Senior-paced travel

This item appears on page 33 of the September 2010 issue.
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Now 63 and 70, as my husband and I age we are leaning more and more toward traveling independently. We find that we need the luxury of going at our own pace and according to our own interests. Not having to deal with the temptations of big breakfasts and dinners on tours is also a plus.

With more free time, we go less frequently but stay longer, reducing the stress from air travel. We upgrade to business class more frequently, especially on the outbound portion, so we can feel more rested upon arrival.

Sometimes we include an organized tour in the middle of our time away. We have found the pacing of tours offered by Odysseys Unlimited (Newton, MA; 617/454-9100, www.odysseys-unlimited.com) to our liking. Our last trips with them were to Turkey and to Ireland, both in 2007.

When we do sign up for an organized tour for the total duration of our time away, we make sure that we arrive at least one day earlier so we can rest or in case of travel delays.

When we travel independently, we do less and relax more each day. Having traveled extensively, we have fewer and fewer “must see” sights.

Because we spend more time in our lodgings, comfortable and attractive surroundings have become important for us. In the larger cities, we have found that Marriott hotels offer discounted rates over the weekends and a senior discount at other times. It is easy to sign up for day tours through the concierge or the Internet, and the tour companies usually offer hotel pickups.

In smaller cities, we enjoy renting an apartment or small house. We can cook healthier meals for ourselves at least once a day that way. It is great fun to shop for simple meals at local markets, and we love having more space in which to spread out.

So far, we have successfully avoided car rentals and driving, which we find stressful. We have found Rick Steves’ guidebooks very helpful in terms of how to get to places, except that we usually take two days to do what he suggests for one.

If we take our time, we can usually figure out the public transportation system, and we also use taxis more. Frequently, we’ll take a taxi to where we want to visit, then leisurely walk back to the hotel, sightseeing along the way and getting in our exercise for the day.

NANCY TAN

Fresno, CA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Now 63 and 70, as my husband and I age we are leaning more and more toward traveling independently. We find that we need the luxury of going at our own pace and according to our own interests. Not having to deal with the temptations of big breakfasts and dinners on tours is also a plus.

With more free time, we go less frequently but stay longer, reducing the stress from air travel. We upgrade to business class more frequently, especially on the outbound portion, so we can feel more rested upon arrival.

Sometimes we include an organized tour in the middle of our time away. We have found the pacing of tours offered by Odysseys Unlimited (Newton, MA; 617/454-9100, www.odysseys-unlimited.com) to our liking. Our last trips with them were to Turkey and to Ireland, both in 2007.

When we do sign up for an organized tour for the total duration of our time away, we make sure that we arrive at least one day earlier so we can rest or in case of travel delays.

When we travel independently, we do less and relax more each day. Having traveled extensively, we have fewer and fewer “must see” sights.

Because we spend more time in our lodgings, comfortable and attractive surroundings have become important for us. In the larger cities, we have found that Marriott hotels offer discounted rates over the weekends and a senior discount at other times. It is easy to sign up for day tours through the concierge or the Internet, and the tour companies usually offer hotel pickups.

In smaller cities, we enjoy renting an apartment or small house. We can cook healthier meals for ourselves at least once a day that way. It is great fun to shop for simple meals at local markets, and we love having more space in which to spread out.

So far, we have successfully avoided car rentals and driving, which we find stressful. We have found Rick Steves’ guidebooks very helpful in terms of how to get to places, except that we usually take two days to do what he suggests for one.

If we take our time, we can usually figure out the public transportation system, and we also use taxis more. Frequently, we’ll take a taxi to where we want to visit, then leisurely walk back to the hotel, sightseeing along the way and getting in our exercise for the day.

NANCY TAN

Fresno, CA