While they say that the early bird catches the worm, later life is often the perfect time to go on that long-held dream holiday. Whether you’re thinking of taking a cruise, walking holiday or cultural city break, you could find that travelling in old age is much easier and more pleasurable than you first imagined; in fact, by simply taking a holiday, you could reap numerous benefits including improved mental, physical and cognitive health – but why is travelling so well-suited to the older generation?
Experience And Interest
Because older people may have more expendable income and time on their hands, retirement is often the best time to further explore your hobbies and interests and achieve those long-held goals and dreams, whether that be a spontaneous offshore getaway or a dream vacation that’s been years in the making. Older people are also more inclined to travel solo, making it easier for them to follow an itinerary that’s tailored to their own tastes – currently, cruise holidays and city breaks are most popular with the over-65s.
Improved Mental Health
The mental health benefits of taking a holiday are numerous and well-documented, with a thriving wellness tourism industry to prove it. Travelling at any age can reduce stress, depression and loneliness, improving resilience and emotional balance whilst boosting confidence and self-esteem. Travel is also said to enhance creativity and make people feel more generally happy and satisfied in their lives. Because you’re far more likely to regularly interact and communicate with a higher number of like-minded people than you would at home when travelling abroad, a holiday can provide a much-needed social release for many retirees and older travellers.
Improved Cognitive Health
Whether you’re travelling domestically by train or catching a flight abroad, taking a holiday can work wonders for improving your cognitive health. Exposure to new sights, places, faces, food, cultures, languages and experiences can forge new neural pathways and improve the neuroplasticity of the brain, potentially reducing the rate of long-term memory decline and keeping our minds sharp and alert as we enter old age.
Improved Physical Health
As well as mental and cognitive benefits, going on holiday can go a long way in improving your physical health and even boosting your lifespan – travelling can help you to stay active, whilst participating in activities like swimming and guided walking tours can boost your fitness levels and keep your heart pumping. Men who take annual holidays are even said to have a 32% reduced rate of heart disease – because taking a vacation has been proven to reduce stress levels, you could reduce the risk of stress-related illnesses like heart attacks and strokes later down the line.