8 Spring Getaways for Retirees
Spring break may entice college students to assuage their winter woes with a well-timed vacation, but it’s also a popular time for retirees to get away as well. Of course, seniors and students aren’t exactly headed to the same destinations.
According to Priscilla Reilly, director of public relations for Grand Circle Travel, a global travel agency headquartered in Boston, retirees seek warmer climates, but they are looking for cultural experiences as well. This means they’re more likely to spring for a trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico than hitting up the bar scene in neighboring Cancun, Mexico.
“There are smaller crowds, fewer lines at sites and one can often get better prices both from the tour operators as well as locally,” Reilly says.
To help seniors plan their end-of-winter vacation, MainStreet rounded up some of the best destinations for retirees.
Photo Credit: Wendy Piersall
EgyptGrand Circle Travel pulled information from its database to find out what the most popular vacation destinations were for its over-50 clientele this January, February and March. The overwhelming favorite among the older crowd was Egypt, which had more than 3,200 bookings as of Jan. 2, 2011.
The agency features a 15-day travel package that tours Cairo, Luxor and Ashwan for $1,995 to $2,795 per person, depending on your travel dates. Airfare out of New York City and some meals are included in the deal.
Road Scholar, an organization that offers educational trips for adults, is also running a 14-day trip to Cairo, Luxor and Alexandria that includes a cruise on the Nile in February and April. The trip costs about $3,500, which includes some airfare and some meals, depending on the month you travel.
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Costa RicaCosta Rica, Grand Circle’s second most popular hotspot with 1,300 bookings as of Jan. 4, is a favorite among seniors looking for a traditional beach getaway with a cultural element and no raucous crowds.
AARP Travel, which is currently holding a winter sale on vacations booked before February 28 for vacations through March 31, has plenty of deals on vacations to Costa Rica on its website. For example, couples can book this four-day stay at the four-star hotel Beacon Escazu, which includes roundtrip airfare, for $840 a person.
You can also book a hotel through AARP for as little as $86 a night. Check here for a full listing of its discounted Costa Rica rates.
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IndiaJust behind Costa Rica with 1,300 bookings are tours to India. Similarly, due to its popularity, Road Scholar offers several different trips to the cultural hotspot. Our pick is this 15-day trip that tacks on a visit to Nepal as well. Excursions include watching the sun rise over the Taj Mahal, a visit to the Himalayan temples and dinner with an Indian noble family in their palace home. The trip costs from $2,900 to $3,400, depending on whether you travel in February or April and airfare, unfortunately, isn’t included.
The only other place to receive more than 1,000 bookings through Grand Circle was Vietnam. Overseas Adventure Travel, the international excursion division of Grand Circle, features a 19-day “Inside Vietnam” package that visits, and Bangkok, Thailand and Dalat, Nha Trang, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The trip, which features a day in a basket-weaving village and includes airfare and most meals, costs $2,195 to $2,495 depending on the month you travel. Couples can save up to $1,000 when they book together.
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Kenya and TanzaniaRounding out Grand Circle’s top five with approximately 895 bookings are safaris to Kenya and Tanzania. The number of bookings is impressive, however, when you consider that Overseas Adventure Travel’s trip to both African countries carries a high price commitment. The 19-day trip, which includes international airfare, meals and game drive excursions to Amboseli, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National parks, runs about $5,095 per person.
Road Scholar also offers a 15-day Kenya-Tanzania safari for similar prices.
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CruisesIf you’re looking for something in a more affordable price range, you might want to consider a cruise.Not surprisingly, the best discounts being offered as part of AARP’s winter sale are on cruises. You can actually save up to 75% and, while you have to book by Feb. 28, the travel deadline is extended through Sept. 30. One of the best deals is on this 7-night Alaska cruise, which sets sail May 7. You can purchase a ticket for an inside cabin for $509 per person, or $1,081 per cabin. As an added bonus, AARP throws in a coupon book worth $400 in discounts.
You can check out the travel site’s full list of cruise deals here.
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Ski TripsAARP is also featuring up to 30% discounts on ski trips for those who can’t get enough of the snow. If you’re looking for a getaway that’s a bit more affordable and/or immediate, you may want to book this four-day stay at Steamboat Resorts Trailhead Lodge in skiing hotspot Steamboat Springs, Colo., for $931 per person, when you book for two.
There are also deals on trips to Aspen and Salt Lake City, Utah and Oslo, Norway. You can find a deal at your favorite ski resorts here.
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Wine FestivalsAnother option for cheap and immediate fun is to attend a winter wine festival. Connecticut casino Mohegan Sun is actually hosting its Annual WineFest, featuring celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Todd English, from Jan. 28-30.
Prices differ depending on what part of the festival you are most interested in participating in - there’s a whiskey and bourbon tasting and a celebrity chef dinner in addition to the basic wine sampling. But a weekend pass to the Sun WineFest Grand Tasting is $110 per person. You can check here for discount rates on nearby hotels.
Those on the West Coast can consider checking out Napa Valley, which is celebrating Cabernet season with a host of deals on lodging, wine tastings and restaurants.
Photo Credit: Jorge-11
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