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