Slow Travel: The Senior's Guide to Seeing Australia

Australia is a popular travel destination for many reasons. Not only does a trip to Australia let you escape to summer weather in the depths of winter, but as an English-speaking country, it's also an easy place for travellers from the US and Canada to get around.
By Home Care Assistance - March 11, 2019

Home Care Assistance Montreal is Changing the Way the World Ages. This is the latest installment of our “How To” series, where we lay out smart and easy-to-understand advice on navigating the aging process.

However, getting to Australia from North America is costly. In peak tourist season, flights can soar to more than $2,000 per ticket. Many travellers compensate for the costly plane tickets by taking an extended trip that lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. This is an especially attractive option for retirees who don’t have a job to hurry back to.

An extended trip also gives travellers an opportunity to see the best of Australia’s different regions; although Australia’s summer season from December to February is generally considered peak tourist season, extending your trip to the shoulder season gives you a chance to experience Australia’s wine festivals or see the Great Barrier Reef minus the crowds.

Planning an extended trip comes with a lot of challenges. In addition to managing the cost of a long trip, travellers must also plan how they’ll maintain their home while they’re away. For senior tourists, health care while travelling is another important concern. The trip back to North America is long, and it’s important you can receive any care you need while abroad.

As you plan your Australian vacation, keep the following advice in mind.

Budgeting for Travel

Staying in hotels every night and renting cars to get around is practical on a short vacation, but it can quickly take a toll on a limited retirement income. Luckily, there’s no shortage of budget accommodations in Australia. If you’re willing to share a bathroom, you can rent a private room in a hostel for under $50. Shared accommodations also means you’ll have other folks around in case of an accident or injury. Another option is a vacation rental that has a full kitchen so you can cook meals. This is especially beneficial if you have a medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, that requires a special diet. Finder lists the most popular vacation rental websites in Australia.

There’s also the issue of transportation. You’ll want to travel to different parts of Australia during your long visit, but flying everywhere is expensive and poses increased risks for seniors. Instead of paying for flights and rental cars, buy a car for your trip. While it sounds intimidating, there are tons of resources online to guide you through the process of buying a car in Australia. Before you leave, spend some time in a major city and list the car so it has time to sell. Even if you leave it at a consignment lot and get less for the sale, you’ll likely come out ahead compared to renting. Plus, you’ll get the benefit of traveling wherever you want, whenever you want.

Taking Care of Matters at Home

Long-term travellers must also think about their home. You can’t exactly lock the door and leave your house unattended for weeks without drawing attention. Not only could you end up with fines from an unkempt lawn or unshoveled walk, but your vacant home also could attract criminal activity. Ensure all doors and windows are locked, disable the garage door, and enlist the grandkids’ help in making sure you home keeps that “lived in” look while you’re away. If you don’t have a home security system, now is the time to get one.

Staying Healthy Abroad

Getting sick abroad is expensive if you’re not prepared. While citizens of certain countries receive covered health care in Australia, Canada and the U.S. aren’t among them. Without a travel medical insurance policy, you’re responsible for paying any health care bills out of pocket. Nomadic Matt explains what to look for when buying travel insurance. Seniors should also be prepared for taking medications into Australia. You’re allowed to bring a three-month supply of medication into the country. However, the Therapeutic Goods Administration requires medications be in original packaging and accompanied by a doctor’s prescription.

There’s a lot to consider when planning an extended vacation during your golden years, but the experience makes all your effort worthwhile. When you spend a month or more travelling Australia, you have a chance to experience the incredible diversity the country offers. From the Gold Coast to Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef to Purnululu National Park, there’s no shortage of places to explore.

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