Some say that life begins at 50, and thanks to science, medicine and lifestyles, that is truer than ever. Being over 50 is a different experience for people of our generations. We still feel young in mind and body, enabling us to renew our focus on ourselves as our children have flown the nest. Or maybe our careers are winding down, and we have the energy to embrace new things.
All this makes an adventure holiday for people over 50 and above the perfect antidote to the daily grind. Yes, it can be life-changing, and challenges are involved. But that doesn't mean you have to bungee jump off a cliff in Australia. Here's your essential guide to the realities and benefits of adventure holidays.
What is an adventure holiday?
You can't help but think of adrenaline-pumping experiences when you say the words "adventure holiday." This is the point that we debunk this myth because thinking of it that way makes adventure holidays feel altogether out of reach to some. Although there's some truth to the adventurous spirit of these trips, these types of getaways are what you make of them.
By definition, they are holidays that involve some sort of exerting activity. Yet, we need to remember that this is all relative. For example, your definition of an adventure holiday could involve exploring the Amalfi coast on foot or walking tours in the UK. That said, if you want to don the right gear and jump out of a plane, good for you! But it’s most certainly not what this is all about.
What are some of the advantages of an adventure holiday for older people?
The wonderful thing about adventure holidays is that they have the power to broaden your world and open up your mind. So, far from being the sole domain of twenty-somethings, this is something that can help us at any stage of life, perhaps especially when we've spent years getting bogged down in responsible everyday life.
New experiences, along with mixing with different people and exploring unheard places add up to a magical melting pot that has the tremendous power to give us a fresh perspective. Of course, this goes for all people at any age, but imagine how refreshing this could be when we reach this life stage. As we say, sometimes a gentle push out of our indoctrinated ways is exactly what we need to renew our vigour.
Here are just some of the other reasons why we love adventure holidays for over 50’s:
- They offer unique challenges which can unlock fresh perspectives on ourselves and our lives.
- You can get immense satisfaction from overcoming these challenges.
- They enable you to visit surprising places and mix with like-minded people.
- They are the perfect bonding and connecting experience for solo travellers.
- Immersing yourself in nature can help improve your mental health.
- They will give you stories to share that will last a lifetime.
Although that may sound a little daunting even to the most gregarious of us, it’s worth repeating that these holidays are about pushing yourself without setting yourself a challenge that feels unpleasant. Fun is the main aim here, always!
What is the most popular adventure holiday for older people?
The most important thing with any holiday, regardless of the type, is to find something that you're comfortable with and that inspires you. We talk about the challenge these holidays can present, but if they're not enjoyable, don't feel you have to suffer through it.
There are many great options for adventure holidays for over 50’s, and it’s just a case of seeking out your match. Here are a few popular ideas to get you started:
- Take your walking holiday to somewhere you’ve never been: Whether that's The Highlands or Machu Picchu. Just remember the golden rules of being prepared with all the correct information and gear and choosing routes within your capabilities.
- Book a dedicated small group holiday: If you like to travel with people and develop new friendships, find a company offering small group adventure holidays. Explore popular destinations like Italy, Canada or Croatia and get expert views from local guides along the way.
- Remember solo tours are an option for single travellers: Maybe you're single, or your partner doesn't fancy this type of holiday. But if it's your dream to do this, don't let that stop you. There are brilliant, reliable tour operators specialising in single’s holidays. Again, popular places range from Thailand to Cuba, and you get to set out to explore everything from national parks to the northern lights. The sky is the limit!
- Water-based activities like rafting and kayaking: If getting out onto the water is your thing and you do want a little thrill-seeking, planning a trip that involves kayaking, rafting, or anything else water-based could quite literally float your boat. Although more high-octane than some options, you can still take this at the pace you like. Popular destinations include Costa Rica, Wales, and Croatia, so do your research to see what kinds of adventures are within your skillset and take your fancy.
What kind of activities are available?
The key to any good holiday is planning. Itineraries give you a way of setting out the things you want to do in the way you want to do it. This can be especially helpful with activity holidays because it will whittle down the activities from the start. It can also give you a framework if you’re travelling across regions which is essential if you want to make the most of your trip and avoid any annoying mishaps.
Different types of activities popular for adventure holidays for people 50+ include:
- Visiting bucket-list historical sites and countries
- Kayaking trips
- Walking tours
- Cycling holidays
All these kinds of activities can be done by over 50’s, over 60’s and many on the list can be enjoyed well into older age. Itineraries for these activities can be mixed up to allow some quieter times along with the energetic, so you can modulate your pace and come home refreshed. It doesn't have to be an exercise of how-much-can-you-cram-in. Not unless you want it to be anyway.
What are the most popular destinations for over 50’s adventure holidays?
Exploring the world is one of the most significant advantages of picking an adventure holiday. Still, the world starts at home, so if money is tight or travelling overseas isn't an option for you, don't overlook the fantastic sights closer to your doorstep.
