Over 50s travel: The best tours and trips to tick off your bucket list

Whether the mortgage is paid off, or the kids have left home, often there’s time to roam a little further afield when you reach your 50s. Now, you can embark on the adventures you've always dreamed of...

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1. Trek to Machu Picchu

Trekking to Machu Picchu (Shutterstock)

Trekking to Machu Picchu (Shutterstock)

Now the kids have started off on their own paths, treat yourself to a luxury lodge trekking holiday through the Peruvian Andes with KE Adventures.

You’ll follow the beautiful Salkantay Trek, the only route to Machu Picchu that offers accommodation in luxurious mountain lodges along the way. While other trekkers struggle in cramped accommodation, eating basic food, you’ll be revitalising your weary limbs with a massage and a hot tub (with views, of course) and regionally-inspired gourmet meals, prepared by fully-trained chefs.

The trek itself provides a wild and remote experience, following an ancient pre-Inca trade route that passes through 15 different eco-systems. And at the end, the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu awaits, the ultimate reward on this journey of a lifetime.

Trip: Luxury Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 10 days

How much: From £3,095 (exc. flights)

2. Discover the heart of the Silk Road

Soaking up the history in Samarkand  (Shutterstock)

Soaking up the history in Samarkand (Shutterstock)

Now that you don’t have to travel during the school holidays, a whole new world of adventure awaits. Like this journey along the Silk Road with Undiscovered Destinations.

With departures in April and September, this trip will take you through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan and into the very heart of the Silk Road. 

You’ll visit the ancient trade cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, explore the wild corners of Tajikistan and enjoy Uzbek hospitality in a mountain village. This is a superb introduction to the Silk Road and all its wonders. 

Trip: Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan & Tajikistan - The Heart of the Silk Road

Who: Undiscovered Destinations

When: Apr & Sep

How long: 15 days

How much: From £2,785 (exc. flights)

3. Explore Australia’s wild, wild west

Snorkelling with a turtle at Ningaloo reef (Shutterstock)

Snorkelling with a turtle at Ningaloo reef (Shutterstock)

When you explored Australia’s east coast as a backpacker, the country’s stunning west coast probably seemed a long and expensive way away. Now, with direct flights from Europe to Perth, and time and money less of an issue, this 16-day west coast adventure with Audley is a great way to finally discover this little known part of Australia.

The trip is the perfect mix of city sophistication, vast open spaces and unforgettable wildlife encounters. From the bright lights of Perth and historic Fremantle, you’ll head north through the canyons and dramatic rock formations of Nambung and Kalbarri National Parks to the vast empty beaches of Shark Bay, Coral Bay and the Ningaloo Reef.

Grab a snorkel and just off shore and you’ll encounter manta rays, turtles and whales sharks – an underwater experience even more spectacular than your visit to the Great Barrier Reef all those years ago.

Trip: Western Australia Less Travelled

Who: Audley

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 16 days

How much: From £3,985 (inc. flights)

4. Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro

Reaching the top of Kili (Shutterstock)

Reaching the top of Kili (Shutterstock)

You’ve always said you’d do it and now the time is right – on this nine-day trek to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro with Tucan Travel.

You’ll follow the Machame route, known locally as the ‘Whiskey Route’, because it is a little more difficult that the easier, and hence more crowded Marangu route. (They call that one the Coca-Cola route!)

Like it’s alcoholic namesake, the route is for more sophisticated connoisseurs, offering a few more challenges but rewarding trekkers with spectacular views of verdant farmlands, forests and heather moorlands in the national park below the three volcanic peaks.

Tucan Travel are also a member of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), ensuring that your porters are treated in a fair and ethical way.

Trip: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame

Who: Tucan Travel

When: Departures Jan to Mar, Jun to Oct & Dec

How long: Nine days

How much: From £1,897 (exc. flights)

5. Set off on an Alaskan adventure

A Brown Bear hunting for fish in Alaska (Shutterstock)

A Brown Bear hunting for fish in Alaska (Shutterstock)

A visit to the wild open spaces of Alaska has always been on your bucket list and now’s the time to tick it off, with this 14-day Alaskan holiday with Intrepid.

