As people remain more active longer, companies are finding that a larger number of older people are going on holiday now, than ever before. Those with money are often happy to spend it in retirement, whether it’s seeing the world or staying closer to home. It’s such a large market, in fact, that often holidays are aimed specifically at senior citizens.
Walking is excellent exercise, and many seniors are avoid hikers. The Ramblers’ Association is an excellent resource for walking holidays, both at home and abroad. A number of their groups are aimed at seniors, whether for day walks or longer tours. However, for some of the trips, you need to work up to good condition. Several companies specialise in walking tours overseas for seniors, going as far a field as Australia.
For the more adventurous, there are safari holidays or all manner of exotic destinations, like Mongolia by camel, hike to Patagonia’s Torres Del Paine, navigate the awesome ruins of Angkor Wat or step foot on the Antarctic Peninsula. These are quite specialised, but do good business. Be warned, however, that these trips aren’t cheap.
One cheap way to see foreign places is through home exchange. Essentially you live in someone else’s house for a few weeks and they stay in yours. It’s an excellent way to see a new country properly, rather than in a hotel. Of course, many seniors have special needs, such as problem with stairs, but some companies specialise in property for those with needs.
The package holiday is by far the most popular form of holidaymaking in Britain. Many of the larger companies offer excellent discounts to seniors. Plus many companies specialising in senior holidays are available and offer a range of special interest packages, covering everything from music to gardens, and archaeology to bridge.
For those wanting to travel, but not enamoured of going by sea or air, there are also coach holidays. They’re often cheaper than other forms of travel – the disadvantage is that it takes a lot longer to get there. Many companies specialise in coach travel to Europe, and many local companies do shorter trips within the British Isles, often including bed and breakfast. Operators often advertise in local papers.
These days, two of the most popular holiday spots for seniors are Australia and New Zealand. The pound goes a long way there, and when we have winter, it’s summer in the Southern hemisphere. For some it’s a chance to visit family and friends who’ve emigrated. For others, it’s a chance to take a package tour to places often reminiscent of Britain as it was a few decades ago and see some stunning scenery. Many companies offer packages to the region, some especially aimed at seniors.
Europe, especially the sunnier climates of Spain, Italy and Portugal, remain perennial favourites. The closeness to Britain is a factor, but also the fact that the money goes further in European economies. You’ll also find that many institutions in Europe (including the U.K.) offer senior discounts at museums and attractions. Many hotels and resorts cater to seniors, with lifts to upper floors, or arranging rooms on the ground floor.
Because of the economy, it’s become more commonplace to find seniors owning holiday homes in warmer European climates, where they can migrate for the winter – similar to the American “snowbird” idea. If you spend enough time in one, these can become an economically viable option, allowing extended holidays at a very low cost.
Essentially, these days the only restrictions to your holiday are your mobility and your health. For short breaks there are country cottages for rent that are very senior-friendly, with no stairs and support rails for bath and toilet. Much information about all these holidays can be found online, or you can talk to your travel agent.
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