The Best Trips to Take in Your 60s

The dining car with tables set for dinner on the Orient-Express Hiram Bingham train which runs between Cusco (Poroy) and Machu Picchu via Ollantaytambo
Photo: Alex Robinson/AWL Images/Getty Images

According to a 2016 study derived from the most recent U. S. Census, by age 63 nearly half of United States workers have retired. That leaves quite a few 60-somethings still at work in either full-time or part-time jobs.

Financial situations vary greatly, from limited fixed incomes to affluent retirees and high earners. Most 60-somethings are healthy and mobile, but others have health concerns that may limit travel or at least require consideration when planning.

The good news is that there are travel opportunities to meet almost every need and interest. That means it's time to start checking off some of those bucket list items. Or just getting away for some rest and relaxation. Others want adventure and exotic faraway places. Some want to explore the lands of their ancestors, and still others are looking at staycations that finally give them time to see the local spots that tourists visit when they come to their cities and towns.

Our list includes a little of everything, from cruises to train trips to bucket list adventures, so we hope a few of these destinations and ideas will inspire you to get out there and see the world.

01 of 12

A River Cruise

Sailing the Danube on the Viking Freya
Dagmar Schwelle

For many first-time cruisers, a river cruise is a favored starting point. European rivers, especially the Danube, Rhine, and Seine are popular, with stops at historic cities and a variety of shore excursions. Many other international destinations are wonderful to visit on a river cruise. Cruising down the Mississippi, the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Northwest, or even the Hudson River in New York lets you enjoy a cruise without leaving the U.S.

02 of 12

An Ocean Journey

Aerial View Of Mega Cruise Ship On Sea
Anthony Enciso/EyeEm/Getty Images

A lot like an oceangoing city, the largest cruise ships have restaurants, theaters, pools, and casinos keep guests entertained onboard, and ships explore the Mediterranean, North Atlantic, South Pacific, Asia, and more. If you have imagined crossing the Atlantic on a ship and have the time, you might check off a bucket list item in about six to eight days on the ocean.

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A Midsize Cruise

Winstar Windspirit ship in Bora Bora
Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Mid-size cruise ships that accommodate only several hundred passengers offer many of the same amenities along with the ability to access ports that are not available to larger ships. Cruises through Alaska's Inside Passage are an example. Paul Gauguin Cruises carry 332 passengers through the South Pacific. Windstar sails the Caribbean and the Mediterranean with just several hundred passengers.

04 of 12

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Venice Simplon Orient Express train and crew in Bulgaria
Hristo Rusev/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, perhaps the best known railway trip, carries passengers aboard their luxuriously restored 1920s cabins for a trip across Europe as well as across time. The classic route from London to Venice takes riders through cities, towns, and farmlands in the comfort of single cabins to grand suites, with elegant dining and bar cars along the way.

05 of 12

The Belmond Hiram Bingham

The dining car with tables set for dinner on the Orient-Express Hiram Bingham train which runs between Cusco (Poroy) and Machu Picchu via Ollantaytambo
Alex Robinson/AWL Images/Getty Images

Another luxury ride to a destination on many travelers' bucket lists, the Belmond Hiram Bingham takes riders from Cusco in Peru to Machu Picchu. The scenic journey aboard the vintage Pullman-style train is named after the American explorer who discovered Machu Picchu.

06 of 12

A Cross-country Train Trip

Amtrak's Zephyr Train, Offering Spectacular Views Of American West
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

California Zephyr, from Chicago to San Francisco, passes through plains, Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevadas for a convenient way to cross the country, especially those with the available time and preference not to fly. Or hop on the Empire Builder from Seattle to Chicago, and enjoy views of the Grand Tetons. For longer trips, make sure to book a roomette or room to be more comfortable. A shorter trip between Los Angeles and Seattle on the Coast Starlight provides spectacular scenery including the Pacific shoreline, forests, and mountains, perfect for viewing from the Sightseer Lounge Car.

07 of 12

The Canadian Rockies

View of the Rocky Mountaineer train on Morant's Curve in Banff National Park, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Chris Hepburn/Getty Images

The Rocky Mountaineer rail journey from Banff to Vancouver in Canada is one of the company's four routes, and optional cruises and tours provide many ways to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Canadian Rockies, forests, and valleys. Glass-topped observation cars and open-air vestibules add more ways to enjoy the surroundings and fresh mountain air.

08 of 12

The Galapagos

Penguins swimming next to a boat of tourists in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador
Getty Images

Since this archipelago of about 19 islands is off the coast of Ecuador, you'll need to travel to either Quito or Guayaquil to start your journey. Small boats are ideal for getting close, and depending on your interests, with most you can kayak, snorkel, dive, or observe from your boat as you enjoy the unique wildlife that includes iguanas, giant tortoises, penguins, sea lions, and numerous species of birds. Planning well ahead of your trip to the Galápagos is important because of limitations on numbers of visitors.

09 of 12

An African Safari

Couple on Safari, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Narok District, Kenya
Brad Wrobleski/Radius Images/Getty Images

Planning a safari can require many decisions with multiple options, from where to go, which tour company to book, how much to spend, when to go, and where to stay. Accommodations range from glamping-style luxury, to rustic lodges and tent camps. Special interests such as certain animals, birds, or cultural experiences should be considered as well. Hiking or riding in a jeep with a small group are options as well. Research and planning will create your perfect safari experience.

10 of 12

The Northern Lights

Colorful Northern lights shining above trees
iStockphoto/Getty Images

Many travelers hope to see the aurora borealis in their lifetime, but this can be an elusive goal. Their appearance is spectacular but unpredictable, influenced by weather, darkness, and solar activity. There are many great destinations for seeing the Northern Lights. Guided tours to Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden, and Finland accommodate seekers of nature's light show, and many offer return trips after unsuccessful viewing nights.

11 of 12

Egypt and the Pyramids

View of the Karnak temple in the evening, Egypt
Leonid Andronov/iStockphoto/Getty Images

Who isn't fascinated by the Sphinx, the pyramids, and the stories of King Tutankhamen and the tombs of the pharaohs? Near Cairo, visitors can see the Great Pyramid of Giza and several smaller pyramids, with a sound and light show at night. In Luxor, a one-hour flight away, visitors must see Karnak, a temple and complex of ancient walls and sculpture as well as the Temple of Luxor, dating to 1390 B.C. Take a boat trip on the Nile and spend some time in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo as well.

12 of 12

A Staycation

USA, U.S. National Arboretum; Washington DC, Tourist at National Bonsai and Penjing Museum
Chris Parker/Perspectives/Getty Images

Now that there's time, and perhaps an inclination to have a less complicated trip, it's ideal to take a look around your own town or city. Plan to visit all those places that tourists fly in to see, but residents never seem to take in. Do it on your own schedule, and you can work around crowded days, taking advantage of mid-week prices and senior discounts. Stay in a downtown hotel or find one across town that seems intriguing. Find a new restaurant, museum, or neighborhood and explore. Be a tourist in your own town. There's no doubt that you'll discover some new pleasures very close to home.

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