Have the time of your life!!! 10 Things older travelers might consider before venturing overseas.
First thing is to admit that you are now getting older and may not be as young as you once where and admit that you're over backpacking, rough digs and bad food. Why not consider group travel?
Operators range from the the ultra-swish Captain's Choice Tours to the more modes such as Insight and boutique groups like Travel Indochina.
For some destinations, organized tours are the only practical way to go. Others can be conquered solo, but why bother?
Consider a longer stay at the beginning or end of your tour, Operators will usually organize it, often at attractive rates.
Think ocean or river cruising. It's the ultimate no-worries, unpack-once way to avoid major physical or organizational challenges.
If you're a bit shy or grumpy, pick a ship with free-range dining so you can socialize as much or as little as you like. Smaller ships are cozy-bigger ships provide lots of hidey-holes.
Look closely at river cruising. Where the boats are smaller but shore visits are less hassle. Again, consider extended stays before or after your cruise.
Don't turn your nose up at the thought of bus or train travel. Outfits such as Insight have put a lot of work into making bus tours something more than outings for Gen-Xers and geriatrics.
Examine the itineraries. If you can do it better, go for it: if not, allow tour companies to do the legwork.
Train travel works extremely well if you do your homework. Buy Eurall or Amtrak passes in advance. In the US, you should also factor in the extra cost of sleepers.
Consider staying in furnished apartments or villas rather than hotels. Few hotels in Europe and the US equal the value/comfort standards of a reasonable Australian motel. Even fewer match the pampering of Asia.
Add up the advantages of your own kitchen, access to a laundry and space to avoid a domestic brawl, and they're very attractive.
Villas are expensive upfront, but get together some friends or a family group, and it can work out quite economical as well being as loads of fun. Hire a car in Britain, consider it in Europe, but don't even think about it in Asia. Car hire is cheaper when done from Australia, but petty annoyances, rip-offs and small-print piracy are unavoidable. It's worth it for the independence, however.
In Britain, I prefer pubs to B & B. They're slightly more businesslike: they're generally in town: you can usually get a feed: you can always get a drink: and you don't have to put up with landladies pretending they're doing you a favor.
Rough it for a week, and then spoil yourself with a couple of nights in something up market and close to a Laundromat. Break your journey. No matter what spin the airlines put on it, the flight to Europe takes its toll.
If you can manage it, book your luggage straight through and take a change of clobber in your carry on. You can always pick up a throwaway razor or go unshaven. Who cares?
Coming back from a European winter, consider a thaw out in Asia. Check with airlines, operators or agents for hotel deals and side trips. Throw away that luggage you've had since your Honeymoon. Telescopic handles and smooth-running wheels will make life a lot easier. Avoid back breakers you can't haul without bending.
Four wheels are better than two when it comes t lifts and confined spaces.
No matter how much our love each other, pack separately. Invest in little travel packs to keep things tidy. Plan light pack light and repack even lighter.
If you worry about wrinkles remember you will never see these people again.
8 Dream about first class, but seriously consider up grading to business class. It's never cheap, but if you check out, say, Thai or Malaysia it's sometimes attainable. Some airlines now offer upgrade deals for over 55's.
Investigate off-season travel, as fares are cheaper then.
You've got all year to plan your trip, so pay as you go (or at least start tucking away money for specifics).
If you can take off with fares and hotels prepaid and credit cards, cleared, you can kid yourself that, it's not really a huge extravagance.
Take your plastics, and tuck a few us dollars in your sock for emergencies.
Don't rush it. If you're not retired yet, accumulate some savings and some leave. The big cost will be the fares, so make the most of each destination while you're on the ground.
Consider trimming our goals and having at least a week to enjoy each destination.
You can get an apartment (or a better deal for a longer stay), there's less travel and less unpacking and you can get to know the country, city or people so much better.
Most importantly, Relax! Bad things happen overseas: bad things also happen at home. Most people you encounter are friendly and honest, particularly if you stay away from bad places.
Foreign food is exciting, not frightening. If you don't like it, don't eat it but at least try it.
Hygiene standards vary, so use your brains. Some of the safest food comes from frantic Asian kitchens: some of the dodgiest from flash places where it's all cooked out of sight.
The only place I have ever had food poisoning was in squeaky-clean Switzerland. The most nauseating experience was in a five star hotel where I caught the maid wiping out the coffee cups with the used bath mat.
Be wary of tourist traps, but if that's where the tourists (particularly kids) are eating, it's a fair bet the food is good, cheap and safe.
Some of the popular destinations for the older traveler are Switzerland and Japan. And Spain is becoming very popular also.