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Kyoto women in traditional garb.
When can we return to currently closed-off countries like Japan? Vaccine passports may help. Photo by Clark Norton

After a year when the COVID-19 virus has devastated the world’s tourism industry and thwarted vacation plans of millions of travelers, vaccinations have arrived that offer hope that 2021 may usher in some return to normalcy.

And none too soon for baby boomers, who have seen precious travel time and opportunities slipping away: cruises cancelled, tours postponed, bucket-list destinations closing their borders.

The fact that all this has been necessary to curb the ravages of the killer virus doesn’t make it any less painful — especially when you factor in the economic toll on tourism-dependent destinations. Estimates are that one in ten jobs worldwide are travel- and tourism-related.

And it’s not just airlines, cruise lines and big hotels that are hurting. As Scott Keyes, CEO of Scott’s Cheap Flights, puts it:… Continue reading

I first wrote about medical tourism back in 2013, when it was starting to flourish as a means of saving money on medical care. The premise was that by traveling to other countries — such as India, Mexico, Thailand and others — Americans could receive hip replacements, cardiac surgeries, dental work and other procedures at considerably lower costs than in the U.S.

Then along came COVID-19, with travel to many countries banned or severely restricted. Medical tourism has been one more viral victim.

Today’s guest post, by writer Charlie Fletcher, offers a rundown on the current state of medical tourism — as well as some shoots of hope for the future as the world’s health care and tourism fields struggle to adapt.

By Charlie Fletcher

Medical tourism — the practice of traveling to other countries for affordable medical treatments — had grown increasingly popular among Americans in recent years. Until,… Continue reading

For years, I resisted getting a massage, fearing I was too ticklish and would embarrass myself by laughing out loud on the massage table.

Then one day while traveling with a press group I was offered a free massage and, egged on by the group leader, decided I might as well give it a try.

Five minutes into it, I was already hooked, and would have kicked myself for missing out on all those massage-less years if I hadn’t been so relaxed I couldn’t move a muscle.

This guest post by Dr. Brent Wells, a chiropractor based in Anchorage, Alaska, delves into some of the reasons why massages are particularly helpful to travelers, and gives a rundown of the types of massages you can choose from.

By the way, after having dozens of massages during and after my travels, I’ve never burst out laughing. I did cry out in agony… Continue reading

Medicare travel goal. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews
Is Greece in your travel plans for 2021, if safety permits? Medicare changes may help. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Today’s timely guest post is from Medicare expert Christian Worstell, who gives an update on how Medicare changes in 2021 can benefit American travelers — assuming we get the opportunity.

It all starts with the distribution of safe, effective vaccines, which could be available soon. And for Medicare recipients, as Christian points out, they’ll be free — just one of several upcoming perks. Here’s the latest:

By Christian Worstell


After a year of isolating at home and waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, surveys show that once it’s safe, American baby boomers are eager to hit the road and travel again in 2021.

And as they do every year at this time, Medicare-eligible boomers are looking ahead to any changes in their Medicare benefits for the upcoming year. 

So, what does one… Continue reading

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

Here’s something I hadn’t thought much about — but probably should have.

In case of emergency on a remote hiking trail, or on a lonely highway, or anywhere that your cell phone doesn’t get service, what do you do?

Guest poster Harding Bush of Global Rescue has a suggestion: satellite communications. And you can get it for not all that much money.

I do have satellite TV — but that wouldn’t help much if I encountered some Rutger Hauer (RIP) or Javier Bardem character out on that lonely highway. (If you haven’t seen The Hitcher or No Country for Old Men, check them out).

And, one hopes, I could reach AAA, a park ranger, a rescue service — or my favorite ER doc who makes remote trail calls. Well, hope springs eternal. But you get the idea.

By Harding Bush

Traveling near or far? Going with friends, family or… Continue reading

Boomers are willing to spend to take experiential trips such as walking tours in Ireland. Photo from Walking the World

Would you take a walking tour in Ireland now — and tell your friends about it? Photo from Walking the World

As dedicated travelers, what are we to think of the concept of “travel shaming” — the notion that it’s irresponsible to travel or even plan future trips during a pandemic?

According to a recent New York Times article, people desperate to get out of their houses after months of self-quarantining are heading off on the road — but are traveling on the sly, reluctant to post pictures on social media or even to tell friends they’re leaving, for fear of being judged.

As the Times quoted Harvard Business School assistant professor, Jillian Jordan, who studies moral psychology: “The pandemic presents a unique case of travel entering the moral sphere, because there are two things that happen when you travel: The first is that I put myself at risk, and… Continue reading

This morning I received an email (below) from  Scott’s Cheap Flights, which is my go-to website for airline deals.

Scott Keyes’ site regularly turns up airfares that are 50 percent off the regular price, and sometimes up to 90 percent off  — but they’re often good for just a day or two, so you need to act fast. (Sign up to get email notifications of the daily deals.)

But acting fast to grab great fares (and with airlines anxious to fill seats again, they are plentiful) isn’t easy in the midst of a pandemic — because it’s difficult to know what the situation will be next year, much less a month or two from now.

While I’ve been on the cautious side of the when-is-it-safe-to-fly debate — as a baby boomer, my age puts me in a higher-risk category — I found Scott’s take on the risks… Continue reading

The beach at Jost Van Dyke today -- deceptively peaceful. Photo by nickelstar, on Flickr.

Pacing yourself is easy on a beach in the British Virgin Islands. Photo by nickelstar, on Flickr.

With travel largely curtailed this summer, basic travel wellness procedures may get overlooked. But when it’s time to travel again, it’s wise to review some of the basics, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, pacing yourself, and making sure any medications are in order.

Guest writer Shaun DMello has some good tips and reminders for staying healthy on the road, especially for those past 50.

By Shaun DMello

The growing population of senior travellers is evidence that you can live a life of travel and adventure no matter your age —  especially if you stay healthy. Adopting healthy habits won’t diminish your vacation fun – it’s just about making smart choices that allow you to keep having fun. Here are some you can incorporate into your travel routines:

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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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