Great Fall Getaways for Retirees

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Hotel prices may be on the rise, but one demographic that shouldn’t be dissuaded from traveling is retirees.

“A retiree’s greatest asset is time and flexibility,” Lisa Fantino, travel consultant with Wanderlust Women Travel tells MainStreet. She points out that senior citizens are primed to take advantage of the off-peak rates offered by both airlines and hotels.

“Those who can travel during the week between Tuesdays and Thursdays can get great deals,” Fantino says. Those who want to work a weekend into their vacation plans can save by returning or departing in the middle of a working man’s week, though there are deep discounts available on peak travel times, too. Seniors just have to be willing to look for them.

“Oftentimes, these deals are only available online for a 24-hour time period,” Fantino says.

As this may put the non-computer savvy senior at a disadvantage, Fantino says that those interested in saving should consider aligning themselves with a travel consultant. While the deals industry experts find typically outweigh the costs of using their agency, Fantino says that the real benefit they offer to non-Web users is minimizing the frustration they may feel  when researching on their own.  

Of course, sometimes all you need is a point in the right direction. To help seniors plan their getaways, MainStreet put together a list of places where reasonable travel accommodations are being offered this fall. We’ve included some current vacation deals as well.

Seasonal Getaways


The trick to seasonal travel is to book early. That means that if you want to visit the countryside over the Thanksgiving holiday, you shouldn’t wait to book until Nov. 23.

“Some deals become available just after Columbus Day weekend all the way up to the week before Thanksgiving,” Fantino says. So those who haven’t made plans yet can still score some decent discounts.

One popular fall getaway is Nova Scotia, Canada. The Atlantica Hotel and Marina, located on the penisula’s south shore, offers a “Golden Getaway” to visitors 55 and up, where seniors can book one-night stays at special rates from June 1 to March 31, 2011. Rates range from $85 to $110, with the cheapest rooms available from Nov. 1 through March 31. You receive a $60 dinner voucher for the resort’s La Vista dining room and a complimentary breakfast is served the morning of your departure. Special rates are available if you want to add nights to your stay.

If you don’t want to travel to Canada, see the leaves stateside in the seasonal hotspot of Ludlow, Vt.  There, the Pointe at Castle Hill Resort and Spa is offering a $349 package on two-night stays that also provides patrons with a free bottle of champagne, a complimentary three-course dinner for two and a 25-minute massage at the hotel spa.  Their “Fall special” also offers one-night stays for as little as $85 … if you book in the middle of the week. The deal, however, includes more than just a low room rate. Patrons are given two $25 vouchers. One of the vouchers can be put toward the hotel’s three-course prix fixe dinner for two. The other can be used toward a 50-minute massage for two.

Cruises

“We’re seeing really deep discounts on cruises right now,” Fantino says, adding that there’s more than one advantage for seniors choosing to vacation aboard a ship. As we previously reported, cruise lines generally offer a discount to senior citizens 55 and up. Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America, Celebrity and Costa Cruises all offer senior discounts on select sailings. Additionally, food, sleeping accommodations and activities are included for one base price and are readily available. (You don’t have to leave the boat!)  

Right now, Celebrity Cruises is offering a slew of deals on travel during the upcoming holidays. Those wanting to vacation over Thanksgiving, for example, can book a 9-Night Bahamas Cruise on board  the Celebrity Mercury, which departs Nov. 20 for a steal. Prices start at $699 per person for an inside cabin, though an ocean view room is also reasonably priced at $849 per person.

If you want to spend the holiday with your family and then take to the seas, Celebrity has a 10-Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise on board the Equinox that departs Nov. 26. There, inside cabins cost $899 per person, while ocean view rooms cost $999. There are other similarly priced cruises during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Most depart out of Florida, though the Thanksgiving cruise on the Mercury leaves from Baltimore, so Maryland natives might be able to skip the airfare. You can check out the full list of Celebrity’s holiday deals here.

Discounted Hotspots

Another option seniors have this time of year is to travel to not-so-seasonal hotspots that are offering discounts since they are not in peak season. Fantino points out that vacation packages in Mexico are still available at steep discounts, since the country has yet to recover from the bad press it received during the swine flu outbreak.

Right now, AARPTravel is running a special on hotel rooms in Mexico if you book before Oct. 13. Seniors can get rooms for as little as $45 a night. There are several all-inclusive resorts, which include food, drink and accommodations. You can book your stay at the highly rated  all-inclusive Hacienda Encantada Resort and Spa in Los Cabos, for example, for $227 per person per night. The best part of AARPTravel’s offering, however, is that your last night is free if you book your travel a soon as possible. Check here for a full breakdown of the hotel’s rates.

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