Travel for se­niors

Age is no bar to tour around the globe and en­joy sight-see­ing.

Alive - - News - by Deepak Bha­tia

There was a time when re­tire­ment for a man meant be­ing seated com­fort­ably in an easy chair with the day’s pa­per(s) and a cup of tea, and for a woman click­ing knit­ting nee­dles to make mit­tens and booties for her grand­chil­dren while gaz­ing at the land­scape or watch­ing TV from a rock­ing chair. Not any more.

These are the good new days, when re­tir­ing age is flex­i­ble and may vary from the 40s to the 60s or be­yond; health is gen­er­ally bet­ter than of peo­ple of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions if avail­able re­sources have been prop­erly utilised and main­te­nance has been car­ried out reg­u­larly; and means and money are not short; modes of travel are read­ily ac­ces­si­ble.

The world is one’s oys­ter since it has ap­par­ently ‘shrunk’, and if one has the in­cli­na­tion, one also has the time which one could not ex­tract ear­lier as there were obli­ga­tions to ful­fill and com­mit­ments to be met. There is much to see, en­joy and ex­pe­ri­ence, many to meet and greet and mix with, lots to learn from peo­ple and places in one’s own coun­try and abroad.

“It does not mat­ter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” — Con­fu­cius

Rea­sons to travel

Be­fore trav­el­ling be­came so pop­u­lar and wide­spread, chil­dren would go with their par­ents or would be sent with an es­cort to stay with grand­par­ents dur­ing their an­nual va­ca­tion. Now, with the spread of di­as­pora, it is the turn of par­ents to visit their chil­dren who have moved and set­tled away from home within the coun­try or abroad and to look af­ter their grand­chil­dren.

It is com­mon for el­derly per­sons or cou­ples to dis­ap­pear for months at a time. These fam­ily re­unions may be com­bined with plea­sure trips to in­clude sight-see­ing, pil­grim­age or other ac­tiv­i­ties like par­tic­i­pat­ing in ad­ven­ture sports such as sky­div­ing, paraglid­ing, rock climb­ing or trekking.

Se­niors can tick items off their bucket lists by go­ing on that brief or ex­tended cruise planned long ago, but de­ferred re­peat­edly. Some may be able to af­ford to buy their own boat or yacht and sail around the world, stop­ping at ports of their choice as their fancy strikes. Later, a gifted trav­eller may even re­count his or her ex­pe­ri­ences based on a true story.

While trav­el­ling, col­lec­tors may in­dulge in their pas­sion­ate hobby(ies) to gather all kinds of odd­ments: a labeor­philist would like to col­lect la­bels from beer bot­tles; a tegestol­o­gist may col­lect beer mats and beer coast­ers from bars to aug­ment his col­lec­tion; a su­crol­o­gist would col­lect pack­ets of sugar and other sweet­en­ers.

Places to stay

“Ho­tel” is the first word which comes to mind when one thinks of a place to stay while trav­el­ling, and there is a plethora to se­lect from ac­cord­ing to one’s pref­er­ence and fi­nan­cial sta­tus : bud­get, busi­ness, mid-level, lux­ury, high-end, her­itage, quaint, quirky, modern. One can be re­ally spoilt for choice. But many other op­tions are avail­able to sa­ti­ate one’s whims, fan­cies and de­sires.

Hos­tels of sev­eral types also pro­vide sep­a­rate or com­mon dor­mi­to­ries, sin­gle and dou­ble rooms, with com­mon ar­eas for meet­ing and re­lax­ing, cafes and restau­rants.

Some en­ter­pris­ing home own­ers with a room or two to spare and a tem­per­a­ment to match open their hearts and homes for tourists and trav­ellers to share their abode for a dif­fer­ent and mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence.

Then there are camp­ing sites, where one can spend the night in a tent.

A com­par­a­tively re­cent trend is to ex­change homes for the du­ra­tion of a va­ca­tion. How­ever, one must be cau­tious while ven­tur­ing into such an ar­range­ment (seen in a film star­ring Cameron Diaz and Mila Ku­nis) as there may be risks to self and prop­erty to be bal­anced against the ad­van­tages of com­fort and con­ve­nience.

Types of va­ca­tion and ac­tiv­ity op­tions

By def­i­ni­tion, va­ca­tion means a hol­i­day. A same-day-re­turn get­away is a Day­ca­tion! Then there is a Man­ca­tion, in which the par­tic­i­pants are all men. It fol­lows that there can also be a Wo­man­ca­tion too.

There are op­tions of on-land tours as well cruises for plea­sure or to achieve a goal, un­der­taken solo or in a group.

An En­tropy va­ca­tion is one which fea­tures places of de­cay, ne­glect or aban­don­ment – not ev­ery­one’s cup of tea. Api­tourism is cen­tredaround bees and bee-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties.

A Vol­un­teer Va­ca­tion com­bines the love of travel with a de­sire to make the world a bet­ter place. One can see the world and give back at the same time.

Some own­ers or­gan­ise tours of their vine­yards and brew­eries with sam­pling of prod­ucts thrown in.

Med­i­cal tourism has be­come pop­u­lar in some coun­tries like In­dia. Peo­ple travel from one part to an­other or to an­other coun­try for treat­ment and can com­bine the trip with sight-see­ing.

For a re­lax­ing hol­i­day, one can rent a cot­tage on a beach in places like Goa or Hawaii.

Then there are tour pack­ages avail­able for se­niors. There are tours of many va­ri­eties, such as cycling, bus, guided, self-guided. There are also se­nior cit­i­zen friendly trips in which one can go at one’s own pace to places of one’s choice. There are also ed­u­ca­tional tours and dis­cov­ery tours – ed­u­ca­tion has no ex­piry date!

“The true trav­eller trav­els not to reach any­where, but sim­ply for the sake of trav­el­ling. For him, the jour­ney it­self is the des­ti­na­tion.” — Vic­tor Can­ning

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