The pace might be a bit slower, but seniors can still
sightsee and explore on foot.
WASHINGTON - Don't tell Dee Booth she can't hike through the
Himalayas or walk the roads of foreign countries for more
than six hours at a time.
"I like doing as much walking, hiking and climbing as I can,"
said Booth, a 68-year-old retiree from Framingham, Mass. "I
like to be moving; I don't want to be sitting on a bus all
Some may think travelers opt for luxury hotels and narrated
bus tours as they age, but Booth said she is looking for
adventurous travel, experiences full of undiscovered places
and empty of tourist stands. She said she went on guided bus
tours as a college graduate but did not enjoy them.
An avid traveler since her daughter's graduation from college
in 1991, Booth said she enjoys meeting up with group tours
around the world and running into the same explorers multiple
times. She usually registers for trips alone but has met up
with one woman four times, although they only planned on
taking the same trip once.
Fitness and health issues do not concern Booth. She makes an
effort to walk four miles every day, although she admitted
sticking to her schedule has been hard since the loss of her
canine walking partner. On days when she can't make it out
for her morning workout, Booth said she stays active by
gardening or working at her part-time job at Trader Joe's
She said she doesn't get frustrated when she travels with
companions who aren't up to the physical challenge of
exploring a new place, but she feels sorry for what they miss
out on. A travel agency she has used many times called
Eldertreks categorizes clients into five groups based on
fitness ability. Sometimes clients misrepresent themselves,
she said, but usually no one seems to lag behind or walk too
Each Eldertreks guide is equipped with a medical kit and many
travelers pack their own supply of aspirin and bandages. It
is not always easy to see a doctor, Booth said, especially
when traveling in remote sections of the world.
Nancy Parode, who writes blogs and articles for senior
travelers for the About.com Web site - seniortravel.about.com
- suggested various health insurance options for seniors
traveling overseas. Medicare, she said, won't cover adults
once they leave the United States and emergency medical
treatments can be very costly.
"You need medical insurance if you're going to leave the
country and that includes cruise ships," Parode said.
In many ways mature explorers are very much the same as
younger ones, she said. Fitness levels vary and travelers of
all ages choose vacations that match their lifestyles.
Many seniors are interested in learning to use new technology
including global positioning systems and cell phones with
international capabilities, Parode said. After years of
writing and blogging about the mature traveler, she said she
still cannot come up with general guidelines that would
satisfy every older traveler.
"I don't think you can put the mature traveler in a box," she
said. "People are healthier now then they've ever been.
There's a great diversity out there among our seniors and
it's hard to categorize them."
For Bob Faucett, keeping his clients happy is all about
setting a good pace. As executive and part-owner of Unitours,
a travel agency based in New York that specializes in
Catholic pilgrimages, Faucett said he leaves much of the
pace-setting and trip planning to parish priests because they
have a better understanding of parishioners' wants. But
sometimes, he said, priests try to pack too many events into
"Our company is 52 years old. We know what you can cram into
a day and what you can't," he said.
Weary travelers can hop into cabs or wait in the bus to avoid
long walks, but Faucett said travelers should plan to spend a
lot of time on their feet. He said he often has to be blunt
with clients who aren't looking to hike.
"This is not a cakewalk," he tells them.