You’re finally in your elder years and can take advantage of more leisure time, but your limited mobility makes that a worry.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun anyway!
Traveling to new places is a great way to meet people and fight off feelings of isolation. Even medical research has shown a reduction in the risk of depression and healthy hearts and brains.
Consider investing in a mobility scooter to make your travel experience smoother and more comfortable. You can find some great options in our guide on the best mobility scooter for travel.
There are wonderful places and accessible tours that offer thrilling vacation ideas with fantastic destinations and minimal walking requirements.
Travel Planning for Seniors With Limited Mobility
If you plan and use the tips in this article, you can go almost anywhere in the United States at your convenience.
Keep in Mind your Specific Health Needs
Before deciding on a travel destination, consider your health issues and requirements. A few questions could be,
Is there a way for you to get around quickly if you use a wheelchair? Do you rely on any sort of temporary aid, such as a compact oxygen tank or medications?
Do you anticipate a roll-in bathroom and ramps? How will you get there? By car, plane, or public transportation?
To what sort of climate do you respond best?
The best thing to do if you have limited mobility is to contact a travel agency and ask about the options available to you, like transporting your wheelchair along or renting one for your vacation.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) advises physically challenged travelers to discuss their requirements with airlines and other vacation rental businesses before booking. A doctor’s note of recommendation may also be required for specific trips.
Allow yourself some extra time
If you require a wheelchair or an assistant at the airport or other traveling place, make sure to reserve one when you book your flight. Getting to the airport early is best, so you don’t have to wait for a wheelchair.
Find Suitable Accommodations
Another thing that affects the vacation is wheelchair-accessible accommodations and accessible bathrooms.
Discuss your mobility needs with the on-site manager or staff, like wheelchair ramps and elevators to your floor and room at your motel, hotel, cabin, or vacation home, to determine whether the facility is fully equipped to ensure your safety and comfort.
After assessing the hotel’s suitability, you can proceed with your reservation.
Travel Discounts for Senior Citizens
The National Park Service offers a Senior Pass and an Access Pass for admission to over five national parks and 2,000 federal recreation sites.
Check mobility accommodations at Visiting Sites
It is possible that accessibility details that are important to you will not be included in tourist plans. Always do research and discuss with family members and travel agents.
In addition to Scootaround, resources like WheelchairTravel.org and the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH) could be helpful.
Don’t be Afraid!
The primary advice is as short as three words: have no fear. While everyone faces some risk when they travel, improvements are always there. So relax and enjoy the vacation!
The video above shares some tips for seniors who wish to travel by airline.
There are numerous accessible vacation options for seniors with limited mobility. If you’re interested and have the opportunity, consider these.
The nation’s capital is a vibrant and exciting town with plenty to offer visitors. It’s rich in heritage, and many of the greatest attractions are free of charge! It’s often listed as one of the most accessible cities for people with disabilities.
The Washington Monument, the White House, and the National Air and Space Museum are all accessible by wheelchair, so people with limited mobility or mobility problems don’t have to worry about going there.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place annually in Washington, DC, makes it even more appealing during spring.
Andrew talks about how he got around Washington State in a wheelchair while on vacation.
Do you have an interest in trying luck with cards? Or would you prefer a world-class performance? Both are possible in Las Vegas!
Seniors with disabilities can still have a good time in Las Vegas if they plan.
Nearly every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip contains all major attractions, such as casinos, restaurants, stores, and theaters for live performances. Although the hotels are huge, they are also leveled, making them wheelchair accessible.
If you leave the hotel, navigating the boulevard and roaming around is also relatively simple. The Hoover Dam is a must-see if you want to see more historic structures.
Wheelchair Jimmy shares his suggestions about vacationing in Las Vegas. He claims that almost everything in Vegas is wheelchair accessible, including transportation, rooms, and bathrooms, and that there is no hassle for people with limited mobility.
As a state in the United States, Hawaii meets all ADA regulations and is excellent for family members with mobility issues.
Hawaii is a great place to go on vacation if you have a disability because many activities and attractions are easy.
The Hawaiian islands are famous for their stunning views. On the island of Maui, you can visit Haleakala National Park to experience the sunrise over the Hawaii Volcanic Mountains or set behind its iconic peaks.
Kauai and Oahu are known for their stunning natural beauty, especially their beaches, and waterfalls.
The city that never sleeps offers a lot of activities that are accessible to all tourists.
With more wheelchair-accessible buses and taxis and a fully accessible ferry service, it’s never been simpler to get around New York City on wheels—and to see more of the city!
Seniors who have trouble moving around can enjoy the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other New York City landmarks and attractions, thanks to facilities that have been changed to fit their needs.
One of the most famous places in North America is Niagara Falls, which electric wheelchairs and mobility bikes can reach.
Hiking trails with different levels of difficulty and vantage points that wheelchair users can reach let people get close to this amazing natural wonder.
Niagara Falls, indeed does have something for everyone. A trip on the Maid of the Mist boat lets you get up close to the breathtaking waterfalls at this popular bucket list destination.
That’s just the New York side, by the way! If you also go to Canada, you can go up the Skylon Tower, see white water waves, and go behind the waterfall.
Boston is a metropolis rich in both culture and entertainment. The city’s hop-on hop-off bus tours stop near all major attractions, making it easy to get around despite its hugeness.
Most of these city buses have elevators, making using stairs unnecessary. But to reserve a lift bus, contacting the transportation company in advance is necessary.
