Winter and long Term Vacations: Allow yourself the luxury of getting to know your dream destination intensively over several weeks or simply to experience something new. It doesn’t always have to be a pure beach holiday in the Canary Islands, as is particularly popular with retirees. In addition to language and spa stays lasting several weeks, which mostly retain their holiday character, volunteer work and internships are also becoming increasingly popular.
Winter and long Term Vacations: What is a long-Term Vacation Anyway?
Long-term vacations include stays of around four weeks up to several months without deregistering their normal place of residence and without the intention of returning home soon. Some tour operators have been offering attractive package tours for many types of long-term stays for many years. Many travelers, however, prefer the independent way of traveling with self-booked flights and accommodations.
Planning and Organizational Needs:
So that the vacation meets the high expectations and that there is no chaos at home, we have summarized the most important points that should be considered in the planning:
- Get an overview of the offers and ask about early bird discounts
- Pay attention to the climate, entry requirements, security and permitted length of stay
- Calculate realistic additional costs
- Plan and book early enough. This usually makes traveling cheaper and more relaxed
- Travel insurance usually has to be taken out within a few days of booking the trip
- Inquire with your health insurance company about the benefits abroad and possibly book additional insurance
- Assign a person of trust who will take care of your tenant obligations such as clearing snow, but also your post. Mail forwarding can also be arranged.
- Think about who needs to be informed of your absence.
- Make sure important bills are sent
- Let someone at home know where you are
- Copy your ID, credit card details and write down the embassy number and any emergency numbers
- Take enough reserves of your required medication with you and note that some countries require a doctor’s prescription for importation.
Package Tours – Pure Relaxation:
Many tour operators offer cheap packages for long-term vacations, especially in winter. Mostly these are selected hotels in Spain, Turkey and increasingly also in Asia and the Caribbean. Apart from the residence regulations of the respective countries, you can book all accommodations for almost as long as you want if there is availability.
Pro: Booking the trip through a tour operator brings some security, such as on-site support. This type of long-term vacation is particularly popular with retirees. Due to the hotels specially promoted for this purpose, long-term holidaymakers usually quickly find contact with like-minded people.
Cons: Longer package tours through tour operators are often more expensive than individual bookings. Especially those accommodations that are not specifically promoted for this purpose. The reason lies in the separate contracts between the accommodations and the tour operators.
Tip: If you cannot find what you are looking for among the offers of the German travel agents and still want to benefit from the advantages of a tour operator, it is often worthwhile to inquire at a tour operator in the destination country. These usually offer more flexibility, lower prices and detailed local knowledge.
Language trips can also be classified in the group of long-term trips. Usually you live with host families or separate apartments and regularly attend language classes, which, depending on the program, also lead to certification. You can also go on individual or organized excursions and get to know the country more intensively.
Pros: There are some language tour operators who offer travel packages for all ages. The many organized excursions and the quick contact with other language students are particularly pleasant.
Cons: During the days on which language lessons take place, the radius for further excursions is limited. Depending on the tolerance level and luck, the accommodation with a host family can be perceived as stressful.
Tip: Adults over 25 ideally choose times outside of the school holidays, as the average age is higher during these times.
Spa Stays & Carefree Packages:
Rheumatism, respiratory diseases or burnout can be good reasons for a longer stay at the spa. Carefree packages are becoming more and more popular, especially with older people, as they can look after people in need of care. See your doctor for advice on which climates might be best for you. In some cases, the health insurance company will also cover part of the costs. If you are not dependent on caring staff and want to take advantage of the climate change without a subsidy from the health insurance company, there are interesting options through individual bookings to make your stay inexpensive.
Pro: In addition to outspoken health clinics, there are also high-quality wellness hotels, some of which have physiotherapists and other medically trained staff. In Germany there are many excellent spa and wellness hotels with carefree packages – but there is also a high-quality selection of good health and wellness hotels in the Mediterranean region and in Asia.
Cons: Depending on the cost of the health insurance, a stay of several weeks can be very expensive.
Tip: A spa stay can also be implemented cost-effectively. If the dream hotel, including the accommodation, is too expensive, it is worth asking whether external guests can also book packages such as thalassotherapy or massages. When booking in a nearby holiday apartment or holiday home, costs can be reduced.
Volunteering and Internships:
A particularly interesting variant of implementing a long-term vacation is to combine the vacation with volunteer work or internships . Here you can experience the country and its people particularly intensely. The possibilities range from helping in a guest house for free accommodation, to giving English lessons in a Buddhist monastery or working in an orphanage. But you can also work on sailing boats in the Caribbean and pick olives in Portugal. Depending on the need and provider, the focus is not on the holiday character, but on your help, which can make a significant contribution on site. The possible duration of use usually varies between 2 weeks and a year.
Pro: You get to know the country and its people intensively and can make an important contribution.
Cons: Unfortunately, the willingness to help is financially exploited enormously by some organizers. There are some known cases, especially in Asia, of children being snatched away from parents to keep orphanages as a source of income.
Tip: Pay close attention to the expectations and the services offered so that it does not become disappointing on both sides. Also be careful with volunteer work in terms of safety, health and reliability.
Individual Trips & low Budget:
Often times, self-organizing a long-term vacation offers the most freedom and the cheapest options. The possibilities range from free accommodation by means of couch surfing to renting private accommodation on Airbnb and booking hotels and flights individually.
Pro: Greatest flexibility and maximum savings potential
Cons: A tour operator’s lack of security.
Tip: There are now good comparison portals with reviews of the respective accommodations. Also note that private providers are not travel specialists and that there may be deviations in the descriptions. In many forums you can find additional tips for organizing your own tours.