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Travel for Seniors

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George Hook
18:50 Tuesday 19 February 2013
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Tuesday Travel

Senior-Specific Holidays


More people than ever are hocking their rockers and buying plane tickets. Many senior adventurers are proclaiming, "Age matters only if you're a cheese." Travel is their fountain of youth.

These days, many "seniors" are more energetic than their backpacker grandkids. But even for these folks, the topics covered below can be of particular interest.

The thing to remember is that senior travellers are one of the most sought-after groups in the travel industry.

  •  they can travel flexibly
  •  they can travel for longer
  •  they generally have more disposable income than their younger equivalents


And while many seniors – hell, people in general – are happy enough with the hotel-by-the-sea where they can relax in comfort, convenience and without any stress, a huge number of senior travellers don’t feel bound by age from doing all kinds of adventure travel.
According to a comprehensive study by Amadeus, this is a burgeoning demographic that will be the leader of the luxury market.

Specific Website

www.silvertraveladvisor.com The online community for mature travellers is encouraging those aged over 50 to join and leave reviews of their trips. Some reviews are written by a small core of Silver Travel Advisor's own well-journeyed advisors, others by the website's users.


•    The basic idea is a good one, and the reviews - which cover stuff such as cruises, walking holidays, escorted train tours, hotels, restaurants - can be informative.


•    They include ratings for things such as the suitability of the trip or place for guests who are disabled or have limited mobility - again, a good idea.


Travel Tips

When to go: Since most seniors are retired and can travel whenever they want, it's smart to aim for shoulder season (April, May, Sept, Oct). This allows you to avoid the most exhausting things about travel: crowds and the heat of summer.   

Planning: The Internet is an invaluable resource for booking flights, checking train schedules, researching and reserving hotels, and lots more. But if you’re not an internet whizz, then your local travel agent will only be too happy to help – again, not because they’re nice, but because senior travellers’ business is very much in demand.

Travel insurance: Seniors pay more for travel insurance — but are also more likely to need it. Find out exactly whether and how your medical insurance works overseas. Pre-existing conditions are a problem, especially if you are over 70, but there are plans that will waive those exclusions. When considering additional travel insurance, pay close attention to evacuation insurance, which covers the substantial expense of getting you to adequate medical care in case of an emergency — especially if you are too ill to fly commercially.

Packing: Hauling a big bag is a major concern for seniors. Instead, bring a roll-aboard suitcase. Figure out ways to smoothly carry your luggage, so you're not wrestling with several bulky items. For example, if you bring a second bag, make it a small one that stacks neatly (or even attaches) on top of your wheeled bag. Packing light is even more important for seniors — when you pack light, you're younger. To lighten your load, take fewer clothing items and do laundry more often. Bring along a magnifying glass to help you read detailed maps and small-print schedules, and a small notebook to jot down facts and reminders.   

Medications and health: Be certain to take a full supply of any medications with you. And get a doctor’s note with the generic names of any prescription you have, in case you need to fill it again.

CRUISES


Still incredibly popular with seniors, for all of the obvious reasons – you get to travel without having to move room, lug luggage or look for places to eat in unfamiliar locations. But the cruise market has adapted as much to the shifting needs of senior travellers as it has to the broadening of the age group they’re chasing.
-    the food is much, much better
-    the activities extend beyond shuffleboard and bridge
-    the excursions try to take account of all types of interests

Pre-Cruise Studies: Don't Be Left for Lost in Port

On a cruise, everything you'll need—food, fun, cabins, ports—is neatly arranged. Your only job is to fork over the credit card, right? Well, not exactly. In terms of port info, lines rarely go beyond handing out a map of the town jewelry stores (with which they have special business agreements). So with limited time in port, it pays to hit the books before you go. And even if you've booked an excursion, after that three-hour snorkel trip, you might find yourself with several hours to kill.


Don't Tip Double On Beer—Remember, There's Auto-Gratuity!


most big-ship lines—Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, and others—automatically tack on a 15 percent service charge to bar bills. Unless the service was spectacular, there's no need to add another tip on top.

