The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

European river cruises

 Cologne Cathedral on Rhine River at night -- but watch for water levels. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Cologne Cathedral on Rhine River at night — but watch for water levels. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

What are the best seasons to travel?

I’m tempted to answer that FAQ with a one-word answer: Anytime. You’ll almost always find something positive in any trip, even if it rains every day.

But that’s the easy way out. A lot depends on where you’re going and what your specific interests are in that place. And a few destinations are limited to one particular season of the year.

Weather is often — though not always — the key factor.

A trip to Finland in summer, for instance, is very different than a trip to Finland in winter. Both have their charms — as do the fall and spring seasons there, for that matter. But you might as well be traveling to two different countries in  the Finnish July and January.

Most travelers… 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

Last of a 3-part series.

In our first post in this series, we began our quick guide to the 12 most popular European cruising rivers, starting with the Danube, Rhine, Seine, and the Volga and other Russian waterways — probably the best known of the top cruising rivers in Europe.

In our second post, we’ took a look at four more rivers  (actually five rivers and one canal) ranging from France to Portugal, Germany and the Czech Republic to Sweden.

In this third post, we’ll complete the top 12 list with cruising rivers in Spain, Germany-Luxembourg, Italy, and, once again, France.

Spain’s Guadalquivir

Seville, Spain's, Plaza de Espana. Photo from Seville Tourism.

Seville, Spain’s, Plaza de Espana. Photo from Seville Tourism.

A Guadalquivir cruise offers one of the most pleasant ways to explore Andalusia – Spain’s southernmost province and site of some of the country’s most fabled cities. The river itself, though one of… Continue reading

Part 2 of a 3-part series

In our last post, we began our quick guide to European cruising rivers, starting with the Danube, Rhine, Seine, and the Volga and other Russian waterways — probably the best known of the top 12 cruising rivers in Europe.

In this post, we’ll take a look at four more rivers — well, actually five rivers and one canal — ranging from France to Portugal, Germany and the Czech Republic to Sweden.

The Rivers of Bordeaux: the Dordogne, Garonne, and Gironde

Bordeaux vineyard and chateau. Photo from Bordeaux Tourism.

Bordeaux vineyard and chateau. Photo from Bordeaux Tourism.

You can get an intimate look at Bordeaux, perhaps the world’s premier red-wine-producing region, on this three-river cruise that begins in the city of Bordeaux itself. Bordeaux, situated along the Garonne River — which connects to the Bay of Biscay via the Gironde River along France’s western coast — is a treasure trove of architectural… Continue reading

The Viking Europe river boat, part of Viking's rapidly expanding fleet. Photo from Viking River Cruises.

The Viking Europe river boat, part of Viking’s rapidly expanding fleet. Photo from Viking River Cruises.

I’ve previously written in praise of Douglas Ward’s longstanding guidebook series Cruising and Cruise Ships (Berlitz), considered the bible of the industry when it comes to ocean-cruising ship reviews. His 2014 guide is in its 29th year of publication.

Now Ward is out with the first edition of River Cruising in Europe (Berlitz), and if you’re planning a river voyage in Europe anytime soon, it should be high on your reading list.

European river cruising, as I’ve noted a number of times in this blog, is the hottest segment of the cruising market right now. It’s especially popular among baby boomers – travelers in their 50s and 60s.

Viking River Cruises, the giant in the industry, has recently rolled out a dozen new ships to meet the growing demand, and now has… Continue reading

The Viking Europe river boat, part of Viking's rapidly expanding fleet. Photo from Viking River Cruises.

The Viking Europe river boat, part of Viking’s rapidly expanding fleet. Photo from Viking River Cruises.

The travel site Skift.com has just named its top 50 global travel marketers for 2013, including the senior vice president for marketing of Viking River Cruises, Rich Marnell.

Little wonder — Marnell was hired in 2007 as Viking’s director of marketing for North America, and since that time Viking’s share of the burgeoning European river cruise market has risen from 20 percent to fifty percent, remarkable considering that competition is getting increasingly fierce.

I’ve written previously about Viking River Cruises’ approach to marketing: a laser-like focus on their target customer — the classic baby boomer.

“What we’ve done is tailored the product experience for the 55+ culturally curious in mind,” Marnell told Skift. “We don’t try to be everything to everyone. For us, we see that as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.”

At… 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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