Savvy Traveller

Give … and get more with these savvy travel ideas.


If the recent Occupy movement reminds you of the days when the hippie in you may have protested but the idea of doing that all over again – without the creature comforts to which you’ve grown accustomed – is not exactly inspiring, you may want to try a more meaningful way to use your vacation time.

Aaron Smith, founder of Canadian-based, a website devoted to volunteer vacations, says baby boomers are definitely part of this growing trend as many are working on their bucket lists, which often include leaving a legacy or experiencing remote cultures.

“There needs to be a greater depth of experience,” Smith says, “culturally or geographically, and there should be sensitivity to the needs of the older traveller. That means closer proximity to hospitals, private bathrooms, proper beds and food choices that speak to different dietary requirements.”

The website allows users to search projects based on destination, cost, age and type as well as several other factors. There are programs for every budget – the cost of each project generally covers room and board – and plenty that include all the creature comforts.

Baby boomers could also benefit from picking up a copy of Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others. With 250 organizations profiled from all around the world and a special section that lists projects specifically suitable for seniors, it will be sure to provide inspiration for your next trip.  —Athena McKenzie


Cost-Friendly Custom Touring

Love coach tours but wish you could sometimes spend longer in each site? Or do you want to see as much of the country as possible in the time you have? Now you can customize the pace of your trip. The Transat tourism group, known for well-priced and budget-friendly holiday options, has launched its Transat Discoveries program, which offers escorted and independent tours to a variety of exotic destinations, including Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Eastern Europe is also available, including Poland and the Czech Republic, with side tours available for Russia and Croatia. Travellers can choose from classic coach tours – with slow, moderate or fast paces – beach stays and mini-tours or create their own unique à la carte vacation. See a travel agent or  —AM


Surfing for Deals  

Travel expert Frommer’s named “the best booking hotel site” in 2010, and this might be the reason why: according to co-founder Bob Diener, the site’s unique features include discounts and unpublished rates of more than 5,000 hotels around the globe, along with descriptions of the hotels, confirmations upon booking and refund options available, unlike many other hotel-booking engine sites.   —Vivian Vassos