Comedians joke that couples staying together long enough to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary should receive medals in addition to gifts and congratulations. It’s not easy to prioritize marriage in a society that moves at warp speed and continues to rack up big divorce numbers. If anyone deserves an opportunity to celebrate a half-century of wedding bliss in style, it’s the couple that has, through the proverbial thick and thin, stuck together for five decades. Anniversary trip ideas are bountiful and seniors are certainly more active than they were back in the day. Think beyond the cruise when you choose a trip – but if sailing the high seas with your honey is at the top of your wish list, pack the Dramamine and get thee to a dock.
A Little History, Please: Evolved cultures have always sought reasons to celebrate special occasions to combat marginal living conditions, stress and monotony. Commemorating wedding vows is no exception. A social custom pioneered by upper classes looking for reasons to show off their wealth, anniversary events were popularized for landmark years. By the Medieval era, all classes of society had adopted the custom of anniversary trips and over time, the celebratory trip–a symbolic extension of the original honeymoon-became a common way to mark the occasion. That stated, there has never been more variety than there is today.
Active 50th Anniversary Celebrations: Spend your 50th anniversary doing something meaningful. Take a short-term volunteer vacation. Head for Oahu to help with Wild Dolphin Foundation research or sign on with Cross-Cultural Solutions to find volunteer opportunities for seniors in Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru, China, Ghana, India, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand and Guatemala. Check out the Cultural Restoration Tourism Project to help build and support communities in honor of this happy occasion.
Take a Sentimental Journey: Return to a destination that’s as meaningful today as it was 50-plus years ago. Surprise your spouse with a journey to the location at which you first proposed. Bring along a picnic if the weather is amenable. Schedule a renewal of your wedding vows at the same church, synagogue or town hall that hosted the original ceremony. Invite the family to attend or be part of the vow renewal if location and circumstances allow you to share the joy with others.
Book a 50th Anniversary Staycation: Create a “staycation” that’s as easy on the planning as it is on the pocketbook. Select a local hotel or motel with a pool as your headquarters. Book rooms at a group rate and schedule a celebratory dinner at a restaurant with a private room so family members can share stories of your years together without engendering the ire of other diners who might not appreciate the laughter and tears. Plan additional activities for the group if it’s a manageable size-a visit to a winery, theatrical production or concert-to put the finishing touch on this landmark occasion.
Anniversary Trip at Sea: Pick a cruise based on your desire to see one geographic area. Don’t be concerned if either of you have mobility issues. Ships follow Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines to make mobility effortless thanks to wheel chair-accessible decks and pool chairs with hydraulics. Schedule massages, learn salsa dancing, take enrichment workshops, dine in luxury, gamble or do absolutely nothing but canoodle with your spouse. Compare amenities for seniors on the Cruise Critic website to pick the anniversary cruise that best fits your lifestyle and budget, and if you two still can’t get enough of each other, forget spending money on pricey trips ashore and book the most luxurious stateroom you can afford. It’s another honeymoon, isn’t it?