The Freedom Trail, USS Constitution Museum, shared and public gardens and the England Aquarium are major tourist attractions.
Sylvia Longmire takes us to Boston in her wheelchair, showing us all the accessibility facilities around.
Senior citizens who enjoy the outdoors will find San Diego an ideal vacation spot. The city’s pleasant weather makes it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, bicycling, and golf.
Additionally, various tourist attractions are wheelchair accessible. The Birch Aquarium, the Fleet Science Center, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo are just a few.
The historic downtown district of the Gaslamp Quarter regularly hosts several exciting activities. Even the lengthy river walk is both level and smooth, making it accessible even for those with mobility issues.
You will want to take advantage of San Diego’s beautiful beaches. In addition, nearly all of their sites provide free use of beach scooters.
While there are many beaches, the most accessible ones are Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and Pacific Beach.
Walt Disney World
Seniors with disabilities can have a great time at Walt Disney World, thanks to the many accessible services and amenities.
Disney has accessibility maps that show all accessible features, paths, entrances, exits, and other important information to help visitors plan their stay. They also have a service called FastPass, now known as Disney Genie, that allows you to reserve a spot on popular tourist attractions and rides.
Jen shares some tips for traveling with senior citizens to Disney Land by planning and using accessible wheelchairs and hotels.
Alaska is a breathtaking place that has come a long way in making its landmarks and recreational areas wheelchair accessible.
The Northern Lights, one of the state’s most stunning natural events, can be seen at midnight in January or February. One can also take a wheelchair-accessible boat or rail tour through Prince William Sound and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
You can learn about the history of Alaska’s people, places, and culture at the Anchorage Museum and then eat and drink like a native at one of the museum’s several restaurants and bars.
Some Other Vacation Ideas
In terms of vacations for the elderly, cruising can be the best option, as it doesn’t require much bodily effort and is ideal for many senior citizens with limited mobility.
A cruise trip can help you see the world. It’s best to verify with your cruise line before booking, but most cruise lines generally accommodate passengers with mobility issues.
Various activities are available on board, including lounging by the pool, shopping, watching movies, getting a massage, playing cards or bingo, taking cooking classes, and golfing.
You can relax knowing you won’t have to travel 10 streets in the cold to reach your dinner destination. It might be as easy as riding the lift to the upper deck’s restaurant.
Also, you can spend the day on the deck in the sun if you feel like you need to join in on a group trip.
The video discusses the cruise ship’s accessibility, choices, and mobility device rules.
But cruises aren’t only for oceans; some spectacular river cruise lines can also be enjoyed with smaller ships and more tailored service, which are more laid-back than ocean trips. They are other accessible attractions using a walking cane, wheelchairs, etc.
In recent years, many older people have chosen “senior adventures” that involve physical activity but don’t require a lot of travel.
The natural splendor of many of these sites is accessible to people with disabilities. So national parks are another common destination for vacationers, especially seniors. The National Park Service offers a senior lifetime permit to those 62 and older in the United States for a one-time charge of $80.
Seniors who like biking, birding, water sports, climbing, diving, fishing, hiking, wilderness backpacking, equestrian riding, water sports, and winter sports should visit one of the 63 national parks in the United States.
State parks are less popular with tourists but just as enjoyable for those of retirement age. New York’s Adirondack Park spans 6 million acres and is more significant than many state parks.
A video showcasing Arches National Park, Roosevelt, Wind cave, and Grand Canyon as wheelchair-accessible places
Letchworth State Park and Franconia Notch are two of the most visited tourist destinations in New York State. Hoodoo rock structures in Texas’ Palo Duro Canyon and California’s Anza-Borrego Desert’s seasonal wildflowers are popular destinations for hikers, bikers, motorcyclists, and people with limited mobility.
Skip Generation Vacations for Senior Citizens
The concept of “skip-gen travel,” in which elders and grandchildren take a trip without including the middle generation, is becoming increasingly popular.
Tauck Bridges Program provides “kid-tested on-tour adventures and family vacations” like zip lining in Costa Rica and jet sailing in Alaska. Intrepid Travel, a business specializing in small-group guided vacations, has also set aside specific family trips.
Josephine Gierer, 74, of Westport, Connecticut, enjoys skip-generation travel. Two years ago, she took her grandson Andrew, who lives in Virginia, on a tour of the Western United States. “It was a very special trip…”
Seniors can benefit from travel without leaving the house by taking advantage of virtual vacations. The elderly no longer need to leave the house to experience cultural treasures from around the globe, making it the most accessible tour to multiple destinations.
Some examples of potential senior-friendly digital getaways are provided below.
Tours of Museum
From Paris to Seoul and Moscow to Mexico City, virtual tours are offered by many countries such as Tate Britain, UK, The Louvre Museum, France, Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands, etc.
Many tour companies now provide virtual visits to top tourism spots. Guided visits to sites, activities, and even VR experiences could all be part of such excursions.
Virtual Cooking Classes
Seniors who appreciate cooking have access to online courses focusing on native cuisines from around the globe or specific culinary techniques.
Virtual Yoga and Exercises
Numerous fitness places and studios provide virtual yoga and exercise classes. Seniors can maintain an active and healthy lifestyle while exercising at home.
Even as an adult, you can have fun and explore the world.
There is no reason that limited mobility should confine you to the house. You may find that you are most free to travel, think about your life, and be eager to see the world when you mature and have more time.
Before you go
The fun doesn’t stop here! There are many more accessible cities and activities for seniors and the disabled. Read and plan your next trip!