Traveling – a new passion for the Baby Boomers

December 17, 2014

The baby boomers (born between 1946 -1964), especially in the US tend to spend as much as four out of five dollars on luxury travel and are also the ones who make a big-ticket travel item purchased over the Internet as compared to that of any other millennial. They travel more than any other age group.Baby_Boomers_Traveling Everyone wishes for those golden years when they can gain the independence to pursue their dreams. Being in their late 40’s to early 60’s they have more time, money and above all inclination to travel. They are at such a stage in their lives where they can take as much time off as they want (because they are already successful), they have bigger incomes and are in a position to demand and expect better things.

In fact, the travel industry offers deals to them for whom there is an abundance of opportunities for convenient, affordable and educational travel. Mathew Upchurch, the chairman and CEO of Virtuoso says – “The Boomers were the first generation that did not see travel as a luxury. They saw it as a part of their lives and as their right”.

The seniors love to travel and collectively spend about $157 million on trips every year and hold travel as their top leisure activity. Their average of travel is about 3.7 trips a year. They are also the ones who spend more on dining out as compared to any other generation. According to the AARP (American Association for Retired Persons) survey, this age group cites travel higher in importance. Around 12,000 of its members prefer to drive than to fly and their travel destinations are invariably in and around the US and Canada.

Due to reduced child raising responsibilities they also have more disposable income. They do not regard themselves as aging, are in a very good shape and always up for a challenge. They look for more active and adventurous vacations making the bicycles and the two-wheelers as the popular modes of transportation for them to see the world. As such the modes of adventure travel are catching up fast among this generation, like kayaking, cycling, hiking, scuba diving, skiing, mountain-climbing et al. Statistics are proving that age 70 really is the new 50. The travel industry designs the vacation-trips targeted specifically for seniors.

Around 78% of seniors take a celebration vacation for their anniversary instead of any materialistic gift. Some of the most popular and hottest trends among the seniors are taking a world cruise, spending months on a luxury liner, visiting exotic ports of Easter Island, French Polynesia and South Africa or enjoying an upscale safari in Kenya and Tanzania.Travel tips for the elderly

Visiting Australia and seeing its most favorite destinations like the Great Barrier Reef and rainforest are also high priorities travel destinations and dream trips of a lifetime. Staying safe and being a part of a well-prepared trip is more than ever what they tend to look for. Here are some travel trends that the senior travelers look for to have a hassle-free experience:

  • Eco-tourism – Is a responsible travel to the natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the wellbeing of the local people. It also refers to traveling to the beautiful natural places for pleasure in a way that does not damage the environment there. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, there will be total of 1.6 billion eco-inspired trips by the end of the decade in 2020. The eco-friendly travelers look for trips where they can directly contribute to the local economy and environment. It had taken a backseat during the times of recession, but is now back to the forefront.
  • Adventure travel – is for every one of all ages. It also seems to be the future of travel and the baby boomers are leading it. Nearly 54% of elderly travelers are planning an adventure activity on their next trip. They are seeking out ways to stay active and healthy on the road. They have maintained their health and actively participate in kayaking, cycling, hiking, scuba diving or skiing. According to a report by George Washington University and the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the adventure category spending was a whopping $89 billion in 2009.
  • Medical Tourism – The Medical Tourism Association claims that it is a $40 billion-a-year industry marred by the high medical costs in the US. Some factors leading to medical tourism are:
    • A new trend – Americans are retiring overseas.
    • The huge demand baby boomers are putting on the US healthcare system
    • Depleted savings that the Americans have because of the economic crisis.
    • As the boomers age, health care that is available outside the country is more affordable.

          Hence, more and more US citizens are choosing to have major procedures done              overseas and are also taking extended vacations in places like Singapore, India,                Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jordan, Turkey and Brazil.

  • Spiritual and Religious vacations – These kind of vacations extend beyond the holy site. According to the US Commerce Department, around 900,000 senior citizens traveled for the spiritual and religious reasons in 2012. The like-minded travelers share each other’s company within the context of their faith. Most of these places let the visitors spend the morning in meditation, enjoy the midday meal in silence and discuss the Dharma with fellow monks.
  •  Cruising – Going for a relaxing cruise is a traditional way for seniors’ vacation. Some cruise lines cater to the older crowd and some even have amenities for people with disabilities.  Some feature alert systems for passengers who need help hearing the phone or smoke detector. Others have wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Special Needs at Sea provides mobility aids and medical oxygen to cruises and hotels. In addition, specialized charters like Accessible Journeys are another option for those with special requirements. Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Princess lines offer such amenities as Braille elevator buttons, sign-language interpreters and wheelchair-accessible tender transfer.
  • Multi-generational or family trips – Family trips are usually booked around the milestone events like birthdays or anniversaries. The grandparents want to travel with their grandkids to spend quality time and create memories of a lifetime.

The US government issues a lifetime pass for the recreational activities in the area under the management of five government agencies. The affordable senior pass is issued to those who are over 62. Benefits include free entry to all national parks, monuments and other similar areas along with the other discounts on tours, camping and boating on federal recreational websites. Sometimes even the guided tours are also discounted. Besides this the affordable senior pass is issued to those over 62. They are also provided with the benefits of free entry to the national parks, monuments and the similar areas, along with discounts on tours, camping and boating on federal recreational campsites. Guided tours may also be discounted.

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