As a generation, baby boomers -- turning a minimum age of 50 in 2014 -- have led the way for decades in forging international travel, beginning with the 1960s-era European backpackers and continuing to the present, as more and more parts of the globe become ripe for discovery. Destinations that once seemed too remote and exotic for most folks to imagine visiting -- from the jungles of Costa Rica to the mountains of Bhutan, from the plains of East Africa to the icy waters of Antarctica -- are now just a plane or boat ride away. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that baby boomers are the most well-traveled generation in history!
But while many previously unavailable travel opportunities have opened up, travel has also become more complicated as a result. Where once travelers might have decided between the beach or the mountains within driving distance of home -- or, if they really wanted to get exotic, choose between vacationing in London or Paris -- they now have the whole world at their feet.
Airline routes and fares are dizzyingly complex; travel costs everywhere have escalated; the profusion of advice available on the Internet often only confuses matters; and independent travel in general can sometimes end up more trouble than it’s worth -- especially when you have limited time to plan for a trip that may take you far afield and lasts a week or longer.
More Time and Resources
But here’s the good news: with many of us nearing retirement or already retired -- and others still at the peak of our earning power -- we have more time and resources to indulge our passions and our curiosity to see the world, and have the maturity and wisdom to recognize the value of traveling with experts in the field. Professional travel providers and outfitters can help us make the most of -- and truly savor -- each experience.
And so we’ve witnessed a remarkable rise in the number of organized tour operators which cater to our specialized interests. These are no longer your grandmother’s tour companies, which herded large groups off and on buses like sheep; in fact, even coach-based tours are striving to appeal to a more sophisticated, knowledgeable group of world travelers.
In response to a number of boomer travel trends, the new generation of travel providers seek to offer authentic experiences that create lasting memories, without the hassle of having to plan and execute every detail yourself. These travel providers can take you to the far corners of the globe and, in the process, offer expert guidance that ensures you’ll be able to spend your time doing what you want to do -- and not what you have to do just to get from one place to the next.
Many of them have special expertise in organizing trips for people aged 50 and above, whether it’s an adventure like an African safari or a trek to Machu Picchu, a river cruise through Europe or Southeast Asia, a small ship expedition to the Galapagos, or a culture-minded trip to Greece, Turkey, Italy, or Egypt. And we’re not forgetting North America, where U.S. and Canadian national parks and Mexican and Central American archaeological and natural treasures beckon 50-plus travelers.
One of the most popular methods of over 50 travel is to enjoy a cruise. Traveling by ship eliminates the difficulty of constantly changing accommodations, pinpointing new restaurants to eat at every night, and organizing how you will get from location to location. On larger boats with overnight rooms, all of this is taken care of, and remote and wild places are more accessible than they have ever been before. There is no better way to experience the breathtaking and hostile landscape of the fjords in Norway than aboard a cruise, or to see the many different islands in the Caribbean. If the high seas aren’t your cup of tea, than consider taking a river cruise -- all the convenience of a cruise also exist for those interesting in exploring Eastern Europe with a trip down the Danube, or experiencing all the treasures of Egypt with in a boat on the river Nile.
More Relaxed Itineraries
Trips catering to those over 50, while adventurous, may offer somewhat more relaxed and less physically demanding itineraries. A 50-plus focused tour guarantees special attention to the finer aspects of travel: comfortable lodgings, good local food, and stress-free means of transport between the sites. Instead of adventure activities, the trip may instead allow time for other recreation. For example, some trips pay special attention to activities such as photography, fishing, wine tasting, or may allow extra time for cultural immersion.
Stride is here to help you make your way through the clutter and clamor and to find the travel providers that understand the needs of 50-plus travelers -- and keep you in the thick of the travel revolution you helped pioneer.