Even though Baby Boomer travel is limited these days because of the pandemic, it’s still a passion for many of us. It took me a while to get started because life got in the way, but once I was able to get out and explore I couldn’t get enough of it.
Remember, this too shall pass. Read about traveling post-COVID here.
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October 8th – 19th, 2022
Where I’ve been and blogged about
I’ve been lucky to have gone on several dream trips in my lifetime and wrote about them in this blog. Some posts were written by other writers who have been to places I haven’t been to yet and shared their experiences. Enjoy our insights and let’s hope that Baby Boomer travel will, again, be the new normal.
Favorite destinations for Baby Boomer travel
Click on the links below to find travel posts written about various locations throughout the world and in the U.S.A.
My hometown is Los Angeles and I love exploring it
I’m an LA girl through and through. There’s so much to do in Los Angeles and the weather is almost always perfect. When I’m not out of town traveling, I get a kick out of seeing what I can find in my own neighborhood. As a Baby Boomer who loves to travel and have fun, I’ve personally visited the locations I’ve written about and guarantee them to be interesting, easy, and fun for older travelers.
My best tips to make travel over 50 easy
Click on the links below to find travel tips and travel gear recommendations I’ve learned about along the way.
My favorite booking and travel resources to plan your next trip
Those of us who have reached retirement age and are not ready to be put out to pasture are looking for new adventures. Our kids are gone and we have more freedom. Baby Boomer travel is a huge industry. Please use the following list of resources below when you’re ready to plan your next vacation.
If you are planning a trip abroad make sure to check your passport’s expiration date
Your passport must be good for at least 8 months after your departure. To check the status of your passport if you are in the process of renewing, click on the following link.
Expedited processing may take 12-18 weeks. Click here to see how to get your passport faster.
Don’t forget your Senior Discounts!
As a Baby Boomer, it’s hard to think of yourself as old, but the senior travel discounts we qualify for are awesome! Affinity Groups, like, AAA, Senior’s Coalition, AARP, Veterans Organizations, Alumni Groups, etc. offer tremendous saving opportunities for seniors. If you’re not part of an affinity group like those I’ve listed, think about joining one.
Become an AAA member – I’ve been a member of the Automobile Club since 1949, which is actually before I was born. (I inherited my parent’s account) I don’t know how many times it has saved me when I got a flat tire, ran out of gas, or needed a tow. If you’re planning a trip make sure to stop in for tips, maps, and great ideas.
Your trip planning isn’t complete without travel insurance!
This is especially true if you are a Baby Boomer who loves to travel because you don’t want to get sick or hurt while you are away from your regular medical providers.
- VisitorsCoverage – is an aggregate site that will help you find the right plan for you with the right company.
Earn points to save money for your next vacation
- Points.com – It gets frustrating when you join a bunch of programs to earn travel points and then have to keep track of all of them. Points.com is one of the best travel resources out there that makes it possible to have one place and one password for all your programs. Your points are automatically updated and can be viewed on one dashboard. Trade and exchange your points or buy and gift miles. As a senior, this is one of the best ways to make travel affordable.
- Best Frequent Flyer Programs – I found this article by Wallet Hub to be interesting and informative.
Roadtripping in an RV
- Baby Boomer travel is taking to the road in a big way. It’s a huge trend right now. RVShare offers a great way to rent an RV that will give you all the comforts of home. You can explore state parks, take a cross-country road trip, go camping, or use it for a special event. They make the whole process easy, fun, simple, and totally COVID safe! The average RVShare renter will save 57% on vacation costs compared to other means of travel. Rent an RV here.
The best travel websites for booking hotels and more
It’s always a good idea to have a travel agent who can help you with your vacation planning and give you recommendations but you may also want to check with these online sites to make sure you’re getting the best price.
- TripAdvisor – Before you go anywhere check with TripAdvisor to find reader reviews for hotels, restaurants, and activities. I never go anywhere without consulting them. And now, you can also book amazing deals on hotel reservations and flights. You’ll find ideas and tips for activities, restaurants, tours, and more all over the world.
- Agoda.com is excellent for booking hotels, flights, rental homes, and car rentals, especially in Asia. It’s based in Singapore. If you’re traveling to an Asian destination, you can’t beat it for the best hotel deals and vacation rentals in that area of the world. You can also find excellent prices for travel in Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.
