The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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The Garden of Earthy Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthy Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch

If you have a passionate interest in a particular topic — it could be just about anything — you’re a prime candidate for theme travel.

In my younger days, I was obsessed by the paintings of the 15th-century Flemish fantasist Hieronymus Bosch, and trekked all over Europe attempting to see every one of them; I fell a little short, but had a wonderful time and my  dedicated  purpose gave my journey added meaning.

I was traveling by myself, but theme travel often involves going with like-minded people who share your passion. Take theme cruises, for instance.

The Lure of Theme Cruises 

For six years I wrote a regular theme cruise column for Porthole Cruise Magazine, which chronicled the adventures of folks who are crazy about the most wide-ranging subjects imaginable:

Birding cruises….mah jongg cruises…vegan cruises…vampire cruises…marathon (running)… Continue reading

We would have liked to see this Thai dancing

We would have liked to see this Thai dancing

On our first trip to Asia  many years ago, my wife and I were traveling in Thailand and enjoying the most consistently good food we had ever eaten.

Every meal — whether it was a simple dish of pad Thai at a noodle stand or a whole grilled fish in a sit-down restaurant — was outstanding. We were in foodie heaven.

That is, until we spotted a placard in our Bangkok hotel lobby promising a memorable evening of traditional Thai dancing combined with an “authentic Thai meal in a genuine Thai-style lodge within a sylvan setting,” or words to that effect.

What could be better?

We’d have another great dinner and get to see some Thai dancing, which was on our to-do list. We always liked a nice sylvan setting.  And the price, while a splurge for… Continue reading

Budapest's Parliament building is Hungary's top must-see attraction . Photo by Clark Norton Can't afford to fly to Budapest? Try using kayak.com or Google Flights. Photo by Clark Norton

Budapest’s Parliament building is Hungary’s top must-see attraction . Photo by Clark Norton

Most of us, when we travel to another country, probably have in mind at least one “must-see” attraction., usually an iconic structure, museum, historic site, or natural wonder.

Examples might be Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, the Roman Colosseum in Italy, and the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary.

Recently, TripAdvisor — which has propelled itself into the world’s leading travel site and travel data bank — released a map of Europe displaying the “one thing you must do in each country, according to tourists.” (I found it in the Huffington Post.)

For most countries, the results were pretty true to form: The Roman Colosseum in Italy; The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium; the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tallinn Old Town in Estonia; the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece; the… Continue reading

Carnival's soon-to-be-introduced Ocean Medal;lion can be worn around the wrist. Photo from Princess Cruises. .

Carnival’s soon-to-be-introduced Ocean Medallion can be worn around the wrist. Photo from Princess Cruises.

Every year brings advances to the world of cruising: new ships and amenities, breakthrough technologies, more enticing itineraries.

As cruise lines jostle to stay one wave or river bend ahead of the competition, they grow ever more creative – and passengers reap the rewards.

In 2017, that means more personalized experiences, a more varied choice of destinations, and more “Wow!” factors than ever. Happy sailing!

A Techno-Gizmo That Does It All, Almost

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, has announced plans to begin rolling out a techno-marvel medallion in 2017 that will do almost anything for you on board except mix your drinks (for that, you’ll need to sail on Royal Caribbean’s new mega-ship the Harmony of the Seas, which sports cocktail-preparing robots in its Bionic Bar).

Paired with an optional app for maximum… Continue reading

In my last post, I recommended a terrific book from the Quarto Publishing Group (Voyageur Press), Route 66 Roadside Signs and Advertisements, by Jim Sonderman.

If you ever traveled Route 66 or even just wanted to, you’ll love this tribute to an iconic American highway, the points of interest along it, and, of course, the signage that captured the imaginations of countless travelers — including me and my fellow baby boomers.

Now I’d like to highlight two more travel-related books from Quarto Publishing, which is based in Minneapolis and is turning out a number of excellent titles.

