The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Hanging chads will be a hot historical topic as the US Election 2016 Tour hits Florida.

Hanging chads will be a hot historical topic as the US Election 2016 Tour hits Florida.

While most Americans are understandably sick to death of this year’s nightmarish presidential race, a British tour agency — called Political Tours — is busy putting the final touches on “US Election Tour 2016.”

Yes, a number of stalwart, stiff-upper-lip Brits — still reeling from Brexit — are actually ponying up £3,650 apiece to visit key locations in the epic confrontation of Trump vs. Clinton (AKA the Campaign from Hell).

The week-long tour — timed for maximum excitement from November 2 to November 9, the day after the election — visits the key battleground state of Florida as well as Washington, DC (which, of course, will be devoid of Congresspeople, who are all back home trolling for votes).

Political insider David Rancourt will lead the tour. Described as “a senior… Continue reading

images (5)It’s Mardi Gras time in Louisiana, and not just in New Orleans.

A few years ago I was in Lake Charles, Louisiana, during Mardi Gras, and while the carnival festival there is more low-key than in New Orleans, it’s said to be the second largest in the state.

Along with a few other visiting travel writers, I was invited to ride on the local Convention and Visitors Bureau’s float, which led the midday parade. Best of all, we were also invited to throw out beads and candies to the folks lining the parade route.

People had camped out all morning to get a prime spot, bringing their folding chairs and coolers stocked with cold drinks, many wearing Mardi Gras colors: purple, green and gold. They also wore beads, funny hats, sequined outfits, and various Krewe T-shirts, indicating allegiance to the various social clubs that build and run the parade floats.… Continue reading

Tuvalu will become a center for Climate Change Tourism. Photo from Timeless Tuvalu

Tuvalu will become a center for Climate Change Tourism. Photo from Timeless Tuvalu

Peering into my crystal ball for 2016 — which due to budgetary concerns is more like fiberglass this year — I foresee the following top ten developments in the ever-changing, sometimes wacky world of travel:

Try to pare this down to wallet size, please.

Try to pare this down to wallet size, please.

  • A 747 will be diverted from Omaha to New Orleans overnight because passengers in seats A and B get into a spat over who can claim the middle armrest. Oddly, none of the hundreds of passengers aboard complain as they gobble down their jambalaya and beignets.
  • Spurred by the success of a tour agency named “Toodle-oo Tuvalu” and a boutique hotel called “Sinking Along With the Breeze,” Climate Change Tourism will be huge, in which ghoulish travelers will journey to low-lying Pacific atolls soon to be inundated… Continue reading
Luxury cruise travel -- such as on Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2 -- is one favorite of senior travelers. Photo by Clark Norton.

Luxury cruise travel — such as on Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 — is one favorite of senior travelers. Photo by Clark Norton.

In my last post, I recommended a piece by Anita Mendiratta of the CNN Task Force contending that the world’s seniors (those aged 60 and up) are “global tourism’s silver lining.”

Based on world tourism and economic statistics, Mendiratta notes that senior travelers have more disposable income than other age groups, have more flexibility as to when to travel, and tend to stay longer on the trips they make.

But I thought her own observations about how seniors bring a special sense of excitement and awe to travel was especially insightful.

Baby boomers (now in their 50s and 60s) have a lifetime of experience and knowledge to bring to their travels, and I think this results in greater appreciation for — and excitement about — the places… Continue reading

Boomers on a river rafting trip crave excitement when they travel. Photo from ROW Adventures

Boomers on a river rafting trip crave excitement when they travel. Photo from ROW Adventures

I don’t usually use the word “seniors” when I’m referring to baby boomers — “seniors” somehow always seem older than us — but there’s a very insightful piece written by Anita Mendiratta of the CNN Task Force promoting the world’s seniors (those aged 60 and up) as “global tourism’s silver lining.”

Mendiratta praises senior travelers as “one of the most strategically valuable, yet socially undervalued, segments of the global travel population.”

The piece, which was syndicated by e Turbo News, touches a lot of bases that I’ve blogged about over the past 2 1/2 years, and has added a few new wrinkles (if you’ll excuse the expression) as well.