- Booking.com – This site does it all and is one of the most popular sites to book hotel stays. You can also get great deals on flights.
The most recommended websites to book airline flights
These search engines are tops for booking flights. Why spend more on an airline ticket than you need to? Save money to enjoy your vacation instead. You may want to give several of them a try to find the best rates.
- Skyscanner – This travel search engine uses a unique technology that connects to hundreds of airline, hotel, or car rental sites to give you the lowest prices out there. They also have a free and easy to use a smartphone app.
- Trip Advisor – Get some of the best deals on flights on this amazing site.
- Agoda.com – Use this search engine especially if you are booking flights to Southeast Asia. It’s a top search engine.
- Momondo always comes up as one of the top flight search and travel engines. Frommer’s ranks it in the top 3. Open Up the World to Yourself and Yourself to Other Cultures. Momondo Flights.
- Kayak – under the same umbrella as Booking.com and Agoda, is also a good choice to look for flights as well as hotels and cruises. Find the Best Deals on Flights with KAYAK
- CheapOair – You may be able to find last-minute International travel but this flight search engine doesn’t perform as well domestically.
- Expedia – Although it’s come down in the ranks as far as best deals on booking flights it’s a trusted and well-known search engine.
Take a cruise – you know you deserve it
It’s so fun to be dropped off for the day in a quaint little medieval town where you can meet locals and experience their culture. Then, you’re back on board for dinner for a relaxing float past medieval castles and picturesque scenery.
Because of COVID 19, cruise ship lines are implementing strict health protocols and may require vaccinations in an effort to make cruising a safe way to travel.
You may want to book your next cruise with the following companies:
- MSC Cruises -part of the MSC Group is the Swiss-based, world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, sailing year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba and the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, China and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman
- Cruise Direct – Cruise Direct has some of the best discounts for cruise destinations all over the world. The major cruise lines they cover include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. You can even be able to book last-minute cruises at the best prices.
- Uniworld River Cruises – My favorite way to cruise is on a river cruise. Why? Because it’s intimate, you get off in smaller and more charming towns, it has fewer health risks, and the river is smooth and not choppy. Uniworld has cruises from the rivers of Europe to exotic India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Peru & Egypt and they are exquisite! They are currently booking into 2022 and 2023 so book yours NOW for the best price.
Direct booking for hotels
There’s nothing worse than staying at a substandard hotel or vacation rental. Since it’s where you’re going to be spending time to rest up in between adventures you want to make sure it’s comfortable, convenient, and safe.
The hotel travel sites below have a wide variety of options that will fit your budget whether you’re watching every penny or you want a deluxe experience.
- Hilton Hotels, includes Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, Doubletree, Tapestry Collection, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home 2. They all offer outstanding rooms and services throughout the world. You can join Hilton Honors and earn points for future visits. If you’re an AARP member you’ll receive a 10% discount.
- Best Western Hotels – I’ve always had good luck with Best Western Hotels in the United States and have stayed in them many times. Their rooms are affordable if you’re on a budget and well-maintained. Best Western offers Senior Discounts so make sure to ask for it when you book your reservation.
- Wyndham Hotels and Resorts – You can find Wyndham Hotels and Resorts throughout the world and earn Wyndham Rewards each time you stay there. Don’t forget to ask for your 10% Senior Discount through AARP or AAA.
- Motel 6 – Motel 6 also offers Senior Discounts. It’s known for its “no-frills” affordable rooms if you don’t want to spend all your cash on hotels along the way. You may want to check reviews before booking as some are better than others.
- Radisson – Radisson hotels are available worldwide and are known for their outstanding service and properties. If you join Club Carlson, you can earn points to stay at Radisson Blu, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM. The are committed to delivering a clean and safe environment through Health and Safety.
- Extended Stay America – With over 625 hotels across the U.S., Extended Stay America offers affordable suites that don’t feel cramped as well as fully-equipped kitchens, Free GRAB-and-go breakfast, on-site laundry, and other amenities. It’s perfect if you are staying for a long period of time as they have weekly, biweekly, and monthly rates.
