The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

baby boomers

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The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- part of a trend? Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — part of a trend? Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental.

First, let’s establish one thing: I’m not a particularly  affluent traveler, certainly by U.S. standards. I don’t really know where I fall in the spectrum of what I spend roaming the world , but I know that when I’m traveling on my own dime price is definitely an object.

Sure, I like to stay in a five-star hotel, dine in a Michelin three-star restaurant or fly first class as much as the next guy, but only if someone else is paying for it. As a consequence, I’ve stayed in some real dumps, eaten any number of meals in greasy spoons, and sat cramped in coach for up to 14 hours at a time on hundreds of flights, all to feed my travel addiction or in furtherance of getting a… Continue reading

First step to traveling abroad: get a passport.

First step to traveling abroad: get a passport.

A recent British Airways survey of 2,000 randomly chosen U.S. baby boomers (aged 55-70) asked what their biggest regrets were in life.

About one out of five (women 22 percent, men 17 percent) responded that they wish they had traveled more.

The majority of those respondents cited responsibilities at work and home that ate up their time — and what they believed would be prohibitive expense — as to why they hadn’t pursued their travel dreams.

About half the men surveyed and more than 60 percent of the women had never gotten passports, mainly due to the perceived expense of international travel.

More than a fifth of all those surveyed now believed that not taking vacations had had a negative effect on their health. And of those who did take vacations, 10 percent said they had worked more than an… Continue reading

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

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

A European river cruise is  a popular baby boomer travel choice.  Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

A European river cruise is a popular baby boomer travel choice. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Periodically I like to remind travel marketers that baby boomers — now in our 50s and 60s — are a frequently overlooked travel market.

But why are we overlooked?

According to a recent AARP study, American boomers spend more than $120 billion (that’s with a “b”) annually on leisure travel. We plan to take an average of four or five leisure trips in 2015 alone. That’s more than any other age group.

Many boomers are still working and earning more than we ever have in our lives. Others of us are already retired and eager to hit the road or the skies — with both time and money on our hands.

For the most part, our kids are off on their own and we can look beyond Disney World, the all-inclusive beach resort,… Continue reading

American Cruise Lines' paddlewheeler Queen of the Mississippi. Photo from American Cruise Lines.

American Cruise Lines’ paddlewheeler Queen of the Mississippi. Photo from American Cruise Lines.

River cruising is the hottest trend in the cruise world right now, and not just in Europe. It’s also thriving right here in the United States — and the aptly named American Cruise Lines (ACL)  is leading the
way.

ACL has ships cruising the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, the Hudson River in upstate New York, the Intracoastal Waterway in the Southeastern U.S., and many more.

But my wife, Catharine, and I were most intrigued by ACL’s cruise down the lower Mississippi — from Memphis to New Orleans — partly because it was an area of the country we hadn’t explored as much as some others, and partly because the ship, the Queen of the Mississippi, was built in the style of an old-fashioned paddle wheeler, allowing us to return to Mark… Continue reading

Budapest's Chain Bridge over the Danube by night. Photo by Dennis Cox, WorldViews

Budapest’s Chain Bridge over the Danube by night. Photo by Dennis Cox, WorldViews

I love river cruising and was itching to get onto the Danube as soon as we reached Budapest, the Hungarian capital that the river neatly divides into two sections called Buda and Pest.

“We” being the international group of journalists I was traveling with, on an Insight Vacations tour of Central European capitals. Budapest was our last stop in a whirlwind tour that was an accelerated version of the regular Insight tours of the region, yet we managed to pack a huge amount of sightseeing into less than a week.

Having just left Vienna a few hours before, we arrived in Budapest in late afternoon in time to change money, change clothes, change languages and change mindsets from schnitzel to paprikash. Fortunately, goulash, sausages and strudel remained much the same.

Our hotel, the Sofitel… Continue reading

Cesky Krumlov, viewed from the castle. Photo by Clark Norton

Cesky Krumlov, viewed from the castle. Photo by Clark Norton

Cesky Krumlov, a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride through country roads south of Prague in the Czech Republic, has often been described as a “fairytale” town, and it fits the description well.

As our Insight Vacations tour director, Neira Milkovic, explained en route, the town was cut off from trade routes by Europe’s destructive 30 Years War in the 17th century and “went to sleep” for about 300 years after that.

It’s now awakened as a tourist magnet, for good reason. If you want to see what European towns looked like hundreds of years ago, Cesky Krumlov — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is a great place to do it.

It comes complete with a hilltop castle, winding cobblestone streets, a scenic river cutting an S shape through town, a central square, and — in a nod to modernity — plenty… Continue reading

Pilsner Urquell is the Czech Republic's most famous export. Photo by Clark Norton.

Pilsner Urquell is the Czech Republic’s most famous export. Photo by Clark Norton.

When you think of European beer, Germany may spring first to mind, but the real capital is the Czech Republic.

Czechs are said to drink more brew than any other nationality in the world: 40 gallons annually for every man, woman and child in the country. I’m guessing that the average is somewhat higher than that for adult men.

The very word “pilsner” derives from the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, where the country’s best known export — and my longtime favorite beer, Pilsner Urquell — is brewed. It was the first golden pilsner ever made.

On my recent Insight Vacations tour of Prague, I discovered that Pilsner Urquell is only the beginning of what Czech beer has to offer.

Along with 30 other journalists from around the world, I was fortunate to join the… Continue reading

Gravestones in the Jewish Cemetery, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

Gravestones in the Jewish Cemetery, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

For the most part, a visit to Prague is a light-hearted affair: exploring Prague Castle, perusing Old Town Square, sauntering across the Charles Bridge, and perhaps doing some shopping for crystal or dining in a beer hall (more to come on that in a later post).

But the historical  attractions are museum-quality relics of long ago, and bizarre incidents — political rivals being tossed out of windows, leading to destructive wars — are ancient history,  fascinating but distant. The Habsburg dynasty — which ruled here for nearly 400 years — and the Holy Roman Empire are long gone, leaving us buildings and cathedrals to admire but perhaps less to stir our souls.

But Prague has a more recent past that should stir us to the core, and it bubbles to the surface in the city’s… 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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