Senior citizens today are not like the nursing-home-bound stereotypes of the past. Today's seniors enjoy lifestyles that let them get out and have fun, while being active and learning something new. Travel is a big favourite for seniors, and varying levels of organised tours flourish to satisfy all destination and cost options so seniors can get out and enjoy life. Deciding how to travel is the first step toward a well-planned vacation.
Travelling “single” can mean either travelling solo, or paying individually, depending how you define it. The tourism industry is set up to give the best travel deals when travelling with a partner. The best place to look for a travel partner is within your circle of family, friends and co-workers -- generally people you already know and get along well with. But if that does not work out, there are online agencies that arrange pre-trip meetings with other solos looking for travel partners. If you truly want to travel solo, it’s possible, but be aware of the single supplement surcharge you will incur. It can be steep.
Being part of a group is the most popular tour option for seniors. Destinations for group tours are endless, with virtually every type of trip and location imaginable, including unusual ones such as riverboat tours, wilderness trips and Arctic adventures. Specific interest tours are popular: dining, theatre, Eastern Europe and world heritage sites, just to name a few. While some companies such as AARP specifically cater to seniors, many travel companies have senior tour options built into their offerings, so finding a good fit is easy.
Bus tours are an excellent way to see local attractions of a city or region with an informative narration along the way. These sightseeing adventures can be for a few hours or a full day, and can help pinpoint areas for additional exploration later in the trip. Bus tours can be group outings, shopping day trips, scenic tours, or to sports or concert venues, in addition to general points of interest. There are senior discounts for many tours, with various companies specialising in specific regions of the United States, such as Florida or New England. Also available are one- or two-week motorcoach tours, eliminating the need for car rentals. Tours to Canada and Mexico are available as well, with packages for senior groups. Most bus tour companies are accommodating and are willing to arrange tours to fit the needs of the specific group.
There are many cruise options to choose from, and price considerations are not the only decisions to make. You can choose to go the luxury route, opt for a budget trip or something in between, but the type of cruise experience will emphasise specific interests as well. Special-interest and themed cruises, such as photography, cooking, music, ecology and sports are popular with seniors. Most cruise companies have special rates for senior cruises that are generally from seven to 14 days, although 32-day and longer cruises are available. It is also possible to book a senior group cruise with non-senior friends or family in mind, as long as at least one passenger in each cabin is of senior age, which can be from 55 years and up, depending on the cruise line’s specific age policies.
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