Travel For Seniors

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Travel appeals to everyone, usually. However, our age often depends on how and where we travel. The younger set usually head for the beaches or mountains. Middle agers can choose anything from a quiet country setting to a large, bustling city filled with action. The senior set often goes for the cruises and tours or taking the RV out for a spin of several weeks’ duration.

Today, we will address the senior market. Cruises and tours are often the choice because the cruise line and tour company can arrange all the details including the air portion, saving travelers all the headaches of the many factors involved in a vacation. If you choose a travel agent they will do all the work for you saving hours of detail and frustration.

Another favorite for seniors is to take a train tour, stopping off at various cities, renting a car to sightsee, then boarding the train again for another favorite stop and more sightseeing. I have friends that do this and love it.

If possible, choose a train schedule that travels by rail only during the daytime and with stop-offs at night. This way you avoid the more expensive Pullman fees for a private room at night on the train. You can also purchase a 30-day excursion coach fare from AMTRAK allowing you to get off the train often for sightseeing.

Some of the more picturesque routes are on the California Zephyr out of the San Francisco Bay area heading east through the Rockies to Chicago as well as the Empire Builder from Seattle going east to Chicago. Both routes are very scenic. Or, catch the Canadian out of Vancouver traveling through the Canadian Rockies.

A train trip from Los Angeles up the Pacific Coast through the Bay area to Portland and Seattle is very scenic traveling on AMTRAK’s Starlight. This train is probably the most upgraded of all of the AMTRAK trains with cooked-to-order meals in the diner as well as lounge cars and private rooms with baths.

If you take one of the trains headed east, go as far as Chicago, and then choose a train headed east to New York City.

River cruising is becoming very popular with all age groups. There are several popular routes in Europe lasting from one to two weeks. River cruising is also becoming popular again here in the U.S., with cruises out of Portland on the Columbia River as well as on the Mississippi River. A new company is opening on the Mississippi this April – the Great American Steamboat Company. You can call 1-800-510-4002 for brochures and more information. They will be operating the Grand American Queen. Another company, American Cruise Lines, will begin operating the Queen of the Mississippi in August. Both are paddle wheelers. It’s nice that these vessels will be in operation again. To learn more about ACL paddle wheeler, go online to www.americancruiselines.com.

I think a cruise out of New Orleans would be very enjoyable on the river giving you the scenes and feel of the old south. You can also plan a couple days stay in New Orleans to get in the mood with great cooking and New Orleans Jazz.

Further north you can cruise through Cincinnati on to Pittsburgh, Pa. on the Ohio River.

River cruising is wonderful because you have scenery going by your boat window at all times. It’s also great to sit out on deck or your balcony and watch the waterfront go by. The boat makes stops at large and small cities and towns along the way and in most cases you dock right in the middle of town. You can wander through the towns or take tours arranged by the boat company. Again, your travel agent can assist you with suggestions and reservations.

Tours are always popular. They come with many different choices of itinerary and hotels. Travel agents have a supply of brochures of the many different tour companies and their offerings or go to the various Web sites.

This is also a good way for singles to travel since you would be traveling with others in the tour. Tours of the U.S. are always popular, along with those through Europe and the United Kingdom. Asia is catching on with tours to Japan and China along with other select areas.

Cruising is what Norma and I like to do because it is the easiest method of travel. You check into your ship, move into your stateroom, unpack and you are set for the duration of the trip. Be sure to get a room with balcony allowing you your private space outside. Your meals and entertainment onboard are included and you pretty well know what 90 percent of your costs will be. The extras will include liquor, tipping and the shore tours you choose.

The more popular cruising areas are the Caribbean with its many famous islands, Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Greek Isles, Northern Europe’s Baltic area along with Mexico and the South Pacific including Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.

South America is becoming more popular with, in my opinion, the best itinerary being boarding the ship in Buenos Aires and cruising around the southern tip through the Strait of Magellan up the western side of the continent to Chile. This takes two weeks and you are able to view some of the most magnificent mountains and peaks on the planet.

I can also suggest a most scenic cruise on the Baltic Ocean , which will include a stop at St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg is a most dazzling city, with its museums and castles. You will never regret a stop here.

If you want relaxing tropical times at sea, then a Tahiti cruise is for you. You visit the most popular of the island group with plenty of time to swim, tour and walk the beaches. These are some of the most beautiful islands in the world.

The up side of cruising is you leave the details to the cruise line; the down side is you don’t spend a lot of time at each port. A cruise allows you to take in the highlights of each stop and if you particularly like a certain place, return on your own for a week or more. You will discover that cruising is in the end the best travel value because of the inclusiveness.

Many seniors especially enjoy taking the automobile, which allows them to bring their dog rather than having someone care for it or boarding it.

There are so many places to drive to from our location.

Palm Springs is less than a day’s drive and offers so much. You can find wonderful resorts and hotels in which to stay along with fascinating shops and sightseeing. Be sure to take the Palms to Pines Tramway. You travel from sea level to over 7,000 feet in just a few minutes. It is breathtaking. If you have a fear of heights, this would not be for you. You can even have a bite to eat as you look over the valley below and enjoy the mountain scenery. During the winter you go from the warmth of the desert to possibly snow covered mountains.

The Palm Springs Follies is also staged during the cooler months and this is a don’t-miss entertainment event. If you’re a senior you will love it. It’s all live with a pit orchestra. Sometimes stars of the 50s and 60s are included in the cast.

There is an abundance of golf courses in the general area and can choose the ones that look interesting to you.

Two hours away is the Los Angeles area. There is everything to do here. You can relax in a fine resort along the Pacific Coast, shop in Beverly Hills. Book a tour of movie stars’ homes if you like and drive down to Orange County for Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. Seniors will enjoy this also.

Just two hours away from greater Los Angeles is San Diego, which is loved by all. Also, so much to do here: the Naval displays, museums, Old Town, Balboa Park, the zoo and much more. Your pooch will love the walk at Ocean Beach. They are permitted here.

The world is yours to explore. Why not get out and do some.

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