Vacations for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Mobility problems shouldn't keep you from travel and vacations. - and fun! Here are some great ideas of vacations for seniors with limited mobility plus some tips for making your travel easier too!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
senior couple with limited mobility on vacation at beach
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Vacations for seniors with limited mobility can often be hard to plan. Traveling gets harder and harder as you get older for a variety of reasons. Some trips that young adults take include too much movement and action for seniors with trouble getting around.

There are, however, a variety of ways that you can plan a successful trip with limited mobility. There are also many destinations that do not require constant movement to be enjoyed to the fullest.

This blog post will outline a few of them.

Traveling with Mobility Problems

There are a lot of challenges to face when planning a trip for someone with limited mobility. For some elderly people, simply getting around an airport or train station can be painful. However, there are often even more challenges waiting for you on arrival.

Many popular vacation spots for seniors, including many European cities, were not built with people with limited mobility in mind. As a result, many popular places simply are not accessible to elderly people.

Plan Ahead!

The solution to many of these challenges is easier than you might think: plan ahead!

While it may go without saying that you should plan ahead for any trip, planning ahead with accessibility in mind is crucial.

If you do your research ahead you may find that your number one spot isn’t too accessible. Instead of finding out upon arrival, it’s better to go ahead and get the research out of the way ahead of time. This will greatly reduce the anxiety the senior feels prior to the trip. There are also a variety of things that you can do to find the most accessible vacation possible.

If you will be traveling with a wheelchair, make advance plans with the airport, the airline, and the hotels. This is especially important for people taking wheelchairs on airplanes.

Booking and Reserving

Booking hotels and making reservations at restaurants and popular landmarks ahead of time is very important. The earlier that you book your hotel, the better deal you will get. When booking you can call and ask about wheelchair accessibility or elevators. Many homier locations popular in Europe especially may not have these. It’s a lot better to find out ahead of time than to find out after if the hotel is accessible.

The same goes for reservations at restaurants. There’s no sense in making a reservation for a place you can’t physically enter.

two lounge chairs on a map background

The Internet

Information about accessibility can often be found online. A simple Google search may get you the results that you need. However, many smaller businesses do not have the information clearly laid out on a webpage.

If you can’t find the information you need online, it never hurts to call!

Plan Appropriately

Planning vacations for seniors with limited mobility is not exactly like planning a standard trip. Keep in mind distance between places you want to go.

For example, if you are planning a trip to Rome, going to the Vatican and the Coliseum on the same day may not be a great idea because they are so far apart.

Instead, plan trips in clusters.

Choose one area that you want to stay in for the majority of the day, and visit other areas later. This reduces the stress of walking or riding all over town.

If possible, try to stay in the parts of the city where there is high accessibility. In some cities, this means staying in the newer parts of town. Older buildings are less likely to have been built with senior citizen needs in mind.

Look at Rental Equipment

You can often rent mobility equipment at many vacation destinations.

For example, most amusement and theme parks rent medical scooters and wheelchairs for use in the park. Or, call a local home medical equipment company. They may rent scooters and wheelchairs by the day – especially in tourist areas like Orlando or New York City.

Thinking about a beach vacation? Many beach destinations have beach wheelchairs available for rent. Just be sure to call ahead and make a reservation. During peak travel times, these items go fast.

hotel and pool in a sunny, tropical climate

Vacation Destinations

Just about any major tourist hot spot can be accessible to senior citizens.

What it takes is mostly planning. However, some options are better than others.

For example, did you know most cruise ships are wheelchair accessible? Cruises are great opportunities for senior citizens to get out of the house. They often offer many fun activities that require very little mobility.

The combination of accessibility and activity makes for some great vacations for seniors who have trouble walking.


Another great tip: take advantage of tours.

Many tours are wheelchair accessible, more comfortable than car trips, and otherwise senior citizen-friendly. Bus tours are especially great in cities with a lot of landmarks to visit. Rome and Paris are both great examples of this.