Her key premise is that older travelers should not be forgotten as the tourism industry actively courts millennials and other younger age groups. “To the traveling… Continue reading

A European river cruise is  a popular baby boomer travel choice.  Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

A European river cruise is a popular baby boomer travel choice. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Periodically I like to remind travel marketers that baby boomers — now in our 50s and 60s — are a frequently overlooked travel market.

But why are we overlooked?

According to a recent AARP study, American boomers spend more than $120 billion (that’s with a “b”) annually on leisure travel. We plan to take an average of four or five leisure trips in 2015 alone. That’s more than any other age group.

Many boomers are still working and earning more than we ever have in our lives. Others of us are already retired and eager to hit the road or the skies — with both time and money on our hands.

For the most part, our kids are off on their own and we can look beyond Disney World, the all-inclusive beach resort,… Continue reading

The Mykonos waterfront.

The Mykonos waterfront.

Every once in a while I come across a press release so — shall we say, “unusual” — that I have to share it with my readers.

This is one sent by a Mr. John Karaglanis, who introduces himself as “the new General Manager of Hippie Chic Hotel for the 2015 season…We are pleased to present you Hippie Chic Hotel, a new concept in Mykonos.”

This immediately raises the question —  what exactly is the concept behind “Hippie Chic Hotel”? Is it a chic commune, a fashionable “Hog Farm”-type operation transplanted to one of the trendiest and most expensive Greek islands? Maybe a chic backpackers’  hostel?

I ask because as a baby boomer, I can’t help but be struck by the name “Hippie Chic Hotel.”

Back in the day,  circa the late 1960s, hippies were cool, groovy, with it, but oftentimes… Continue reading

The Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa -- did she name all her daughters after herself?

The Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa — did she name all her daughters after herself?

The usual April 1 routine among publications is to write up some ridiculous story and try to convince readers that it’s true. Today I’m going to reverse that.

All of these 12 trivia items have appeared in some form on my blog over the past two years or so. Only one of them is false.

See if you can figure out which one is strictly for April Fool’s Day:

* You can fly to Mongolia from Beijing, China, in less than two hours.

* Some of the most coveted and prestigious student residences at the University of Virginia have no bathrooms.

* Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa had 16 children; her 11 daughters were all named Maria or Marie.

* The small South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has made millions… Continue reading

Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa beach area, ready for an "I Do Redo." Photo from Marriott.

Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa beach area, ready for an “I Do Redo.” Photo from Marriott.

Not all weddings go as planned, despite the bride and groom’s best intentions.

Maybe the Best Man drops the ring and it rolls down the aisle, finally disappearing beneath a pew or chair.

Maybe the groom’s uncle has one two many cocktails and falls onto the wedding cake.

Maybe all the bridesmaids, in a misguided attempt at mirth, show up in the same gown the bride is wearing.

Maybe a sudden rainstorm drenches everyone before they can find shelter.

You get the idea. Maybe something similar even happened to you.

If so,  a Pompano Beach, Florida, resort is offering a chance for an “I Do Redo.”

The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa is running a contest for the funniest, silliest — or perhaps most poignant — wedding-day saga, with… Continue reading

Sailboat on Lake Cayuga. Photo from Ithaca CVB

Sailboat on Lake Cayuga. Photo from Ithaca CVB

Back in late February, we chronicled the saga of how Ithaca, New York, travel marketers won worldwide publicity by urging potential visitors to go to sunny Key West instead of coming to frigid Ithaca.

The brutal subzero winter temperatures and constant snows in upstate New York had just gotten to be too much, and the local Convention & Visitor’s Bureau website blared, “We surrender!” Visitors were urged to return in warmer weather to enjoy Ithaca’s waterfalls, wineries, gorges and cultural attractions.

After that story went viral, the seemingly counter-intuitive result was hundreds of thousands of VisitIthaca website hits and countless phone callers and online chatters wanting to know more about Ithaca — home to Cornell University and, indeed, a great place to visit when you aren’t in imminent danger of contracting frostbite. (I should point out, though, that for many… 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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