There are many ways to select a travel destination. Perhaps the city or country you want to visit has always been on your bucket list.
It might be a mysterious place that calls you at a deep inexplicable level. Perhaps it’s simply somewhere that feeds one of your passions or has historical significance.
Maybe you will choose a travel destination because you want to visit friends or family. Or perhaps you want to escape an icy winter in your own home town by selecting a destination with a tropical climate.
For me, relaxing beaches, great food, intriguing cultures, interesting monuments or adventure experiences are all great reasons for travelling the world all year round!
The great news is that, now that we are in our 60s or better, most of us have a little more time to plan our seasonal trips more carefully. Here are a few tips for finding your next travel destination.
Choosing a Season to Travel
Once you’ve decided on your travel destination, the next question is the time of year to go. You can research the best season for your chosen city or country based on weather, regional holiday celebrations and work schedules.
Some people like to travel off peak to avoid the crowds and take advantage of low prices. This is especially true for travellers of our generation, who find themselves with a bit more flexibility than before. Others love to enjoy the sun all year round. Still others are drawn by the mystique of a location in a season. For me, places have times of the year when they shine, when they are at their best.
Here are some of my suggestions for enjoying each season in a different location. And who better to guide the journey than Road Scholar who offers a learning adventure for every season, in cities all over this beautiful world. There really are some perfect places to consider for every season!
Spring – Paris, Amsterdam and Kyoto
When I asked the Sixty and Me community to name their favorite city in the world there was one clear choice – Paris. Why? Well, think of the words that you immediately associate with the French capital – love, romance, cuisine and style. For me, spring is the perfect time to visit Paris. It is the season that symbolizes rebirth, renewal and rediscovery. So, why not go the city that promises it all?
I remember a trip to Paris was when I was expecting my first child. I met my close friend Daisy there for a weekend escape. She was also expecting a baby. We wandered around bohemian cafes and museums together holding our breath at the beauty of Paris for our last “girls’ weekend” before we transitioned to first time mamas!
There are so many reasons to love Paris – the food, clothes, parks, architecture and the River Seine. It really is a perfect spring option.
Road Scholar’s Independent Paris is a perfect choice because it gives you a structured group experience but lots of free time as well in the City of Light.
Other options include cities that celebrate the fabulous gifts of Mother Nature. Road Scholar has programs that visit the tulip fields in Holland. You can also independently explore the cherry blossom season in Kyoto, Japan. There are so many springtime adventures!
Summer – Greece and the Adriatic Coast
Summer is the time of year when many people hit the road. School holidays make it easy to do some family travel including grandparent multi-generational programs.
For me, a perfect European destination in the summer season is Greece or the Adriatic Coast. Not only are these destinations beautiful and relaxing, but, they offer an incredible history and archaeological wonders to explore.
By boat, train or air, this part of the world is a wonderful choice. Personally, I remember many fabulous summer holidays with my own family in Paxos, Corfu and Crete!
If you want a cultural and historical experience, consider Road Scholar’s Greece In Depth: Its Classical Cities and Islands trip.
Another option is Islands of the Aegean, if you want to explore the Greek islands by boat.
The Adriatic coast also offers fabulous sun soaked island and quaint cities. I love the vibrant turquoise sea and the small islands that dot the coast. Time seems to slow down in this part of the world and you have many options.
Consider the Croatia, Treasure of the Adriatic Coast adventure if you want to explore Zagreb, Dubrovnik and lush coastal villages!
Autumn – Nova Scotia, New England and New York
Autumn, for people living in the United States, is a time of transition and incredible beauty. The weather might be a little colder, but, layering sweaters and scarves is part of the transitional experience.
Many people love the fall season simply because it is a turning point for the year. It is the beginning of the season that celebrates family and friends and the warmth that comes from Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday season.
A perfect place to visit in this season is New England where the “peepers,” as they are called by locals, turn up in the thousands to view the spectacular tree colors.
Road Scholar offers a spectacular option for this time of year; the Fall Splendour cruise allows visitors to view the stunning fall foliage in Nova Scotia, New England and New York.
Winter – Iceland, Greenland and the Northern Lights
Winter holidays have a special magic. Admittedly, they do not include hot sun and cold drinks on the beach. But, they can include bathing suits if you choose to visit Iceland and enjoy the hot thermal mineral rich waters of the Blue Lagoon.
If time is short, Road Scholar offers a long weekend program called Iceland’s Northern Lights: A Long Weekend in the Land of Fire & Ice. Viewing the Northern lights is on the bucket list of so many women in our community. So, a winter trip to Iceland might be a perfect choice.
If you want something a little more dramatic there is also a learning adventure called Fjords, Lagoons & Sounds: Discover the Natural Wonders of Iceland & Greenland which lets you discover the natural beauty of Iceland and Greenland and sail along gorgeous sounds and fjords.
There really is a destination for every season and, personally, I plan to try them all at least once in my life. Will you join me?
What is your favorite travel season? Do you have any destinations that you are excited to visit this year? Have you ever taken a Road Scholar learning adventure? Please share your seasonal travel experiences.