How to overcome your travel fears as a retiree

Understanding what drives older people is at the heart of what we do here at Barchester. We think it’s really important to understand what people look to get out of their retirement years. We’ve found out that 83% of people would be interested in travelling when aged 60+. This is a staggering figure, showing that we can experience wanderlust at any age! However, it’s probably fair to say that less than 83% of people travel as much as they plan or want to during their retirement. Travel is an enriching, horizon-broadening and mentally stimulating experience, yet many have reservations when it comes to visiting other parts of the world as they grow older. We’re addressing some of the most common travel concerns you may encounter as a retired traveller to help you go for that trip of a lifetime!

Getting out of your comfort zone

By the time we reach retirement we’ve become pretty settled into our routines. For some, this is the perfect time to start shaking things up! For others, stepping out of their comfort zone and embracing the unknown can be extremely daunting. A good way to address this fear is making a list of scenarios in which you might feel uncomfortable when travelling. And then decide what you could do to make yourself feel more at ease. Finally, weigh up these negative scenarios with the most positive things about travelling to your favourite location (nearby or far-flung). You’ll find that the positive list outweighs the negative, which is a great reminder of what to look forward to, rather than fear.

Falling ill abroad

As we grow older we’re constantly reminded of the risk of getting ill. This is a particularly negative mindset which prevents you from living for the moment, as you’re anticipating something which may never happen! However, in practical terms, it’s good to put yourself at ease by being as prepared as possible. Pack a small emergency first aid kit, ensure your travel insurance is as comprehensive as you feel happy with and organise all relevant documentation in a waterproof plastic wallet. Keeping your immune system strong and following a healthy diet before leaving is also a good prevention method.

Being a victim of pick-pocketing

It goes without saying that being the victim of a pick-pocket is frustrating and upsetting. However, again, it is something which may never happen! And, if you’re vigilant it probably won’t! Older people are often seen stereotypically as easier targets. This shouldn’t be the case if you’re self-aware. Wearing an across-the-body bag which can be zipped up is a good way to keep a physical hold on your possessions, especially in busy city centres. Be wary, however, than many thieves pray on people’s good natures, too. They may ask for a donation to a charity and distract you by asking you fill out a form, for example. These distraction tactics are often used by those working in groups, so always be wary and walk past without engaging them. The key is being firm and confident.


One of the most common travel fears is without a doubt the fear of flying. Flying is daunting for many due to the discomfort, turbulence, lack of control and ‘worse case scenarios’ reported by the news of mechanical failures. Many of us know that the only way to overcome a fear of this sort is to face it. This is often easier said than done. So, it might be a good idea to start by addressing what part of flying makes you nervous. Is it the taking off? Is it actually just being away from home? It’s a good idea to prepare for your trip well in advance, to make the process as relaxed as possible. And also take a confident flier with you for reassurance.

Travel is an enriching life experience at any age, but without the pressure of returning to work, it can be particularly rewarding for the retired. Taking some of the simple steps here can help you focus on the positive aspects of travelling, not the negative.