This blog post was updated on February 19, 2023.
Most millennials have already embraced the art of slow travel. They take the time for new experiences, they plan to spend an extended amount of time in a location. They don’t worry about whether or not they’re ticking off all the touristy things to see. Some may take anywhere from a few months to a year off to do this, or maybe even after college or between jobs. And some do this in the form of volunteering or teaching in a specific location.
But the problem for slightly older travelers who like have to balance out vacation time with family and work commitments, is time. There’s just so much time that you can take off to truly soak up a new place and its unique culture. As idyllic as it may seem, who actually has a week or two to spend in a French village, shopping at local markets, cycling through cobblestone streets, and sipping coffee and eating delicious pastries at every stop?
Well, if you’re retired, then you’re just perfect for slow travel! You’ve got the time, the financial safety net, and you now want new and enriching experiences. So where do you start? Here are a few ideas for slow travel for seniors that can kickstart a whole new chapter of travel in your life. For example, how would you like to…
…take a train ride across America?
Train travel and slow travel are, if not synonymous, pretty much cut from the same cloth. You’ll have comforts such as bedrooms and a dining carriage with great observation points during your two- or three-day trip. You can ride the California Zephyr, which whisks you from Chicago to San Francisco via (most notably) Denver, helping you relive the very same route that took prospectors out West looking for gold. Or, take the popular Coast Starlight, which goes from Seattle to San Francisco, presenting amazing views of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains and the enchanting Pacific coastline. Feel like hopping off at a stop to spend a few days? Go for it! Life will seem just right when you’re chugging along at this pace.
…take a road trip along the Amalfi Coast in Italy?
Words can’t fully describe the Amalfi Coast, but let’s give it a shot. Winding roads, turquoise waters, and quaint and colorful villages perched like nests in the mountains all make it a road trip made from a travel brochure. On your drive, take your time at some of the many towns you’ll be passing through. Stop for a picnic at the amazing Roman ruins at Ostia Antica. Walk around and admire the art and history of beautiful Naples. Talk to the friendly fishermen of Sorrento and ask them for the best places to taste their catch. And admire the enchanting villas of Tivoli. Through your trip, don’t hesitate to take a detour. There’s a whole lot more than just the coast to explore.
…live in a villa and explore the real Bali, Indonesia?
While mention of the word “Bali” might evoke images of Aussie surfers, swinging young singles, and wild parties, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much more there is to explore for the slow traveler. So go ahead and rent a villa for a week or two, and use it as your base to explore some of the island’s more hidden treasures. Start your days off with yoga in a picturesque setting. Pick up an offering of flowers and fruit and leave it at the feet of deities at the Tanah Lot, Ulun Danu, or Taman Ayun Temples. Visit the village of Tenganan and learn about the art of weaving double ikat fabrics. And, of course, you’ll have plenty of time to stretch out with a good book on a beach with the ocean waves as your soundtrack.
…spend a week or so in an Irish village?
Ah, Ireland. A land of many enchantments. Why not rent a little cottage in any number of Ireland’s scenic villages and towns? Inistioge in County Kilkenny charms visitors with its iconic arched stone bridge, lush hills, and woodlands. Or visit Kinsale in County Cork, where you can watch the boats go in and out the blue waters of the picture-perfect harbor. Wherever you choose to plant yourself, you’ll have the chance to experience life at the Irish pace. Stop by the local market for your meats and vegetables and make friends with locals at the pub over a few pints of Guinness. Learn about the local arts and crafts scene from boutiques that have each been owned by one family for a century or more.
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…cruise on a houseboat through the backwaters of Kerala, India?
Overnight cruises are a popular option for slow travel for seniors, but you can still plan a package for a couple of days that lets you cruise and watch the world go by on the gorgeous backwaters of Kerala. You’ll taste delicious seafood curries prepared by your onboard chef. You can watch people going to work, fishing, or just relaxing on the palm-fringed shores. The sunset and sunrise can be heavenly on the water. A stop for supplies might even put you in the middle of a fascinating small village. Spend some time interacting with locals and supporting them by purchasing some of their native handicrafts.
…enjoy the wine and wildlife in South Africa?
There’s no shortage of great experiences to welcome you to beautiful South Africa. From the stunning Table Mountain in Cape Town to the lively nightlife of Johannesburg, you’ll always find great ways to experience the landscape and mingle with some very friendly locals. The country’s European, African, and Indian roots come together to create a unique South African identity that’s fascinating to learn about. If you’re not off diving with the sharks in Gansbaai, or following the tracks of lions in Kruger National Park, you can always sit back and enjoy some fine wines in the Eastern Cape. All the while, you’ll have plenty of time to brush up on your Zulu and Afrikaans with your new-found friends.
…visit Monhegan Island in Maine?
Maine is an ideal destination to be intentional about slow travel. The state features a stunningly craggy and variegated coastline with sleepy villages and a natural laid-back lifestyle that serves as a natural complement to your goals of slowing down. Be sure to put Monhegan Island at the top of your list of travel in Maine. Measuring only one square mile, this island is a haven for local artists and those looking to escape the hustle of everyday life. You’ll need to take a boat to Monhegan, adding to the allure of the remote location. Popular activities on the island include hiking up the ocean cliffs or strolling the charming fishing village, where you can pick up a freshly caught lobster for dinner that night.
…stroll the streets of Stowe, Vermont?
Lose yourself in the moment by spending time in the picturesque New England town of Stowe, Vermont. You’ll feel as if you’ve been dropped into the European Alps with a visit to Stowe. The classic mountain town is nestled between the Putnam State Forest and the Green Mountains, putting you on the doorstep of some of the country’s most spectacular natural scenery. Spend your days shopping along the main drag, indulging in the treats at the many sweet shops, or riding a gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield. You’ll feel all of your troubles melt away as you relax in this lovely town.
…go to a spa in California?
California is home to a number of distinguished and secluded spas, making it a great place to escape and enjoy a slow vacation. For example, The Ojai Valley Inn is a relaxing and peaceful place to make your home base as you explore the beauty of this part of the Golden State. Guests will enjoy the many fitness classes offered by the resort that spreads out over 220 acres. In addition to working up a sweat, you can also take leisurely walks through the magnificent gardens featuring fresh citrus groves and meandering pathways lined by olive trees. But, there are tons of spas and resorts in California where you can go for a little R & R. In the area, you’ll also find a vast number of dining options ranging from elegant dinner spaces and on-the-go options.
…explore the beauty of Croatia?
Despite its booming popularity in recent years, Croatia is still a wonderful place to enjoy a more relaxing trip. Croatia is the perfect balance of Old World Europe along with natural beauty. Explore the maze of streets across Dubrovnik, lounge on the beaches along the sparkling Adriatic coast, or immerse yourself in the history of the Walled City. There’s truly something for everyone in this Central European hot spot.
There are also a handful of car-free islands that invite you to leave your life obligations behind and slow down and enjoy the wonder of being in this beautiful country. The welcoming Croatian people are a bonus when traveling to this destination.
Where would you like to take your slow travel adventure? Tell us in the comments below!