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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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In the midst of a world pandemic — and, in the United States, the culmination of a bitterly divided, exhausting election season — I can offer a few words of advice: Take a hike.

Hiking is an ideal way to get out of your cooped-up house into the fresh air and, certainly for less-crowded trails, is well suited to social distancing.

It’s a healthy activity and usually fun as well. (Some tougher trails aren’t always fun, but tackling — and conquering — them can be highly satisfying.)

But hiking right — meaning minimizing any risk of injury or other problem that may occur — requires adequate preparation and thought.

Guest writer Rebecca Brown lays out the key things to keep in mind for three different types of hikers: day hikers, overnighters, and multi-day hikers.

So lace up your boots, fill your water bottles, and don your backpack — but first,… Continue reading

This idyllic scene could be yours if you plan properly. Photo from

This idyllic scene could be yours if you plan properly. Photo from

Even if you travel a lot, its easy to forget some of the basics of Trip-Taking 101. I know, because I’ve made all the “freshman” mistakes myself over the course of my travel-writing career.

And these days, despite — or because of — all the ever-changing technology and options available to travelers, it sometimes seems like you need a graduate degree in travel logistics just to get ready for a trip.

That’s why I’m glad to run this guest post by Jim McKinley with some simple reminders of what you can do to prepare for your next vacation, whether it’s halfway around the world or the next state over.

Which reminds me, I still need to make a bunch of hotel and train reservations for my trip to Europe next month…

By Jim McKinley

No matter… Continue reading

A boomer goes backpacking in Aria's Superstition Mountains. Photo from

A boomer goes backpacking in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. Photo from

Is it time to hang up your backpack when you reach your 50s and 60s or even your 70s?

Certainly not — not if you don’t want to.

Sometimes carrying your traveling gear on your back can be easier than wheeling a suitcase through city streets as well as in the country.

So even if the term “backpackers” conjures up visions of 20-somethings bearing heavy loads of camping supplies and sleeping bags strapped on their backs, heading out onto forest trails or tramping around Europe or Australia, this article by Jenn Miller at Jen Reviews may change your mind.

Jenn provides a clearly written, comprehensive guide on how to pack for a backpacking trip, filled with practical tips and advice that will save you time, space, and help make your trip even more enjoyable.

Besides general packing… Continue reading

Overpacking can slow you down and limit mobility. Photo by Keith Williamson on flickr.

Overpacking can slow you down and limit mobility. Photo by Keith Williamson on flickr.

Sometimes even experienced travelers make simple mistakes that can get a trip off to a very bad start, or even ruin it altogether.

The folks at by Grand European Travel — which specializes in guided vacations and river cruises in Europe and around the world — have developed a helpful infographic that identifies six common travel mistakes that it would be wise to review before setting  off on your next foreign trip.

I’m not immune to making some of these mistakes (sometimes it’s easier to dish out advice than follow it).

My rookie mistakes have included not properly insuring my trip, not packing light, and not notifying my banking institutions that they can soon expect to see charges appearing from places like St. Lucia, Hungary, or the Falkland Islands.

I’m pretty anal about… Continue reading

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

This is one of the beautiful images you’ll find on 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,, 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

  1. Don't forget to renew your passport if it expires within six months.

    Don’t forget to renew your passport if it expires within six months.

    I WILL pack lightly enough to get all my clothes and gear into carry-on sized bags. That means eliminating the third pair of shoes I never wear, the extra shirts I bring “just in case” I might need them, and all the other extras that force me into larger suitcases. (This will be a challenge for Antarctica, where I’m headed in February, but if I have to wear three coats on the plane, so be it.)

  2. I WILL buy one of those nifty, easy-to-maneuver four-wheeled suitcases (carry-on size, of course) that everyone in the world now seems to have but me.
  3. I WILL get a new passport by October 2016, since my current one expires in April 2017. (Don’t ask me why so many countries now require your passport to have six months’ validity after your planned… Continue reading

Not a good start to a trip. Photo by Gideon on flickr.

Not a good start to a trip. Photo by Gideon on flickr.

Since I’m in the middle of packing for a trip, it seemed a good time to continue my series on packing tips — this time for men.

My first tip is to see if you can finagle your wife/spouse/significant other/good friend of the tidier persuasion to organize your packing for you. (Ha ha, just kidding…sort of.)

If you’re the tidier one in your relationship, great. But you still may overpack, just in a more tidy way than, say, I do.

By trial and error — mostly error — I’ve learned that the key to packing smart is packing light, which usually saves time, money, space, headaches and backaches. Think George Clooney in the film “Up In the Air.” Somehow he managed to get everything into a small carry-on whenever he flew and still turn up looking spiffy.… Continue reading

Probably time to rethink your packing strategy. Photo by Keith Williamson on flickr.

Probably time to rethink your packing strategy. Photo by Keith Williamson on flickr.

Anyone who has struggled with hauling luggage onto a train or up or down a flight of stairs — where suitcase wheels don’t help all that much — knows the value of packing light.

It’s just that — if you’re like me — you also struggle with knowing what to leave out when you travel. As a friend, Jade Chan, just wrote me in response to a recent post giving tips on how to pack light:

“I can totally relate to you being a heavy packer when travelling. I try to think of every scenario possible, so I’ll pack everything that I think I’ll need. Although I pack only two pairs of footwear, it’s the ‘everything else’ that weighs down my suitcase. My backpack is quite big too. So I always marvel at how backpackers… Continue reading

Packing too much? You can cut down fairly easily.

Packing too much? You can cut down fairly easily.

In a recent post, I admitted to having a packing problem — namely overpacking — so that I have to lug a large suitcase on many plane or train trips rather than a lighter, much handier carry-on-size bag (21 or 22 inches long). It spurred me to write “Seven Reasons for Packing Light,” mostly learned the hard way.

But I like to think that after my last trip — a week-long European cruise in February — that I’ve learned my lesson. I’d convinced myself there were extenuating circumstances: it was winter, so I needed heavier clothes; it was a cruise, so I would only need to unpack once; and it was a business trip (a story assignment), so I needed dress clothes and shoes for the ship’s semi-formal nights.

And, of course, my large bag had wheels, as does virtually every… Continue reading

Is this you at packing time? Photo from

Is this you at packing time? Photo from

I admit that I have a packing problem. I tend to overpack, forcing me from bringing only a light carry-on size suitcase to lugging a large, heavy one I have to check on a plane or haul on and off a train.

Shoes are the main culprit. If I’m going on a trek or major hiking trip, I have to pack heavy hiking boots. If I’m going anywhere near a beach or even to a warm-weather destination, I need sandals. Then there are the comfortable urban walking shoes, which I can wear on the plane. But all bets are off if I have to pack dress shoes for some occasion as well.

I also have a tendency to want to bring a shirt or two for every possible type of weather. And so on. Along with all my electronics and gear… 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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