Whether you’re a 60-year-old grandma looking to holiday with your friends or an avid 70-year-old trekker planning your next adventure, we’ve got trip ideas that will make you see the world, in comfort. Best of all, senior citizen cards can save you quite a lot on your travels, starting with your train and airline tickets.
Cruise ships are a lot like floating hotels – you can feast at fine-dining restaurants, shop in duty-free arcades, enjoy entertainment shows and plunge into swimming pools. Plus, there are medical facilities onboard. This makes them ideal for multi-generational holidays, perfect for grandparents, grandkids and everyone in-between to vacation together. You can opt for an activity-packed holiday or just lay back and enjoy gorgeous panoramas glide past. Many cruise companies cater to elderly passengers by having facilities like early boarding and disembarkation, wheelchair-accessible decks and entertainment venues, and off-shore transport options that can accommodate mobility devices like scooters. You can travel the world comfortably with the likes of Royal Caribbean International, Disney Cruises and Princess Cruises. Closer to home, tour companies like Thomas Cook India offer packages exclusively for seniors.
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If you’re up for an active, albeit slightly demanding, holiday then luxury train journeys might be the thing for you. These totally kitted-out trains roll through the country, showing off some beautiful vistas along the way. Trains like the Palace On Wheels, the Deccan Odyssey and the Southern Splendour boast of a suite of amenities, including gyms, saunas and business centers, interspersed with extremely comfortable rooms and dining carriages. Nearly every morning, you pull up to a new destination to explore, returning to the train at the end of the day before making your way to the next stop. There are plenty of overseas train journeys too: Chug across Europe on the Orient Express, go on a transcontinental adventure on Australia’s The Ghan or explore Central and Northern Asia on the Trans-Siberian Express.
There are plenty of tour operators who will take care of every aspect of your journey, from bookings and visa paperwork to meals. So if you’re up for a hassle-free holiday where all you have to do is show up and enjoy yourself, consider companies like Cox & Kings, Thomas Cook and Kesari Tours. Women on Wanderlust, a travel group exclusively for women, offers slow-travel itineraries that combine travellers across age groups.
Planned itineraries such as Thomas Cook’s Silver Breaks tours and Kesari’s Second Innings holidays have domestic and international itineraries geared for a travelling retiree. Abraham Alapatt, chief innovation officer and head of marketing and service quality at Thomas Cook India, said that facilities like porter assistance, special dietary needs, leisurely itineraries and on-call doctors are provided. “We also try and visit countries that are elder friendly,” he said, mentioning destinations such as Kerala, Agra, Thailand and Singapore. Silver Breaks tours also waives the age limit for an assistant travelling with a single senior citizen. Kesari Tours designs holidays keeping in mind what Kiran Gaud, a marketing and social media executive, described as the main concern of many older travellers: excessive walking. The company offers tours with slow-paced itineraries to Europe, Thailand, Sri Lanka and China.
Many tour operators are also happy to offer customised itineraries, tailoring trips to your interests and requirements. Whether you’re a culture vulture keen on attending operas in Vienna or feel like a wine-tasting holiday through France, a tour company can help iron out any snags.
If the thought of spending your day alternating between yoga sessions, massages and lazing around appeals to you, then choose a wellness holiday. Many spas also have yoga classes you can sign up for, that will ensure you get a minimum daily amount of activity. And the best part? Most of these resorts are set against stunning natural landscapes that make them very hard to leave. Try Ananda in Uttarakhand for an idyllic mountain retreat, or SwaSwara or Bhakti Kutir for some beachside rejuvenation along the Konkan coast. If you’re not keen on luxury amenities and prefer old-school Ayurvedic treatments, try no-frill retreats like the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy in Coimbatore, where you can check in for a month for some TLC.
Published on National Geographic Traveller India – May 2015
Cover Photo: Rana Faure/Corbis