Long Stay Tours for Seniors
Odyssey Traveller’s long stay city tours and holidays, where we stay in one place for at least a week and up to 21 days, give us a chance to create meaningful connections with like-minded people in our chosen destination, and ample time to enjoy and contemplate our shared travel experience.
With our focus on history and culture, we are avid proponents of travel as a form of education and appreciation. Instead of rushing from one destination to another, in thrall to the timed itinerary, an extended stay gives us a chance to truly immerse ourselves in a city, and have a deep understanding of its history and culture. Coupled with our small group approach in adventure travel, this also minimises our impact on the environment and local infrastructure, allowing us to use public transport and/or a small coach or shuttle, or go on long walks without subjecting locals to visual pollution. It also gives us access to certain places and activities that may be inaccessible to large groups or to members of the public who are not escorted by a guide, or hidden gems that other organized tours may skip in favour of more popular destinations.
Since 1983, Odyssey Traveller has specialised in crafting unforgettable experiences for senior or mature-aged travellers, providing in-depth adventure and educational programs to small groups that run for several weeks. Even the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) encourages travellers to make each trip long enough to really get to know a place. This also minimises the negative impact of tourism on the environment and on the destinations, as a longer stay allows us to take less flights, reducing our carbon footprint, and allows us to support local businesses over a longer period of time.
According to the global tourism body, with airline prices dropping over the last 20 years, travellers—especially British travellers–have gone on more holiday breaks, but they’re shorter than they used to be. Now travellers are more likely to go on three-to-four-day breaks, way shorter than the traditional two-week holiday. As the WTTC mentions in this article, the emergence of the low-cost airline sector have made it possible to “travel more cheaply by plane to Nice than by train to Newcastle…We think nothing of jumping on a plane for a weekend break now.”
But should we? Travel itself can be nerve-wracking, and setbacks like flight delays, lost luggage, or a jampacked itinerary that doesn’t leave you time to breathe can turn what should be a relaxing experience into a horror show.
- Avoiding “travel burnout”
Travellers have spoken about “travel burnout” or “vacation burnout”, where sights start to blend together, a fun experience is stripped of all excitement, and you come home not rejuvenated, but even more tired than when you stepped out of your home.
On a long stay tour, one destination becomes your home. A serviced apartment is your base for several nights, and after a long day of travelling, you can simply put your feet up and relax, instead of spending the night packing your luggage to jet off to another city in the morning.
We still go on a day tour out of our base city—for example, on our Paris tour, we’ll head out of Paris to Le Port-Marly in north-central France to visit Chateau du Monte-Cristo, once the home of Alexandre Dumas and named for his famous novel—but we don’t need to bring all of our bags as we’ll be heading back to our accommodation at the end of the day.
- Enjoying the comforts of home on vacation
Since we’ll be staying at the same place for more than a week, we choose accommodations and locations that give us the comforts of home, with facilities to do laundry (allowing us to pack light for our trip), and easy access to public transport.
- Live like a local
Wouldn’t it be nice to find that one patisserie in Paris where you can buy coffee and pastries every morning, or that one museum in Barcelona or Rome which you can visit more than once? Or what if you found a nice shop in Berlin that you’d like to visit again, perhaps during the weekend? A long stay tour allows you to ditch the rushed pace of a tourist and live like a local.
At Odyssey, since you’ll be travelling with at most 18 people, your Program Leader can be more flexible on the tour, allowing you to admire a painting a little bit longer in a museum without hurrying you along. If you’re a solo traveller, this can be a good break from travelling alone, giving you time to spend with a new group of friends (with logistical concerns handled by Odyssey), and enough time to explore a city on your own.
In addition to providing benefits to you as a traveller, long stay tours also provide benefits to the destinations we visit. Locals have been protesting against the numerous negative effects of “overtourism” or overcrowding in their region–the rising cost of rental properties, the negative impact on the environment, the anti-social behaviour of seasonal visitors, and the overall pressure placed by a throng of people descending upon a town that can no longer sustain it. Our small group, long stay tours minimise our impact through:
- Less frequent flights, reducing carbon footprint
- Use of public transport and/or a small shuttle
- Staying long-term in an accommodation, which means linen need not be replaced every day, contributing to water and electricity conservation
- Supporting local businesses over a longer period of time
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our long-stay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.