The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

Luxury travel

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

Paris' Arc de Triomphe -- will a wronged customer triumph in the end? Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Paris’ Arc de Triomphe — will a wronged customer triumph in the end? Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

I received a note from a reader yesterday about a travel company that has a lavish website and sells a luxury product that is geared to customizing trips for individual travelers.

The problem, according to this reader — who wants to be identified only by his initials, G.M. — is that when he asked for service, they didn’t want to take his money — and a fair amount of it, at that.

It seems they wanted more.

Here’s the backstory: G.M., a longtime, now retired operating room nurse, is planning his first big vacation  in decades, a two-week trip to Paris. Due to the generosity of a wealthy patient, he’ll be staying in a suite at one of Paris’ most luxurious hotels, and, with the help of donated frequent flyer miles, winging… Continue reading

Uniworld's European Jewels river cruise will feature the SS Maria Theresa. Photo from Uniworld.

Uniworld’s European Jewels river cruise will feature the SS Maria Theresa. Photo from Uniworld.

I’ve often wondered about the derivation of the ship godmother tradition. A female celebrity of some sort says a few nice words about a new vessel and, in theory, breaks a bottle of Champagne across the bow to christen it.

According to one account I read, the tradition goes back thousands of years to when pagan priests would douse a new ship with blood as a kind of bon voyage send-off.

Somehow this morphed into celebrity godmothers and bottles of bubbly. Even royalty have gotten into the act. Queen Elizabeth II has served as godmother for a couple of Cunard’s “Queen” ocean liners, and Kate Middleton has  appropriately doused a Princess Cruises vessel.

Actresses Make Great Godmothers

Actresses are commonly tapped. In retrospect, I would have gladly splurged on a balcony… Continue reading

An evening in medieval Dubrovnik. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

An evening in medieval Dubrovnik. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

I love Croatia: walking the walls of medieval Dubrovnik, viewing the ruins of Roman Emperor Diocletian’s 3rd-century AD Palace in Split (the city is literally built into the ruins), wandering through the winding streets of the historic town of Trogir, being astonished to come upon a beautifully preserved Roman amphitheater in Pula, exploring larger cities like the double-Z combo of 3,000-year-old (!) Zadar and culturally rich Zagreb (the capital), and cruising among Croatia’s 1,000 islands, which sit like sparkling jewels in the Adriatic.

They’ve made Croatia one of the hottest destinations in all of Europe, and a favorite of baby boomers. (Both Super Bowl head coaches, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, are of Croatian descent.)

But despite two trips there, there’s still much of Croatia I’ve yet to see, including the intriguing-sounding… Continue reading

Crowds at the New York Times Travel Show.

Crowds at the New York Times Travel Show.

Each winter, the New York Times Travel Show draws hundreds of exhibitors — national tourism bureaus, tour operators, and various travel-related organizations, among others — to meet the public and try to lure them to their destination or onto their tours and the like. It’s the largest such trade and consumer show in North America.

There are also dozens of travel-related talks and seminars you can attend led by veteran travel writers, publishers and broadcasters, some beautifully costumed women dancing on stages representing various nationalities, some free food giveaways, a number of special travel discounts good only at the show, and various other enticements.

With winter slush outside, it’s the perfect time to get people thinking about warm-weather destinations or at least traveling somewhere when the weather gets warm.

I was there this weekend making contacts for StrideTravel.com, the new travel… Continue reading

This is one of the beautiful images you'll find on StrideTravel.com. Photo by Dennis Cox.

This is one of the beautiful images you’ll find on StrideTravel.com. Photo by Dennis Cox.

“The Savvy Path to Breathtaking Travel, Without the Hassle”

“Less Planning, More Experiencing”

“A Journey of a Thousand Smiles Begins With a Single Click”

These are some of the taglines that express the essence of the new travel website, StrideTravel.com, where I worked for more than a year as Content Director. (My job is now in the capable hands of Content Coordinator Samantha Scott, who, together with co-founders Gavin Delany and Jared Alster, comprise a formidable team.)

In practical terms, Stride aspires to be — and in many ways already is — the best place on the Web to survey the wealth of multi-day, pre-planned trips that are now available from hundreds of travel suppliers around the world.

“Pre-planned trips” may encompass guided group or private tours as well as independent journeys… Continue reading

Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2  is one luxurious way to cruise Europe. Photo by Clark Norton

Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 is one luxurious way to cruise Europe. Photo by Clark Norton

After posting my recent piece on repositioning cruises, I received this guest post entry from reader Suzanne Meades, offering some reasons why baby boomers might prefer taking a cruise ship to flying to and around Europe.

And for those boomers who have the time, I couldn’t agree more.

Both ocean and river cruising are big with boomers. A transatlantic cruise — fairly rare these days, except for repositioning cruises — evokes particular nostalgia for me, since a Spanish steamship took me across the Atlantic on my first trip to Europe in college. I even have a medal for winning the shipboard table tennis tournament, no easy task since the ship was rocking and rolling through the waves during my final match. At least, I think that medal is hiding around here somewhere…

As for seeing… Continue reading

Exterior of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

Exterior of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

When it comes to visiting European cities, I love old.

And you’ve got to love a city where the “New Town” section dates from the 14th century.

And where a section called “Lesser Town” has more going for it than many other cities can boast in total.

Prague, capital of the Czech Republic,  dates from the ninth century with the construction of Prague Castle, which is now the largest occupied castle in the world — covering 16 acres, it’s actually more like a palace — and houses the offices of the Czech president as well as the country’s crown jewels.

The castle was once the seat of power of the vast Holy Roman Empire, which ruled central Europe for a thousand years.

While some of the most beautiful parts of the castle are open only to the president,… Continue reading

The JW Marriott Miami, one of 63 current representatives of the brand. Photo from JW Marriott Miami.

The JW Marriott Miami, one of 63 current representatives of the brand. Photo from JW Marriott Miami.

Like every other business these days, it seems, the hotel business is all about branding — the art of distinguishing your hotels from those of other brands.

Every lodging chain from Motel 6 to W Hotels has a brand, and a target customer they believe will respond to that brand. Motel 6 appeals to budget road travelers who apparently arrive late at night. W Hotels appeal to affluent younger arty types, who don’t mind paying big bucks for cool but cramped quarters. Not many Motel 6’ers are going to stay in W’s, and not many W aficionados are going to bed down at Motel 6, no matter how late they leave the light on for ya.

As JW Marriott’s global brand manager Mitzi Gaskins told the travel trade site Skift.com in a recent… Continue reading

New Mexico's Spaceport America, where Virgin Galactic hopes to launch the first commercial space flights. Photo from Virgin Galactic.

New Mexico’s Spaceport America, where Virgin Galactic hopes to launch the first commercial space flights. Photo from Virgin Galactic.

Fortune has come out with an interesting follow-up story to our previous post about Sir Richard Branson’s out-of-this-world venture Virgin Galactic, which aims to bring space tourism to America.

Some 600 affluent travelers — including plenty of intrepid baby boomers — have plunked down up to $250,000 each to be among the first passengers on a commercial flight into space, which could happen as early as 2014, though previous target dates have come and gone. With six passengers scheduled for each flight, that would already amount to 100 sold-out flights.

According to Fortune, one travel agency — Virtuoso — has landed exclusive rights to book passengers throughout the Americas onto the flights.

Virtuoso — which bills itself as “the travel industry’s leading luxury network” — includes more than 330 agencies… Continue reading

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Best Baby Boomer Travel Blogs in 2015

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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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