One of the most liberating aspects of downsizing is releasing equity in your home. Not only can you find a new place to live, but you can splurge big-time on your travel wish list.
After the two-year covid-enforced travel ‘pause’, over-50s, mature workers and retirees are keener than ever to head off for the trip of a lifetime. A recent survey of 1,000 over-50s by Australian Seniors showed that the top five preferred holiday types are self-drive, beach holidays, luxury and indulgence, wildlife and eco-trips, and cruises.
Best self-drive holidays
Road trips around Australia are the easiest to organise in terms of red tape (vehicle hire, driving licence, insurance, etc). There are hundreds of travel itineraries to choose from – you just need to decide how much time to spend travelling and how much money to spend along the way. New Zealand is relatively compact, and you can see a lot of both islands in two weeks; check out newzealand.com for top routes.
When you’re heading further afield, it can pay to use a company that specialises in self-drive and fly-drive holidays. Responsible Travel is one that offers independent travel with reassuring back-up, in places as diverse as Iceland, Europe, the US, Africa, Costa Rica and Southeast Asia.
On the beach
You don’t have to go far to find amazing beaches in Australia. Check out Tourism Australia’s Top 20 beaches for 2022. If you’re looking for somewhere new to explore close to home – Western Australia’s mis-named Misery Beach takes the top spot.
TripAdvisor’s World’s Top 25 beaches in 2022 includes Turquoise Bay and Cable Beach in Western Australia, along with astoundingly beautiful beaches in Japan, the Caribbean, Brazil and Cuba.
Luxury and indulgence
The world is your oyster if this is your preferred travel choice, which is pretty broad. Much depends on your definition of ‘luxury’ – for some of us it means travelling in five-star comfort, whether on an epic train journey, private jet tour or an ultra-luxe cruise; for others it’s about staying in remote places inaccessible to crowds and experiencing local cultures, geography and wildlife with highly educated experts.
If luxury train travel is your thing, look no further than Belmond for rail journeys aboard the classic Venice-Simplon Orient Express, British Pullman and Royal Scotsman. In Australia, check out Journey Beyond Rail for itineraries on The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern and The Overland trains; and the famous Rocky Mountaineer operates spectacular rail trips in British Columbia, Alberta, Colorado and Utah.
Captain's Choice is renowned for its private jet tours around Australia for small groups; Four Four Seasons' Private Jet Experience operates around the world. Sydney-based company Crooked Compass specialises in small-group, experiential travel in remote destinations across the globe as well as private air travel within Australia.
Wildlife and eco-trips
Explore Worldwide offers an amazing selection of wildlife-spotting holidays, in India, Sri Lanka, Canada, Costa Rica and South Africa and more. While the company operates more than 500 trips, ranging from classic 'discovery' group tours to solo traveller holidays and active family adventures, walking holidays, cycling trips and self-guided options in 120 countries, dedicated wildlife holidays include African safaris, trekking to see gorilla and chimp in Uganda, spotting sloth in the rainforest of Costa Rica and seeing the majestic Bengal tiger in India's national parks.
Eco-conscious travellers looking for sustainable holidays close to home should check out a recent article in Australian Traveller magazine for inspiration. The selection of sustainable getaways includes Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, in NSW’s Blue Mountains; Freycinet Lodge in Tasmania; Bamurra Plains in Kakadu National Park; and the Villas Barossa in South Australia.
These days there’s more choice of ocean and river cruises, incredible destinations and types of ships than ever before. Voyages of a lifetime might be a world cruise that calls at 20 to 30 countries over three to four months, but even within this niche sector there are many different options and fares. The smaller and more luxurious the ship (think Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Viking, Silversea, Oceania and Azamara) the quicker it books out, so planning a couple of years ahead is vital.
Luxury expedition cruises, particularly to the Polar regions, are high on many adventurous travellers’ bucket lists. The Galapagos islands, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Asia and the Kimberley are also highly sought-after destinations. Again, there are several operators to choose from – among the best are Ponant, Seabourn,Silversea Expeditions and Hurtigruten. Australian companies include Coral Expeditions, Aurora Expeditions and Scenic, while Heritage Expeditions is the expert on expedition cruises to New Zealand and the little-known NZ Subantarctic Islands.
For more information about travel for retirees, see National Seniors Travel, newyoungtravel.com.au and odysseytraveller.com. To find a specialist cruise travel agent near you visit CLIA Australasia and check out our Travel section at Downsizing.com.au for more great advice.