Do you remember that two-week vacation where you wished you could have stayed longer? When you dreamed of spending whole days getting lost in the streets of a new city, returning to your favorite café until you were counted among the locals, or having more time for day trips day later? It seems that retired travelers are now seizing this chance with both hands. A recent survey by insurance company Staysure found that almost three out of four people going on holiday longer than 10 weeks are over 70 years old.

Why? Because “retirement is no longer seen as a time to slow down and get up,” says Stuart Lewis, chief executive of Rest Less (restless.co.uk), a digital community for the over-50s. “The pandemic has boosted many people’s sense of wanderlust, whether it’s planning long trips to see family living abroad, extending a postponed vacation with perhaps an extra week at the end, or take the plunge and book that vacation of a lifetime.”

The majority choose to escape the freezing winter months, but that doesn’t always mean long-haul flights – there are sunnier European options too. The main difference is that picking one place and staying for months, not days, turns you from a tourist to an explorer. Renting a long-term apartment or Airbnb property breaks the vacation hotel bubble and provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. To make friends with the locals, possibly learn a new language and discover the secret side of a destination that only comes with dedicating time to it.