Taking a holiday
Taking a break and having a holiday can do you the world of good. A change of scenery can give you a fresh outlook and help to recharge your batteries; whether it’s a short local break or a longer holiday going further afield.
Things to think about when booking a holiday
When you are arranging a holiday, there can be a number of things to think about to help it to run smoothly, particularly if you haven’t been away for a long time. The following checklist should help you with this.
Using a travel agent – Make sure that any travel agent you use is a member of ABTA, the Travel Assosiation who represent UK travel agents and tour operators. Travel agents who are members display an ABTA symbol in their windows so that you can easily recognise whether they are a member.
Hiring a car – If you are planning to hire a car in the UK or abroad, check with the care hire company that you can get insurance cover first. Many companies have restrictions on age and you may find that you can’t get the insurance cover that you want. Visit ageuk.co.uk for more information.
Passports – make sure you have a valid passport for the duration of your stay (see below)
Electronic System for Travel Application (ESTA) – this gives you permission to travel to the US without a Visa.
Visa – check if you need one on the GOV.UK website
Travel insurance – You don’t have to buy your insurance from the travel company that you book your holiday with. Shop around to make sure that you have the type of insurance that fits your needs and covers all of the activities that you intend to do on your holiday.
Many companies offer annual travel insurance cover, which might work out cheaper for you, depending on the number of holidays you take each year. If you are travelling in the UK, you may already be covered under your existing home contents insurance.
Organising your own package – Putting your own ‘package holiday’ together is increasingly popular now. A package holiday is a pre-arranged combination of at least two of the following three elements: transport, accommodation, and other tourist services.
If you are organising your own package and are making bookings over the Internet, you should ensure that you keep a record of all of the relevant booking reference numbers and confirmations that you receive.
Travelling in a group – If you are travelling as part of a group, don’t rely on one person to make all of the arrangements in case they fall ill during the planning stages, or are unable to go on the holiday.
Going away for a long time – If you’re planning a long stay holiday, check with your local social security office whether any benefits you receive will be affected.
See Age UK’s Travel tips for more useful information to help plan your holiday.
Meeting Your Specific Needs
You can explore with a dedicated guide who has local knowledge of the area. You will travel as part of a small group of travelers, usually by coach, plane or train.
If you have a disability
There are several organisations that can provide information and advice about going on holiday to older people, or to people who have mobility problems.
Calvert Trust provide outdoor activities, meaningful challenges and adventure holidays in the UK for people with disabilities and their families.
Disability North provide information on holidays for people with mobility problems or disabilities.
Enable Holidays offer a range of overseas package holidays for disabled people, their families and friends.
Disabled Access Holidays is an online travel agent offering services to disabled people throughout the UK.
Holidays with Help provide holidays for people with disabilities and their carers and also specialist respite care breaks.
Smile Holidays is a specialist provider of all inclusive holidays for adults with learning disabilities. With a variety of destinations in England, Majorca, France and Malta each location has been carefully chosen to offer a choice of excursions, attractions, entertainment and fun.
Disability Rights UK produce an annual guide to accessible holiday accommodation in the UK and Ireland. This includes detailed information on around 1,500 places to stay and also gives information on advice services, voluntary and commercial organisations and transport.
Tourism for All UK provide information to older people and people with disabilities on accessible accommodation and other tourism services such as tour operators.
Revitalise is a national charity providing short breaks (respite care) and other services for disabled people, visually impaired people, and carers.
You could also consider contacting Freedom Wizard if you are looking for an all terrain wheelchair and guided support around the Lakes for a day (minimum donation £50).
If you are travelling alone
Single traveller supplements can apply if you take a holiday alone. The majority of hotels price their rooms as doubles or family rooms, and don’t reduce their rates if they are occupied by a single person.
Single Travellers Action Centre (STAC) gives details of hotels and supplement-free holidays in the UK and abroad. Annual subscription costs £12, which includes three newsletters per year.
People aged over 50 years old currently represent about 35% of all trips made abroad.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommend taking the contact details of the nearest British Consulate (sometimes called UK Embassy) with you, as they could prove invaluable in times of trouble.
TravelHealthPro website provides health information for travellers and details health risks of travelling to all destinations.
Ask your GP about any immunisations that you may need to have at least three months before travelling abroad. Vacinnations can be expensive as not all of them are free on the NHS and several courses of vaccine may be needed.
Health insurance for travel in Europe
If you are travelling in Europe or some Commonwealth countries, you will need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This is the replacement for the E111, which is no longer valid.
The card entitles you to either reduced cost or sometimes free medical treatment in most European countries. However, you should still always take out private health insurance, as an EHIC will not necessarily cover all of the costs of your treatment.
You can apply for a EHIC card free of charge; online, by telephone: or by picking up an application form from the Post Office.
If you are planning to travel abroad you are required to have a valid UK passport. Well in advance of travelling, check that your passport is valid and in good condition.
Travelling abroad with pets
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows cats, dogs and ferrets to travel with their owners to some countries and to re-enter the UK without having to go into quarantine.
For more information, contact your vet or visit Gov.uk
Other Useful Organisations
SAGA Holidays specialise in holidays for people aged 50 years old and over in the UK and abroad.
Other Useful Information
- The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain – a guide to accessible days out in Britain.
- Barking Mad Dog Care provides a dog sitting or dog boarding service as an alternative to kennels. Barking Mad provide Home-from-Home holidays for your dog.
Last updated: January 18, 2019