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Travel is a core activity for many seniors. It’s a chance to experience adventure during retirement and explore new cultures and activities. While this is exciting, it’s vital to understand that travel has an impact on more than just your life experiences. It also affects the environment and the communities you visit.


This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid your adventures altogether. Rather, you can take a more sustainable approach to your travel. There’s a range of ways to get the most out of your trip while being a responsible wanderer.

Plan Ahead

A certain amount of spontaneity in your travel can be fun. At the same time, a lack of planning can also see you make last-minute decisions, which may not always result in the most sustainable trip.


Some aspects of travel to plan sustainably include the following.

Efficient routes

Whether you’re flying across the world or taking a road trip, it’s important to minimize your negative impact. The last thing you want to do is release unnecessary emissions, not to mention that fuel use pushes your budget. You can plan using route mapping apps, like Google Maps and Roadtrippers to find the most efficient routes with stops along the way. When it comes to international travel, you can also book flights with minimal stops and substitute plane travel for rail where possible.

Sustainable amenities

Going on a sustainable adventure as a senior should involve researching what green amenities you can access. For instance, you can stay at green hotels. Rather than take bus tours, consider taking city walking tours. Some operators provide tours aimed at seniors at varying levels of mobility.

Financial strategies

Sustainability isn’t just about being kind to the planet. It’s also about maintaining economic health. As a tourist, you’re helping by investing your tourist dollars in communities. At the same time, as a senior, you may have limited income. Planning some financial strategies can help. 


One option is to maximize the rewards you get from using multiple credit cards. Different providers have different reward systems. Some will offer air miles when you use cards to pay for travel, while others give you cashback for certain types of purchases, like dining out. Check with each provider to understand the reward terms of each and make a note of which to use for specific purchases. As always, it's essential to do this responsibly, keeping your debt accumulation low.

Support Locals

Traveling gives you the opportunity to see more of the world and interact with different communities. It’s also an enriching part of your retirement experience. You can also enhance the sustainability of your trip by focusing on supporting local businesses, rather than big chains.


Some of the reasons this is a more sustainable approach include:


  • Shorter supply chains: Big brand restaurants, hotels, and stores tend to have longer supply chains involved in getting goods to the customer. This results in using more energy resources and producing emissions. Local businesses often have shorter and more sustainable chains.
  • Community reinvestment: Local business owners are more likely to reinvest their profits back into the local community. This takes various forms, including donating to local charities, hiring local workers, and buying locally sourced goods. When you prioritize patronizing locals during your travels, you’re effectively making an investment into the ongoing well-being of that community.


This isn’t to say that only buying local is necessarily easy. Indeed, as a senior traveler, you may find that bigger chain restaurants, hotels, and attractions are more likely—and able—to give discounts. The key is to take a balanced approach. Make sustainable decisions within your budget. Even if you’re only able to support a single local business, it’s better than not doing so at all. 

Keeping Safe and Secure

Any traveling experience brings with it a few risks. But, why is safety and security a sustainability consideration? There is certainly the aforementioned economic disruption if your money and cards get stolen. Vehicle accidents can produce additional emissions and waste. Trips to the emergency rooms involve fuel use from either your travel to the hospital or taking an ambulance there.


Your best option is to take actions that are designed to help seniors stay safe and secure while traveling, by taking the following into account: 

Check accessibility and mobility resources

If you live with conditions that affect your mobility, it’s vital to ensure hotels, restaurants, and amusements have accessible spaces. Due to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, some older hotels aren’t held to as high standards as newer ones. So, it’s worth calling or emailing ahead to check.

Practice device security

Your smartphone, tablet device, or laptop can be useful tools while on the road because they help you to navigate new spaces, check your bank balance, and follow your itinerary. But these devices are also targets for criminals. You can practice strict device security by turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they’re not actively in use to prevent unauthorized access.

Take regular breaks for food and hydration

It’s easy to get swept up in the adventure of traveling. Unfortunately, this can cause people to overlook taking regular breaks to eat and drink, which is likely to impact not just wellness but also enjoyment of the trip. Firstly, ensure you have a water bottle — preferably made from eco-friendly materials — with you at all times. You can also plan each day and set alarms on your smartphone to take food breaks.


Sustainable traveling allows you to have enriching experiences in ways that care for the world around you. This isn’t complicated, largely involving smart planning and sensible precautions. It can also be useful to talk to fellow travelers along the way. More people are taking the sustainable route and you may get tips while making new friends.

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