Savvy Seniors: 2007
More and more retirees are tackling Europe. Is Europe friendly to older globetrotters? Please share any special deals, tricks, or advice.
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
It's been a few years, but we greatly enjoyed a trip down the coast of Portugal by rental car and up the coast of Spain. One warning, we parked in a small Portugese town to check on a room, 5 minutes later, returned to find our locked car ransacked, backpacks gone. That night, being more cautious, we put our valuables under out mattress and woke in the middle of the night to find our hotel room wide open. It is the only crime I have experienced in 6 trips to Europe. Steve's guides have been invaluable.
Poulsbo, Wa USA Sun 12/30/2007
Enjoying Italy at age 62
I am a 62 year old father of three women in their mid-thirties. I keep in relatively good shape by walking 2 to 3 days per week. Just returned from Italy with my three girls and had one great time!!! all of our belongings were in our backpacks. We only stayed at Pensiones recommended by Rick Steves or those in Frommer books. All the Pensiones were simply furnished but clean and well kept. Our hosts were just great and most of them spoke some English, as did most of the people we met. Our only mode of trasportation from town to town was via train. We visited the major sites at a slow leasure pace in Milan, Turin, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Naples, Vesuvius, took a bus ride down the Amalfi Coast down to the Isle of Capri and our final destination in Salerno. We discovered small, hidden inexpensive eating establishments and cafes. 99% of the Italians were very helpful and friendly and easy/eager to engage in spirited conversations with us. Only a small problem in Naples where some punks wanted our backpacks. The world is too small and life is too short and it is a shame to be deterred by the mindset that we are too old to travel and push ourselves away from the confortable confines of National Geographic magazine and Travel programs on PBS to see the beauty of the world for ourselves. My dad recently passed away at the age of 93 and one of his comments in his final days in bed was that one of his biggest regrets was not taking me up on my offer of taking a group tour of the Holy Land when he was still healthy two years prior. LIVE, SEE AND ENJOY---AGE ALONE IS NOT AN IMPEDIMENT!!!
Brookfield, IL. USA Sat 11/17/2007
Italy for Seniors? You bet!
We have just returned from a wonderful six weeks in Italy! We are the couple who saves all year and drive the 12 year old car so that we might get to spend a few months exploring Europe.This year it was Italy! My husband is 65 and I am 60 and neither one of us would miss one minute of the excitement that travel brings! We started our journey with 8 glorious days in the Cinque Terre, staying in the town of Vernazza. We stayed at Elizabetta's (78 stairs up and 78 down from the main road) and what a delight.Rick was right after we were settled in we only saw our host once. We were asked to leave our payment for the room on the table and the key in the mail box upon departure. Unusual yes! However, it is what they requested. Cinque terre was wonderful...we ate pizza and drank wine on the sea wall at night, hiked the villages by day, sat in the town at night and met some of the old ladies from the town, ate gellato every day, took a boat ride to Portovenere and really enjoyed ourselves. We took the train ( train travel is very easy in Italy and very inexpensive) back to Pisa picked up a car and headed to the heel of Italy. We had been told repeatedly from just about, everyone, we met to be careful in the south as the crime is high. We drove to Alberobello a UNESCO city and found the people most accomadating. We found a older man who was more than willing to watch our car if we paid him 5 euro a day (we stayed 3 days)When he found out we were looking for accomadation he took us to his friend Guiesspe who ran a B&B and who was more than willing to help us out. It was great! Alberobello is a must see and we would highly recommend it! Then we headed up toward Tuscany and stopped at the Adriatica, on a whim, in a small town called Guillinova. What a gem we fell in love! It was the end of the season in this small resort town and we were able to get a room on the beach with breakfast,an umbrealla and 2 chairs for 40 euro in a small family run hotel. The owners daughter spoke a little english and my attempt to speak Italian paid off in spades as we had a wonderful experience and will keep in touch with the everyone that we met.Time was on the move so we headed to the farm house that we had rented in Chianti. I really don't think either one of us were prepared for Tuscany....even with all the reading and research, the beauty,the food, the people. It was so beautiful!We used the farmhouse as our base and did the hilltop towns, Cortona, Assisi, (my personal favourite and a great tour Rick)Volterra, and San Gimignano, Castellina in Chianti. However, all good things must end and now it was time to head back to Pisa and then on to London and home. Please everyone don't be afraid because of your age to reach out and try a new experience. That is what keeps us young! It is such a great experience to sit in a square and people watch, to try taking the train and have a laugh because you missed the one you were supposed to take or got off at the wrong place,to stand at a cappucinno bar in a small town with the locals,to get up early and watch the fisherman bring in their catch for the day and watch the bargining that goes on for the fish,to get lost and try and find a room and end up in a wonderful B&B and find that people couldn't do more for you. Yes, I am saving to go again and I can't wait! Happy travels!