- Sandals and Beaches Resorts – Enjoy a luxury inclusive vacation in the Caribbean where you never have to worry about tipping, where to eat, or what beach to go to. It’s all there in one place. They are perfect venues for weddings, romantic holidays, and some are designed for the entire family.
- VRBO – This company is part of the HomeAway family, the world’s leading online marketplace for the vacation rental industry with sites representing over 1 million paid listings of vacation rentals in 190 countries. It’s also a part of the Expedia, Inc. family of brands. Through VRBO, owners and property managers offer an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, including more room to relax and added privacy, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodation.
- Homes & Villas by Marriot International – This is is a global home rental company featuring a curated selection of premium and luxury home rentals cared for by a select group of professional property management companies. With thousands of homes across more than 250 destinations, Homes & Villas offers guests the space of an entire home through a trusted travel brand and the very best in loyalty benefits.
Other ways to get travel discounts
- Groupon Getaways – Want a quick getaway that is affordable and fun? Make sure to check with Groupon Getaways when planning a weekend trip and to find amazing vacation package deals.
- Living Social Vacation and Flight Packages – Groupon and Living Social are under the same umbrella. Find great deals on vacations and flights by checking on Living Social. You may be surprised at what you come up with.
Clear security fast
- CLEAR is contact-free and gets your straight through the gate. No crowds, no waiting, keep moving through airports, sports stadiums, and more. CLEAR transforms your biometrics – your unique eyes and face – into a single touchless ID, so you can quickly get through airports, sports stadiums, and other venues. In CLEAR’s dedicated Lanes, you’ll avoid contact and crowds, and feel safer. In airports and other venues nationwide, CLEAR helps you travel safely with a fast, touchless experience – every time. Enjoy a 2-month free trial and keep moving forward. Code: 2FREE
Make sure you have proper Visas when traveling abroad
Visa requirements change frequently and can be confusing. But here’s how to make it easier.
- iVisa – Find out what Visas and other documents are required to enter a country you are traveling to. Don’t be caught by surprise. Use the form below to get information.
Restaurant deals to save money eating out
A senior who likes to travel can save money on dining and meals by taking advantage of coupons. There are great deals everywhere you go if you plan ahead. Many establishments offer early dining specials to seniors too.
- Restaurants.com – Save on over 62,000 restaurants all over the United States. Find discounts, deals, and coupons for your favorite dining spots or give someone the gift of a night out on the town.
- Groupon and Living Social – Both sites will help you find great deals on local restaurants as well as culinary events, and other fun events. Discover deals in your hometown or the city you’re visiting.
Ground transportation – to get you to your destination affordably and fast
Unless you are staying at an inclusive resort where you never leave the property, you’ll need to get from place to place. You can always rent a car or take advantage of trains, buses, or tours to get you where you want to go.
- Rail Europe – It’s your one-stop shop for train travel in the old country. Enjoy the view and get to your destination fast. We loved taking trains throughout Spain, Italy, and Poland. It’s comfortable, efficient, and safe.
- Hertz Rental Cars – You can get AARP and AAA discounts at Hertz for rental cars.
- Auto Europe – This site offers the best auto rates in Europe. It’s been around for 60-years and has partnerships with all the most reputable car rental companies. If you find a lower car rate, they will lower their rates to beat the price. They also have a 24/7 service hotline – available from pick-up to drop-off and over 20,000 convenient pickup/dropoff locations throughout Europe.
- Big Bus Tour – I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Big Bus Tour we took in London. It’s the best way to get around the city. And what’s cool is that there are Big Buses throughout the U.S. and the world. Their Hop on Hop off buses are guided tours (sometimes live) that highlight points of interest but are entertaining and informative as well. Read my review here.
- Ride share companies like Lyft and Uber – These companies are getting more expensive in the U.S.A. but in countries like Mexico they are fast, efficient and affordable. We took Uber everywhere in Mexico City and it was super cheap.
Tours, sightseeing, and fun activities
I love going on tours whenever I’m in a new city but you want to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate tour operator. There are some tours specially designed for senior travel that will make your experience all the more fun.
- Viator – This online booking site offers tours, sightseeing excursions, activities, and special events. It’s affiliated with TripAdvisor and is based on best reviews with over 60,000 things to do. I took a Viator tour in San Miguel de Allende and my tour guide turned out to be a high school classmate.
