or another!) Odyssey Traveller tour? All of our Guaranteed departures are listed here. Odyssey Traveller will in good faith guarantee a tour to proceed when it reaches the minimum number of participants required to operate the tour. See our Terms and Conditions, and visit our FAQ page if you have any questions. We also have several articles you can read to prepare:

Originally published on November 20, 2017.

Updated on November 10, 2019.