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Senior Vacation Information

Older Americans often look for different destinations as well as a means for getting there. Sure there are times when you want your grandchildren with you, but there are also times when you’d like some solitude—the ability to relax and get away for some “quiet time”. Whether you’re traveling to a place you’ve never been before or back to a resort or community you love, your needs and desires may be very different from those of your children or grandchildren.

Click here for more boomer and senor travel resources
(Take a Break, Travel Assistance, Cruises, Travel and Volunteer, Travel Discounts, Retiring Abroad)


Travel tips from the U.S. Department of State

The first step to an enjoyable vacation is planning a safe vacation. There are many things to think about both before and during your vacation; what to pack and what to leave behind, safety precautions while traversing foreign streets, staying in hotels or riding public transportation. And, what steps should be taken if you are the victim of a burglary or mugging. The U.S. Department of State address these and many other useful topics on its website. Click here to view

Travel Tips for Flying Less Expensively
Book your flights as far in advance as possible (at least 7 weeks)
Always book flights on a Tuesday, preferably at 3:00PM
Plan to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday.
Usually flights with a stop or change of planes are less expensive than direct non-stop flights


Weather conditions at U.S. airports
If you want to check conditions of airports you may land at or where you might be changing planes
check the FAA's site

Healthy travel information from the CDC
The Center for Disease Control provides information on destinations around the world.

This site includes a map where you can easily find travel health information. Do you need a vaccination, is there a travel risk, find local clinics, etc. wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.aspx

Traveling outside your time zone
If you want to know the time it is at your destination, this site will tell you
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

Airline Bereavement Policies
Each airline has a different policy. Some have a flat discount and some have no special rates at all. Most require you travel within a few days of the funeral and must be booked directly with the respective airline and not via a third party. Call the airline for details.

Airline Portable Oxygen Policies
Portable oxygen concentrators have overcome the mobility challenges of home units, giving travelers no reason to be homebound if they are dependent on oxygen therapy. They are available for rent and can be used on planes, cruises or during an entire vacation

Home Exchange 50plus
Swap your home with other like-minded boomers and seniors for vacations in your own country or worldwide. Home & Hospitality Exchange lets you travel and save thousands at the same time. Stay free - travel more. This site is specifically for the older traveler.

A cruise or a resort vacation?
There are many reasons for both. To enjoy a cruise you need three things for maximum enjoyment.

  1. Good Weather. If the sea is rough most vacationers will not enjoy the cruise no matter what else happens.
  2. The right ship. Each vacationer looks for different amenities in a ship. Some want a casino, others play areas for children, others a cozy bar and some the opportunity to be entertained at Broadway or Las Vegas style shows.
  3. People with similar interests and in the same age group. Unless you plan to spend the entire time with your family or as a secluded couple it is important to be able to converse and interact and even make friends with others on the ship. Before you leave, compare popular plans with Travel Guard cruise insurance for a custom comparison for vacation coverage.

Of course weather, friendly people with some of the same interests and the right amenities are important at a resort, but you are not trapped in this location so you are able to explore other areas more easily.

It is also generally easier to get information on a resort to better determine if this is where you wish to spend your vacation.

If you want a beach as opposed to a swimming pool a resort is a must. If you get seasick a resort is a must. If you want to play golf or tennis or rent a car and drive around a resort is a must. (Of course when a ship is in port some of these activities are available to you.)

As a general rule most resorts allow for more personal space than a cabin on a cruise. Your rooms are larger and there is usually less waiting to use various facilities, less crowds and, if you wish, a slower pace.

The key to choosing which is best for you is doing some research and using a travel agency that has had clients on that particular ship at that time of year or who have visited that resort. Better yet if your travel agent has been there personally and can tell you first hand the pluses and minuses.

Cruises for Seniors, Vacations for Seniors, Resorts for Seniors
Older Americans often look for different destinations as well as a means for getting there. Sure there are times when you want your grandchildren with you, but there are also times when you’d like some solitude—the ability to relax and get away for some “quiet time”. Whether your traveling to a place you’ve never been before or back to a resort or community you love, your needs and desires may be very different from those of your children or grandchildren.

