Baby boomers are retiring in droves; some estimates say about 10,000 per day. As members of the workforce, baby boomers are competitive, resourceful, and self-assured. There is no reason to think they will be any different in retirement. One of the many things they want to do when they retire is travel, but not just as spectators. They want to be engaged with their traveling, immersed in the moment or culture, whether it is in another state or another country.
The travel industry has recognized the needs of this booming market and has responded with new offerings for this growing segment.
1. Glamping (Glamorous Camping)
For some, traveling is about enjoying the outdoors and discovering new facets of nature. Glamping is custom made for nature lovers who also love their creature comforts. A whole industry has sprung up providing sumptuous yurts, well-appointed tents, treehouses, or overwater bungalows. A large segment of baby boomers have always been focused on healthy, outdoor lifestyles and they will continue to do so in their retirement travels. There are options for all budgets, and many people are creating their own glamping experiences.
2. Learning Vacations
Many people want to spend time in retirement learning new skills or hobbies. Learning vacations are perfect for this group. These journeys are usually centered around one specific activity, such as wine tasting in Napa, painting in France, or olive tasting in Italy. For just about any topic you would like to experience, you can find a tour. There are opportunities available through many community organizations, but one good source for hundreds of options is Road Scholar.
3. Volunteer Vacations
Some people really do want to just relax on vacation, others want to learn, still others want to be useful. The latter group is the niche for volunteer vacations. The options for volunteer traveling are numerous; they vary by time frame, cost, location and purpose. Projects include helping to build schools or libraries; helping local teachers teach English and literacy in local schools; helping local staff preserve precious, vulnerable ecosystems and raise conservation awareness; or even help digging or using specialized GPR equipment on archeological dig sites. Volunteer traveling is perfect for anyone wanting to travel and help others at the same time.
4. Genealogical Tourism
Many baby boomers have a strong interest in learning where they come from, but have never had the time to do the research. Once they retire, they start investigating in earnest. Many may start with having their DNA tested for ethnicity, but will quickly evolve into exploring their roots in person. Whether they spend time in historical archives or search through a regions’ cemetery for long gone relatives, these amateur genealogists work hard to discover more about the country and culture of their ancestors. For those who prefer help in their research endeavors, tours are available in privately escorted, independent, or group formats.
5. River Cruises
For many years, ocean cruises were the preferred relaxing vacation of older couples. Today, they have become a favorite for family trips also. So, many retirees have started exploring river cruises. Europe can be seen from the deck of a small cruise ship traversing the Danube, Rhine, or the canals of Paris. For the more adventurous, explore the rainforest while floating down the Amazon.
If you like traveling by boat, a river cruise is a more intimate way to explore inland waterways and the culture of the countries you roam.
6. Retirement Abroad
One final option for baby boomers who want to travel after retirement is moving to a foreign country. Before the election, many people threatened to move if their candidate did not win. While I doubt many people will follow up on that threat, retirement to another country is a viable option for many of today’s retirees. The cost of living is less in many great countries, which will stretch retirement dollars. Safety, healthcare and insurance all require careful review and consideration, but if you choose your retirement location wisely, those worries can be minimized. Many of the previous travel choices promise at least a brief immersion in a foreign culture, but retiring abroad offers the best opportunity.
No matter your preference for place and activity, there is a tour, group, or individual vacation for you. With a little research and planning, you can have the vacation of a lifetime and maybe even cross something off your bucket list.
7. Women Traveling Alone
Women over 50 are finding they can enjoy traveling without a partner. They find they can take a trip with an open mind and return with new friends and memories from life-changing experiences. Small group travel is especially recommended.