The average UK retiree is taking three holidays a year, and packing their diary with social engagements, short breaks and days out. The world really is your oyster after retirement.
So if you want a holiday that’s more exotic than a few days in Margate or Skegness, where you can squeeze in more culture than you could with a package to the Spanish Costas, why not get off the beaten track with one of these non-cliché opportunities for travel after retirement? In the UK, Europe, or further afield, there are plenty of unique options if you have itchy feet.
If you’re heading off out of the UK, don’t forget to check out the FCO’s helpful Know Before You Go page to get all the latest advice for the region.
Off the Beaten Track - Without Packing Your Passport
Get a look at the art treasures of Birmingham
Britain’s second city is an underrated gem for art and culture lovers. From the world’s largest collection of pre-Raphaelite artwork in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, to cutting edge modern art for free at the Ikon Gallery, you can get your fill of culture without ever needing to visit the capital.
‘Retired and Restless’ in the Peak District
Visit the heart of the UK countryside, either under your own steam with a self-guided holiday or in an organised group. Whatever your fitness level, you can lose yourself among some of the best of British countryside, and then treat yourself to a traditional Bakewell Tart as a reward.
Get your bonnet on for the Jane Austen Festival
Bath goes Austen crazy for ten days every June. Be part of the charmingly eccentric festival by taking a trip to the stunning old city of Bath. Don’t forget your petticoat and bonnet!
Retirement for many does not mean stopping work entirely. Many enjoy voluntary work as a way of being involved in a team and giving something back. What if your voluntary work could also lead to fantastic – and non-cliché – opportunities for travel? Check out the voluntary opportunities with the National Trust and Youth Hostel Association for some inspiring short- or long-term volunteer opportunities.
See a Different Europe
See the Northern Lights
One of the natural wonders of the world, the Northern Lights should be on every good bucket list. Choose from a number of different locations across Europe and North America to give you the best chance to spot this elusive natural beauty. Plan in some dog-sledding or a trip to an ice hotel to complete the experience.
Albania. Yes, Really.
Albania is unlikely to be on your radar. But according to veteran traveller Doug Pelling, it is a great opportunity for travel. By the age of 83, Doug had travelled to over 60 different countries, mostly since retirement, and described Albania as the last unexplored place in Europe.
Art Nouveau in Riga
Riga, the capital city of Latvia, is under 3 hours from the UK, and thanks to budget airlines operating from both national and regional airports it can be a great option for a weekend break. As well as the stunning medieval old town, it boasts the best art nouveau architecture in Europe.
East meets west in Istanbul
Straddling the divide between Europe and Asia, Istanbul offers exotic souks and relaxing hamam spa experiences, as well as cutting edge cuisine and exclusive shopping. With a flight from London taking only just over three hours, a taste of the exotic isn’t hard to arrange. Visit in spring or autumn for the best weather, and a shot of sunshine without the punishing heat of Turkey’s summer. As Istanbul can be a bit tricky to navigate, consider visiting with a guide to help you get the most out of the experience.
Picture Perfect Madagascar
Saga holidays have reported a huge surge in older adults in the UK looking for more adventurous holidays to places like Madagascar. Whether you choose to travel independently, with a specialist local travel organiser, or in a group arranged from the UK, adventures like this are easier than ever to set up.
Sun, Sea and Souks in Morocco
From the UK, you can visit Morocco for adventures in the Atlas Mountains, to experience the intoxicating souks of Marrakech, or simply to laze on one of the many pristine beaches. Choose from all-inclusive luxury or – for the more intrepid – live like a local in more traditional city accommodation.
Give something back with VSO
VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) is not a holiday, but a voluntary assignment offered over 6 or 12 months. Living with and like the locals, you get a real immersion in a different culture and can apply your professional knowledge to benefit the community. The upper age limit is 75.
Dreaming of The Americas
The US ‘Deep South’
If you’re looking for a cultural experience beyond the more frequented east coast cities and Florida’s big hitting attractions, try a tour of the ‘Deep South’. Tailored trips like those offered by Saga give a glimpse into a different part of the US that is full of charm but not so often experienced by holiday makers from the UK.
Go to Guatemala
Guatemala, with its combination of Mayan culture and colonial heritage, makes for a fascinating glimpse of Central America. Try a tailored trip like this family holiday from Guatemalan Adventure, or another local provider who can suit your interests and activity levels.
And further afield
Slow travel in New Zealand
One of the benefits of retirement is that slow travel becomes a real possibility. Whereas a trip to New Zealand would have been difficult due to time pressures, why not try an extended holiday using a home exchange service to give you a ‘home from home’ base.
Sri Lanka - Spice Island
Sri Lanka, with stunning national parks and amazing wildlife, is a once-in-a-lifetime destination. Spend time with the elephants, visit tea plantations, and test your tastebuds with some delicious curries — and impress your friends with the photos!
Take a wacky cruise
For a final, non-cliché option, try a speciality cruise. Though you might think cruising is the archetypal, post-retirement travel, you can find 500 different choices with everything from naturist ‘clothes optional’ cruising, to devoted Star Trek fan trips, to exercise-mad marathoning holidays. Not a cliché in sight!
If you are wondering if you are up to taking a trip off the beaten track, then don’t forget that age and experience can actually be an advantage for the intrepid traveller. There are many opportunities for travel after retirement, all you have to do is choose. With SenChat you could even find the perfect travel companion to discover the world with. So what’s stopping you?