While planning your trip think about where you will be staying while on your vacation. If you are not as mobile as you once were don’t be shy about calling different hotels or resorts to ask about the floor plan or if there are any unique architectural (winding staircases) or topographical (located atop a steep hill) quirks. If stairs are a problem, ask for room on the ground floor, or at least make sure there is an elevator. On his website, Rick Steves covers these topics and has many other practical tips for the vacationing senior; click here to visit Steves’ site.

Traveling Alone Resources
It is a fair assumption to say that single travelers at any age have barriers, challenges and higher expenses than couples or groups. Most who travel as individuals have had to resort to travelling with companies that deal mainly with families that have children and they inevitably end up paying a substantial single supplement

There are lots of different reasons why people choose to travel by themselves. They might be widowed, divorced, unattached or just want a break from their partner or spouse. The big advantage of travelling by yourself is that you can do what you want to do when you want to do it, but its taking that first step and actually booking the holiday that seems to be the toughest part.

Some people may be happy to spend time on their own, however most prefer to have others around them to chat with and to and share experiences. If you choose a company specializing in holidays for single travelers then you will have companions who feel exactly the same way.

People generally do not want to go on holiday to be on their own, after all a holiday is about sharing experiences and having fun. When booking a solo holiday look for a company that includes excursions, meals and drinks in the price as well as organizing each day so that you get to see as much as possible of the destination.

If you are planning a first time trip alone you might try a six day European city break. A city break means there is plenty to do rather than just lie on a beach all day and you won’t be wandering around by yourself feeling lost. Travelling with a group means there are plenty of people around you which increases your chances of finding people that are simpatico; that enjoy the same things you enjoy and with whom it is easy to communicate. It also means that you do not have to eat alone.

Of course the only way you are going to find out what fun it can be is to take the plunge and book yourself on a holiday!   There are a small number of specialist Tour Operators who understand the problems of being a single traveler and are focusing on their particular requirements.  

We have found one located in the UK. Check their Website:  https://www.onetraveller.co.uk 

The time at your destination
When traveling outside your time zone and want to know the time it is at your destination.
This site will tell you
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

Sites that will help you book your travel
This is an interesting site for exploring destinations around the world including cruises. Travel Wizard has over a 1000 videos of destinations so you can see where you plan to travel to. Most are upscale or luxury. http://www.travelwizard.com/

www.kayak.com/ monitors prices for flights, hotel, car rentals, etc. using the feeds of many travel sites as well as the airlines, hotels and car rental sites themselves..

www.seatguru.com/ allows you to pick the best seats by airplane and airline, see luggage restrictions, check which seats have more legroom, and even helps you upgrade to first or business class..

www.travelzoo.com/ offers great deals on flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages and specials.

farecompare.com/ does exactly this. Compare fares and find a cheap flight.

flyspy.com/ finds inexpensive flights and also finds the best flights to gather frequent flyer miles.

www.goby.com/ According to this site whether you're looking for the perfect bed and breakfast or a romantic get-away, a hiking trail or even a cool new museum, create an adventure with Goby.

Other sites to research of destinations, hotels, cruises, and side trips before you book. TripAdvisor.com, CruiseCritic.com, Travelpost.com, and FrugalTraveler.com

Safest Places to Travel alone for Women in Asia
#1 Singapore # 2 New Zealand #3 Taiwan. To see the entire list and the crime rate, personal safety and safety at night etc. click
here.

Destination vacations
After you retire you can travel when you want and this is more useful than you might think. Plan a trip to Europe during travel’s offseason, September and October and January through April. Flights and hotels will be cheaper and the streets will be less crowded. Furthermore, traveling to Europe during the winter months can provide an excellent retreat from cold weather. Plan a tour of the cities and towns along the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas in January and February; the weather is temperate and traveling via train will allow you to easily visit many wonderful destinations along the Western Italian and Southern French coasts.

Below is a list of the most popular European senior vacation destinations from Seniortravelhub.

