Life-changing travel is vital for women over 50. As most of you know, my Ultimate Concierge and I are world travelers.
Since I was a young girl I have had wanderlust. It is in my DNA. I am fortunate to have an Ultimate Concierge who also enjoys seeing the world. As the years unfold, I think it’s essential to recognize the life-changing significance of travel for women over 50. Not saying that travel is valuable for all ages, but there is something I found extra special about traveling at this stage of my life.
For me, travel isn’t just a leisurely pursuit; it’s as necessary as breathing!
I traveled when I was younger, but I was perhaps not as prepared as I should have been. But now, as a well-traveled woman over 50, I know better. I know that organization and preparedness lead to a more relaxed and engaged journey, and I know that having a mindset of wonder and flexibility make travel so much sweeter.
DREAMING OF LIFE-CHANGING TRAVEL OVER 50
As a world-traveler, I have realized that a successful trip comes in two parts: The Dreaming and The Doing.
Before you can start planning your trip, you need to envision what you want and anticipate what you need! What does your body, mind, and soul need at this juncture of your life? Perhaps you want to take a trip to visit family, or want to plan a trip with family! Are you seeking thrills? Maybe you are ready to embark on a solo adventure or want the safety of a group travel adventure! I’m taking a group on an amazing group trip. Learn more about it here.
There are always reasons to travel, and there is always the perfect, life-changing travel plan ready to catch you. Read about my experience traveling after a loss that brought a special feeling of hope.
I’ve written previously about the restful and spiritual experience I had while staying at a lovely spa; quiet was what I needed at that time. I’ve also written about my adventures in Africa, a truly life-changing travel experience. Tune into your intuition as you decide what type of trip you want to plan.
PREPARATION IS THE KEY TO LIFE-CHANGING TRAVEL
Dreaming about your trip is the most exhilarating part of travel preparation, and should be done until you set foot on the airplane! During the dreaming phase, you put together all the pieces of your plan.
Preparing properly for a destination is an acquired skill gained after much trial and error, and lots of practice. The more you travel, the wiser and more efficient you become. Life-changing travel brings self-growth. It is empowering to be the one to organize plans and set them in motion; it is confidence-building!
In order to have a fabulous, stress-free time on your travels, you need to organize your trip properly and leave your house in order. You are the coordinator of your dream; the driver of your ship and the wind behind your sail. A worldly traveled woman must be an organized woman in every sense of the word. It is make-a-list time, darlings!
A well-traveled woman over 50 recognizes her journey is a step-by-step process. You must put a detailed plan in place for each step. Here are some helpful tips from one who knows for taking your travel dream and turning it into a successful trip.
THE TO-DO LIST FOR LIFE-CHANGING TRAVEL OVER 50
Pick a good one, darlings. By ‘a good one’ I mean well-traveled; not computer traveled. That is your first question. “Have you been to and explored my destination?” If she says no, I suggest you take a pass. Be sure she is versed in your destination. Treat the search for a travel agent like a job interview, conducting research and talking to several candidates before making a decision. The ideal agent should respect your budget, listen to your preferences, and refrain from unnecessary upselling or altering your travel plans. Let her make your airline and hotel reservations, book professional guides (a must and worth the money), purchase travel insurance with medivac, and, naturally, plan your itinerary with her. Ensure your travel agent understands your needs and knows your goals of the trip, a crucial factor for life-changing travel for women over 50.
Avoid Travel Scams
Be vigilant when booking your trip online. Scammers prey on travelers of all ages, so make sure to book through reputable websites and read reviews from fellow travelers. Always trust your instincts – if something feels too good to be true, it probably is. Read more about travel scams in this story.
Check your passports for expiration dates. They must have six months remaining. Make a copy in case you are robbed or lose your passport AND take a picture with your phone. Email it to yourself as a backup.
Visit a travel doctor to update your immunizations. Before your appointment, research your destination for the type of immunizations you need. This is very important! Before one of my trips, a travel doctor saved my life. I learned that the yellow fever vaccine could harm me. If I had not filled out his form he would have not known I had a medical problem from years past that prevented me from ever taking the vaccine. Take it from me, fill out that medical history paperwork accurately! As you get your medical needs in order before traveling, remember to refill your prescriptions and ask your doctor for “just-in-case” antibiotics in case you become ill.
Currency and Finances
Call your credit card company and inform them you will be traveling out of the country. If you don’t inform them, they may put a hold on your credit cards and that is not a fun situation to deal with while on vacation. Familiarize yourself with the local currency and exchange rates.
