Ask any retiree the best part about not punching a time clock anymore, and chances are good they’ll tell you it’s the freedom to do whatever you choose with your time. And for many, that includes travel.
For older adults who never had the flexibility to travel much through their earning years, where to go, how to get there and what to do once you arrive can be confusing. Although online travel planning may seem simple and cost-effective, seeking the advice of a travel professional has advantages. You can save time, trouble and money in the long run.
Travel consultant JoAnn Bahr works with many older adults and helps them take trips best suited for their interests, budget and limitations “I begin by asking a lot of questions,” Bahr says. “For them to have the most enjoyable experience, I need to know if they need any special accommodations.”
In general, Bahr says keeping things simple, as with package deals, where all the arrangements are made ahead of time and managed by a director are ideal for older adults. “Multiple transfers and wayfinding can be confusing for anyone, but especially for seniors,” she says.
Recently, Bahr has seen an increase in the popularity of river cruises. “Ocean cruises have always held appeal for seniors as the ultimate package deal,” she says. “But, river cruises are all that and more.”
USAF retiree Naomi McMillan went on a river cruise to France and liked the smaller number of passengers onboard the ship.
“It led to a more intimate and personalized experience,” she says. “You actually got to know the people you were traveling with. Shorter lines for excursions, tours and meals was really nice, too.”
According to Bahr, another great travel option for seniors is by motor coach. And if you think this means a three-hour drive to a casino on a stuffy bus smelling like diesel fumes, you’re mistaken.
Courtney Saylor of Anderson Coach & Travel plans individual and group travel for one-day outings to local museums, shows and shops as well as a 30-day tour through Canada and Alaska, and everything in between. Eighty percent of Anderson’s tour guests are seniors, and it’s no wonder.
“They appreciate that we plan everything for them, so they don’t have to make arrangements for where to go and what to see, and nearly every aspect is included in the price,” Saylor says. “This is a great feature for those on fixed incomes because it takes the guesswork out of budgeting for a vacation.”