• London, England
• Venice, Italy
• Madrid, Spain
• Meteora, Greece
• Florence, Italy

If relaxation is all you’re after you might want to avoid an overcrowded city like Paris or a raucous city like Amsterdam.

There are great vacation destinations within the U.S. as well. Here is a useful website with a long list of vacation ideas.

The most popular travel destinations in 2012 according to Gogobot
1. Paris
2. Las Vegas
3. San Francisco
4. Barcelona
5. San Diego
6. Bangkok
7. Rome
8. New York City
9. Venice
10. Marrakech
11. Chicago
12. Nice
13. Singapore
14. Madrid
15. Cape Town
16. Los Angeles
17. Granada
18. Rio de Janeiro
19. Istanbul
20. Tula
21. Phnom Penh
22. Washington, D.C.
23. Greater New York City
24. Hong Kong
25. Dubai

Shopping Overseas
There are many countries where the dollar goes further and there are many products where Americans can save when they shop while traveling. This area will primarily address shopping in Europe; of course there are huge savings in other parts of the world as well.

The dollar goes further in Greece, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Morocco, Portugal and Spain; countries where the dollar is currently strong.

As far as places to shop within countries you visit consider shopping in flea markets, especially in pricier countries like England. There are many open air markets in Europe like Portobello Market and Fulham Road in London and Waterlooplein in Amsterdam, El Rastro in Madrid and the Puece St. Ouen flea market in Paris. When you shop in these markets you must negotiate vociferously to get the best price and be aware that much of what you may be buying is likely to be a “knock-off” or counterfeit as opposed to the “real thing”. Products can also be unsafe and subject to confiscation by customs when you return to the U.S. Also remember if you are directed to certain stalls or shops by a guide or hotel employee they are quite likely to be getting a commission or “kick back” on whatever you purchase.

Do not purchase food overseas without first checking to see if the food item is permitted in the U.S. Entry areas into the states have sniffer dogs to check for items that are forbidden even if they are packed in your luggage.

If you plan to shop overseas you should check the cost of your planned purchase at home before you leave.

If you do so you will have a better idea as to the savings you are achieving. You should check on the quality of the goods you are planning to buy so you will have this information in hand when you shop overseas.

Check U.S. customs rules prior to departure to see the items 0and total value you may return with duty free from the country you are visiting. Family members
living in the same household can combine their personal exemptions.

Fishing Vacations
Fishing may be a sport for some, but to serious anglers, it is a lifestyle that drives how they spend their money, where they vacation and retire, and what they do in their free time, according to
findings from an online survey of avid anglers commissioned by Honeywell (NYSE: HON). Key findings related to retirement and fishing include:

  • 71% said that they have taken a vacation where the primary purpose was to go on a fishing trip that lasted a day or more. Advanced anglers were even more likely (87 %) to have done so.
  • 83% of anglers who aren’t retired indicate that they plan to shape their retirement plans around the ability to fish, and 88% of those anglers say they would like to fish more often in retirement than they currently do.
  • Of anglers who are already retired, nearly all (96%) report fishing as much, if not more, than they did before retirement. 
  • More than half (54%) of anglers would give up a chance to meet the president in exchange for a perfect fishing day.
  • If you are looking to set out on a fishing trip soon, check out the below list of areas and types fishes (not in any specific order) interested travelers can find:

·         Boca Grande, Florida - Tarpon
·         Selawik Valley, Alaska – Sheefish
·         Castaic Lake, California – Largemouth Bass
·         Pamlico Sound, North Carolina – Red Drum
·         Lake St. Clair, Michigan – Muskellunge
·         Massachusetts Bay – Mako Shark
·         Lake of the Woods, Minnesota – Walleye
·         Mahoning Creek, Pennsylvania – Golden Rainbow Trout
·         Chesapeake Bay, Maryland – Striped Bass
·         Sacramento River, California – White Sturgeon


Click here for more boomer and senor travel resources
(Take a Break, Travel Assistance, Cruises, Travel and Volunteer, Travel Discounts, Retiring Abroad)
Copyright 2014 by Retired Brains