Think discount travel, cheap or free flights, inexpensive or free rooms, deals on food and you are going to be thinking Geezer Travel. The difference between Charlene and I traveling in Geezer mode and traveling to Europe this month with our Granddaughter was huge. In many ways our trip to Europe with our Granddaughter, helped us define; Geezer Travel. Our trip with Alyssia was fantastic, but very different from our normal travel experience. Traveling with Alyssia we were traveling like “tourists” and in many ways being a Geezer Traveler is different from being a “tourist”.
First, the folks that still have responsibilities like kids, old dogs and jobs have time restraints. Geezers do not have time restraints. Lets face it, a retired old Geezer can go for months, all you have to do is lock the doors but those poor souls that still have responsibilities can only sneak away for short periods of time. This constraint has a huge impact on your travel style.
You can’t extend your trip! This means if you’re sitting in Paris and find an ad in the newspaper for a 14 day cruise out of Paris for $40 a day, you can’t just go! It also means that if old friends in Copenhagen says why don’t you come and join us at our summer place, you can’t just go! Finally, if you have to use you’re hard-earned free air miles to take a long flight, as a Geezer, you stay for a while!
Tourists know when they will be home. Geezers, not so much.
Another time constraint that Geezers don’t have is; we are not forced into traveling during high season. A smart Geezer never travels during high season! During our trip with Alyssia I couldn’t believe the congested swarms of tourists. Part of being retired is the freedom to travel when the standard tourist is working and their kids are in school. It’s tough being old and we need to get every advantage we can. The reality is; all the deals are in off or shoulder seasons. Flights are more expensive in high season. Lodging is more expensive in high season. Attractions are more crowded in high season. The message being as Geezers we travel in low season because it’s cheaper and we hate lines.
During our trip with Alyssia time was not our only constraint. We had to find accommodations that would afford Alyssia and us some privacy. With Alyssia joining us we chose the more expensive option of vacation rentals. In France and most of the world vacation rentals are a good option if you want to sleep 3 or 4 with some privacy. The reality is that the discount travel industry is primarily designed for couples traveling together. It is an offensive reality of the lodging industry that it is much more expensive to travel as a family than as a couple.
The next difference I noticed between Geezers and “tourists” is how we spent our time during our trip with Alyssia. On this trip, we were being “tourists” and wanted to show Alyssia the sights, so we were a lot more aggressive about hitting the hot spots like the Louvre, Notre Dame and other tourist type attractions. When Charlene and I usually travel, enjoying the simple pleasures of the location is more important than seeing all the tourist attractions. This trip helped me understand that a big part of traveling as a Geezer is taking smaller bites of your destination each day but over time being able to experience the culture you’re visiting more fully. Geezers spend more time meeting people and enjoying the simple daily experiences that define a culture and less time than “tourists” rushing thru tourist attractions.Geezers smell more roses.
In many ways the travel industry is designed to take advantage of tourists but also designed to accommodate Geezers. When, Cruise Ships, Hotels and Airplanes are full, like during spring break, tourists will pay a dear price to travel. When those same Cruise Ships, Hotels and Airplanes are empty during the slack season they will almost give their products away to fill a few more cabins, rooms and seats.
This trip with Alyssia was great we not only got to introduce our granddaughter to Europe but we also got reminded why we want to be Geezer Travelers not tourists.