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  • Written by
    Michael Santiago

    Michael Santiago

    Senior Financial Editor

    Michael Santiago, a senior financial editor, joined RetireGuide in 2023. With over 10 years of professional writing and editing experience, he brings a wealth of expertise in creating content for diverse industries, including travel and healthcare. Having traveled to more than 40 countries across five continents and lived in Europe and Asia for several years, Michael's global perspective enriches his work. He combines his strong writing skills, editorial judgment and passion for crafting accurate and engrossing content to enhance the user experience on RetireGuide.

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  • Edited By
    Savannah Pittle
    Savannah Pittle, senior financial editor for RetireGuide

    Savannah Pittle

    Senior Financial Editor

    Savannah Pittle is a professional writer and content editor with over 16 years of professional experience across multiple industries. She has ghostwritten for entrepreneurs and industry leaders and been published in mediums such as The Huffington Post, Southern Living and Interior Appeal Magazine.

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  • Published: September 14, 2023
  • Updated: September 19, 2023
  • 12 min read time
  • This page features 3 Cited Research Articles
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How to Cite RetireGuide.com's Article

APA Santiago, M. (2023, September 19). Best Travel Destinations for Retirees in 2023: Guide to Extraordinary Experiences. RetireGuide.com. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/travel/destinations/

MLA Santiago, Michael. "Best Travel Destinations for Retirees in 2023: Guide to Extraordinary Experiences." RetireGuide.com, 19 Sep 2023, https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/travel/destinations/.

Chicago Santiago, Michael. "Best Travel Destinations for Retirees in 2023: Guide to Extraordinary Experiences." RetireGuide.com. Last modified September 19, 2023. https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/travel/destinations/.

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Destination If You’re Over 60

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure or cultural immersion, choosing the right travel destination as a retiree involves some consideration.

Considering these factors can help you find a destination that fits your unique needs and preferences:
With retirees often living on fixed incomes, affordability is a key concern. Look for places where the cost of living and travel expenses fit within your budget, allowing you to make the most of your retirement savings.
Climate and Weather
Some retirees prefer a mild climate while others seek warmer or cooler destinations. Opt for destinations with pleasant climates that suit your preferences to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Consider if the climate aligns with your preferences and if you can comfortably handle the temperature, humidity or any extreme weather conditions
Mobility and Transportation
Retirees need to be able to navigate their chosen destinations comfortably and safely. Select destinations that offer good accessibility and have infrastructure suitable for your mobility needs. This includes wheelchair accessibility, reliable public transportation and pedestrian-friendly areas.
Health Care Facilities
Ensure that the destination has reliable health care facilities and services. Research the quality of medical care, availability of hospitals or clinics, and proximity to health care facilities in case of any emergencies.
Safety and Security
Research the safety record of the destination. It’s best to check travel advisories to ensure that the place is safe and suitable for travel.
Activities and Interests
Consider your personal interests and the activities you enjoy. Look for destinations that offer a range of activities, attractions and amenities that align with your preferences. Whether it's cultural experiences, outdoor adventures or relaxation, choose a destination that can cater to your interests and provide an enriching travel experience.

Embarking on a retirement vacation is an incredible opportunity to explore the world and create lasting memories. Let’s explore our picks for the best travel destinations for retirees in 2023, each offering a blend of affordability, favorable weather and accessible transportation options.

Vacation Ideas for Retirees Who Love Food and Culture

Santorini, Greece

White church in Oia town on Santorini Island in Greece

Santorini, with its iconic white-washed buildings and views of the Aegean Sea, offers retirees an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday American life. Its stunning sunsets, cultural richness and natural beauty make it a picturesque destination for retirees.

The Affordability of Santorini: A Luxurious Experience

Santorini varies in affordability depending on the season and accommodation choices. While luxury hotels and villas can be expensive, there are also more budget-friendly options available, like guesthouses and small hotels in less touristy areas.

Dining out in Santorini can range from affordable local tavernas to upscale restaurants, providing choices for different budgets. Transportation costs, including buses and taxis, are reasonable.

Weather in Santorini: Enjoy the Mediterranean Climate

The best times to visit Santorini are during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild and the crowds are fewer. Summers are hot and crowded but offer the advantage of enjoying the island’s beautiful beaches. Winters are quiet and cooler, with some businesses closing during this off-peak period.

Mobility & Transportation in Santorini: Easy Island Navigation

Santorini has a reliable public transportation system, primarily consisting of buses that connect the major towns and villages. Renting a car or an ATV is a popular option for exploring the island independently. Taxis are also available, although they can be relatively more expensive.

Sarasota, Florida

Turquoise lifeguard hut on a Florida beach

Known for its warm weather, beautiful beaches and vibrant cultural scene, Sarasota is a popular destination for retirees. It offers a range of recreational activities, including golfing, boating and fishing. The city also has a thriving arts and entertainment scene, with numerous theaters, galleries and music venues.

Affordability in Sarasota: Enjoying the Sunshine State

Sarasota can be moderately expensive, especially during peak tourist seasons. However, retirees can find affordable accommodation options in nearby areas or consider staying for longer durations to take advantage of monthly rental discounts.

