The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Europe

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The new Viking Star, the line's first ocean ship, cruises in Istanbul. Photo from Viking Cruises.

The new Viking Star, the line’s first ocean ship, cruises in Istanbul. Photo from Viking Cruises.

How many days in advance should you book a cruise to get the best price?

In part that depends on your destination, according to the website Cruisewatch.com, which uses artificial intelligence to study trends in worldwide cruising. In this case, says a Cruisewatch press release, they undertook a “massive study [that] examined 18,983 sailings by region with departures in 2017.”

They also conducted an “intensive analysis of over 18 million data points” (which are, of course, too numerous to detail in a press release or just about anywhere for that matter, but we are nonetheless grateful for modern technology).

Cruisewatch says the massive study found a “surprising trend: as the date of departure approaches, cruise prices fluctuate to a greater extent.” Some regions, they note, show as much as a 71… Continue reading

The floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa. Photo by Johan Kauppi

The floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa. Photo by Johan Kauppi

Every once in a while some travel information crosses my desk (well, appears in my email) that I feel an immediate need to pass along. Such is the case with the floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa, which is due to open in the fall of 2018.

The six-room hotel and spa is said to sit in the ice during winter and float on the river during summer.

The location is in far northern Sweden in the area that’s renowned for having the best Northern Lights viewing in the world.  The river is the Lule, which freezes in winter and thaws in summer, allowing for the above-mentioned sitting and floating.

Off the Map Travel — a UK-based agency that specializes in Northern Lights viewing trips — handles bookings for the Arctic Bath Hotel, which was developed by… Continue reading

Yellowstone National Park is on my list of essential U.S. destinations. Photo from yellowstonepark.com

Yellowstone National Park is on my list of essential U.S. destinations. Photo from yellowstonepark.com

Just about every travel publication, digital or print, now seems to start the New Year with a top ten list of “where to go this year,” counting down to the most irresistible spot on the planet.

One year, the hot ticket may be to Croatia, the next year to Colombia, the next year to Canada. (For my own facetious take on where Americans would be going in 2017 — with nearly half the country fleeing to Canada for extended vacations, the other near-half checking out the newly discovered charms of Russia, and the remaining in-betweeners headed to Cuba — check out my post from December 29, 2016. Seems so long ago…)

My own (rather cynical) theory about top ten lists of this nature is that they mostly reflect where editors of said publications want to… Continue reading

Markets like this one in Barcelona offer excellent lunch possibilities. Photo by Clark Norton

Markets like this one in Barcelona offer excellent lunch possibilities. Photo by Clark Norton

Today’s guest post, by Aussie-expat writer Brittnay,  is about some ways to save money while traveling in Europe — which can be a very expensive destination these days. I’ve added my own comments after each tip, usually to expand on them a bit.

While these tips only scratch the surface of the topic, they’re all valuable ones to keep in mind while planning your next European vacation.

By Brittnay

Although travelling through Europe can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be.

We’ve put together five tips that have allowed us to visit 21 European countries in the past two years! Using these tips enable you to experience the cities and towns you visit more like the locals do — and that’s usually a good way to save money. 

  1. Get a City Welcome Card

City… Continue reading

One of Europe's sleek new trains. Photo from Rail Europe.

One of Europe’s sleek new trains. Photo from Rail Europe.

My favorite method of traveling through Europe is by train, and Americans are fortunate to be able to buy Eurail Passes, which offer a variety of ways to tour the continent by rail.

You can choose among the One Country Pass — allowing you to thoroughly explore, say, France, Italy, or Spain; the Select Pass, which lets you choose among two, three, or four bordering countries; or the global pass, good for exploring the whole of Europe, up to 28 countries.

And from now until December 31, you can purchase Eurail Passes at 20 percent off their usual price.

On top of that, you’ll get an extra 15 percent off if two of you travel together on all segments.  (Make sure you choose you travel partner carefully, since you will just have one pass with two names on it,… Continue reading

This hostel in Nuremberg, Germany, is attached to a castle. Photo by Catharine Norton..

This hostel in Nuremberg, Germany, is attached to a castle. Photo by Catharine Norton.

