Grandparents turn globetrotters - Senior citizens take off for frequent overseas tours in style

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  • Published 7.12.05

Some call them the Dada-Dadi travellers. Others call them the ?just-retired? globetrotters. Call them what you will, but the 60-plus travellers are having the time of their lives ? planning it to perfection, budgeting it best and having a leisurely blast.

These seniors on the move are roughly divided into two categories: VFR (visiting friends and relatives) and those travelling with their kids.

?We call them senior citizens and along with amazing ticket discounts, they also happen to avail of the best hotel tariff rates,? says Anil Punjabi, chairman, Eastern India Chapter of Travel Agents Federation of India. ?The bonanza continues because these passengers have increased flexibility of travel timing, perfect to help obtain whopping off-season offers.?

A regular itinerary revolves around the comfort factor. Apart from taking convenient flight timings and duration of stay, these travellers either prefer single destinations or travel around with a minimum stay of four days at a place.

?Most 60-plus travellers like to take a month off, spending time with their kids settled abroad and exploring that area,? says Madhulika Saraf, director of Gainwell Travel & Leisure.

?When travelling on their own, they prefer a 15-day cruise, otherwise they are equally happy with a guided tour like Trafalgar or Cosmos. The hottest trend at the moment is to celebrate the golden wedding anniversary or 60th birthday in style, overseas,? she adds.

And for this, exotic experiments are in, stretching from East Africa and Egypt to Turkey, Greece and Peru. ?The historical and cultural background of the place is a big draw for this age group,? reveals a spokesperson from Altair Services, a specialised travel house that designs individual packages.

The budget per person, according to Altair, could start from Rs 80,000 and go up to Rs 5 lakh. ?The seniors usually have their budgeting sorted out, with the children often pitching in.?

Children working abroad, heightened awareness, a flurry of flight options, hassle-free travel providers, and, of course, higher disposable incomes have given rise to this new breed of travellers, says the trade.

And the seniors have only just begun to have fun. Says Dr Sujit Kumar Banerjee, who has gifted himself a holiday in Australia: ?After having travelled extensively, I wished to visit my friends in Australia. Now that travel systems have improved and senior citizens are looked after so well, I am really looking forward to it.?

With supply striving to match demand, the 60-plus brigade now has an added sop to look forward to ? EMI facilities. For a monthly payment of Rs 5,000 or 7,000, travellers can draw up to Rs 1 lakh. ?It?s an ideal plan for seniors, considering pensions and other constraints,? explains Punjabi.

The seniors are clearly going near and far. Guwahati-based Madhukant Sharma is just back from a cruise in Singapore and is planning to repeat a short vacation every three months. ?The children having settled down, our responsibilities are pretty much over,? he says.