HOW WE TRAVEL
Older Women, Cheap Travel tours are different! We don't travel on a "Senior Mobile" and go to the "Senior Hotel" and eat at the "Senior Restaurant." I say this somewhat in jest because sometimes this is a perfectly pleasant way to travel when one wants to feel a bit insulated from the culture one is visiting and not worry about questionable food, sordid hotels, and wild rides on 'chicken buses.' Lots of people love this kind of travel and you may, at times, want to travel this way yourself. But, Older Women, Cheap Travel offers you a more adventurous alternative: a chance to experience questionable food, sordid hotels, and wild rides on 'chicken buses!' (I am sort of jesting now...but not really). What we offer is a close contact vacation with the local culture and people of the country we are visiting, a whole lot of amazing memories, and a savings of 2/3 the cost of a normal tour.
Most tours are groups of 20 to 40 people. Older Women, Cheap Travel never has more than eight women total. We like keeping it small so we get to know each other and we don't feel so much like a tour group...more like a group of friends visiting another country.
The average tour costs at least $300.00/day (land only) plus a single supplement if you are traveling alone. A ten day tour will run you $3000.00 plus airfare plus many added costs that are unexpected and run up your tab. Older Women, Cheap Travel costs $100.00/day (or less) plus airfare for ALL tours, regardless of where we go...so the savings make our tours affordable and, with the money saved, you can have more funds available for yet more great travel!
So what does $100.00/day (or less) mean as far as amenities? Well, it means we experience the country closer to the way the locals live than do well-heeled tourists on tour. Which means we have a much more fascinating time! Instead of riding on a chartered bus with a bunch of tourists, we ride on local buses (from 1st class to 3rd class; the former with movies, restrooms and air conditioning and the latter with families, babies, open windows and local produce, chickens, and goats), trains, and tuk-tuks (three-wheeled open air cars) and oxcarts and possibly, the backs of donkeys and camels! Instead of staying in hotels that look just like our hotels back home and filled with people from back home, we stay in small hotels, pensions, and hostels, meeting local families and neighbors, maybe even sleeping on charpoy beds (made of rope) on the roof of a family home in India. Instead of eating in bland tourist venues, we take our meals at local eateries, in homes, or on the street ...delicious local food that connects your stomach to the indigenous culture (and sometimes to the toilet). And we certainly will see those tourist sites that shouldn't be missed but we will also participate in local events and have unique experiences that you wouldn't encounter on a traditional tour.
The cost is the same if you travel with someone or alone; if you have a friend along, you can share your room with her, and, if you are alone, you will share a room with one of the other ladies. Our group will never have more than a total of ten women, which is the perfect size for camaraderie without feeling like a school group or a tourist group that needs a guide marching along in front waving a flag. The small size of our group makes it easy for us to be accommodated on the spot for hotel rooms, dining tables, small local tours, and transportation (like a couple of taxis - which is perfect for five ladies each) or the next bus leaving the station.
Who I am: First and foremost, I am a lover of travel and culture. I have traveled alone and with friends and family to many countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, China, India, Turkey, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, etc. (many Caribbean countries and much of Europe). I have hiked the jungle in Guatemala, ridden camels in Egypt, stayed on houseboats in Kashmir, climbed the pyramids in Teotihuacan in Mexico and the Great Wall outside of Beijing - I just love being in other lands! And I started Older Women, Cheap Travel to share these experiences with other women who would like to see wonderful places, have someone to guide them on adventures, and to be a part of a great group of women while on the road.
I am also a criminal profiler, television commentator and author. I have more than 3000 media appearances on CNN, HLN, CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX and the Discovery Channel. I run The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency and I consult with and train detectives in homicide investigation. I have a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University and I developed the first Investigative Criminal Profiling program in the country for Excelsior College. I am the author of six books and a speaker with the Harper Collins Speaking Agency. I am an expert on safety, something which is most important to me as I lead women on adventures outside of this country.
I love walking, hiking, and visiting many cultures. I am fluent in American Sign Language and studying Spanish and Hindi. I love life, people, and learning and what better way to enjoy all three than to lead tours for Older Women, Cheap Travel!
Who you are: An older woman (of an undetermined age)! What this means is this group tends to draw women who are at least “middle-age,” may well be seniors, may be working or retired, or may be even “younger than middle-age” but recognize that this group is not going to be full of twenty-year-olds looking for romance (or….errr…whatever) in the tropics.
You must be physically healthy and able to walk a reasonable distance (say three miles). While this is not a hiking tour (nor are hiking tours scheduled), one must be able to walk around certain historical and archeological sites and one must be able to walk from the bus station or metro to town or to the hotel. And, one must be able to walk about town and not need to shuttled in a vehicle to each and every location.
You must have a bit of an adventuresome spirit and a good sense of humor. While there are no “extreme” things on these tours like crossing rope bridges over gorges, zip-lining, or bungee jumping, sometimes those ‘chicken buses’ drive way faster than we would like and you might find you are holding someone’s child for the entirety of the journey. Some nights we may find our lodgings quite lovely and other nights a bit less upscale when we find our mattress is made of straw and the bathroom is behind the hotel! We make an effort to vary our transportation, sleeping accommodations, and meals, so that we experience a wide range of living in the country from basic to charming, from rustic to a bit elegant.
You must have an interest in the local cultures and a respect for the citizens. We always dress in a manner that is consistent with the women of our age in the location we are visiting (out of respect and for our personal safety) and we look forward to learning about the culture and participating in it during our visit. We may attend fiestas, religious sites and ceremonies, and, perhaps, learn to cook or create in the manner of the local women and, if all of this sounds fun to you, you are the right kind of woman to join Older Women, Cheap Travel.
Note: Itinerary Changes. The itinerary listed for each tour is not set in stone. Often when traveling, a change in plan may occur due to weather, safety concerns, or opportunity. A landslide may change the direction of travel or civil unrest may inspire a change in destination or a great opportunity may arise (we find out about a cool event or a new place has been built that we just have to go see or we arrive in a town that lacks character and decide it would be better to move on to a better location or we receive an invitation to visit the palace of a maharaja ...would we say, "No?"!!). We will stay as close to the itinerary as possible but Older Women, Cheap Travel is always ready to modify the itinerary should it be for the better.