Are holidays important?
What do holidays mean to you if you are retired? They are no longer a way to avoid the rigours of work for a few weeks each year – those glorious intermissions in your working lives – but they are still needed…
Everyone needs a change of scenery every now and again, a change is ‘as good as rest’ – or so they say. This applies equally to those who have retired as it does to someone in employment.
Stopping work should be an opportunity to enjoy the ‘me’ time that the routine of getting up and leaving the house for 8 or 9 hours per day tends to cramp. However, retirement can come at a cost…a reduced income and a shrinking of your social circle. Meaning that now you finally have the time to do the things you always dreamed of doing you no longer have the money nor the friends to do it with.
It’s also possible that you may have mobility or health issues to consider when planning a trip.
It’s around this time of year (June) that the adverts for holidays seem to ramp up again (January being the other month that we are bombarded by images of beautiful, usually young, people cavorting on perfect beaches!). The long school summer holidays are almost upon us and those without children are planning their get-aways BEFORE the schools break up.
Whilst it is certainly much cheaper, not to mention quieter, to travel in school term time, it still doesn’t address the issue of reduced budgets and travel companions.
When it comes to holidays then, what do you do? Do you still have the traditional two-week summer trip in mind? Or should you consider alternatives that may not only result in cost savings but will widen your experiences?
Think Outside the Box
If you have access to the internet, run a search for travel companies claiming to offer holidays for older people – there are more than just the most well known one! The AgeUK website is a great place to start as they have partnered with a specialist travel advisory group who could help you plan the perfect break taking into account any mobility or illness issues you may have. They can also help with planning a break for those living with dementia.Travelling alone over 60? Here are 5 holiday ideas
However, rather than the traditional two week break why not consider several shorter ones spread over the course of a year (remember ‘change is as good as a rest’!) and don’t restrict yourself to the more usual locations. The world is your oyster – no matter what your age.
How about combining a break with one of your passions? Love to paint? Look for breaks which incorporate some teaching or practice in a certain specialty.
- Got a snazzy camera hidden away that you only ever use in ‘point and shoot mode’? There are short breaks which offer some basic tuition which could see you expanding your knowledge and skills and may even open up a new hobby.
- If you look online you will find many different breaks combining a trip away with some form of course. These offer the added bonus of the possibility of making some new friends who will already share in one of your interests.
- Talking of friends…if you have found your social circle shrinking, perhaps you have lost your spouse and are loathe to consider a holiday alone, why not take a look at some of the travel companies who specialise in travel for single people. They aren’t just for the 18-30 brigade you know!
- Even if you hate flying there are endless possibilities, organised coach trips for example which will take you either to a fixed hotel for the duration of the break, or will offer the opportunity of touring an area stopping in different locations every day. Tour of the Highlands of Scotland? Exploring the Yorkshire coast? How about South coast? You can even take overseas holidays by coach – no hanging around in crowded airports.
- Cruises are often associated with the more mature traveller and the large sea going vessels offer unrivalled facilities, sometimes combined with the opportunity to include planned programmes of learning as well as numerous different stops. River cruises seem to be becoming increasingly common too and may be (slightly) easier on the budget.
If you don’t personally have access to the internet at home, local libraries sometimes offer facilities to get online. If you have a local community centre ask there - they may know of special so-called ‘silver surfer’ classes. Friends and family (especially the younger ones!) will also be able to help you out – even just using their smartphones (no computer needed) they should be able to help you narrow down some ideas.
There are also lots of ‘personal travel advisors’ around these days. Basically, self-employed individuals, usually part of a franchise, who can offer you dedicated one on one time to find your perfect holiday.
Don’t Want to Holiday?
- But what if you can’t afford, or don’t want to take a holiday at all…are there any alternatives which could help provide a change of scenery but without masses of travel?
- Of course there are – it just depends on what you want or need.
- Hop on a bus to an area you haven’t been to before.
- Take a picnic to the local park or nearby countryside (weather permitting!).
- If you have access to the internet check sites such as Groupon who offer cut price restaurant deals, spas, hotels. Or get a family member to help.
- Re-arrange your furniture, buy (or grow!) some fresh flowers, treat yourself to some new cushion covers…anything that will alter your day to day surroundings will (almost) feel like a change of scenery!
- Join a club or group that will get you out of the house.
- Visit relatives.
- Consider a house swap for a week or so (there are companies that can help with this).
- How about doing some volunteering?
Even if you are housebound there are ways to bring the world to you! Technology has developed in leaps and bounds and modern day TV screens are of such high resolution that watching a film of a coral reef (for instance) can become really immersive.
For the most technically minded (or those with family who are!) you can even experience far flung destinations via a VR (virtual reality) headset! Check out this video for some idea of just how amazing VR tech can be…and it’s only going to get better!
Holiday’s - love them or loathe them, there is no doubt that a little bit of change is good for you…even if that change is just having something different for tea. Step out of your comfort zone every now again - it’s good for you! Even the planning and researching stage can be fun. You don’t need to travel far or spend a fortune to enjoy a change of scenery.