Taking it Slow and Savoring the Experience: Advice for Senior Tourists Headed to Australia
For many senior citizens, travel is a dream-deferred, long-put-off activity that takes a back seat to the responsibilities of career and family. Those who have scrimped and saved all their working lives expect something extraordinary, an experience they’ll never forget and which measures up to lofty expectations. Europe is always a popular destination for Americans, but some people aren’t as appreciative of castles, ancient artwork and villages and cities thronged with tourists as others.
Destinations like Paris and Rome can get pretty clogged during tourist season, which makes Australia an attractive alternative for seniors who want more elbow room, natural beauty, exotic wildlife and thousands of miles of stunning coastline. You can make it all happen without emptying your travel budget, a best-case scenario if your intention is to do a lot of traveling after retirement.
No matter how much you’ve set aside, it’s always important to be a savvy traveler when it comes to your money. Australia, like any country, can be very expensive if you haven’t done your homework, so be diligent about where you’ll go and how you’ll get there. A well-conceived and researched itinerary can save a lot of money. Most people fly into Sydney, which is an expensive tourism market. Hotels and restaurants are costly there, so a harbor cruise and a good view of the world-famous Sydney Opera House may be best if you’re on a tight budget.
Outside the big cities, there are plenty of spectacular options for tourists, from the Outback to the country’s beautiful beaches, so take your pick, and create your budget accordingly.
Where to go and how to get there
Technically speaking, Australia may be an island, but as a continent, it’s one of the biggest islands on earth, covering nearly 3 million square miles, which is roughly the size of Canada. Air travel is one way to get around, but it isn’t cost effective. Australia’s airlines are quite expensive, and lack of competition makes the situation even more problematic for tourists. There’s little doubt that 4 wheels is the best way to go. The cost of renting a vehicle makes it smarter to buy a good used vehicle and hit the road. You can find plenty of affordable options online with cars you can sell before heading back home at retailers like Gumtree, and with so much to see, you wouldn’t want it any other way (it’s hard to see koalas and kangaroos up close from 30,000 feet).
Top-line hotels are going to cost you a pretty penny, so stay in locations with budget hotels and other alternative accommodations. Ibis budget hotels are fairly abundant and roughly on par with American budget hotels from a cost standpoint (currently, rates are as low as $84 USD per night), while Best Western offers a 10-percent discount for guests age 55 and older.
Many people opt for the country’s abundant hostels and campgrounds, a good choice if you want to get up close and personal with flora and fauna you’ve never seen. If your travels take you to Queensland, don’t miss the Daintree Forest, a World Heritage site with a tropical feel. Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory has 20,000 kilometers with plenty to see. Do some crocodile spotting, view your favorite Australian animals up close in their natural habitats, or take a nature walk past waterfalls or beachfront scenery.
If you prefer to hug the coast on your Australian adventure, don’t miss the country’s renowned coast drives, including the Pacific Coast drive and the Great Southern Way, a breathtaking 1,100-kilometer drive that puts the best Australia has to offer on display just for you.
Cost-effective transportation and accommodations and emphasizing Australia’s natural beauty (instead of hunkering down in the country’s major cities) will help you get the most for your tourism dollar. There’s a lot to take in in Australia, and if your aim is to take enough time to see a lot of it, traveling slowly and savoring the experience will leave you wanting to come back for more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ms. Bridges is the creator of AgingWellness.org, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She’s a breast cancer survivor. She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.