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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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baby boomer tours

Bike tours are a great way to see the countryside and get some exercise.

Bike tours are a great way to see the countryside and get some exercise.

I’m always glad to run guest posts that contain valuable information for baby boomer travelers, and my friend Samantha Scott at StrideTravel.com has put together a good compendium of the most popular trends in boomer travel today — as well as some excellent suggestions for tour companies that will help you join in the fun.

Samantha’s post strikes on many of the themes I’ve been discussing here for nearly three years now: that baby boomers are dedicated travelers and life-long learners, love to take river cruises and travel with their grandchildren, are embracing the wide diversity of tours now available — including adventure travel — and are far more tech savvy than is generally believed.

While not a boomer herself, Samantha “gets it” — boomers are big travelers, are open to and eager for new experiences,… Continue reading

Baby boomers take a break while cycling the Dalmatian coast. Photo from Adventure Media News.

Baby boomers take a break while cycling the Dalmatian coast. Photo from Adventure Media News.

I’ve long wanted to bicycle through Europe, but a few things have held me back:

Do I really want to carry all my gear on a bike?

Is it too complicated to make all arrangements for accommodations along the way, especially if I’ve planned too ambitiously and wear myself out?

What if my bike breaks down and I can’t fix it?

If I go with a bike tour (which will essentially solve the first three problems), can I afford the expense?

And what if, in the end, I just can’t tackle the terrain if there are too many hills?

So I end up taking the train or driving — not that I don’t love European trains or roadways, but I still don’t get to experience Europe with the same intimacy as on a bike.

This… Continue reading

The Little Havana Food Tour in Miami is one experience you can book at Peek.com. Photo from Miami Culinary Tours.

The Little Havana Food Tour in Miami is one experience you can book at Peek.com. Photo from Miami Culinary Tours.

Let’s say you’re on your way to San Francisco and you’re looking to do things beyond the standard trip to Fisherman’s Wharf, a stroll through Golden Gate Park, or a cable car ride.

Maybe you’d like a sailing tour of San Francisco Bay, a walking tour through North Beach, an electric bike tour of San Francisco, or a food and farm tour of Marin County.

Or maybe you didn’t even know these latter possibilities existed.

This is where a relatively new website called Peek.com comes in. You can go to the site, click on San Francisco (there’s a colorful box with a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge on the home page), and an array of possible activities will come up, organized by categories: Food and Drink, Romantic, Under $50,… Continue reading

A Chianti vineyard in Tuscany is included on the Gold Standard tour of Italy offered at Zicasso. Photo from Zicasso.

A Chianti vineyard in Tuscany is included on the Gold Standard tour of Italy offered at Zicasso. Photo from Zicasso.

Zicasso — an online service that matches travel agent specialists with luxury travelers to plan memorable customized trips around the globe — is touting five specially planned trips on five different continents to mark its fifth anniversary in business.

The five tours promise experiences and access beyond the ordinary. They include the “Gold Standard Culinary and Art Tour of Italy,” the “Ultra Luxury South African Safari,” the “Australian Family Adventure,” the  “Insider’s Guide to Brazil,” and “Off the Beaten Path China.”

Along with the tours, Zicasso is offering an intriguing promotion: the first five travelers to book all five tours by the end of 2013 will receive free roundtrip airfare to all five. The airfare is in coach class and must be used by 2015.

Of course,… Continue reading

Nelson Mandela's life is the focus of two tours now being offered by separate African safari operators.

Nelson Mandela’s life is the focus of two tours now being offered by separate African safari operators.

Sad news: Just hours after posting the item below, I learned that Nelson Mandela had died today. Following in his footsteps in South Africa would be an appropriate way to honor his life.

 

I don’t know who had the idea first, or whether it was simultaneous and coincidental, but two African safari outfitters have come out with similar trips tracing the “footprints” — or “footsteps,” depending on the tour company — of South African liberation hero Nelson Mandela.

Both are touting their trips as complementing the recent release of the film Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom, and both are meant to highlight milestones and significant sites in Mandela’s life.  

One outfitter, Great Safaris, is offering a trip called “Madiba’s Journey: In Nelson Mandela’s Footprints,” while the other, African… Continue reading

Baby boomers ride the Rogue River while rafting with ROW Adventures. Photo from ROW Adventures.

