The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

Europe

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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

Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) at dawn in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) at dawn in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Note: this is the fifth in a series of Baby Boomer Travel Guides. In our last post, we looked at the options for seeing the Caribbean. Today we focus on means of transport around the Mediterranean Sea.

When traveling around the Mediterranean region, you have a full range of options: taking a cruise ship or ferry boat, driving, taking trains, or flying between destinations.

(If you’re on a guided tour, you’ll most likely be traveling by bus, though other forms of transport may figure in as well.)

How you choose to get around this endlessly fascinating area is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make — maybe the biggest decision — regarding your Mediterranean trip. It will color your entire experience — for the better, we hope.

Each mode of transport has its… Continue reading

Dutch tulips: better than cave biking. Photo by Rachel Kramer on flickr.

Dutch tulips: better than cave biking. Photo by Rachel Kramer on flickr.

According to a recent survey of 40 countries around the globe conducted by motor home rental site SHAREaCAMPER, the Netherlands has the most adventurous people per capita, followed by Australia and Sweden.

The survey tabulated the number of online searches in each country for such adventurous activities as skydiving, bungee jumping, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, BMXing, and caravanning — the latter being what Australians (where SHAREaCAMPER is partially based) call traveling in RVs, campers, or motor homes.

Strictly in terms of sheer numbers of total searches, the United States placed first, but of course has a much higher population than the other countries. The U.S. finished ninth in the per capita rankings.

While the Netherlands was  outdone in skiing by Norway and Australia in surfing (no surprises there), Switzerland in… 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

A dramatically perched fortress tops Mount Titano. Photo by Catharine Norton.

A dramatically perched fortress tops Mount Titano. Photo by Catharine Norton.

In a recent post, I noted that the tiny Republic of San Marino, which is entirely surrounded by Italy, was number one on my personal bucket list.

The main reason was that it was the only country in Western Europe that I hadn’t visited, and that since I would be visiting Italy soon, I could then cross it off my list. Of course, I also wanted to go for all the reasons I want to go anywhere — seeing what there is to see and, I hope, enjoying it — but I admit the list thing was the top consideration.

As it happens, I did visit Italy shortly after the post appeared, and I did make it to San Marino — whose irresistible full name is The Most Serene Republic of San Marino.

And — as a… 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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