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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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multi-generational travel

Greece was idyllic -- flying there not so much. Photo by Clark Norton

Greece was idyllic — flying there not so much. Photo by Clark Norton

I just returned from an idyllic two-week stay with three generations of my family in Greece, which I’ll be writing about at length in coming days.

What was not so idyllic were the flights to get there and back.

Torturous flights: hardly a news flash. Most flyers these days just grit their teeth and put up as best they can with the crowding; delays; security hassles; extra fees for checked baggage, “premium” seats, food, etc.; lost luggage; and often chaotic airport scenes.

After all, flying does (usually ) get us to where we want to go faster than other forms of transportation. But that doesn’t make it a pleasant experience.

Some Things to Try

Since I fly quite often, I try to alleviate the pain as much as possible:

I check-in online within 24 hours of… 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

First in an occasional series of profiles of ardent baby boomer travelers:

Ahu Tongariki moai, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Ahu Tongariki moai, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

I hadn’t seen Carol Bruen — who I knew as Carol Heller before she was married — since the end of seventh grade.

Carol and I were grade school classmates in Greencastle, Indiana, before she moved to Alaska. We reconnected recently via this blog. (One of the best things about blogging is hearing from old friends, classmates, and colleagues — so if some of you are still lingering out there, don’t forget to write!)

In our correspondence, we discovered our lives had taken many similar turns — we both did stints working in the U.S. Senate in Washington during the 1960s; we both lived in the same neighborhood in San Francisco in the 1970s; we both had come to know Alaska quite well; and,… Continue reading

Luxury cruise travel -- such as on Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2 -- is one favorite of senior travelers. Photo by Clark Norton.

Luxury cruise travel — such as on Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 — is one favorite of senior travelers. Photo by Clark Norton.

In my last post, I recommended a piece by Anita Mendiratta of the CNN Task Force contending that the world’s seniors (those aged 60 and up) are “global tourism’s silver lining.”

Based on world tourism and economic statistics, Mendiratta notes that senior travelers have more disposable income than other age groups, have more flexibility as to when to travel, and tend to stay longer on the trips they make.

But I thought her own observations about how seniors bring a special sense of excitement and awe to travel was especially insightful.

Baby boomers (now in their 50s and 60s) have a lifetime of experience and knowledge to bring to their travels, and I think this results in greater appreciation for — and excitement about — the places… Continue reading

You can bicycle along this canal with VBT. Photo from VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.

You can bicycle along this canal with VBT. Photo from VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.

It was news to me, but National Grandparents Day is on Sunday, September 13th. 

According to Family Travel Association:

  • 50 million U.S. households are now led by grandparents, forecasting a continued travel boom by this large group of baby boomers.
  • Today’s grandparents are far more active than their parents were, spending lots of time planning trips around specific activities.
  • As a result, multi-generational adventure travel is up 30% year after year. (Multi-generational travel is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry and tops the list of travel trends, according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report.) 
  • More grandparents are traveling with just the grandchildren, leaving the greandkids’ parents’ behind.  
  • 22% of all grandparents traveled with just their grandchildren in the past year.

Here are a few suggestions for multi-generational travel, whether it’s… Continue reading

Multi-generational travelers might opt to sail away to Alaska aboard the Disney Wonder. Photo from Disney Cruise Lines

Multi-generational travelers might opt to sail away to Alaska aboard the Disney Wonder. Photo from Disney Cruise Lines

Multi-generational travel is hot.

So hot that it’s up 30 percent over the past year. And boomer-led family groups are spending an average of $1,000 more per year than other travelers,  according to findings at a recent family travel summit.

The second TMS Family Travel Summit, organized by TMS Family Travel and Family Travel Consulting,  brought together 38 travel journalists, editors, publishers and marketers to hear the latest research, discuss travelers’ needs, and determine marketing strategies for family groups led by retiring boomers. 

The multi-generational travel phenomenon presents both challenges and opportunities for those in the travel industry.

 But what, exactly, constitutes multi-generational travel? 

One speaker defined it as a travel party comprised of at least one traveler over age 60 with at… Continue reading

A treehouse hotel in Hocking Hills. Photo from ExploreHockingHills.com

A treehouse hotel in Hocking Hills. Photo from ExploreHockingHills.com

When it comes to my own bucket list of destinations, Ohio has never been high on my list.

Having grown up in the Midwest, I’ve driven through the Buckeye state many times, mainly to get to other places. I spent a weekend in Cincinnati once, found a great breakfast spot near Toledo, and know that Cleveland has a great clinic and improving baseball team, but most of my impressions of Ohio are of flat views from Interstate 80.

So when I learned that a spot in Ohio had made Buzzfeed.com’s list of “22 Stunning Under-the-Radar Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List in 2014” — the only place in the U.S. to make the list — I took notice.

Along with other global under-the-radar destinations like Jericoacoara, Brazil; Ladakh, India; Ipiales, Colombia; Kampong Thom, Cambodia; and the Lofoten Islands, Norway, comes… 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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