How to be 50: How to Vacation

By Charlotte Latvala

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When you were younger, vacationing was easy. You tossed your flip-flops in the Datsun, rolled down your windows, and cranked up Tom Petty on the cassette player. You could drive all night to get to the beach at sunrise – then stay up all day and toss back shots till midnight.

At 50, however, such spontaneity takes a back seat to thoughts like “Is there an AARP discount?” and “I’m not going out in that heat.” But you can still enjoy a vacation at your advanced age. Simply…

  • Plan ahead – just a bit. Overdoing it sucks the fun out of the trip, but no prep work leads to humiliation at the U.S.-Canadian border, where in 2015 you are apparently the only person unaware that you need a passport to cross the bridge.
  • Pack something comforting from home. A new VISA with a high credit limit is good for starters.
A sturdy neck pillow is a fifty-something's best friend.

A sturdy neck pillow is a fifty-something’s best friend.

  • Get marital arguments out of the way before you depart, including but not limited to: “I thought you packed the bathing suits,” “Would it hurt to act like you’re enjoying this?” and the classic “I think you should have turned left back there. But do it your way.”
  • Avoid any vacation spot marketed to twentysomethings. People will mistake you for a parole officer.
  • Factor break time into any drive. You won’t be the only 50-year-old doing yoga stretches at the rest area. (Actually, you will be, and people will stare, but don’t let that stop you.)
  • Avoid the following: Roadside restaurants with ethnic themes, especially those with “Haus” in the name; any establishment that rhymes “sun” with “buns” in their advertising material; and, um, theme parks.
  • Don’t take your kids. But if you must, give them lots of material to Snapchat to their friends at home. Sneak PB&J sandwiches into the amusement park; wear dad/mom jeans on the beach; and make 10-year-old pop culture references. (“If this plane crashes, I hope we end up on a cool island, like the one in ‘Lost.’”)
  • Nix any tour where you have to sign a waiver. Likewise, just say no to any activity involving the words “diving,” “extreme,” or “deep sea.”
Plastic ponchos make great gifts.

Plastic ponchos make great gifts.

  • Insist on bringing home cheap or free souvenirs that you will never look at again. The more pointless or inconvenient, the better.
  • Stay home. You know where everything is, it’s comfortable, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper.


Filed under 50, humor, lists, mid-life, middle-aged, vacation

2 responses to “How to be 50: How to Vacation

  1. I like the last option, Stay home … It’s definitely cheaper for a stay-cation

    • Charlotte Latvala

      I agree! As long as you can figure out a way to make it a “stay-cation” and not just “another week at home,” right?

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