Cell Phone Check-in
Call your cell phone provider to learn what is included in your cell phone plan and if there are any adjustments you need to make. Will you be able to call or text from your phone from your destination? What additional charges can you expect? Put WhatsApp on your cell phone. WhatsApp is a free app for calling and texting that will work as long as you have internet access. It can be a good way for friends and family to contact you if you don’t have regular cell service.
Research and Cultural Awareness
Be savvy about local culture! Educate yourself about your destination’s customs and local laws. Being respectful and knowledgeable about your host country can enhance your travel experience. Plus, cultural awareness makes the trip much more enjoyable! This is one of the best parts of trip-planning. Go to your library or order books online that will give you a crash-course in the history of your destination, pay attention to current events unfolding and why they are important, learn about the predominant religions and their unique customs. You will feel more confident and comfortable walking the streets of another country when you make the effort to understand the culture.
House in Order
Darlings, leave your house clean and inviting. When you return from your life-changing travel, I promise you’ll want to return to a haven, not chaos. Before leaving, give the key to your home to a family member or close friend in case there is an emergency.
Provide for Pets
Whether leaving your pet with friends or family, or boarding them, be sure to leave the name and phone number of your vet. Write detailed instructions for the person taking care of your pooch or cat regarding their schedule and care, and even detail their commands (Your dog sitter will want to know whether to say, “Go Potty!” or “Do your business!”) Tell loved ones where your pet is boarded if they are not staying in your home or with family. If you are bringing your dog with you, here is some great advice for you to read!
If you have recurring obligations with a hairdresser, personal trainer, or manicurist, remember to cancel those appointments and ensure they are scheduled for when you return.
Itinerary and Documentation
Organize your travel itinerary, including flight details, hotel reservations, and important contact information. While we love to depend on our phones and email, I recommend having your travel plans, including confirmation numbers, printed in case you aren’t able to access it digitally. Keep multiple copies of your passport, driver’s license, and any other vital documents, both physically and digitally.
Knowledge is Power
Leave your travel itinerary with loved ones or friends. Your itinerary should include hotel information, contact information for any tour companies, flight information, and accurate dates. It’s also a smart idea to document information about your plans at home. Who is taking care of your pet? Who has a key and can access the home in an emergency? Darlings, creating this travel itinerary can feel like the culmination of all your planning. It’s exciting to see the plans listed in one place and be able to share it with a friend!
FAIL TO PLAN AND YOU PLAN TO FAIL
Darlings, always adhere to this rule: Get to the airport at least two hours before your flight! It will save you infinite stress. Make certain your luggage is with you.
A short story for you: We were travelling to Paris. As we left for our flight, we assumed our doorman and driver put our luggage in the car. When we arrived at the airport, no luggage! But, because we were early we were able to call our condo, and our luggage was put in a taxi and delivered to the airport. It was a close call, but we made our flight with our luggage because we arrived two hours early. Most often, when we arrive at the airport two hours early, we don’t have stressful luggage emergencies, but we do have plenty of time to enjoy a relaxing drink or spend time reading or journaling.
Giving yourself the gift of time should be applied to all parts of your travel plans. If you are rushing everywhere, you’ll miss the unique beauty of your destination!
PACK LIKE A PRO FOR LIFE-CHANGING TRAVEL
Knowing what and how to pack is imperative to life-changing travel. I’ve traveled to over 60 countries and all that packing and unpacking has made me a pro. Packing properly has another advantage: you learn that you don’t need all the “stuff” in your closet. I “pack my closet” like I pack my suitcase, I never over-stuff.
Part of planning for life-changing travel includes knowing the climate and terrain of your destination and choosing a wardrobe that will be an asset, not a curse. The attire you’ll wear at a Caribbean resort will be totally different than the wardrobe you’ll select for an African safari!
And never downplay your footwear. Stylish and comfortable shoes are necessary for every woman over 50 planning life-changing travel. Here are some of my favorites!
THE PERFECT CARRY-ON PLAN
I’ve honed my packing routine to a science, and it’s a guaranteed success. When it comes to carry-on luggage, the first rule is to include essentials like:
- evening handbags
- phone chargers
- a set of undies
- a touch of makeup
- and a great novel
Checked baggage can be unpredictable, and precious items can go missing, its a good practice to have the essentials with you in your carry-on. If you choose to only check luggage. At least keep a few essentials in a large purse or tote.
