Just like it says on the box, we are a 60+ retired couple who like to see the world, talk about our travel adventures and show you some of the pictures we took along the way.
Yeah, we know there’s lots of travel blogs already out there. There’s women’s travel blogs, adventure travel blogs, back packer travel blogs, gay travel blogs. Blogs for students, blogs for singles, blogs for couples … and the list goes on. Our blog is for people like us; people who want to see the world with a reasonable level of comfort, without spending a fortune.
A brief word before we start. If you’re into back packing, bungee jumping, sky diving, zip lining or anything more strenuous than walking, you will probably be bored silly reading about our adventures. Sorry, we’re senior citizens and we’re not into anything too strenuous. However, we are both reasonably healthy, we don’t have to prove anything to anybody and we are still young enough to enjoy life.
We travel the way we like to travel, in a way that suits us. So if you are interested in getting out and about, finding new places to visit, seeing the world in reasonable comfort and getting tips on how to stretch your travel pennies a bit further then read on.
People ask us what is our favourite type of holiday. We don’t have a favourite type, although there are a few types that we avoid. We like exploring towns and cities, guided walks, day trips, coach trips and cruises. We also like city visits and self-drive holidays. It is the experience that we seek and the joy of meeting new people and seeing something new.
We like going to places we’ve never been so that we can experience the culture, eat the food and see the sights. We also like to meet people. All night drinking parties, crowds, discos and night clubs are not for us, we like to explore shops and markets, talk to the locals and eat nice food. We especially like to sleep in a bed with clean sheets.
Spending a week at a resort lying by the pool is also not for us. When we go somewhere we like to get out and explore the area. We like to soak up the atmosphere of the towns and cities that we visit.
How to find a great deal
Another question we get asked is how do we find the holidays that will be the best value. That one is easy to answer; the secret is to have a plan and stick to it. Be very patient and wait for the right holiday to present itself then grab it.
You have to have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, you will be just stumbling around in the dark relying on dumb luck so, before searching for that great travel offer, do some research. Spend some time finding travel portals that will help you find the great offers and settle on one or two portals that you like.
A portal is essentially a website that mostly has links to other websites on a specific topic and there are several websites that act as a travel agent portal. Travel agents advertise their travel offers on the portal and when you click on an offer you will be taken you to the agent’s website where you can see the offer details and make a booking, if you want.
Don’t get tricked
After you click on what looks like a great deal and you have arrived at the agent’s web site, it is very important that you read the offer completely before you make a booking so that you know what you are buying. Whilst most travel agents have genuine offers, there are a few that might try to trick you into spending more than you should. They will use all sorts of tricks to get you to pay more. One trick is to promote a package that has expired and claim that the portal is slow removing the offer. (The truth is that they are the ones who are slow removing it from the portal.) Another trick is to try to sell you all sorts of expensive and unnecessary add-ons. Sometimes they might attach conditions to an offer that makes it very unattractive, unless you spend a lot more money. One offer we saw was for a river cruise. The price was excellent until we read the whole offer in detail; the advertised price was for six people sharing a cabin. In other words, to get the great price we would have had to share the cabin with four strangers. No thank you.
Although dishonest agents will try lots of tricks to get you to pay more, most travel agents want your repeat business so they are very honest. With a little bit of practice it doesn’t take long to learn how to spot the cheats and avoid them. While the occasional mistake is forgivable, if a pattern starts to show up then be wary of that agent. The overriding rule is; always read the whole offer before you make a final decision!
Don’t look for one specific type of holiday, unless that’s what you really want. It may seem obvious but the more holiday types you look for, the more great deals you will find. If you keep your eyes open you can find cruises, tours, stays that include air fares and hotel deals all well below market price.
Stick to the plan
You have to be disciplined. Decide what type of holiday you want and how much you are willing to spend before you search for a suitable offer. Once you have set your limit don’t break it without a really good reason.
Be ready but don’t jump the gun
You have to be ready for the right offer. When the right deal does comes along you have to be ready to grab it straight away because there may not be much time to think about it. But don’t just blindly sign up to an offer without looking at it first. Spend a few extra minutes reading and understanding the deal to make sure that it really is a good deal before you sign up and hand over your hard earned money.
If you are in a hurry you can pack a bag in less than an hour, so it’s worthwhile taking an extra few minutes to understand an offer before you sign up for it. When a genuine deal does present itself, if you have to, it’s quite possible to book a trip in the morning and fly the same afternoon. A while back we did a seven night cruise to Norway and back for £650. We saw the cruise on Tuesday afternoon, booked it just before the travel agent closed and sailed the next day. After we booked the cruise we went onto another website and rented someone’s allocated parking spot for a week for £12. On the Wednesday morning we packed our bags and drove to Tilbury, parked in the parking spot and got a taxi to the docks. The cruise worked out at a little over £46 each per night for full board and entertainment in a four star floating hotel that took us from place to place (i.e. a cruise ship). If we hadn’t been ready to grab the deal when we saw it, we would have missed it.
How often do we travel?
Having a limited income we can’t afford to travel all the time, so we travel whenever we find an offer that we like to a place that we like for a price that we like. In other words, we look for the bargains and grab them when we see them. We usually manage a trip every two or three months. Sometimes we find a cruise, sometimes a city stay that includes flights and sometimes a hotel stay that we can drive to. The where and the how, i.e. where we go or how we get there, isn’t important, it’s the going that is important.
If you want to travel reasonably comfortably on a limited budget, the best advice we can offer is keep your eyes open and your brain turned on. There are lots of great offers out there waiting to be found, but they’re mixed in with a lot of ordinary offers. You just need to sift through the sand to find the gems.
We hope you enjoy reading about our travels and looking at our pictures but mostly we hope that reading our blog will spark your interest so that you start travelling yourself. Remember, you don’t have to be rich to see the world but seeing the world will give you memories that will make you rich on the inside.
If you want to be kept up to date with our travels, or you just want some great travel tips, then follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be the first to know. We update our blog whenever we come back from a trip and we’ve got something worth saying, so it’s worthwhile revisiting us every few weeks.
If you have your own tips, suggestions or requests, or you just want to tell us about your own adventures, then post a comment and share your thoughts. Please “share the love” by telling your friends about us. Send your friends a link to our blog, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and generally spread the word so that others can benefit as well as you.
Paul & Rosa