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Seniors have many travel options in a variety of price ranges and destinations

There are a lot of exciting options available when it comes to senior travel. This a very special time in your life where you can put the focus back on you and your mate. Chances are that your kids are grown with kids of their own. You have put them through Girl Scouts, Little League, football, dance lessons, doctor’s appointments, and college. Now is your time. We have all had these ideas of places we would love to go if we just had the time. Well, now you do have the time. The questions are, “Where do I really want to go and how can I afford to do it?”
There are many travel programs available to seniors. To locate most of these, you can perform simple searches on the Internet or contact a local travel agent for additional program information. Nowadays, it is in the best interest of travel providers to make you very aware of these programs because some of the only people who can truly afford to travel are seniors who have taken good care of their money.
And even if you are not doing as well financially as you would like, there are options for you as well. There are ways to enjoy the sights and sounds of our country on a fixed income. A lot of travel companies will now allow you to break up your trip payments into reasonable monthly installments that you can afford. This way you get to travel and the travel economy continues to move. Talk with you local travel provider and you may be able to travel now and pay for it later.
Many seniors have found that group tours are a great way to save money and still enjoy a high quality vacation. In general, tour companies do all of the planning for you. Customers simply choose the destination, select a departure date and then meet the group at a designated departure point. Once the group is assembled, travelers just sit back and let someone else worry about the details. Most seniors enjoy meeting new friends with similar interests and backgrounds and group tours are a great way to do this.
There’s little prior planning involved as most tour companies publish a catalog or brochure about the tour with all the necessary information in one place. Seniors can also travel with less disposable cash as most attractions and accommodations are included in the price of the tour.
One of the biggest advantages to seniors traveling with preplanned tour companies is the ability to let someone else do the driving. According to the AARP, here are some warning signs senior drivers should look for when considering their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

· Feeling less comfortable and more nervous or fearful while driving

· Difficulty staying in the lane of travel

· More frequent “close calls” (i.e. almost crashing)

· More frequent dents, scrapes, on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs etcetera

· Trouble judging gaps in traffics at intersections and on highway entrance and exit ramps

· Other drivers honking at you more often; more instances when you are angry at other drivers

· Friends or relatives not wanting to drive with you

· Getting lost more often

· Difficulty seeing the sides of the road when looking straight ahead (i.e. cars or people seem to come “out of nowhere” more frequently)

· Trouble paying attention to or violating signals, road signs and pavement markings

· Slower response to unexpected situations; trouble moving foot from gas to brake pedal or confusing the two pedals

· Easily distracted or hard to concentrate while driving

· Hard to turn around to check over shoulder while backing up or changing lanes

· Medical conditions or medications that may be increasingly affecting your ability to handle the car safely

· More traffic tickets or “warnings” by traffic or law enforcement officers in the last year or two.

If you notice one or more of these warning signs, you may want to have your driving assessed by a professional or attend a driver refresher class. You may also want to consult with your doctor if you are having unusual concentration or memory problems, or other physical symptoms that may be affecting your ability to drive.
Even if you are a great driver, we all have experienced the frustrations of traveling to a new city and getting lost. Especially when traveling to heavily congested areas like New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, it’s best to let a professional handle the driving. Group tours are the best way to take the stress out of your next vacation.
Overall, seniors have found group tour experiences to be affordable, safe and rewarding. Less stress means more time to enjoy the scenery and the destinations. If you think you may have interest in traveling with a group of like-minded senior citizens, contact a local tour operator and ask questions. Most reputable companies would be happy to provide you with any information you may need. Local churches, civic clubs and other groups will offer custom tours just for a specific group. This is a great way to experience group travel. One thing every traveler should remember; always travel with someone you trust and if a price looks too good to be true, it probably is. Now is your time travel and see the world. Take advantage of it!

Tracy Aldridge is the director of sales and promotions for Christian Tours/Burke International Tours. Its number is ( 800) 476-3900.
by Special to the LTN

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