Weather in Sarasota: Year-Round Sunshine

Sarasota experiences a tropical climate, with hot and humid summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the fall and spring when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are thinner.

Mobility & Transportation in Sarasota: Convenient City Transit

Sarasota has a well-connected public transportation system, including buses and trolleys. Retirees may also consider renting a car for added mobility and convenience. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also readily available.

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Kyoto, Japan

Gorgeous view of a winding path and traditional architecture in Kyoto, Japan at twilight

Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan, is a perfect destination for retirees seeking a blend of history, spirituality and natural beauty. With its numerous temples, serene gardens and traditional tea houses, Kyoto offers a unique glimpse into Japan’s rich heritage.

Affordability in Kyoto: Experience Japan's Rich Culture Affordably

Kyoto’s affordability can vary, as it is a popular tourist destination in Japan. Accommodation prices can be higher, especially in peak seasons and areas close to major attractions. However, there are affordable guesthouses and budget hotels available as well.

Dining out in Kyoto ranges from inexpensive street food to upscale traditional restaurants. Transportation costs, including buses and subways, are reasonable.

Weather in Kyoto: Feel the Four Seasons

Kyoto experiences all four seasons, with each offering a unique beauty. Whether it’s cherry blossoms in spring or vibrant autumn leaves, retirees can enjoy a variety of natural spectacles.

Some of the best times to visit Kyoto are the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and the city is adorned with cherry blossoms or colorful foliage. Summers can be hot and humid, while winters are cold but offer the beauty of snow-covered landscapes.

Mobility & Transportation in Kyoto: Efficient Public Transit

Kyoto has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and subway lines. Retirees can easily explore the city using these modes of transport. Renting a bicycle is a popular option for getting around and experiencing the city at a leisurely pace. Taxis are also available for more convenience, but they can be relatively more expensive.

Lisbon, Portugal

A yellow tram passes by colorfully painted homes in Libson, Portugal

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a coastal city known for its charming streets, historic sites and delicious cuisine. Its friendly locals and laid-back lifestyle make it an ideal destination for retirees.

Affordability in Lisbon: Adventure That Won't Break the Bank

Lisbon is known for its affordability, making it an attractive destination for retirees. Accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses and vacation rentals, cater to various budgets.

Dining out in Lisbon offers a wide range of choices, from inexpensive local eateries to trendy restaurants. Public transportation, including trams, buses and the metro, is affordable and efficient.

Weather in Lisbon: Enjoying Portugal's Sunny Climate

Lisbon enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers. The city boasts more sunny days than most European capitals, making it a great destination for retirees who enjoy a sunny climate.

Mobility & Transportation in Lisbon: Comprehensive Public Transport

Lisbon’s public transportation system is well-developed, making it easy for retirees to get around the city. Trams are a popular way to explore historic neighborhoods, and buses and the metro provide convenient options for reaching different areas. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also readily available, and the city’s compact size also makes it very walkable.

Asheville, North Carolina

A hiker pauses to look at a view of the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is renowned for its natural beauty, mild climate and thriving arts community. Retirees can enjoy scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, explore the Biltmore Estate, visit the city’s many craft breweries, or take part in outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.

Affordability in Asheville: Enjoy the Great Outdoors Without Overspending

Asheville offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets. The cost of living is generally affordable, with reasonably priced dining options and attractions. Many of its attractions, including hiking trails and parks, are free to enjoy.

Weather in Asheville: Experience the Four Seasons in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Asheville enjoys a mild climate, with cool winters and comfortable summers. Fall, with its vibrant foliage, is particularly popular. Spring is also pleasant, but summer can be busier with tourists.

Mobility & Transportation in Asheville: Easy Mountain Travel

Asheville has a compact downtown area that is easily walkable. The city also has a public bus system, and taxis and ride-sharing services are available for convenient transportation.

Queenstown, New Zealand

Sheep on the hill side of Deer Park Heights with the view of Queenstown, New Zealand South Island

For retirees seeking a thrilling adventure amidst stunning natural landscapes, Queenstown is the place to be. Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, this picturesque town offers a myriad of outdoor activities such as hiking and bungee jumping. Its stunning landscapes and friendly locals make it a must-visit destination.

Affordability in Queenstown: Kiwi Hospitality on a Budget

Queenstown’s affordability can vary, as it is a popular tourist destination in New Zealand. Accommodation prices can be higher, especially during peak seasons. However, there are options for budget-friendly accommodations, including hostels and motels. Dining out in Queenstown offers a range of choices, from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. Transportation costs, including buses and taxis, are relatively moderate.

Weather in Queenstown: A Mild Climate Down Under

Queenstown experiences four distinct seasons. Its weather is perfect for outdoor activities, making it a great destination for active retirees.

Mobility & Transportation in Queenstown: Accessible Adventure Travel

Queenstown is compact and easily walkable, with most attractions located within a manageable distance. Public transportation options, including buses and shuttles, connect different parts of the town and nearby areas. Renting a car is popular for exploring the surrounding landscapes, but it is not essential for getting around Queenstown itself.

