Getting The Best Out Of Travel In Retirement
Jim Green created his own retirement masterplan when he retired a few years ago. Now in his seventies he enjoys runs his own internet business. He is based in Glasgow.
We all need a break now and then, but how we decide to spend these essential refreshers is a matter of personal preference. For some, it will be niche travel to exotic locations; for others, short breaks in less salubrious surroundings. And it isn’t all down to champagne and beer budgeting. Some retirees with discretionary funds at their disposal opt for local holidaying, while many who are less well-heeled prefer to travel abroad, even if they have to copper up to afford it.
All-in-one guide to holiday planning
Wherever your proclivities lie, you need a plan and access to resources to get the best out of travel in retirement. You need an entrée that allows you to:
- tap into time - and cost-sensitive information;
- review options;
- make price comparisons;
- find the best deals;
- maximise on value; and
- link venues and facilities to personal preferences, such as:
- resort holidays;
- coach holidays;
- self-catering in the UK;
- self-catering in Europe and worldwide;
- short breaks;
- singles’ holidays;
- golfing holidays;
- cruises; and
- holiday weather.
This chapter is your all-in-one holiday guide, containing a compendium of links for online planning; links that will still be of value even if you decide to effect buying decisions offline. Check out the International Retirement Directory at the end of this book for additional useful listings, including hotels, flights, airports, ferries, trains, and car hire.
Sunny relaxing beaches or, perhaps, shuttling the grandchildren off to Florida ... you will be spoilt for choice.
- Advantage Travel (www.advantage4travel.com/v2home/holidays/index.html). Europe’s biggest network of independent travel agents, with 900 outlets in the UK, offers flights, package holidays, cruises, and more.
- Airtours(www.uk.mytravel.com). You can check holiday and flight details, and order a brochure, online.
- Caribbean Holidays(www.caribbean.co.uk). Specialists in holiday travel to the Caribbean. Handle reservations for over 5,000 hotels and villas on 36 Caribbean islands.
- Co-op Travelcare(www.travelcare.co.uk). Offers holiday and flight search and discounts.
- Crystal Holidays(www.crystalholidays.co.uk). This operator covers France, Jersey, the UK, and the US, as well as lake, mountain, and skiing holidays. You can order a brochure online.
- Deckchair(www.deckchair.com). A big database of fares and good discounted prices.
- Drive Alive(www.drive-alive.com). Plan and book your self-drive holiday online, submit your holiday plan, and then phone if you wish. The website also offers city breaks, stopover hotels, and resort holidays.
- Expedia(www.expedia.co.uk). Holiday details from the UK’s top 20 travel companies, so the choice is extensive. Expedia will also find the cheapest price for wherever you want to go.
- First Choice(www.firstchoice.co.uk). Last-minute holidays, cheap flights, and a discount for booking online.
- French Life(www.frenchlife.co.uk). Create tailor-made holidays in France staying in villas or cottages.
- Instant Holidays(www.instant-holidays.com). Last-minute holiday bargains.
- Lakes& Mountains Holidays(www.lakes-mounains.co.uk). City breaks, hotels, motor homes, etc. in Europe and Canada.
- Lunn Poly(www.lunn-poly.co.uk). Offers holidays available in coming months, plus late availability, and a selection of cruises.
- Magic Travel Holidays(www.magictravelgroup.co.uk). Holidays in Spain, Portugal, France, and European cities.
- Orient-Express Trains& Cruises(www.orient-express.com). The world’s greatest train journeys.
- Premier Leisure Holidays(www.premier-leisure.com). Schedule and charter flights, as well as package holidays and bargain deals.
- Saga Holidays(www.saga.co.uk/travel/General3/home. asp). Resort holidays, tours, cruises, short breaks, special offers, late getaways, etc.
- Scottish Holidays(www.scottishholidays.net). Lots of information. A good search facility for accommodation.
- Sunstyle Holidays(www.sunstyle.co.uk). Specialists in holidays to Florida.
- Teletext Holidays(www.teletext.co.uk). The online service of the TV-based teletext. It is easy and fast to use, and the prices are competitive.
- Thomas Cook(www.thomascook.co.uk). The website of the large holiday company that started it all.
- Thomson Holidays(www.thomsonholidays.co.uk). As well as the usual Thomson holidays, this website also features information on Just, their no-frills holiday packages.
- Travelfinder(www.travel-finder.co.uk). Travel bargains departing from the UK. The website is updated daily and is easy to use. You can look for city breaks, flights, or inclusive holidays.