I was drawn to Backroads of Arizona (Voyageur Press, 2016, 2nd Edition), by Jim Hinckley with photography by Kerrick James, because I’m now living in the Grand Canyon State and looking to discover just the kind of “byways to breathtaking landscapes and quirky small towns” that the book’s sub-title promises… Continue reading

240x4009780760349748This year I’ve come across five travel-related books I’d like to highlight.

I think any or all of them would make great gifts for the baby boomer traveler on your list — or anyone else who enjoys a dose of history and adventure with their travels or making new discoveries on the back roads of America.

All are from the Minneapolis-based Quarto Publishing Group USA, under the imprints Voyageur Press and Zenith Press.

I’ll feature all the books in this and upcoming posts.

The first, Route 66 Roadside Signs and Advertisements, is written by Joe Sonderman, with photography by Sonderman and Jim Hinckley. It was issued by Voyageur Press in 2016.

If you remember traveling on Route 66 — or even just getting your kicks by watching the early 1960’s Route 66 TV show starring Martin Milner — you will love this book. It’s guaranteed… Continue reading

Mont-Saint-Michel is a remarkable sight as you approach. Photo from Normandy Tourist Board.

Mont-Saint-Michel is a remarkable sight as you approach. Photo from Normandy Tourist Board.

As regular readers of this blog know, I have a soft spot for off-the-beaten-track destinations.

Yes, I love Paris and Venice and London, but I also like to explore the lesser-known out-of-the-wsy places that many travelers never reach.

Once years ago, I  set off by train from Paris to visit Mont-Saint-Michel, a medieval abbey off the coast of Normandy that I had read about in college in the Henry Adams’ book, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.

The trip took two full days because the train connections were awful, but I made it, and didn’t regret it. It’s a dramatically situated Gothic masterpiece, rising atop a rocky island with a maze of narrow streets surrounding it.

Traditionally, Mont-Saint-Michel has only been reachable by land when the tides are out, via squishy mud flats. When the tides come in,… Continue reading

Punakha monastery, Bhutan Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Punakha monastery, Bhutan Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In our last two posts, we took a look at some of the most popular travel-related bucket list destinations and activities based on a survey of 1,000 travelers by the website TotallyMoney.com. You can view those results, and my comments, by clicking here and here.

While my own experiences with a few of the items — such as gambling in Las Vegas — were on the margins (in the case of Vegas, dropping a few quarters into slot machines), I had pretty much done all those on the list.

My own bucket list tends to be a little quirkier than most. Places that end up on my list are pretty far-flung, represent something I’ve missed in past trips, or are just items that fulfill my admittedly peculiar travel obsessions. (I suspect that a lot of baby boomer frequent travelers’ lists are… Continue reading

Man with camel at Great Pyramid of Giza at sunset. Note how souvenir shops are not visible. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Man with camel at Great Pyramid of Giza at sunset. Note how souvenir shops are not visible. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In our last post, we took a look at the top five travel-related Bucket List items as determined in a survey of 1,000 people by TotallyMoney.com.

The Northern Lights, a wildlife safari, the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, and taking a cruise were all perfectly good choices — for baby boomers or active travelers of most any age — keeping in mind, of course, that everyone’s individual lists will be different.

A few of the second five in the Top 10 surprised me a bit — simply because they edged out others I would have expected — though they’re all understandable as highly ranked picks.

So here, with my comments and added travel info, are the five sights and activities that finished out the Bucket List Top… Continue reading

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Research has shown that as we get older, we tend to become more altruistic

As “narcissistic and materialistic values wane in influence” (with age) writes Jim Gilmartin, CEO of the Chicago-based agency Coming of Age, which specializes in marketing to baby boomers and seniors,”concern for others increases.”

In the travel field, this trend has helped fuel the rapid rise of volunteer vacations, also known as “voluntourism”

The concept is simple: rather than go on a more traditional vacation, such as taking a cruise or staying at a resort, you sign up with a company or agency that sets you up to work on a project such as helping in wildlife conservation, building classrooms and  homes, or improving local water systems, usually in the developing world.

Yes, you pay for the privilege of helping others, but it’s not necessarily all work and no play, and benefits accrue to the travelers… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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