Worst Places to Travel as a Retiree

Worst Places to Travel as a Retiree


Retirement is the ideal time to get out and see the world, right? You can visit all the wonderful places you’ve dreamed of seeing, near and far.

Unfortunately, not every destination — no matter how popular with tourists — is the best option for retirees. From high costs to lack of accessibility, some places are better left unvisited. Here are the top destinations that are less than ideal for retirees.

New York City

Times Square in NYC

I often recommend New York City as a great place to visit, but that isn’t always true for everyone. While NYC is definitely unique and packed to the brim with adventures to be had, it also costs a lot to visit. It’s the most expensive city in the U.S., for travelers and residents alike. You can expect to spend top dollar on accommodations, as well as activities and tours.

On top of that, NYC may not be the most accessible for retirees to get around, especially those with limited mobility. You’ll find frantically crowded streets and small hotel rooms in this big city. It’s also worth mentioning that not all subway stations, taxis, bathrooms, or even theatres are accessible.

The Great Pyramids in Egypt

Giza, Egypt
Adobe Stock

A bucket-list destination for many, the Great Pyramids in Egypt are one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. But retirees heading into the desert to see the 3,800-year-old structures may not have the best experience. You’ll be swarmed with crowds, and you’ll have to pay a high price just to step inside the pyramids.

While carefully angled photographs show the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and other ancient structures sitting in the vast Egyptian Desert, the reality might be a little different. If you’ve ever wondered what the Sphynx is looking at, it’s touristy hotels, a parking lot, and a Pizza Hut.

Paris, France

traveling Paris

Paris hotels are some of the most expensive in the world, especially if they are in close proximity to all those famous sights you came to see. You can find cheaper places to stay, but they may not be as fancy or offer amenities. Some of them will also be further out, requiring commuting that will eat into your time and your budget.

Admission costs for tourist attractions in the City of Lights will also eat up a big chunk of your budget, as will all those delicious Parisian foods you’ll be eating during your stay.

Mayan Ruins in Belize

Xunantunich in Belize, Mayan ruins, pyramid

Pyramid enthusiasts and history nerds alike probably have Mayan ruins on their travel bucket lists. And it seems like a great trip to make, considering it can be pretty affordable and some of the sites are even accessible from cruise lines. Unfortunately, these archeological sites may not be the best option for retirees.

While an amazing way to gain insight into a long-lost civilization, it’s important to remember that these ruins sit among jungle foliage. Some aren’t even fully excavated. That means that there is tons of walking involved, and accessibility for those with mobility issues is basically non-existent. It’s also worth noting that the weather is hot and humid for a lot of the year.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Adobe Stock

Dubai is a playground for sheiks and oligarchs, so it’s no surprise that it has become quite the hotspot for luxurious vacations. Known for ultramodern architecture, luxury shopping, and a booming nightlife scene, it’s definitely a glamorous destination.

Unfortunately, all that glamour and luxury comes with a hefty price tag — making it less than ideal for retirees. There is little to do here outside of spending money on expensive outings and shopping. And while you can certainly find budget hotels for less, resorts can cost upwards of $1,500 or more. Add in other expenses, like food and experiences, and you’re forking over your entire bank account.

Machu Picchu in Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru
Adobe Stock

Much like the Mayan ruins in Belize and other parts of Central America, Machu Picchu is another bucket-list destination that may not be the best trip for retirees. It’s a really cool window into the Inca civilization, but visiting the citadel is also very strenuous.

Just reaching Machu Picchu is difficult, because the archeological site literally sits on top of a mountain. It’s only accessible through hiking or taking a shuttle bus from the closest town.

Machu Picchu and the towns you will be staying in are also at a much higher altitude than where you’re from, too. It’s possible to suffer from altitude sickness, which can have unpleasant side effects like headache, fatigue, and nausea.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora

If a vacation spot is famous for attracting A-list celebrities, you know it’s not going to be affordable. That’s the case with Bora Bora in French Polynesia, which has seen the likes of Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Anniston, Justin Bieber, and Halle Berry.

Just getting to Bora Bora is expensive, with only four flights to the island a day — and they all come from Tahiti, so you have to get there first. As you can imagine, those idyllic hotels are expensive too, ranging from $400-$2,000 a night for the lowest standard rates. All in all, the average cost for a weeklong trip will start at around $11,000.