One of the best things about trips for seniors is that, as a retiree, you’ve got the open time to make a trip really work for you. You can save money and avoid crowds because you have the luxury of being able to travel at off peak times – which can make your senior trip longer and more intimate than rushed mid-career vacations.
A one-week vacation budget for a holiday hotspot could stretch to two or three in the off season and include tours and packages. Yes, Venice might be a bit chillier in mid-Autumn, but imagine how well you’ll get to know those cafés, museums and neighborhoods. Slow down, and enjoy the way the open time of trips for seniors can open up the heart of a destination.
Of course, the open time of trips for seniors, like any unstructured time, can have its drawbacks too. It’s important to be clear about what your senior travel goals are.
Researching Goals Makes for a Richer Experience
If a senior trip is something you’ve been dreaming about while saving up for retirement, you may already have clear visions and concrete plans about what you’d like to do with your free time. If you haven’t, it’s never too early to start planning and seeking out travel advice.
Make lists, lots of lists – brainstorm about where your senior trips might take you, and why. Even get some travel advice from a friend. Are you an art lover? Research museums or exhibitions. Maybe you’re a big reader – visiting the landscape of your favorite books can be a fascinating experience. Even if your goal is lazy time at an all inclusive beautiful resort, make sure you know which resorts offer the most relaxed atmosphere.
Maybe you’re interested in a senior citizen trip as an opportunity to build community. There are many groups that offer opportunities to combine travel with volunteer work – as well as cruises and senior tours that can be the start of long lasting friendships.
Whether you want your senior trips to be independent adventures or a group experience, the more you research your goals, the more the experience will reward you.
Groups vs. Independent Travel
There are pluses and minuses to both group and independent travel, and those pluses and minuses are intertwined.
The biggest plus to independent trips for seniors are that the choices are all yours – where to go, how long to stay, where to eat. But making those choices on a daily basis, in an unfamiliar landscape, maybe even in an unfamiliar language, can also be overwhelming and exhausting. If you are going the independent route, try to take care of as many of those decisions ahead of time as you can. Be your own tour guide, and, using guide books and the Internet, plot out as detailed an itinerary as you can. This doesn’t shut out spontaneity – you can always change your mind. But if you have those choices lined up ahead of time for your senior trips, you’ll enjoy making them.
The biggest pluses of group travel – the planned itinerary and tours and the shared travel – are also its potential minuses. You may end up feeling constricted or rushed by the tour group’s agenda – so make sure you think the itinerary through before signing on.
And then there are your travel companions. How like minded will they be? Can you get a sense of that ahead of time from the organizers? Some things can’t be predicted – the complainer, the longwinded storyteller. But putting up with a few annoyances and planning your transportation ahead of time, any problems may fade beside the pleasure of beginning new friendships with people as adventurous as you. It’s not uncommon for people who meet on group trips for seniors to go on to plan annual reunions on yearly, new adventures.
Hidden Treasures Close to Home
A trip doesn’t have to be long or exotic to be rewarding. Senior day trips can offer the same discounts and off peak opportunities as longer trips, and you may be surprised at what’s available right in your backyard. Senior discounts on transportation, or on museum, vineyard or whale watch tickets, can make a mid week day trip inexpensive and intimate.
The possibilities are endless – antique shopping, historical tours, theater, new neighborhoods – and you might be surprised at how a day, or even overnight, trip can satisfy the desire to explore, without stretching your budget. When the travel bug hits, don’t forget to look for hidden treasures close to home.