HISTORICAL TOURS


The first option is Group Travel International (http://www.gti-ireland.com/), who organise all manner of trips and tours, from golf trips to cooking trips in Tuscany. They do a host of historical tours too, including the battlefield of WWI and WWII, the Secrets of the Third Reich (Munich) - all of which are incredibly popular with senior travellers: I was on one last year and everyone on the trip was over 60, incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

Trips start at around €600 for four days, include flights, transfers and accommodation, plus all entries to various paying sights and guides - I can testify that they guides are among the best I've ever seen. Incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

DISCOVER TOURS


People Alone Travelling Together (PATT; http://www.thepattclub.ie/) was specifically set up for senior travellers and solo holidaymakers - they do a range of options, from Lanzarote to Sicily, Lake Garda to San Johann in Austria.

They also do longhaul trips - a brilliant one is the Best of the West trip to the USA, which explores the heartland of country & western music, with the itinerary visiting Memphis (Graceland), Nashville (the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ol Opry; Johnny Cash's grave), the Jack Daniels' distillery.... the tour is led by country music star Robert Mizzell

Price is €2599 and includes:
•Return flights from Dublin to the United States including all taxes and fuel charges
•Assistance of Tour America Representative from departure for the duration of the tour
•Deluxe 56-pax motorcoach for entire time as described
•Hotel rooms & taxes in each city (bellman gratuities not included)
•Breakfast in each hotel
Admissions To :
•Dollywood
•Country Music Hall of Fame
•Studio B Tour
•Ryman Auditorium with special backstage tou
•Loretta Lynn Plantation Home Tour & Coal Miner's Daughter Museum
•Graceland Platinum Tour
•Sun Studio Tour

RELAXATION HOLIDAYS


From O'Hanrahan Travel (www.oht.ie)

Two hotels, both in Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava
7 nights from €399 pps
14 nights from €599 pps

LLORET DE MAR


Lloret de Mar is situated in the southern part of the Costa Brava, 70km away from Barcelona. This former fishing village has five main beaches along a 7km stretch of coastline. Its beaches have been awarded the blue flag by the EU. This popular resort is also well known for its lively nightlife.

Hotel Fenals Garden ****

Located in the heart of the Fenals area, Hotel Fenals Garden enjoys a wonderful location only 350m from the beach and 900m from the centre of Lloret de Mar.
• 132 spacious bedrooms with bathroom, balcony, satellite tv, air conditioning, hairdryer and safety deposit box (payable).
• Buffet restaurant and bar-cafeteria.
• Outdoor pool with children’s section.
• Terrace and garden areA
• 24-hour reception, internet access and lifts.
• Sauna, jacuzzi and gym.
• Girona - 43km.
• Barcelona - 80km.

Hotel Acacias ****


The Hotel Acacias is ideally situated in Lloret de Mar and is only 100m from the beach.
• All bedrooms have bathroom, tv, air conditioning/heating.
• Buffet restaurant and bar.
• Indoor swimming pool.
• Complimentary use of outdoor pool at sister hotel.
• 24-hour reception, internet access and lifts.
• Girona - 50km.
• Barcelona - 75km.

King Travel (kingtravel.ie) do a host of similar type holidays for the over-55s, to Majorca, the Costa del Sol and Benidorm, with prices starting at €455 for a week – and only one of the party need to be over 55.

Over50stravel.com is a section of Limerick Travel specifically for senior travellers, promoting terrific winter sun holidays to Spain, Portugal and the Canaries.

IRISH BREAKS

A broad range of Irish hotels offer over 55s rates to attract senior customers – who can take a midweek break (Sunday to Thursday) when others can’t.
You’ll find them some listed on goldenireland.ie and they include the likes of:

Aghadoe Heights Hotel, Starts: 01 Jan 2013, Ends: 31 Dec 2013

5* Golden Ireland Break Special Offer for Golden Ireland Overnight B&B with a two course dinner in The Heights Lounge and Bar Rate: €99pps Valid Check-in: Sunday to Thursday.

Carlton Hotel Galway City, Starts: 01 Jan 2012, Ends: 01 Feb 2013

We can tailor a package to suit you. Please see below our most popular packages: 3 Nights Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Offer September & October €175.00 per person sharing November & December €165.00 per person sharing


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

George Hook

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