Detailed Plans and Thoughtful Arrangements
This is the first and most important step. Senior travelers should choose the appropriate travel destinations and logistics according to their health conditions. If you are not familiar with China, it is strongly recommended to hire a tour operator for help. Many China tour operators usually have well-planned organized tours for older tourists, and the tours are typically customized to suit the special interests, needs, and demands of visitors who are over 50 years old.
The trips are usually very comfortable with less consumption of physical strength, and professional medical services may be provided to assure the good health of all travelers in the group.
Take a physical examination before traveling, and only start your trip after getting permissions from your doctor. Decide your appropriate travel destinations and itineraries depending on your health condition. Then be sure to report your health condition to your guides and leaders during the trip.
Bring more than enough prescription medications, in case of emergencies. Tell your doctor about your travel plans, and ask him or her for any advice on what to do if you have a medical problem while in China. Carry a copy of your medical records as well as your doctor’s contact numbers. Also make sure the people in your immediate group are aware of any special conditions about your health and medication use.
Instead of traveling alone, senior travelers should travel in a group. It is best to organize a trip with a group of friends or family members so that you can take care of each other, and you might not feel lonely. However, if you are not able to find someone to travel with you, consider choosing a trusted China tour operator.
Travel Periods and Weather
Senior tourists, especially retired travelers, usually have plenty of time for traveling. Given this flexibility, aim to travel outside the peak tourist seasons and weekends. There are 3 advantages for traveling during slack seasons. One is that you may avoid the dangers brought out by huge crowds, and another is that you can find much cheaper flights and accommodations outside of the peak periods. The height of the travel season in China is April to June, and from October to December.
During these 2 periods, the weather in both South China and North China is quite pleasant, and it will not be too hot or too cold. Traveling in this kind of weather, there is less possibility for older visitors to get sick. Learn as much as you can about upcoming weather condition through related websites, newspapers, TV, and the local people of your destinations. See the weather forecast of your destination city in China.
Comfort Level of Travel Destinations
Besides choosing destinations based on interest and novelty, senior tourists should also consider the comfort level and accessibility of each place, which includes thinking about the climates, landforms, transportation, and so on. For example, try to avoid destinations in high altitudes such as Qinghai and Tibet, and do not visit places that need plenty of physical strength to reach.
Here are some suggestions of popular destinations recommended for senior travelers:
- Seashore cities with beautiful natural landscapes and comfortable environments: Haikou, Sanya and Xiamen;
- Historical and cultural cities: Beijing, Xi’an, Luoyang;
- Economically developed cities: Shanghai, Chengdu, and Chongqing;
- Cities with fascinating mountains, rivers, and lakes: Guilin, Lijiang, Hangzhou, and Suzhou.
Comfort Level of Your Travel Itinerary
Make thorough arrangements for your itinerary to ensure it is a comfortable trip. Do not make the itinerary too full, otherwise you may get exhausted especially over time. Try to visit as many places as you can, but do not rush. Take everything in at a slow pace, and request your tour operator to alter the itinerary due to any special needs. See if they can arrange some special activities for older travelers such as health lectures, cultural lectures, and social events for fellow senior citizens.
Selection of Tour Types and Transportation
There are countless transportation methods that can be used during a trip to China. However, it is advisable for older travelers to take cautions in choosing an appropriate method. If you have respiratory or stomach problems, try to avoid taking too many flights. Cruises are very popular among senior tourists such as the Li River Cruise, Yangtze River Cruise, and Pearl River Cruise, all very relaxing and tranquil. Taking a cruise would be a comfortable trip, and sailing is often focused on the comfort of its passengers. Even on these trips, it is possible for visitors to take tours ashore various port cities and enjoy wonderful entertainment on the ship during the night. Some tour operators can also offer comfortable train tours, such as the Shangri-La Train Tour which departs every September. See more about transportation in China.
Further Notes for Senior Travelers in China
1. In case the weather changes, be sure to bring enough clothes to prevent yourself from getting a cold. See China weather forecast.
2. Avoid getting too tired. Do not walk too much in a day. Travel at a slow pace, and do not try to hurry. If you have unusual bouts of dizziness, headache, or heartbeat, take a rest or ask a doctor for help.
3. Make sure to get enough sleep, perhaps 6 to 8 hours per night. Choose a hotel which can offer you a comfortable and quiet environment. Find best value China hotels here.
4. Keep a healthy diet. Chinese food is famous all over the world and you certainly should have a taste of it. Yet, a variety of Chinese food is not suitable for senior travelers to eat, such as spicy hotpots. Be sure to first ask your doctor for diet advice so that you may avoid eating foods that may be bad or insensitive to your health. See tips on eating healthy in China.
5. Generally take it easy on your body. Avoid too much excitement, fear, and stress, and try your best to keep a relaxed and happy mood. It is suggested to avoid drinking tea and coffee, and smoking. Bathe with warm water, which is good for your body and sleep.
6. Make full use of special discounts for senior travelers. Tourists over 60 years old can usually receive discounts on transportation and entrance fees while visiting attractions. Ask your tour operator for more details on this kind of information.
7. Buy travel insurance ahead of time. Learn how to choose and buy travel insurance at: /facts/travel-insurance.htm
8. For more travel tips, visit: /facts/china-travel-guide-book.htm.