Baby Boomer Travel Trends

Guest Post by Samantha Scott

Last year, AARP reported in their annual travel research survey that “practically all Baby Boomers (99%) anticipate traveling for leisure in 2016, with approximately 4 or 5 trips in the works.” 45% reported that they would take a combination of domestic and international trips, while 5% planned to focus on international only.

In a 2013 article by Stephanie Rosenbloom, the New York Times reported that the travel industry is now focusing on attracting that demographic which is between the ages of 49 and 67.

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Baby boomers are the generation born between 1945 and 1964, and account for approximately 26% of the total population. They were raised by a post war 1950′s mentality, which they rebelled against with a vengeance in the 1960′s and 70′s. This period saw a disillusionment with their parents’ desire for a picket fence stability.

Baby boomers sought out and embraced a more complicated world, delving into the nuances of other cultures and inspiring a voracious interest in world travel. Some even took it a step further. Multiple “go off the beaten track” tour companies, were founded in the 1970s and 1980s, fueled by this spirit of exploration and curiosity about other cultures.

Now that many Baby Boomers are reaching or in 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? Why do they travel and what are the trends? Here are our findings on the most popular trends in baby boomer travel:

Life Long Learners

If the fifties ushered in the emergence of the “American teenager,” the mid to late sixties was the introduction of the “college aged” adult. Counter culture, civil rights, and feminist movements all contributed to a more educated populace who, today, continue to broaden their horizons.

Educational tours are on the rise and one of the most popular tour types among fifty plus travelers.

Road Scholar (previously Elderhostel) is an excellent example. Founded in 1975, and designed specifically for older travelers, Road Scholar provides learning tours all over the world. One of their main draws is the emphasis on tours led by experts in their field. You might be learning about Egypt from an archaeologist or visiting Shakespeare’s house with an Oxford professor. Booking a tour is akin to booking a class for the semester, only without the burden of homework!

Stephen Ambrose Tours is another popular learning tour option, especially for veterans. Tours are led by military historians, and often veterans are there to provide their unique perspective. The focus is on WWII, though Civil War themed tours and Lewis and Clark expeditions are also offered.

Learning tours aren’t always about book learning. Cultural tours are a great way to combine a love of travel with a love of learning. You might learn a new craft or skill, participate in a local cooking class, watch a traditional dance, or get to try on traditional dress. These tours are often accompanied by local guides who provide their own unique perspective on their home and culture.

For more information visit Stride Travel’s Cultural Tours page.

Multi-Generational Travel

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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, and tour companies have answered, offering trips grandparents, parents, and kids can enjoy together.

In fact, often times, it’s 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.

More and more tour companies are offering kid and adult friendly tours, catering to the needs of each. Younger travelers have activities to keep them entertained and elderly travelers are taken care of as well. Some fantastic tour companies to look into are Thomson Family Adventures, Travelove, and Intrepid. You can find out more about these companies, read reviews, and compare various attributes on Stride.

The “Bucket List”

While the “Bucket List” idea isn’t exactly new, its popularity is growing.

The best thing about a bucket list is that it is personalized and all about meeting a goal; about making a dream happen. It doesn’t matter if it’s finally hiking to Machu Picchu, or finally booking a luxury wine tasting tour in France or maybe finally finding the species that has eluded you for years on a birding tour

As we’ve seen, boomers show no signs of slowing down when it comes to ticking their dreams off the list.

**A longer version of this article was originally posted on Stride Travel.

You’re Retired So What’s The Hurry?

According to my dad when the first of the year rolls around it is time to get outside and prune the rose bushes. If you saw the impressive array of wildly blooming plants displayed around his garden you would agree he knows what he is talking about. And so with elbow length leather gloves protecting my exposed arms and sharpened shears in hand I head to the garden to go about my yearly duties. Since I have to get down on hands and knees to do it right I have added a Styrofoam knee pad to the necessary accoutrement, something I would have never considered years back.

We have a collection of 22 rose bushes in need of pruning. The Dave of old would have put his head down and relentlessly powered through the whole bunch, taking brief pause for a glass of water or to wipe away drops of sweat from a dripping brow. The pace would have been anything but relaxing and by the time I completed the task I would be pooped. Back then I had the stamina to get through demanding chores along with an ever motivating dose of impatience. I pushed myself wanting to get it done to move on to my next activity. How could I enjoy the football game until my responsibilities were met?

These days I view things differently. First off I accept it may take me a bit longer and require more effort to complete those activities I used to effortlessly plow through. And that is okay. The hard part has been accepting the fact I am slowing down, gradual though it may be. Secondly I am realizing there is no rush. What’s the big hurry? I have time. I can set my own pace, one that fits my current energy level. Why do I have to get all 22 roses pruned in a single day?

And so this year I started out slowly, taking a breather when I felt like it and enjoying the beautiful day around me. I patiently worked through the first ten plants, carefully trimming away dead wood while shaping the bush so branches grew outward and did not cross one another in the middle. When I got to bush number ten, I called it quits. I cleaned up and headed inside feeling quite accomplished with the morning. I did not dwell upon the remaining twelve plants to be pruned (well maybe a little). The next day I got up, had breakfast, slowly savored a cup of coffee and eventually meandered outside. I gathered my tools and proceeded to prune the remaining roses. I don’t know how long it took – I’m not on the clock. Once completed, I pulled up a chair to admire my handiwork. I am beginning to understand the virtue of patience.

One of the reasons my wife and I selected Carmel Valley to retire is the easy access to hiking paths scattered throughout local mountains and along the Pacific coastline. We aim to tally at least 20 miles each week and generally have no problem achieving that goal. I do face one small challenge. When our path leads upward – as in a hill – my wife goes into what I call “passing gear”. I swear she walks uphill faster than she walks on level ground. I often find myself doing all I can just to keep up as she streaks toward the summit. But I am learning. It is not critical that I match her energetic pace upward. I can slow a bit and find a rate that I am more comfortable with. She may get to the top first but at least now I am able to enjoy the journey there as well. And the paths we walk take us through some incredibly beautiful countryside. Why not enjoy?

When we moved away from the Bay Area one thing we happily left behind was the horrendous traffic. After 30 years of commuting you would think one would become used to the perpetual state of congestion but that was not the case. So many times during my career I found myself mired in rush hour traffic. It did not even have to be rush hour. My frustration and stress levels soared as I watched time tick by knowing I was late for my next appointment. And there was nothing I could do about it. Rushing from meeting to traffic jam to the next meeting was taxing on my sanity. Now in retirement traffic does not matter. We are able to plan our trips to avoid busy times. Weekdays have become our new weekends. And if we do run into a little slowdown it is all good. There is typically nowhere we absolutely have to be at a specific time. We have learned to turn up the music and appreciate the fact that slow traffic is now the exception rather than the rule.

In my retirement I am learning there are ways to adjust the pace of life to an enjoyable level. Rather than hurry off in the next direction as I used to I try to keep things in perspective. If it doesn’t get done today, what is the worry? Instead of missing the world around me as it rockets by in a blur I am able to appreciate the moment and savor each experience. They say retirement is about the journey rather than the destination. I hope to enjoy all I can at a pace that takes me far from the hurrying world.

LoveBeingRetired.com