For baby boomers, saving money on accommodations can be tougher than for young travelers.

Dormitory-style hostels and CouchSurfing may have much less appeal than for those in their 20s or 30s.

Camping — at least the type (unlike “glamping” or glamorous camping) that leaves you trying to get a decent night’s sleep in a bag on the ground — can be tough on the back (with legitimate concerns that you might not be able to straighten up at all in the morning).

But, as guest poster Jesse Miller contends, “It’s still possible to enjoy a five-star housing experience without paying a five-star price.” The key, Miller says, “is to live like the locals do. This means avoiding more traditional options (such as pricey hotels and resorts) and immersing yourself in opportunities to interact with the… Continue reading

Zurich, Switzerland, is ranked as the top city in the world for baby boomers. Photo courtesy of myswitzerland.com

Zurich, Switzerland, is ranked as the top city in the world for baby boomers. Photo courtesy of myswitzerland.com

Sometimes you can only get away for a weekend, and the folks at weekenGO.com (I like the name) commissioned a thorough study to find the best cities around the world in which to spend 48 hours.

They looked at criteria such as walkability, accommodations, dining, bars, cultural events, museums and galleries, green spaces, safety and security, tolerance, and more, surveying 1,000 cities in all.

And along with overall winners, they picked the best cities for three different groups: millennials, families, and yes, I’m glad to say, baby boomers.

The list is heavy on European cities, for good reason — they’re usually easy to get around, have lots of activities going on, are rich in historic and artistic treasures, etc.

Now, most Americans aren’t likely to jet off to London — the overall… Continue reading

Today’s guest post is from travel blogger Shawn Michaels, who loves to write about his outdoor travel experiences ans shop for hiking gear.  You can read his blog, which focuses on hiking boots, thesmartlad.com, here.

In this post, Shawn reveals his seven top hiking spots in Europe. Note that most of these are not exactly walks in the park — although one is just that, and another is relatively easy — but active  backpacking boomers can set their sights on some or all of them.

I was only familiar with a few of these, but the photos alone make me want to grab my hiking sticks and see how far I can go through some of Europe’s most enticing scenery.

Story and photos by Shawn Michaels

Plitvička Jezera: 

Plitvicka is a series of 16 adjoining lakes displaying emerald waters and waterfalls.

Plitvicka is a series of 16 adjoining lakes displaying emerald waters and waterfalls.

Croatia’s Plitvička Jezera (also… Continue reading

Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji Zen Buddhist Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Kyoto’s Kinkaku-ji Zen Buddhist Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Barcelona, Spain.  Udaipur, India.  Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Rome and Florence, Italy. Santa Fe, New Mexico and Charleston, South Carolina, U.S..

Luang Prabang, Laos. Ubud, Indonesia (Bali).

Cape Town, South Africa. Hoi An, Vietnam.

Kyoto, Japan. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

What do these cities have in common? If you said “very little,” you’;d be right, but you’d also be wrong.

They were all voted into the top 15 of the “World’s Top Cities” by the readers of Travel + Leisure Magazine. The criteria included sights/landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.

Where are the Usual Suspects? 

Notable absences include London, Paris,. Venice,  Prague, St. Petersburg, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver, Hong Kong…not even such trendy destinations as… Continue reading

St. Petersburg, Russia: can be visited without a visa. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

St. Petersburg, Russia: can be visited without a visa. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Note: This is the sixth in a series of Baby Boomer Travel Guides and the fourth in the series focusing  on transportation options around the world. Please go here, here, and here for the previous posts. 

Scandinavia and the Baltic States compose far Northern Europe (we’ll cover Germany, The Netherlands, and some other northern European countries in a subsequent post), and feature some of the best scenery, most sparsely populated spaces, and lively yet historic cities in Europe.

Ships and trains offer the most convenient and comprehensive forms of transportation here, but driving among some of the countries is certainly doable.

And Denmark, especially, is well-suited to biking, with plenty of bike paths and flat terrain.

Getting Around The Baltics

The Baltic region is excellent for cruising because the main ports — Oslo,… 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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