ORGANIZING A CHECKED BAG FOR LIFE-CHANGING TRAVEL
When packing your checked luggage, decide how to pack based on how you want to unpack. Here are my expert secrets for packing your checked luggage in a way that streamlines your unpacking process.
- I always pack outfits (even for my husband) on hangers, covering them with plastic dry cleaner bags. Upon arrival, these outfits are taken out of their plastic bags and hung in the closet.
- To keep small things organized, I place my folded undies in small travel organizer bags. When I reach the hotel, they transition seamlessly from suitcase to drawer, saving me precious time. No more tedious refolding – I’d rather be out exploring!
- Sweaters find their home in see-through plastic bags of various sizes, while shoes snugly fit in see-through shoe bags.
- For cosmetics, a hanging clear long cosmetic bag hangs conveniently in the bathroom, making everything easily accessible.
As you can see, this routine ensures a swift and wrinkle-free unpacking process.
A note about unpacking: Do it. Don’t leave your clothes wadded up in your suitcase. The time you take to unpack and organize your hotel room will pay-off with peace of mind, wrinkle-free clothes, and the ability to get dressed and ready for a day of exploring without hunting through every pocket of your luggage.
For a detailed account of my packing process, please read this story!
YOUR DESTINATION AND THE DOING
After all the dreaming, it is exhilarating to finally reach your destination and see all your planning come to fruition. My best advice for women experiencing life-changing travel is to be flexible. You have curated this trip based on your wants and needs, but sometimes curveballs are thrown, lemons are handed over, and we must decide what to do with them.
Sometimes, the only thing we have control over is our reactions. If your life-changing travel hits a bumpy patch, choose to be flexible and find silver-linings. I’ve had trips where my plans shift like sands on a beach. Flights get cancelled, hotel bookings are lost, the sky is dark and wet instead of blue and sunny. Even the best planner can experience hiccups beyond her control. In these moments, hold your head up, put a smile on your face, and choose to find solutions and positivity.
LIFE-CHANGING TRAVEL STARTS WITH YOUR MINDSET
While traveling, the right mindset can be the difference between an ordinary experience and a truly extraordinary one. If something doesn’t go as planned, it can be difficult to have a positive attitude. But having an open heart and mind will make all the difference on your trip. Here are some positive mindset tips to make the most of your adventure:
- Embrace Flexibility: Often, the best travel memories come from unexpected detours. Be open to change and flexible with your plans.
- Stay Curious: Approach each new place with wonder. Ask questions, engage with locals, and seek out unique experiences.
- Savor the Local Cuisine: Food is an integral part of travel. Don’t skip the chance to taste local dishes, visit markets, and try street food.
- Travel at Your Pace: There’s no need to rush. Take your time exploring, bonding with your travel companion, and enjoying simple moments.
- Health and Wellness: Don’t forget to drink water and get enough rest. It’s okay to take breaks when needed.
- Travel Companions: If you’re traveling with others, be patient and understanding. Everyone has different travel styles, and compromise is key.
- Mindful Photography: Capture moments, not just pictures. Put your phone or camera down occasionally and be fully present in the experience. Let your your eyes and mind hold onto the picture.
- Practice Gratitude: Each day of travel is a gift. If a part of your travel becomes stressful or difficult, take a moment to appreciate where you are and what you are doing.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DOCUMENTING LIFE-CHANGING TRAVEL
A woman who is prepared is relaxed. She leaves no stone unturned at home and in her itinerary. This woman is able to travel to her destination stress-free and eager.
She can become an explorer, a woman who desires self-growth. She should carry a journal to record her adventures. Her recorded travel experiences will be her personal memories. She takes on exciting challenges and new opportunities, she engages all facets of her emotions.
Her intellectual curiosity, her substance, and verve will be recorded. The written words telling of her experiences are wonderful memories to leave to her grandchildren.
I always have a journal with me to document my feelings as I travel, and I always have my phone or another camera to take pictures. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the experience of sight-seeing. When you arrive back at the hotel you realize you didn’t take a single picture. This is a great opportunity to paint a picture with words and journal about the experience while your thoughts and memories are fresh.
Your trip will be life-changing, make sure you document it through words, memories, and pictures so you can return and relive every precious moment.
Like all good things, every trip must come to an end. On the other side of every great trip is a woman who has experienced life changing growth. She’s more cultured, more prepared, more open-minded, more flexible. Simply, she is happy and eager for more.