As we go through the various stages of our lives, we have different needs and find that what appeals to us at 20 may not hold quite the same attraction at 50. Our attitudes change, our interests change and our physical ability changes along with everything else. Whether we're talking about our style of shoes - the older we get, the lower the heel; the level of our patience - "I love my grandchildren, but I'm happy they have their own home"; or, our music choices - somehow the slower, softer tunes find their way to the top of our play list. When we think of our travel styles, it's not so different either. The trick is to match the way we travel with our stage of life. Today, as travelers we are so incredibly fortunate to have any number of qualified, professional tour operators to help us experience the places we want to visit in the way most comfortable for us. Finding the right one for you, however, can be a daunting task. That's where developing a relationship with a qualified travel agent is worth more than you could possibly imagine.
When I was first starting out as an avid traveler, the last thing I thought I wanted was to travel with a tour group. Remember the movie "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium"? Who wanted to be stuck with a bunch of people you didn't know, being led around by someone with a flag, everyone doing the same thing at the same time and trying to cover so much ground in a short period of time that your entire vacation was nothing but a blur? I wanted to do my own thing at my own pace. Rent a car, plan my itinerary, stop when and where I felt the interest moved me. What did it matter that I had to lug my own bags around, find a decent place to spend the night, get lost and miss some spots along the way because I wasn't aware they existed? I was young and energetic and I would most likely return again at some point in the future.
Well, let me tell you, that attitude has changed a great deal over the years and so has my options for traveling. First, when I'm in a new place I do want to see and do as much as I can. My travel pace tends to be active, unless I'm at the beach, but that doesn't mean I want to skim over everything either. I want an overview and then the opportunity to see what interests me most in further depth. Today's tour operators have gotten the message that this is actually a travel style. Most operators build in some free time to their tours realizing that not everyone's tastes are exactly the same. Second, I've been on some organized escorted tours lately and I'm finding I like having my baggage handled for me. I enjoy not having to fight to get to the front of the line because now I'm part of a "group". It's not so bad following the flag and being led to he right places at the right times. Third, the amount of time it saves me and often the amount of money as well, is worth moving into the realm of being part of a tour group.
Best yet, there are tour operators that cater to every type of travel style - be it Family and Multi-Generational, Religious, Seniors, Singles, Adventure - you name it, there's probably one out there for you. In addition, they run the gamut of price points as well from Budget to Luxury and everything in between.
So, am I pushing escorted tours? Not necessarily, what I am driving at is that we each have a specific way of traveling - what feels comfortable for us and will provide the best value, interest and experience. Be flexible and realize that your tastes and ability today maybe different from what it was 20 or 30 years ago. Don't stop traveling because you can't keep up with the way you used to do it. You have choices: Independent Travel, Escorted Tours, River Cruising, Ocean Cruising, All-Inclusive Vacations - to name a few. And, your travel agent can help match you up with just the right style.
There's so much to see and do around the world or even around the corner. What are you waiting for?
Call Barbara at Hudson Valley Traveler -
See what's on our group agenda at