Whether it's a group holiday or a solo holiday, the opportunity adventure trips bring to get under the skin of new places is one of the most life-affirming things about this type of getaway.
However, some popular destinations lend themselves to adventure holidays both for single travellers and groups of people over 50 better than others. And regardless of the place you pick, it's worth checking out things like the climate and the latest travel advice before jumping in.
Here are just a few destinations that could spark some excitement and get your search going:
- Europe – if you don’t want to be tied down to one country, the joined-up landmass of Europe offers unique opportunities to wander from one place to another, hopping across on trains, planes or cars. Favourites include Portugal, Spain, Greece and Norway. Start by listing the countries that appeal most and seeing how you can tie them together.
- Italy – Highlights include the Bay of Naples, the rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria’s olive trails or the Amalfi Coast. This is walking holiday heaven but check the seasonal weather before booking as the summers can be hot.
- Canada – does the idea of The Rockies and low-lit lakes that stretch as far as the eye can see take your fancy? If so, Canada might be your dream holiday. Again, this is often best explored on foot, but there are plenty of options for all types of travellers.
- Croatia – packed with historical wonders and brimming with ambience, Croatia is one of Europe’s gems. Go here to soak up cultural hotspots and immerse yourself in antiquity.
- India – the world’s mecca for spirituality, India is an adventure in itself without the walking tours or energetic activities. There is a reason why famous people ranging from The Beatles to Madonna have expressed their love for India. Top sights include the foothills of the Himalayas and India’s Golden Triangle.
- South Africa – where to start when exploring South Africa? The trouble here is whittling down the options. With sun-soaked scenes, eco-lodges, wildlife and beautiful food and wine, there’s something for everyone. Start by checking out ideas around the Garden Route or cycling through Stellenbosch Winelands and see where your research takes you.
- The Caribbean – is there more to the Caribbean than great beaches and azure oceans? Yes, there is! Adventure holidays in this region range from exploring botanical gardens and trekking throughrainforests. With its beautiful cultural heritage and soul-stirring scenery, this is how you make memories of a lifetime.
- Cuba – Cuba is perhaps one of the most fascinating places in the world. Known for its vintage cars, lively spirit, and colonial treasures, a fortnight walking through towns and cities has been known to be life-changing. Off-road, you can explore beaches and the countryside at your leisure.
- Scotland – a mere car drive away for most of us in the UK, some areas of Scotland are more magical than any other on the planet. Think mountains and lochs, seas and islands with white sandy beaches. All best discovered in your finest, comfiest walking gear with a thermos in hand.
- Sri Lanka – with jaw-dropping sights aplenty, Sri Lanka is a rich tapestry of landscapes, history and wildlife. Wander through lush scenes with roaming wild elephants to your side and relax on sun-kissed beaches.
- Central America – where to start with tours to Central America? This is the part of the world where you’ll find Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, for starters. Many tour packages include flights where needed and buses to take you from one wonder to the next.
- Jordan – if you want a culture shock of the very best, life-affirming kind, Jordan delivers. Ancient wonders lay among a cosmopolitan and supremely modern city that nestles in a spellbinding landscape, and all this has dutifully entranced people for millennia.
- Lake District– considered one of the United Kingdom's most beautiful regions, the Lakes has the power to surprise even the most familiar holiday goer. There are the usual, popular and picturesque haunts like Kendal and Windermere, and the glorious countryside that leaves you feeling fulfilled to the bottom of your soul.
- New Zealand – with a curiously gorgeous mix of cultures and scenery that was made famous in Peter Jackson's epic Lord of the Rings movies, New Zealand is otherworldly in its appeal. Streams with an impossible shade of blue-green, glaciers, hot tubs and the windblown ports that connect the two islands make it a magical experience. Explore by car or coach and get out on foot wherever possible.
- Peru – Inca trails, colonial masterpieces, and natural wonders that will stir the emotions like no other; Peru is packed with possibilities for every type of traveller. With so much to see and do, you can choose between hiking, roaming its towns and cities, and island hopping around the Ballestas.
- Thailand – nothing can quite compare you for the noise, energy and bustle of Bangkok, yet take a bus out to a further-flung place in the north or the islands in the south, and you'll find a whole different pace of life. With its temples, countryside, beaches and forests, Thailand is made for explorers that relish life and want to experience it to the full.
- Wales – there’s a reason why people call it God’s Own Country. Wales is one of the UK's most playfully surprising areas, with hidden gems around every corner. From Highland Railway walking tours to Snowdonia or cycling the coastal paths, you will leave refreshed and invigorated.
Where to from here?
Nailing your perfect adventure holiday is all in the planning. Now you have a little inspiration, it's over to you to find the place and type of trip that will bring joy to your life.
Remember, this isn’t about being an endurance contest or taking yourself so far out of your comfort zone that you don’t enjoy it. Plan your trip your way, allow yourself to be challenged in the right ways, and embrace the lease of life that brings.