- Virgin(www.virgin.net/travel). This website covers all kinds of holidays and has lots of information.
Perhaps you don’t like flying? There is still a good choice of destinations if you take a coach holiday.
- Coach Holidays(www.coachholidays.com) .Coach holidays and coach tours, departing from England, Scotland, and Wales, at discounted prices.
- David Urquhart Travel(www.davidurquharttravel.co.uk). Mainly coach holidays in the UK, but expanding into Europe.
- Gold Crest Holidays(www.gold-crest.com). A good choice, including late deals. You can order a brochure online.
- Leger Holidays(www.leger.co.uk). Over 300 pick-up points throughout England and Wales. Click on the map to find your nearest one. A good choice of tours, including battlefields.
- Shearings(www.shearingsholidays.com). Holidays in the UK, Europe, and worldwide. The website doesn’t have too much information, but there is a phone number for enquiries.
- Skills(www.skills.co.uk). Continental holidays, plus days out. Some discounts.
- Supreme Travel(www.supremetravel.co.uk). A long-established, family-run company with tours covering continental Europe and the UK.
- Titan Travel(www.titantravel.co.uk). A large tour operator offering escorted holidays all over the world.
- Wallace Arnold(www.wallacearnold.com). An extensive choice of destinations. You can view holidays or order a brochure online.
- Wise Coaches(www.wisecoaches.co.uk). Hassle-free holidays and short breaks throughout the UK, plus Ireland, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. A free door-to-door service from East Sussex. Tours include all coach travel and holiday insurance, plus most include evening meals and bed and breakfast.
- Woods(www.woodstravel.co.uk). Holidays throughout Europe and the UK. A free door-to-door service between Eastbourne and Southampton, and up to 30 miles inland. On certain holidays, the company can arrange to pick up clients from most areas of the country, collecting you from home in a taxi.
Self-catering in the UK
Holiday cottages to Scottish castles, all situated in the best UK locations.
- Cottageguide(www.cottageguide.co.uk). A selection of over 3,000 self-catering holiday homes, including farm-houses, country houses, town houses, apartments, and log cabins.
- Cumbrian Cottages(www.cumbria-cottages.co.uk). All of the holiday homes have been personally selected and are also inspected by the English Tourism Council.
- Dales Holiday Cottages(www.dales-holiday-cottages.com). A range of cottages in Yorkshire, Northumberland, the Lake District, and Scotland. Check availability and book online.
- Ecosse Unique(www.uniquescotland.com). Cottages to rent throughout Scotland. The website features an easy-to-use map to click on for the area that you want to visit. Good pictures and descriptions for each property.
- Hideaways(www.hideaways.co.uk). Specialists in cottages throughout central and southern England. The website has good photographs of each property, together with descriptions and details of nearby facilities. The price is shown on the same page as the property.
- Internet Directory of UK Holiday Accommodation(www.holidays.org.uk). This website has a vast number of holidays to choose from, including self-catering. Just type in the town you want to visit, choose by county, or click on the map.
- Northern Ireland Self Catering Holidays Association(www.nischa.com). A guide to over 350 holiday homes, cottages, and holiday rentals in Northern Ireland.
- Red Rose Cottages(www.redrosecottages.co.uk). This website has cottages, apartments, and houses to rent in the north of England. Good pictures of the properties, together with accompanying descriptions. The price is shown on the same page as the property, along with classification from the English Tourist Board.
- Scottish Holiday Cottages(www.scottish-holiday-cottages.co.uk). Holiday accommodation to rent in locations throughout Scotland, from the Borders to the Highlands.
- UK Holiday Cottages Online(www.oas.co.uk/uk cottages). Cottages and self-catering accommodation throughout the UK.
- Vivat Trust(www.vivat.org.uk). Vivat is a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving unusual ancient buildings and offering them as rented accommodation. The trust has cottages, houses, and apartments, all with furnishings appropriate to the period. The website has good pictures of the properties, together with comprehensive descriptions.
- Wales Holiday Cottages(www.wales-holidays.co.uk). An easy-to-use website with a very good selection of cottages to rent in Wales.
Self-catering in Europe and worldwide
Villas, gîtes, apartments ... Find a holiday home that is right for you.
- Sunseeker Holidays(www.sunseekerholidays.com). Specialists in holiday accommodation on Fuerteventura. They really do know the best places to stay (as well as the places to avoid).
- Country Villas(www.countryvillas.com). A selection of superb villas on the Caribbean islands of Barbados, St Lucia, and Mustique. The size of accommodation varies from two to six bedrooms, giving something for everyone.