- Sightseeing Pass – When you purchase a Sightseeing Pass you’ll find it’s an exciting and efficient way to visit new cities and save lots of money. The pass includes many of the city’s best attractions, hop-on, hop-off bus tours, cruises and will provide you with exclusive dining options.
- Tours by Locals – I’ve always found that some of the best tours are given by local residents. Tours by Locals provides private and customized tours by tour guides who live in and know the area you are visiting. They have 3468 Guides in 156 Countries all over the world. You can also use local guides as a more personal alternative to cruise line shore excursions. All you have to do is enter your cruise line, ship, and date to hook up with a guide the moment your ship arrives at a port.
- Charlie the Traveler – is a preferred supplier for both Expedia and TripAdvisor. They operate multi-day, action-packed, first-class packaged tours in 21 countries covering more must-see destinations and activities than most tour companies. Reasonably priced and you can pay per month before your trip. If you are adventurous, make sure to check Charlie out.
If you are planning a trip to Las Vegas and want to save money but still want to stay in a great hotel click on the following links below.
- Station Casinos – You don’t have to pay big bucks to stay in Vegas. Station Casinos are located all over the Las Vegas area and are affordable and fun. They offer great deals in lodging, games, and entertainment.
- Caesars Rewards – Get Caesar Rewards in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Lake Tahoe, Laughlin, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri. Hotels include Bally’s, The Cromwell, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, Harrah’s, The LINQ, and Nobu.
Travel gear and clothes
There’s no reason you can’t look amazing when you travel but to save trouble packing you’ll want to find clothes that are travel-friendly and wrinkle-free.
- Herschel Supply Company – This company is based in Vancouver, Canada, and is a design-driven travel-oriented brand that is known for its precise detail. They offer travel products such as backpacks, crossbodies, athletic wear, insulated jackets, outerwear, luggage, and activewear apparel and accessories.
- baggallini – I LOVE their RFID protected handbags, backpacks, laptop bags, rolling bags, and accessories. All of their items are sturdy, easy to wash, and will keep your important documents and money safe from pickpockets and thieves.
- Eagle Creek – This is a one-stop-shop for travel gear, packing supplies, accessories, luggage, backpacks, RFID, travel comfort items, and other travel products.
- Zappos Travel Page – This is new! Zappos, which is known mostly for its shoes, now has a page dedicated to travel products that include clothing, shoes, accessories and more. And, of course, you always want to wear comfortable shoes when you travel especially if you’re planning to do a lot of walking on your trip. You’ll find just about every brand you can think of on their website.
I believe in traveling as light as possible so you don’t find yourself hauling heavy luggage around. No one wants to get hurt or feel achy when they travel and this is especially true if you’re older.
- Chester – Carry-on luggage is made with some of the strongest and sleekest materials you can find. If you’re looking for a super functional carry-on bag take a look at the Minima Carry-on21.5″ x 13.5″ by 8.5.” It’s TSA and cabin approved with silent 360 multi-directional wheels and an Aerospace-grade polycarbonate hard shell. 7lbs.
- eBags – Find a wide array of top brand travel products that include luggage, purses, and backpacks at affordable prices. eBags has a huge selection of travel-related products at the best prices I’ve found.
Learn a language
- Babbel – The Smart Way to Learn a New Language! – Effective and easy, Babbel is a subscription-based and comprehensive learning system that combines effective education methods with state-of-the-art technology.
Baby Boomer travel trends
Travel as a Baby Boomer is enriching and stimulating. It’s always exciting to discover new destinations and explore other cultures. If you are focused on remaining active and healthy you aren’t going to be content to just sit on a chaise lounge and let ships pass you by. You want to be on the move and ready to see as much as you can in the world. I know I do. How about you?
The Baby Boomer travel trends below were written just before the pandemic but still reflect what we have in mind when it comes to how we want to travel
According to Google, the most popular places for Baby Boomers to travel are:
Now that Baby Boomers have children who have left the nest and parents who may have passed on they have more freedom to travel. According to AARP, people over 50 take an average of 4-5 trips per year both international and domestic.
