The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Laos' Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

Laos’ Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

In recognition of Global Wellness Day — June 11 this year — I thought it would be apropos to mention a few of the more unusual ways to promote health while traveling. As a baby boomer, I’m prone to the usual stiff joints and other nagging ailments, and love the idea of medical tourism, even if it’s mostly an excuse to go somewhere exotic.

  • Water-based Meditation.

While I don’t practice meditation, I have a few good friends who do, and they always seem focused and calm. Does meditation have this effect, or are naturally calm and focused people drawn to meditation?

I don’t know, but I do know I could use a little more calmness and focus in my life, and I love being on water, so maybe I’ll try:

The Mekong Spa at Belmond… Continue reading

First step to traveling abroad: get a passport.

First step to traveling abroad: get a passport.

A recent British Airways survey of 2,000 randomly chosen U.S. baby boomers (aged 55-70) asked what their biggest regrets were in life.

About one out of five (women 22 percent, men 17 percent) responded that they wish they had traveled more.

The majority of those respondents cited responsibilities at work and home that ate up their time — and what they believed would be prohibitive expense — as to why they hadn’t pursued their travel dreams.

About half the men surveyed and more than 60 percent of the women had never gotten passports, mainly due to the perceived expense of international travel.

More than a fifth of all those surveyed now believed that not taking vacations had had a negative effect on their health. And of those who did take vacations, 10 percent said they had worked more than an… Continue reading

Beavertail cacti bloom in Kanab Creek, Grand Canyon National Park. Photo by Mitch Stevens.

Beavertail cacti bloom in Kanab Creek, Grand Canyon National Park. Photo by Mitch Stevens.

In the spirit of the holiday season — and getting into shape after indulging in all those holiday parties — I’m running a guest post from my fellow Tucson, Arizona, resident Mitch Stevens, founder of Southwest Discoveries.

Mitch or one of his trained guides at Southwest Discoveries will take you on a personalized hiking tour in the Tucson region or around Arizona, including the Grand Canyon and Sonoran Desert.  His market is primarily baby boomers and multi-generational hiking groups, which is how Mitch and I originally connected.

Appropriately, Mitch writes about the benefits of going hiking (which I can now do in the winter, having recently relocated from upstate New York to sunny Tucson — following in the footsteps, as it were, of countless other baby boomers heading south and west).

So I’ll hand… Continue reading

In our last post, we posed ten questions that might affect your health and well-being as a traveler. Here are the answers:

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

1. The direction in which you fly may influence the severity of your jet lag. Other conditions being equal, which direction is most likely to produce bad jet lag?

Answer: B, West to east. When flying west to east, especially across America, you’re more likely to encounter darkness when you arrive, which helps disrupt the body’s “inner clock” (jet lag is caused by disorientation by crossing time zones, which exposure to light seems to ameliorate). Assuming no time zones are crossed, there’s technically no jet lag at all flying north-south or south-north, though you can still feel the ill effects of a long flight.

2. One good way to counter the effects of jet lag is to:

Answer: D… Continue reading

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

Jet lag, contaminated water, insect bites, infection, and injury away from home…the potential perils are enough to make some would-be travelers toss away those glossy brochures.

But knowledge, planning, and preventatives can help stave off many of travel’s unhealthy side effects — whether it’s flying fatigue, a nasty case of Togo two-step, or an emergency medical bill after you flip your whitewater raft in Nepal.

To test your knowledge of travel health issues, take our quiz.

 

1. The direction in which you fly may influence the severity of your jet lag. Other conditions being equal, which direction is most likely to produce bad jet lag?

a. East to west.

b. West to east.

c. North to south

d. South to north

2. One good way to counter the effects of jet lag is to:

a. Keep your watch set on “home… Continue reading

Sipadan Island, Sabah, East Malaysia, might be a nice place to recover from surgery.

Sipadan Island, Sabah, East Malaysia, might be a nice place to recover from surgery.

OK, so you need a hip replacement — lots of baby boomers do. Or you need a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), another increasingly common surgery for the baby boom generation.

If you’re an American, you could get them done in the U.S. and run up bills upwards of $80,000 for the bypass procedure or $30,000 for the hip replacement, and hope your insurance or Medicare foots the bulk of it (if you have insurance or Medicare).

Or you could travel abroad and get the same medical treatments for a fraction of the price — and maybe even have a vacation to boot.

According to the book Patients Without Borders — Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Healthcare, a CABG will cost you about $20,000 in Malaysia, while a hip replacement will run about $12,500.… Continue reading

The pool at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs in California's Napa Valley. Photo from Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.

The pool at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs in California’s Napa Valley. Photo from Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.

As we get older (yeah, I know, who wants to be reminded of that?), we need to focus more on our health: eating better, staying active, perhaps taking brisk morning walks or gardening.

I also ride an exercycle, handy for winter days in New York when I can’t ride my bike outdoors.

But travel can also play a big role. Wellness retreats, for instance, allow you to get away from your usual daily activities and focus on renewing your health.

Wellness retreats offer a wide variety of services to rejuvenate your mind and body. Most options are relatively inexpensive and provide an all-new way of relieving mental and physical stress.

From centers in the U.S. and abroad, you can find the ideal retreat to suit your needs — and… Continue reading

Hoisting the sails on a Maine windjammer is great exercise while traveling Photo by Clark Norton

Hoisting the sails on a Maine windjammer is great exercise while traveling Photo by Clark Norton

In my last post, I reported on the results of a study by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) — a grouping of leading medical, financial and technology companies, among others, who hope to help shape public policy toward aging as 80 million baby boomers in America alone reach the ages of 50, 60 and up — that showed that travel can play a vital role in staying healthy as we grow older.

Now I’d like to expand a bit on the results of that study, which was done in conjunction with the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Research (TRCS) at the behest of the U.S. Travel Association. This is being billed as the first comprehensive look at the beneficial effects of traveling on health, with the caveat that much further research needs… 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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