It’s a lot easier to get around town on a bus than on your own two feet (or two wheels, of course). Want to see the Eiffel Tower and visit Versailles on the same day? Bus tours are great for this.

They are also usually reasonably priced and found in just about every major city.

The Capital

One particularly great location for senior citizens to travel to is Washington DC.

The national mall offers several days of tourism all in one confined area. The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Smithsonian Institute are all located here. Museums are great for senior citizens because they are usually wheelchair accessible and do not require large amounts of movement. The trip is especially great for Americans, who often consider a visit to their capital necessary at least once in their life.

Outside the National Mall, many other historic landmarks are easily accessed by bus. These include the White House and the Arlington Cemetery, the location of countless fallen soldiers, including the tomb of the unknown soldier.

It’s no wonder that Washington DC made my list of the top cities for wheelchair travel.

senior man getting on a tour bus

The Beach

Beach vacations are also great for senior citizens.

Any number of tropical destinations from Hawaii to Jamaica are great for this. Nothing really relaxes you like a quiet day on the beach. More importantly, few places are so accommodating.

Large resorts are especially good at making their buildings accessible to everyone. Resorts also often offer a wide variety of activities. In a way, resorts are like land bound cruise ships. They both offer a great amount of accessible entertainment. Senior citizens love them for just that reason.

They do tend to be a bit pricier, but if you have the money, the trip is almost always worth it. Another great benefit of these resorts is that once you’ve gone, you can say you’ve been to wild tropical destinations without ever putting yourself in harm’s way.

RELATED GUIDE: Senior All-Inclusive Vacations


If you’ve had your heart set on a trip to Europe, there’s no reason to despair. Europe does have many cities with widespread wheelchair access.

Probably the easiest city to get around is London. There are a lot of reasons to plan your limited mobility vacations in London. London is a very modern city with a large amount of wheelchair accessible sites.

There is plenty to see and do there, and you can see and do just about all of it from a wheelchair. Also, it goes without saying that the people there speak English, making it an easy trip for native English speakers.

Wrapping Up…

I hope this guide has encouraged you about taking a vacation with the seniors in your life. With some planning in advance, choosing the right destination, and a little dose of patience, you are sure to have a great vacation.

Hey, and don’t forget to bring a camera to record those memories. You are going to want them later.

Tell me in the comments below about a vacation you have taken with a senior with limited mobility. What tips and advice do you have to share from your experience? If this article was helpful, please share on your favorite social media!

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Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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7 thoughts on “Vacations for Seniors with Limited Mobility”

  1. would love more contacts i am in an electric chair and have ms it is difficult for me since i am not computer savy also i have been on cruises but it is difficult to get transportation for me in the islands to see the sights even the ships don’t have information accessible want to go to europe need assistance thanks

  2. The Dominican Republic has the Assisted Villas, which is a resort dedicated to seniors and limited mobility travelers. Transportation is available in wheelchair friendly vans, do a search for more information.

    • Hi Eddie – thanks for bringing this to my attention and the attention of my readers. Looks like a nice place!

  3. I am a senior who uses a motorized wheelchair. When I travel, sometimes there is no way to transport my chair so I also have a manual one. The problem with that is, I cannot push myself up small inclines. I’m just not strong enough. When booking a hotel room, I have to make sure there is a roll in shower. I prefer to be on the first floor even when there is an elevator. If there is a fire, I would be screwed if I were up even one floor because of the stairs. I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for eight years. You would not believe the stumbling blocks that crop up. The world needs to look at the challenges of being handicapped. And say, there but for the grace of God…

    • Hi Lucy – I see this struggle daily in my ATP position. To add to the struggle, most insurances won’t cover a manual chair for transportation if they purchased a power wheelchair for you. It is an either/or proposition for sure.

  4. looking for tour of western national parks for 2 weeks any ideas? i use a cane or walking sticks to get around.

  5. we used to take my dad everywhere with us.sure,it took longer,with having to deal w/ wheelchairs and helping him in and out,but was worth the memories. he didnt get disabled until he was 94,so that helped. he even went on the honor flight at 99,with my nam vet hubby.

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