- Eden Holidays(www.edenholidays.com). Holiday villa rentals on the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Tobago, and Grenada.
- Owners Direct(www.ownersdirect.co.uk/cyprus.htm). Villas and apartments in Cyprus. Self-catering holiday accommodation. Book direct with the owners.
- Villa Villas(www.villavillas.com). Good selection of villas. The website shows prices and availability.
- Normandie Vacances(www.normandy-holidays.co.uk). Established in 1982, the only UK specialist tour operator for one of the finest holiday regions in France. Offers over 120 self-catering country cottages and houses, all with Gîtes de France classification. Over half are within 30 minutes’ drive of the sea.
- Elysian Holidays(www.elysianholidays.com). An extensive choice of properties on Greek islands, with information about each island.
- Travelux(www.mainland-greece-and-greek-island-holidays.co.uk/index.shtml). Apartments and villas with pools on the Ionian Islands and in mainland Greece.
- Italian Holidays(www.italianholidays.co.uk/). Superb holiday rentals and properties in charming and traditional country houses, farmhouses, and villas in all the most beautiful regions of Italy.
- Italian Villas(www.villavillas.com). A wide selection of villas and apartments in Italy, ranging from studio apartments for two people to large villas and farmhouses, with private pools set in wonderful locations, accommodating up to 16 and more people.
- Individual Travellers(www.indiv-travellers.com). Properties throughout Portugal.
- Villa Agency(www.thevillaagency.co.uk). Villas with pools to rent in the Algarve and coastal region of Lisbon.
- Villa Plus(www.villapluscostadelsol.com/). A specialist in the Costa del Sol, this operator has been arranging villa holidays since 1986.
- Experience Spain(www.expspain.com). Self-catering apartments and villas available for holiday rental, located in some of the most desirable areas of Andalusia, the Costa del Sol, and southern Spain.
- Bridgewater Villa(www.bridgewatervilla.co.uk). A holiday home in Florida. Sleeps eight to ten. Four bedrooms and three bathrooms. A south-facing luxury villa with pool, on the private development of Bridgewater Crossing. Ideally located for all the main attractions.
- Windsor Palms(www.travel55.co.uk/breda_windsor palms.html). Another holiday home in Florida, this time in Kissimmee, Orlando. Sleeps ten. Four bedrooms and three bathrooms. A luxury villa with pool, within five minutes’ drive of Disney World. Gold Star rating.
We all need to recharge our batteries - what better than a weekend away?
- Crystal Holidays(www.crystalholidays.co.uk) City breaks are available with this company. You can order a brochure online.
- En Route(www.enroute.co.uk). City breaks throughout the UK and continental Europe, as well as further afield.
- Hire Boats2Go(www.hireboats2go.co.uk). Boats are normally available for three-night weekend breaks from Friday to Monday or four-night midweek breaks from Monday to Friday.
- Inntravel(www.inntravel.co.uk). Short breaks available throughout Europe. An attractive, easy-to-use website.
- Rose Narrowboats (www.roseboat.demon.co.uk). This is a very attractive website, which gives lots of information about boats for hire, with good pictures and descriptions. Some boats are available for short breaks.
- Short Break Holidays(www.travel-quest.co.uk/tqweekend.htm). Includes details on Classic Short Breaks in Europe, a book published by Thomas Cook Publishing in association with Classic FM that suggests over 100 places in which to enjoy a short break holiday.
- Superbreak(www.superbreaks.com). Instant reservations at over 1,500 hotels throughout the UK and Europe.
- Travelgate(www.travelgate.co.uk). A short-break holiday directory.
- Warner(www.warnerholidays.co.uk). Specialises in UK short breaks for adults.
- Web Weekends(www.webweekends.co.uk). Weekend breaks on offer all year round in the UK and abroad.
- White Roc(www.whiteroc.co.uk). Skiing weekends, or any number of skiing days, from November to May.
A few operators offer singles’ holidays with no supplements. Unless stated otherwise, the operators below do charge supplements for singles’ holidays.
- Friendship Travel(www.friendshiptravel.co.uk). Holidays to Greece and Turkey for independent single travellers. Some prices are for single rooms, others for twin rooms. Check which you are being quoted for.
- Holiday Encounters(www.singles-holidays.co.uk). Package holidays catering for single people who like to holiday to exotic locations in the company of others.
- Solitair(www.solitairhols.com). A good choice of destinations and activities. No singles’ supplement.