Baby boomers ride the Rogue River while rafting with ROW Adventures. Photo from ROW Adventures.

We’ve had Black Friday (which actually began Thursday), Small Business Saturday, Return-Home Sunday (I made that up), Cyber Monday, and now comes Adventure Tuesday from ROW Adventures.

ROW Adventures, which I’ve written about in previous posts, is a top-flight adventure travel outfitter based in Idaho. As owner Peter Grubb told me last summer, one of his top target markets is baby boomer travelers, especially for international trips — though boomers also do their share of kayaking and whitewater rafting in Idaho and elsewhere.

Now’s the time to lock in some savings if you want to take a ROW trip next year.

ROW’s Adventure Tuesdaypromotion offers discounts on a number of upcoming trips if you book from 9 am PST (12 noon EST) Tuesday December 3 until 5 pm PST (8… Continue reading

Boomers on a river rafting trip still crave adventure. Photo from ROW Adventures

Boomers on a river rafting trip still crave adventure. Photo from ROW Adventures

The short answer to the question in the title above is “yes.”

In the nearly six months I’ve been writing this blog, we’ve laid out a number of characteristics that define baby boomers, and baby boomer travelers in particular, that help separate them from other generations. Here are six of them:

* They are more willing to spend money on themselves — including travel — than the generations previous to them.

* They place more emphasis on value than simply on what things cost; that is, they enjoy luxury and comfort and are willing to spend more for it if they perceive it to be good value. Similarly, they’re less interested in budget travel for its own sake than previous or succeeding generations — largely, perhaps, because they have more disposable income as a group.

* They… Continue reading

The fabled Inca site Machu Picchu reached by "glamping" in Peru. Photo from Austin Adventures

The fabled Inca site Machu Picchu reached by “glamping” in Peru. Photo from Austin Adventures

In a previous post I talked about “glamping” — a contraction of “glamorous camping” — that seems ideal for baby boomer travelers who still seek adventure but don’t want to sleep on hard ground in tents anymore.

Some lodges have taken up the concept, offering roomy tents with beds in them — a creative piece of marketing — and now Austin Adventures (formerly Austin-Lehman), one of the premier adventure travel companies in the U.S., is offering a Peruvian trip called “Glamping on the Inca Trail,” with five departures in 2014.

It’s a 10-day, nine-night trip that leads from Lima to Machu Picchu via Cusco and the legendary Inca Trail, complete with plenty of high-altitude trekking that provides incredible views and takes you through a number of other Inca sites and an Andean… Continue reading

Downtown Roanoke's historic center is just the beginning of what the area has to offer visitors. Photo by Clark Norton

Downtown Roanoke’s historic center is just the beginning of what the area has to offer visitors. Photo by Clark Norton

Last week I spent several days in and around Roanoke, Virginia, hosted by the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. The bureau brought in 19 travel writers and photographers from around the U.S. and Canada to discover what the area had to offer and, ideally, to write about it.

This is smart marketing. Publications large and small in states and provinces as diverse as California and Massachusetts, Colorado and Connecticut, Alberta and Ontario will carry travel articles about the Roanoke region that otherwise would never appear (most of the writers had never been there before). Some of the journalists were baby boomers, others were younger or older, so they’ll chronicle the destination from a variety of perspectives.

The press trip was organized by Geiger and Associates, a Tallahassee, Florida-based… Continue reading

Participants in Miami Culinary Tours' Little Havana tours chow down on Cuban food. Photo from Miami Culinary Tours

Baby boomers are among the participnts in Miami Culinary Tours’ Little Havana tours, chowing down on Cuban food. Photo from Miami Culinary Tours

A decade or so ago, inspired by her mother’s love for cooking, Grace Della came up with the idea for a Cuban-inspired food tour of Miami, “back when nobody had ever heard of food tours there,” she says.

Since then, she and several other devoted foodies have developed their own company, Miami Culinary Tours, which now offers daily food tours (with cultural components) of Miami’s South Beach and Little Havana neighborhoods.

Led by knowledgeable guides — who love both food and local culture — the walking tours last about two to three hours and make anywhere from five to eight food stops at restaurants, cafes, delis, bakeries and other eateries. The stops may change a bit from tour to tour, but you can always count on… 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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