Baby Boomers like to travel. One study indicated that practically all Baby Boomers (99%) in the United States and Canada anticipate traveling for leisure in 2016, with approximately 4 or 5 trips planned. This would be a combination of domestic and international trips.
Baby Boomers tend to seek out and embrace a more complicated world, delving into the nuances of other cultures that has inspired a voracious interest in world travel. Boomers started getting off the beaten track fuelled by a spirit of exploration and curiosity.
When the Baby Boomers entered the workforce, they usually had less time to travel, but no less interest. In the next stage of their lives, many Boomer have the resources to travel longer and farther. With Boomers reaching retirement, they’re heading out to travel again….and they have the time and money to do it their way.
So what kind of trips do Baby Boomers take?
Learning While We Travel
Many Boomers tend to be more highly educated than previous generations and continue to be interested in broadening their horizons. Educational tours are on the rise and one of the most popular tour types among fifty plus travelers. There are various tour agencies that cater specifically to older travelers and provide learning tours all over the world. Such tours are akin to booking a class for the semester, only without the homework. Such companies as Road Scholar or Stephen Ambrose Tours offer such tours.
Learning tours aren’t always about book learning. There are also cultural tours where you might learn a new craft or skill, or food tours where you might participate in a local cooking class, are all ways to combine a love of travel with a love of learning.
One of the most popular trips for Boomers today is the rather broad-termed “multi-generational travel.” This style of travel has grown in popularity over the years, with many tour companies offering trips that grandparents, parents, and kids can enjoy together.
It is frequently the Baby Boomers (grandparents) who originally come up with the idea of a multi-generational trip, and foot the bill! These tours are very special experiences, and a great way for grandparents to connect with their younger family members. On several occasions my father, son, and I have enjoyed trips together that I will never forget.
The guided tour sector is more diverse than ever before and baby boomers are their largest group. If you have preconceptions of the guided tour experience, you may be envisioning an enormous group with matching hats, hitting only the major sights alongside other large groups, and jostling for the same picture. Well, think again. There are now hundreds of group tour options, suitable to all different personality types. There are smaller group tours with flexible itineraries for those travelers who are more adventurous, but still want some creature comforts. Such companies offering this type of travel are Peregrine Guided Tours or Perillo Guided Tours.
Short breaks and weekend trips have become more popular, especially for those boomers who are still working. In fact many tour companies have consciously adjusted their tour schedules to accommodate the high demand from boomers who need to be back in town for work. These shorter tours are more carefully designed to ensure the biggest bang for your buck. A four-day weekend on a tropical island or walk down Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco sounds like a good idea to me.
By far one of the fastest growing segments in group travel is river cruising, a growth that is driven by older travellers.
Europe is one of the top destinations Boomers express interest in, and a river cruise is the perfect way to cover a lot of ground, and see more than you might on a large ship cruise. River cruises are able to travel on narrower, shallower bodies of water, allowing for much more diverse itineraries than ocean cruises can provide. River cruises are also able to dock directly in a city, such as Cologne and Bucharest, making for easy access to the key sights of a destination. There are numerous companies offering river cruises with Viking River Cruises being one.
For older travelers, the thought of “adventure travel” may not sound appealing but many Boomers are seeking adventure. Adventure does not need to mean a physical adventure; it can simply be exploring a new culture, meeting the locals, and trying new foods. We are not likely to be bungee jumping, but boomers are going to more exotic destinations, exploring new cultures and travelling to the far corners of the earth.
For the more adventurous there may be white water rafting or bungee jumping but it could also mean a hike in an ancient forest or taking a bike tour through the wine country of Southern France. The options are endless. One such company providing adventure tours is Intrepid Expeditions.
The “Bucket List”
Then there is the ol’ bucket list. This is a personalized list of goals. You may want to hike Machu Picchu or experience the Moroccan Medinas. It’s about making dreams happen and the options are endless. There are endless tour companies that seek to fulfill your dreams. One such company is named just that: Bucket List Travel Adventures.
Boomers are becoming increasingly technologically savvy. Many boomers are researching and booking travel online. The sheer amount of 50+ travelers has resulted in an explosion of blogs written uniquely from a boomer perspective. Some of these writers have seen great success, with large and loyal followings on their site and social media. They have been everywhere and are great resources for the rest of us.
Here are some examples:
The Gypsy Nesters are Veronica and David. One of the few boomer blogs to utilize video, their humorous and adventurous spirit is always inspiring.
The Travelling Boomer is Paul Marshman. He provides easy to digest guides, inspiring travel stories, and practical advice on flights, accommodation, and other travel tricks.
My Itchy Travel Feet is Donna and Alan Hull. A great resource for in depth information on destinations around the world, gear reviews, and theme trips (including their own section on the boomer bucket list!).
Travel Past 50 is Tom Bartel and Kris Henning. They document their adventures as well as provide practical tips for packing, gear recommendations, and a comprehensive photo tip section. They bring a vast background of travel experience to their blog, leaving the reader confident in their advice.
Life Part 2 is Jonathan Look. He writes about his experience traveling as a minimalist, and has tips for those who want to travel the same way. His blog focuses not only on his many travel experiences but also on his retirement journey and photography.
I have worked in the Corrections system in British Columbia in jails, on the streets, and as a report writer for the Courts. I am mostly retired and enjoy, now, writing for pleasure. I hope the experiences I have had will entertain or enlighten others.