We literally fell into travel, tourism and hotel reviewing at an age when most people don their slippers and think about relaxing.
But, the experience has changed our lives in ways we could never have anticipated.
After lengthy careers in journalism, communication and administration – during which we had also managed to travel extensively and write about our experiences – we retired in 2013, with absolutely no plans to return to full-time work.
However, we soon began to be approached by friends, former work colleagues and scores of people we had never met.
They wanted to pick our brains about senior-friendly travel; hotels we had tried and loved; and tourism destinations out of the ordinary.
It seems they trusted our word, partially because we were not making money out of the process and also because there were so few sources of information that appeared to understand the needs of senior travellers.
It was a shock! We’d never realised just how many people in their 60’s and older were thinking about travelling independently off the typical tourist routes; staying in hostels; using low-cost airlines; adopting the latest travel technology; taking to social media; and organising family reunions at far-flung places.
And they wanted our frank opinion about many of their ideas – pressing us for first hand reviews on what we had tried; why; and what had worked and what hadn’t.
Common questions, for example, involved the comfort of seating in the various airlines – and the wisdom of splitting flights into manageable pieces by including layovers .
After numerous approaches, the idea for our website, memorabledestination.com was born – providing objective reviews of the senior-friendly travel, travel products and accommodation we’d experiencedsuitable for this growing trend of independent ‘grey nomad’ travellers.
So, for years now we have helped many hundreds of seniors with holiday planning, while learning a lot about accommodation and travel providers that offer products suitable for independent retirees.
Our website and social media channels have gone from strength to strength and we have met some wonderful travellers, accommodation and travel providers.
We’ve grown to love the task and find it heart-warming that so many seniors are determined that travel is not just for the young.
Many of those who read our reviews do not fit neatly into the perception that retired people are primarily interested in so-called gentle travel such as cruising and luxury coach trips.
While they may not be lining up for white-water rafting or adventure racing, many seniors want travel that is off the usual tourist trail and involves lots of integration with the locals.
They usually don’t want the same type of itinerary that is standard fare for younger travellers.
A two-way process
And, it didn’t take us long to realise that there were not many channels for the travel and accommodation industry to reach these seniors.
We found that, often we were involved in a two-way communication process – suggesting accommodation that we had tried and tested while also informing accommodation and travel providers how to entice the retiree market.
This role is fine with us. We don’t mind helping the industry itself in any way that we can.
We believe that the strength of our reviews lie in the fact that we are direct and honest – sometimes brutally so.
Being retired ourselves and not aiming to carve out a career, we have no axe to grind. So, we tell it like it is!
We had already been doing this for many years on Trip Advisor, where we are long term contributors, and our website was simply an extension of this.
We wear our ‘grey nomad’ label with pride – and we get a real kick out of helping others like us.
We also believe that accommodation and travel providers who offer products that appeal to seniors, should be acknowledged.
We’re probably the oldest travel writers on the planet, but like our readers, we certainly don’t let that stop us. And, we’ve found that such enthusiasm is a little like the fountain of youth.
If you’d like to join us on this journey, visit memorabledestination.com and subscribe to get news, reviews, deals and special offers emailed to you free of charge as they happen.