- Solo’s Holidays(www.solosholidays.co.uk). An extensive choice of holidays in the UK and overseas, including exotic destinations, golfing holidays, and cruises. This website is worth a look.
- Spanish Activity Breaks(www.spanishactivitybreaks.co.uk). A limited choice of dates with this company on their Spanish holidays.
- Trek America(www.trekamerica.co.uk/). Offers activity holidays, adventure travel and singles holidays in the national parks of the USA, Canada, Alaska and Mexico.
Golfing holidays the world over. Or play the most famous in the home of golf-Scotland.
- Course Master(www.golfholidaysonline.com). Golfing holidays to Portugal, Spain, Scotland, Canada, Morocco, and Florida.
- Dubai Golf Holidays(www.dubai-holidays4less.co.uk). Golfing holiday packages at the Emirates Golf Club and the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.
- Golfbreaks(www.golfbreaks.com). Short golfing breaks throughout the UK.
- Golf Holidays in France(www.frenchgolfholidays.com). The home of great golfing holidays in France.
- Golf in the Sun(www.golfinthesun.co.uk). Destinations include Spain, Portugal, Lisbon, Tenerife, Tunisia, Cyprus, France, and Majorca. A choice of over 100 golf courses. Accommodation ranges from self-catering apartments to four- and five-star hotels.
- GolfScotland(www.golfscotland.co.uk). Choose from one of three tours - Legends, Deluxe Legends, or Classic Treasures - or have a tailor-made package to suit your individual requirements. The operator has extensive experience and first-hand knowledge of areas, courses, and hotels.
- Irish Caddy(www.irishcaddy.com). A great-looking website, which is easy to use and provides a golfing experience custom-made to your needs, no matter what level of golf you play.
- Myrtle Beach Golf Holidays(www.golfholiday.com). Ninety-six golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area featured on this website. Book courses and accommodation online.
- Scotland Golf Tours(www.scotland-golf-tours.co.uk). Golfers are offered a collection of travel packages to Scotland, arranged by Scottish golfers.
- Tailor Made Golf(www.tailormadegolf.co.uk). Golfing holidays in Tenerife, Costa del Sol, Portugal, Jersey, South Africa, and the US.
- Welsh Golfing Holidays(www.welshgolfingholidays.co.uk). A wide range of golf courses, of varying degrees of difficulty to suit different standards of golfers. Accommodation and course booking are included.
Out of favour for many years, cruises are now one of the most popular holiday choices for the over-50s.
- Alaska CruiseTour(www.atlastravelweb.com/). River cruising, small ship cruising; cruises around Australia and the South Pacific, Canada and New England, and Hawaii.
- Chancery Cruising(www.holborn-travel.co.uk). Discount cruises and theme-music cruises.
- Check-in Cruises(www.check-in-cruises.co.uk). Specialists in cruises to the Caribbean, Bermuda, the Panama Canal, and Alaska. Direct deals with cruise lines and airlines to offer discounts.
- Cruise Control(www.cruisecontrolcruises.co.uk). This independent agent offers a wide range of discount cruises from all the leading cruise lines. Search the database or view the special offers and late deals.
- The Cruise Shop(www.thecruiseshop.co.uk). This website says they will ‘beat a quote’ that you have already been given for a cruise. If you email your request, they will get back to you within 24 hours.
- Cruise Services(www.cruiseservices.co.uk). A good choice of destinations. You can search by the name of the destination or ship.
- Fred Olsen Cruise Lines(www.fredolsencruises.co.uk). One of the top cruise lines - an award winner in 2000. An attractive, easy-to-use website, with a good choice of destinations.
- P & O (www.pocruises.com). An extensive choice of cruises throughout the world. The website takes a while to get into, as there are quite a few links, but once you have decided on a cruise you like the look of, you will find a decent description.
- Page & Moy(www.cruisecollection.com). An attractive, easy-to-use website, with details of destinations, ships, dates, and prices.
- Scantours(www.scantoursuk.com). Specialists in cruises to Russia and five Scandinavian countries. The website is easy to use and the choice is quite extensive.
- Sealand Travel(www.sealandtravel.com). In addition to the usual choice of cruise lines and destinations, the website features a special section on singles’ cruising.
- Seaview(www.seaview.co.uk). A good-looking website, which gives lots of information and up-to-date news on all aspects of cruises. An extensive list of cruise operators.
Don’t let the weather spoil your holiday. Visit www.uknet guide.co.uk/ to check out the holiday weather.