When it comes to an ideal vacation, there are so many different possibilities that come to mind. Some people prefer a relaxing trip to a remote beach, others an adventurous tour of an exotic city. But no matter what your dream travel plans look like, there’s one thing most people can agree on—traveling can broaden your horizons.
The way time has shaped people’s place in their life often determines the types of trips they take. But you shouldn’t necessarily let the confines of age stop you from planning the kind of vacation you really want. In fact, you can use your age, experience level, and generation to your advantage when planning a vacation—and your trip will be more enjoyable for it.
And although traveling has looked somewhat different for most people over the past year, there’s no time like the present to start planning for your next trip. The guide below will help you understand the benefits of travel at any walk of life and can help you make sure your next trip is the adventure of a lifetime.
EXPLORING THE UNKNOWN: YOUNG ADULTS
Whether you’re in your early twenties and fresh out of college or have been working hard to save up for your dream vacation before you enter middle age, there’s nothing like a life-changing trip as a young adult to influence the way you move through the world.
Oftentimes young people have dreams of vacationing to a far-off land, and while there’s nothing wrong with planning the ultimate foreign getaway, you don’t necessarily have to leave the country to get the experience you crave. Inspiration can be found in a number of places—you just have to know where to look.
FOR AN EDUCATION
If knowledge is what you seek on your travels, consider planning a trip to one (or many) of the country’s historic cities. The Northeast is filled with them, such as Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, all of which offer an incredible opportunity to explore America’s past. Museums, historic architecture, and charming streets abound in these cities, and they are within a relatively short distance from one another, making for the perfect quick trip.
There’s something to be said for solo travel as a young adult. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and helps you learn more about yourself. Challenge yourself with a journey to explore the country’s premier national parks. Western states like California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho are home to some of America’s most incredible sites, such as the Grand Canyon and Old Faithful, and breathtaking geological formations like the red arches in the aptly named Arches National Park. Hiking and mountain biking in these parks also make for the perfect physical and mental challenge.
A WELL-DESERVED ESCAPE: MIDDLE-AGED ADULTS
By the time you’ve reached your early forties, fifties, and sixties, you’ve hopefully had the opportunity to do some of the more adventurous trips of your life, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t plan a trip that incorporates the best of both worlds: a little adventure and a little relaxation.
If you’re looking for a trip that can accommodate your needs, as well as those of children, there are plenty of family-friendly vacations available that can help you get some much-needed “me” time as well.
FOR FAMILY FUN
It can be difficult to find a vacation that pleases everyone, but luckily most cruises are designed for this specific purpose. A cruise is full of activities for young and old alike, with game rooms, on-deck entertainment every night, and a host of restaurants, among other activities. Kids’ activities are often supervised so caretakers can enjoy some much-deserved relaxation time. And when you’re ready to come together again, nighttime entertainment can provide an opportunity to make memories as a family.
FOR A COUPLES RETREAT
Does anything sound better than a relaxing vacation for two at an all-inclusive retreat? A dude ranch or spa vacation is the perfect idea for couples to connect and spend some time getting in touch with nature. From massages to horseback riding at sunset to morning yoga sessions, this kind of trip is ideal for couples looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Making the shift into retirement is a huge life milestone, and it’s one that deserves to be celebrated. No matter what you have planned for your golden years, you’ve earned a vacation like you’ve never had before. Whether you’re looking to venture far and wide for your trip or stay closer to home, there’s a vacation that’s perfect for making memories.
FOR THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME
The idea of a road trip has been romanticized and marketed to young people; however, this kind of trip can be perfect for retirees as well—allowing you to see parts of the country you never have before. If you live along one of America’s coasts, try road-tripping across Middle America to see exciting midwestern cities like Bismarck, St. Louis, and Chicago. If you’ve lived in a small town your entire life, venture out of your comfort zone to visit some of the nation’s biggest cities like Los Angeles and Seattle or New York and Pittsburgh. Sites like Roadtrippers even allow you to preplan your road trip, marking specific attractions you’d like to see along the way, with clear starting and ending points.
FOR EXPERIENCES CLOSE TO HOME
It’s understandable for older adults to be hesitant to travel far from home, and if a close-by vacation sounds much more appealing than a cross-country road trip, there are plenty of options to have new experiences without traveling too far. A quick internet search of your surrounding area might show you previously unknown attractions to visit, like a historic theater or a wildlife preserve. Or, if you’ve always wanted to see a nearby destination but never got the chance, make it a point to go there.
No matter what stage of life you’re in—a twenty- two-year-old looking to find yourself or a recent retiree ready for new experiences—the perfect vacation is out there. So what are you waiting for? Adventure is calling!
For more info and help with vacation planning, contact your travel agent or visit travel.usnews.com