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North Hills Monthly

Senior Travel Options Take the Work and Worry Out of Planning

Dec 31, 2018 08:43PM ● By Kathleen Ganster

Photo courtesy of The Relaxed Tourist

Traveling can be great fun and educational as well, but it can also be incredibly exhausting and overwhelming. Just the planning alone can take incredible amounts of time and energy. As we get older, there can be new considerations including mobility and security issues.

Traveling with a tour guide and in a group can help alleviate many of these concerns.

“Traveling in a group can add a feeling of security, especially in foreign locations. It also allows the travelers to meet new people, usually with some common interests. At the minimum, they are taking the same trip and share that sense of adventure and curiosity for that location,” said Kelley Pearson, co-owner of The Relaxed Explorer.

The Relaxed Explorer specializes in tours that are assessible and have a more relaxed pace than many other tour companies. About 50 percent of their clients are senior citizens, Pearson said, based on the nature of the trips.

“There aren’t many tour companies out there that specialize for the limited mobility traveler,” she said. “People may think they can’t go see a lot of things—take castles for example—but there are many places that they can go. It just takes extra planning and research.”

Pearson does that research and planning; clients can choose from the tours that they offer, or they can work with her to customize a tour. The Relaxed Traveler specializes in European locations including Italy, Iceland and Great Britain.

“We also offer fully guided customized tours for small groups with as few as four people. These tours would include a tour supervisor. We also offer independent tours that provide all tour components in one package,” Pearson said. 

The costs of trips vary, of course, according to destinations, type and length of tours. 

“Our prepackaged tours begin at $3,900, and all of these tours are small group tours with no more than 20 guests,” said Pearson. “Independent tours can be less expensive, but vary depending on many factors such as accommodation level, type of transportation, time of year and length of tour.” 

Coach USA/Lenzner Tour and Travel specializes in motor coach travel, a very popular mode of travel for many seniors. 

“One of the major advantages of taking a motor coach tour is safety.  The odds of being in an accident are less, the driver will know where the location is and will get you there safely. A passenger does not have to worry about the cost of gas, tolls, parking, or getting lost and confused about where they should be,” said Tour Coordinator Merrill Jones. 

Jones echoed Pearson’s comments on the socialization aspects of group tours. “Participants also have the opportunity to meet different people, and develop new friendships,” she said. 

While The Relaxed Explorer specializes in longer trips, Lenzner offers many one-day trips including the ever popular Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, two Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the nearby Laurel Highlands.

“There are many Amish tours to Ohio that are also very popular. There are also two theatres in Ohio, Amish Country Theater and the Ohio Star Theater, which are excellent day trips. Cleveland has many options for one-day trips—for example, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Aquarium, Nautica Queen, and many casinos,” Jones said. 

Lenzner also offers many overnight and multiday tours. A current favorite is the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster. 

“It’s a great overnight trip. We can also add in either the Dutch Valley Dinner Theater or the American Music Theater. There is also a backroads tour to see the Amish countryside that can be added to this tour,” said Jones. “Other overnight tours would include New York City, where passengers can decide what they want to do, or there are tours to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, which can be included.”

Jones said many of their tours are perfect for the senior crowd. 

“Most of the seniors today are very active and do enjoy many of the locations. Most of the venues are handicapped accessible, and if they are not, then we would make a note of it in our brochure and website,” she said.

Again, pricing varies according to length, time and destination of tours. Multiday tours can range from $300 to $2,500 per person, and most one-day tours start at $99 and can be as high as $200 per person.

Allison Park Travel Service, Inc. often helps seniors with travel plans including overseas excursions, cruises and railway getaways. “Whether there is one person or a large group, we can do all of the planning,” said Travel Consultant Pam Deller.

Popular one-day trips include trips to New York City and casino tours while longer trips may include Atlantic City Tours, Tara Resort–A Country Inn Christmas, the Philadelphia Flower Show and Savannah, GA.

Since tours are customized, it is easy to tailor them to mobility issues or other needs.

“We have everything from light active to very active tours and we can always substitute activities,” said Deller.

River cruise trips are also very popular with seniors because guests can select the excursions and onboard activities based on interests, activity level and mobility needs. “They are at your own pace,” Deller said, adding that prices vary with length and destination.

To learn more, visit The Relaxed Explorer at www.therelaxedexplorer.com, Coach USA/Lenzner Tour and Travel at https://coachusa.busbetter.net/coachusa/home and Allison Park Travel at www.allisonparktravel.com.