Seniors Travel Insurance

Cape Town, South Africa

Woman outside a car window with hands up at Chapmans Peak Drive in Cape Town, South Africa

Affordability in Cape Town: South Africa's Rich Culture on a Budget

Cape Town offers a relatively affordable travel experience for retirees. Despite being a major city, Cape Town offers a range of affordable accommodations, dining options and activities that allow retirees to experience South Africa’s rich culture without overspending.

Weather in Cape Town: Mild Climate and Diverse Landscapes

Cape Town enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Its diverse landscapes can be enjoyed year-round. The best time to visit Cape Town is during the summer months of November to February when the weather is warm and pleasant.

Mobility & Transportation in Cape Town: A Variety of Transport Options

Cape Town has a well-developed transportation system, including buses, taxis and ride-sharing services. Retirees can easily navigate the city using public transportation or hire private vehicles for convenience. Organized tours and sightseeing buses are also available for those who prefer guided exploration.

Florence, Italy

Couple eating gelato in Florence, Italy

Florence, renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance, offers retirees a rich cultural experience with its historic architecture, world-class art and renowned cuisine. Its walkable city layout and excellent public transportation make it a convenient destination for retirees.

Affordability in Florence: Italian Culture for Every Budget

Florence, being a popular tourist destination, can be relatively expensive, especially in peak seasons. Accommodation costs, dining out and entrance fees to museums and galleries can add up. However, retirees can still find affordable options by planning ahead, opting for budget accommodations and enjoying local cuisine at trattorias and cafés.

Weather in Florence: An Enjoyable Mediterranean Climate

The best time to visit Florence is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). The weather during these months is pleasant, with mild temperatures and fewer crowds. Summers can be hot and crowded, while winters are generally mild but with occasional rain.

Mobility & Transportation in Florence: A Walkable City Layout

Florence’s historic city center is best explored on foot due to its compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets. Retirees can easily walk between major attractions. For longer distances or to visit neighboring towns, retirees can utilize the efficient public transportation system, including buses and trains.

Vancouver, Canada

Three orcas in a row at Telegraph Cove at Vancouver island, British Columbia, Canada

Surrounded by mountains, forests and the stunning Pacific coastline, Vancouver is a paradise for nature lovers. Retirees can explore Stanley Park, visit the picturesque Granville Island or take a scenic drive along the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Affordability in Vancouver: Canadian Hospitality on a Budget

Vancouver can be a moderately expensive destination for retirees. Accommodation prices tend to be higher, especially in downtown Vancouver. However, there are more affordable options available in the outskirts or by choosing budget-friendly accommodations. Dining out and transportation costs can vary, but there are options for all budgets.

Weather in Vancouver: The Mild Climate of the Great White North

Vancouver experiences a mild coastal climate, with warm summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities. Spring and autumn also offer favorable weather, while winters can be wet and chilly.

Mobility & Transportation in Vancouver: Efficient Public Transit

Vancouver has an excellent public transportation system, including buses, the light rail and a ferry. Retirees can easily navigate the city using public transportation, which is affordable and reliable. Alternatively, renting a car or utilizing ride-sharing services provides flexibility for exploring nearby attractions.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Floating asian lanterns in the sky of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Nestled in the mountains of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai provides retirees with a serene and tranquil escape. With its countless temples, lush landscapes and vibrant night markets, Chiang Mai offers a blend of spirituality and relaxation.

Affordability in Chiang Mai: Budget-Friendly Thai Culture

Chiang Mai offers excellent affordability for retirees. Accommodation options range from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts, providing choices for every budget. Dining out in Chiang Mai is inexpensive, with a wide range of street food and local eateries to explore. Transportation costs, including tuk-tuks and songthaews (shared taxis), are affordable as well.

Weather in Chiang Mai: A Warm, Tropical Climate

The best time to visit Chiang Mai is during the cooler months of November to February when temperatures are pleasant. However, Chiang Mai has a tropical climate, and even the hotter months offer unique experiences. Retirees should be prepared for occasional rainfall, particularly during the monsoon season from June to October.

Mobility & Transportation in Chiang Mai: Navigate the City with Ease

Getting around Chiang Mai is relatively easy and affordable. The city is walkable, making it easy for retirees to navigate. Retirees can use tuk-tuks, songthaews or even motorbikes to explore the city and surrounding areas. Ride-sharing and taxi services are also available for more convenience, especially for longer distances.

Unforgettable Vacation Ideas for Retirees

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Last Modified: September 19, 2023

3 Cited Research Articles

  1. The New York Times. (2023). Thrifty Strategies for Senior Travelers. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/22/travel/frugal-strategies-for-senior-travelers.html
  2. State.gov. (2023). Travel. Retrieved from https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html
  3. Hartman, R., & Marquardt, K. (2023). 14 Top Travel Destinations for Retirees. Retrieved from https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/baby-boomers/slideshows/top-travel-destinations-for-retirees