Edmonton Alberta, Alta USA Tue 11/13/2007
We are two women in our late 60's that traveled Germany and France by train for 3 weeks. Thanks to Rick's tour books, we felt confident that we could do it. Traveling in Germany by train is easier than France. For one thing, everyone there speaks some English. Not true in France. We found that the toliets in the French train stations don't open until 6:00 a.m. and charge 40 euros to use them if they have one. Some of the trains stations in the small towns have no toliets at all. We were told we should have used the toliets on the train. Just something that can be of concern to senior women. Train travel on the whole is a wonderful experience in Europe.
Mary Ann and Ingrid
St. Paul, MN USA Fri 11/02/2007
Norway for Seniors
Enjoyed 10 great days in Norway this May on my own after a few days in Oslo with friends. Good things for seniors to know (I'm 64): take local train from airport; Norwegians become "seniors" at 67, but smile and ask for sr. discount (will almost always get it); Norwegian Sr. Railpass is a good deal and includes many express boat discounts; Stavanger-Bergen intercoastal boat only 200NOK Mon-Tues. (check website). Bergen TI tried to sell me Norway in Nutshell tour rather than seat reservation only on train portion. I took express boat Bergen to Flam but couldn't get sr. discount as Bergen TI person claimed. Refill water bottles at hotel: few drinking fountains. Cheaper to pay for the toilet and refill at the tap than to buy pricey water.
Portland, OR USA Sun 07/22/2007
American places seldom give discounts to European seniors. You are merely experiencing turnabout. Some places in Europe will give the senior discount to anyone who looks the part
Paul n Sara
USA Thu 07/19/2007
ask and you will probably receive
Ask for a senior discount everywhere, and you will probably get one.
At the Palacio Real in Madrid I was denied a senior discount as an American. But there was one for European Union seniors. I couldn't help but get mad. Then at the Reina Sofia (an excellent museum) in Madrid I cooled off. I asked for a senior discount and got in free.
Vallejo, CA USA Thu 07/12/2007
Sara and I went to Ceuta (which is Spanish territory in Morocco) by ferry from Algiciras in south Spain. We did not like the constant importuning to buy from the locals. We felt hunted. Morocco is touted as a wonderful place to go and likely is. Just be prepared to deal with the sales pressure from so many.
Paul n Sara
USA Sun 03/04/2007
Italy for seniors with Queens
My wife and I recently returned from a tour to Italy with Queenslander Tours out of Denver. They have a senior's gift code (which is not advertised for some reason!) for those of us over 60 years of age where you can save up to $300 off a very well done tour. We ventured to Venice, Florence and rome on their great cities (italy's grand cities tour) and found their service and SMALL groups cater well to our needs as active senior adults. They are tops with us.
San Francisco, CA USA Mon 02/26/2007
STORE LUGGAGE AT HOTEL
Most travelers search out a "left luggage" counter to leave luggage. You find them at RR stations, airline terminals and bus terminals.
Some hotels have them. Ask the concierge where you can check your luggage.
USA Wed 01/24/2007
Storing luggage in hotel or b & b
My husband and I are senior travelers. We have traveled many miles with just our backpacks and like this way of travel. Now we are having a few problems. My husband has some foot problems and we are hesitant to "hit the road" as we usually do. We are planning a trip to UK this spring. We normally fly in, hit the rails (with our backpacks) stopping when we want to and don't worry about reservations. I'm wondering if we could maybe leave a suitcase or one backpack, somewhere in London, taking a small carry on or one backpack with us? Would we have to secure a hotel room until our return in order to leave some of our "stuff?" We usually stay in B & B's but don't know how to manage this new problem. Any suggestions?
editors note: all questions muct be posted to Travelers Helpline
Richmond, VA USA Tue 01/23/2007