Our pensioner abroad: the main thing – care and optimism!
Vladimir Tsaran lives in Nikolsk, Penza region, Russia. He is 71 years old, a journalist, retired…
Gdansk Bay, Poland
He did not leave his profession after retiring in 2013.he publishes articles about tourism on the Internet, including on our portal. But today we present Vladimir in a different capacity — as a traveler, an individual tourist. Think, readers tourweek.ru his experience of independent foreign travel will be interesting.
– Vladimir, it is known that Russian pensioners are not yet frequent visitors to foreign resorts. And you also travel on your own. Would the help of a travel Agency be superfluous for an elderly person traveling alone to a foreign country?
– No, of course, travel agencies are useful, they take on the function of an intermediary between the tourist and visa services, hotels, restaurants, tour bureaus, and help to purchase tickets. And most importantly, they help you navigate, make a choice in favor of a particular city or country. But a tourist can organize all this for himself, since there is an Internet connection and a huge amount of information about cities, tourist infrastructure, transport, etc.Which is what I usually do. It is important to start searching for the options as early as possible, I, for example, right now, in the autumn, thinking where to go next summer.
An individual tourist, especially a pensioner — is usually a poor, budget tourist. Yes, on many tour operators ‘websites you can read: “we offer individual tours”. But having carefully read the offer, you understand that they just want to “attach” you to some already formed group. And they persistently offer” their own ” cities and hotels, with which the travel agent already has business ties. This is not always the most economical option, you can find an alternative on the Internet and not overpay.
Poland, Gizycko, Masurian lake
You need to search for an inexpensive and comfortable room, without stopping the search until you buy tickets. For example, large international hotel booking resources such as booking.com,hotel.info, island.<url> sometimes offers reservations for a year in advance, without prepayment, with free cancellation. I book several options at once and regularly review new offers. Be sure to find the best option for the price, quality and location. So, last year I was able to book a room in the center of Berlin, with all the amenities, an excellent Breakfast (buffet) for only 50 euros per day. Plane tickets also need to be searched across the entire range of offers. In short, browse the Internet and save money.
— Where have you been?”
— I mostly visit the Baltic region. It is not hot and not as crowded and noisy as in the southern resorts. I visited almost all the resorts in the Kaliningrad region — the Curonian spit, Zelenogradsk, Svetlogorsk, and Yantarny. I really liked Neringa, it is also on the Curonian spit, but on the Lithuanian side, it is possible to compare. Unfortunately, the comparison is not in our favor — the Lithuanian part of the spit is more well-groomed. But it’s expensive, the Euro zone.
Last year, in August, I changed my rule and went deep into the European continent — to Berlin. What I quickly regretted, there was an incredible heat. Although the city itself left an unforgettable impression: architecture, monuments, delicious beer, friendly Berliners….
Most of all, I “wound” kilometers in Northern, coastal Poland. Gdańsk, elbląg, Hel spit. I discovered the Masurian lakes-not far from the Russian border, two thousand lakes framed by emerald lakes and surprisingly beautiful resort towns: gizhitsko, Vilkasy, kentshin.
— Is it not terrible to go alone to a foreign country without knowing the language?
— This is a serious problem, but it is quite solvable. When I first found myself all alone in the center of Gdansk, in the midst of a huge crowd (the international Dominican fair was just taking place there), I experienced a kind of psychological shock. Then I learned — this is not uncommon, language shock in a foreign country is experienced by many. But I adapted, because the tourist needs a little: how much it costs, how to get there, the forms of polite addresses — it’s not difficult to learn. And then different techniques are used: international sign language, certain well-known English words. If the interlocutor sincerely wants to help, something will still work out, you will get some information. I was always lucky: I came across just such interlocutors. I already know a little Polish, but I’ve been to the country six times. In General, if you have a translator app on your smartphone, the language is not such a big problem. I use a Google translator.
— What advice could you give to those pensioners who would like to follow your example?
— You do not need to treat an independent trip abroad as something extreme. Nothing terrible will happen to you, there are people around, they will help you. But you need to be attentive, especially to various formalities, which sometimes seem like little things to us. For example, entering a bike lane can result in a large fine. And it is sometimes barely distinguishable — the same sidewalk, only the tiles are slightly different colors.
Berlin, Archangel Church
You need to be very careful about the package of documents that you take with you on your trip. Passport, visa, insurance, hotel booking vouchers, tickets — all dates in the documents must be linked to each other. I was once the victim of my own inattention. On the Chelyabinsk-Kaliningrad train (it goes through Lithuania), when checking at the border, it turned out that my Schengen visa opens only tomorrow. And I’m already in Lithuania, at the border station of Kyana. As a result, the Lithuanian border guards removed me from the train and held me until midnight, until the visa began to work. In addition, I had to buy a new ticket to Kaliningrad.
But whatever it was, it ended well. Therefore, the main advice to my peers who decided to go on an independent trip: do not pay attention to small troubles and misunderstandings, be optimistic, good mood — and bring as many good impressions as possible from the trip!