This is a full-on adventure through the big, bold landscape of Alaska, filled with incredible mountain ranges, diverse wildlife and shining glaciers. And you’ll be encouraged to get right in amongst it as you hike, kayak, climb or fly your way through the iconic Denali and Wrangell-St Elias national parks, drop by the ‘big’ cities of Anchorage and Valdez and get away from it all at Resurrection Bay, accessible only by kayak or water taxi. 

Come face-to-face with moose, caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep and wolves in their natural habitat as well as sea otters, puffins and humpback whales as you kayak amongst glaciers. Definitely one to tell the family about!

Trip: Alaska Adventure

Who: Intrepid

When: Jun to Aug

How long: 14 days

How much: From £2,105 (exc, flights)

6. Take it easy in Kerala

A houseboat sailing in the Kerala backwaters (Shutterstock)

A houseboat sailing in the Kerala backwaters (Shutterstock)

If you've done the ashrams, palaces and cities of the north, now it’s to enjoy the gentle rhythms of India’s south – a land of untold natural beauty, exotic spices, centuries-old monuments and captivating local hospitality. 

This perfectly-paced journey through Kerala with Peregrine will introduce you to the treasures of India’s most relaxed state, including the rich green landscapes of the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, the hidden waterways of Alappuzha, and the historic Mattancherry Palace and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial.

The highlight? A night on a kettuvallam, a traditional houseboat, in the stunning Kerala Backwaters. And the delicious South Indian cuisine you’ll enjoy every day of your journey.

Trip: Kerala Highlights

Who: Peregrine

When: Nov & Dec

How long: Nine days

How much: From £1,525 (exc. flights)

7. Stand before Mount Everest

On the way to Everest Base Camp (Shutterstock)

On the way to Everest Base Camp (Shutterstock)

OK, so you might not have the cash to finance getting to the top of Mount Everest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an up-close view of the world’s mightiest mountain on this lodge-based trek to Everest Base Camp with KE Adventure Travel.

You’ll follow the legendary 'Everest Trail' from the airstrip at Lukla, passing through bustling Namche Bazaar to Everest Base Camp. During the course of this relatively easy-paced trek, you’ll visit many delightful Sherpa villages, including the stunningly located Thyangboche (Tengboche), with its famous monastery and impressive backdrop of Everest and Ama Dablam.

You'll also hike up to Kala Patthar at sunset and experience the wonderful mountain scenery of the Khumbu. This is a trip to the roof of the world that will stay with you forever.

Trip: Everest Base Camp Trek

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Jan to May & Oct to Dec

How long: 17 days

How much: From £1,845 (exc. flights)

8. Get your kicks on Route 66

Street sign on historic Route 66 in the Mojave desert (Shutterstock)

Street sign on historic Route 66 in the Mojave desert (Shutterstock)

It’s the road trip dreams are made of, a self-drive adventure along America’s Mother Road, Route 66.

Immortalised in folklore, film and song, Route 66 remains the iconic symbol of the great American road trip. Beginning in Chicago, it’s classic Americana all the way.

You’ll experience cowboy culture in Oklahoma, see the world wonder of the Grand Canyon and soak up the bright lights of Las Vegas before arriving into Santa Monica on California's sun-drenched Pacific coast.

Trip: Historic Route 66 - Great American Road Trip

Who: Wexas Travel

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 18 days

How much: £2,445 (inc. flights)

9. Cruise Croatia’s sparkling Dalmatian coast

A gulet anchored on the Croatian coast (Shutterstock)

A gulet anchored on the Croatian coast (Shutterstock)

Discover the beauty and history of Croatia’s sparkling Dalmatian coast on aboard a lavishly appointed Turkish gulet on the this luxury cruise from Split to Dubrovnik with Peter Sommer Travels.

This trip has it all – fascinating archaeological and historical sites explored in the company of dedicated experts, a wonderful maritime landscape and – of course – delicious local food and wine.

There are also ample opportunities to swim in azure waters, to relax on your elegant gulet, to sample the delicious Croatian cuisine – uniting all the cultural influences that have affected the region with the high-quality meats and fish it produces – and to try the islands’ fine wines.

Cruising the Coast of Dalmatia is an unforgettable experience, a holiday of great beauty and a voyage of discovery.

Trip: Cruising the Dalmatian Coast: from Split to Dubrovnik 

Who: Peter Sommer Travels

When: Sep

How long: Eight days

How much: From £3,550 (exc. flights)

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