And just because we’re older it hasn’t stopped us from adventure travel. We are hiking, biking, walking, mountain climbing, scuba diving, skiing, motorcycling, camping, glamping, and even flying through the air. There are no limits to what Baby Boomers can do if we want it bad enough.
Even if you have physical challenges it doesn’t mean you can’t venture out. You can take a cruise, ride the rails, sail, go road tripping in an RV, or relax at a spa. I’m always ready to drop what I’m doing to discover new places and things to do.
One aspect of travel that’s trending with the Baby Boomer demographic is to interact with locals and become immersed in the local culture.
Our generation as a general rule prefers to stay in hotels or cruise ships as opposed to rented homes and hostels mostly for comfort and service. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a given that we book rooms at large and familiar hotel chains. Some of us opt for locally-run boutique hotels, which are unique, smaller, and provide a more authentic experience. And likewise, some choose to take eclectic small group tours or private tours to soak up the local flavor rather than crowded tourist excursions.
Purposeful travel has also gained popularity with Boomers who have time on their hands. You can go on nature or wildlife expeditions to learn about conservation or cultural explorations where you volunteer as part of your trip package. Discover Corps is dedicated to just that and was founded by a former Peace Corps volunteer.
Baby Boomer travel spending
Mature travelers tend to spend more money than younger people when they are on a trip. One reason is comfort. Unless you’re in great shape, you probably don’t want to climb into the upper bunk of a sleeper car or squeeze into a tiny Tokyo cubical or hang out in a hostel when you can get your Z’s sleeping on a nice cushy hotel bed. And think about it, do you want to clean your sheets and do dishes when you’re on vacation? I sure don’t.
For those who love nature and camping but prefer not to rough it, there are glamping, houseboat, and RV experiences, you can enjoy that make camping easier and more comfortable. Don’t forget to purchase your National Park Senior Pass because there’s nothing so magnificent as one of our National Parks.
Where there’s a will, there is a way
A Baby Boomer who is retired may travel on long-extended trips without worrying about going home for their job. Others, who never saved up a large nest egg are finding creative ways to travel for free or at a low cost. Some have left life-long careers or businesses to become travel writers, private tour operators, or seminar speakers on cruise ships.
Connecting with family far away
Not everyone has dreams of seeing the world and would rather travel to visit family members who live elsewhere. They may also offer to give their children a break and take the grandchildren or other relatives on trips.
Multi-generational travel is another way to spend quality time with multiple family members. The entire family may choose to rent a lodge to enjoy a ski vacation, enjoy an inclusive resort, a cruise, or gather in an ancestral location for a family reunion.
Health and travel
Health is always a concern for a Baby Boomer who loves to travel so it’s important to purchase adequate travel insurance. Not every insurance company offers emergency services for people 65+ and Medicare may not cover you overseas so make sure to do your research to get the coverage you need.
Wellness travel is also a trend. If you have aching bones you can enjoy a relaxing wellness retreat or travel to a foreign country to seek alternative medical treatments.
Travel alone or with a friend
Solo travel, as well as girlfriend getaways, have become popular with Baby Boomer women, especially those who have lost a spouse or just need a getaway. The advantage of solo travel over 50 is that you can take your time, tour at your own pace, and seek experiences that are of interest to you and you alone. Traveling with a girlfriend is practical because you can look out for each other in case of an emergency.
Ride the waves
Cruising has always been a popular way for older people to travel. It’s easy because you only unpack once and the ship will take you to visit multiple ports. Tours and activities are provided to please everyone’s interests.
You can walk out of the ship into a quaint little village and return without going through crowded security checkpoints like you do at big ports. You’ll get to know your shipmates because everyone eats together in a smallish dining room. And rivers are smooth, so you don’t have to worry about getting seasick.
Vacation selfies are not just for Millenials
20 somethings aren’t the only ones who are posting their vacation photos on Instagram. Baby Boomers are memorializing their travel and posting photos on their IG accounts using their smartphone or light-weight camera.
They may not be showing off their booties like some of the younger travelers do and may choose to find objects to hide behind, but they aren’t afraid to be their authentic selves in photos.
Just a caution though, as I found out on a trip to Mexico, don’t try to take a video while walking backward on cobblestones. I almost fell flat on my face but caught myself and will never do that again.
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