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Going with the group: Options for over 55 travelers who'd rather not vacation solo

Oct 12, 2011, 12:20 p.m.

Some people were born travelers, and others come to it a bit more slowly and cautiously. If you're over 55 and consider yourself a member of the latter category, but you still haven’t done much traveling, there’s no reason why you should allow your caution to keep you from experiencing some of the things you’ve always wanted to experience.

The trouble is, the world’s a huge place and it’s easy to get lost in it. Add to this the fact that there are certain risks for older travelers that just aren’t there for youngsters, and you’ve got yourself something of a predicament. While it’s true that health concerns and physical limitations can wreak havoc on your travel choices, you don’t have to resolve to spending another summer at home watching the clock. You’ve got options.

Sign up for group travel

There are travel agencies that specialize in arranging group vacations specifically for people like yourself who don’t fancy the idea of vacationing solo, but don’t want to let that stop them. These aren’t exactly what you’d call matchmaker companies, so you don’t have to worry that someone’s going to be trying to play Cupid on your behalf. Many of the groups you can travel with will include older married couples as well as singles, all of whom have one thing in common: An interest in seeing the world without having to worry about making all of the arrangements. By signing on to travel with a group, you’ll not only get guided tours of all of the peak points of interest regardless of your destination, but you’ll also have the tight-knit social element that can make any run-of-the-mill vacation a memorable experience.

Seek out individual travel buddies

If you’re the kind of person that thinks three’s a crowd, there’s always the method of finding a travel buddy by joining various online senior sites and posting your intended travel plans. Doing so, you’ll greatly increase your chances of finding an affable travel companion who’s headed the same direction. Anytime you make plans to travel with someone that you’ve never met in person, however, take precautions. Don’t offer to book someone else’s travel plans on the condition they’ll pay you back. If you’re connecting with a travel partner, ensure that they’re capable of paying their own way or you just might find yourself with one heck of a bill when all’s said and done.

Invite family or friends

Maybe you’re not interested in buddying up with strangers. If that’s the case, don’t beat yourself up for being anti-social. Group travel isn’t for everyone, after all. But if you’re steadfast and determined not to spend another peak vacation season just dreaming about taking a tour of Italy, try to enlist the participation of your family members. You may have to shoulder a bit of the travel costs, but you’d be surprised at how willing to travel some family members will become the moment you offer to pay their way.

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