Where Do You Want To Travel During Your Life After 50?

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50From my visit to The New York Times Travel Show held at the Jacob K. Javits Center, N.Y.C. in January, it’s clear that boomers are a prime audience for many destinations. From Costa Rica to California, from Florida to the Philippines, from Morocco to Martinique, and everywhere else you can take a plane, ship, train or drive to visit, the post 50 market is on the move and so are their millennial children.

In fact, The New York Times announced that its annual Travel Show reached a new record of 30,099 participants during the three-day event —the highest attendance in the Show’s history.

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The New York Times Travel Show reached a new record of more than 30,000 attendees.

So where do you want to travel during your life after 50?

I always like to see what places The New York Times Travel recommends each year. On the list of 52 for 2017, I’ve been to Canada (a variety of eastern and western cities), Detroit, Hamburg (Germany), Minneapolis, Kingston (Jamaica), Napa Valley (California), Sedona (Arizona), Madrid (Spain), Portland (Oregon), and yes, believe it or not South Bronx, N.Y., which is on the list. Since I was born in the Bronx I am curious to know more about this “industrial neighborhood’s revival!” That’s only 10 spots. Looks like I have much more traveling to do in my lifetime.

What’s Trending In Travel?
There were a few trends that I noticed from the panels at the Show. I also attended a media event sponsored by Trav Media, where I met with Convention and Visitor’s Bureau representatives to learn about their destinations and chat with Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) members to hear about their itineraries. Continue reading

My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” – A Beautiful Day in the Black Forest

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50It had been a glorious week on the Viking EIR, (courtesy of Viking River Cruises).* Our voyage on the “Rhineland Discovery” river cruise would soon be coming to an end. There was one last day to savor — with a morning excursion to the medieval village of Colmar, France and an afternoon exploring the beauty of Germany’s fabled Black Forest.

A Walking Tour Of Colmar, France
“Welcome aboard,” said our tour guide Rhona as we readied for the bus trip to Colmar. It was a brief ride and Rhona provided a history lesson on the way. She told us that this area of France was occupied by Germany during WWI and WWII.

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Colmar, France is a quaint village.

As we neared the roundabout there was a replica of the Statue of Liberty. “We have a tiny bit of New York City here,” said Rhona. “In 2004 an honorary statue was placed at the entrance of Colmar to honor it’s hometown creator Bartholdi, who designed the original monument as a thank you to Americans for their help in WWII.” Continue reading

My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” – Welcome to Kinderdijk and Cologne

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50After a fabulous five days on the “Rhineland Discovery” pre-trip to Bruges, Ghent, and Amsterdam, it was time to set sail aboard the Viking EIR (courtesy of Viking River Cruises).*

Welcome to Kinderdijk
By Saturday morning we arrived in Kinderdijk, a village community in the Dutch countryside, home to the largest concentration of windmills in The Netherlands. My boyfriend L and I were ready to go exploring.

“I’m very proud to have you in this area,” said our guide Hans as he led our group across the dike to the windmills. “There are 19 mills. Everything is automatic with computer systems. The pump stations do what the windmills used to do,” said Hans. “However, the windmills are in working condition if needed.”

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There are 19 windmills in Kinderdijk.

He told us about the millers, who live in the mills. “They must complete schooling to operate the mills. The millers have regular jobs and maintain the mills,” said Hans. After touring outside, we went inside, climbing up narrow ladders to reach each floor. It was amazing to think that centuries ago a family of 13 lived in such a tiny space.

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A very large family lived in the mill centuries ago.

Before leaving Kinderdijk, I bought a few delft blue china souvenirs and made L take a picture of me with my feet in the big wooden clogs nearby the gift shop.

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I had big shoes to fill.

Setting Sail For Germany
I spent the afternoon on deck while we cruised to Germany. The Rhine was just as the Viking brochure had described it, “bucolic waters, lush landscapes, Friesian cows, and tidy villages with their neatly laid farmhouses.” It was a very relaxing ride.

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Bucolic views on the Rhine.

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My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” – A Lovely Last Day in Amsterdam

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50It was hard to believe that almost a week had passed on our pre-trip on “Rhineland Discovery” (courtesy of Viking River Cruises). We had enjoyed our time in Bruges, our stop in Ghent, and our stay in Amsterdam.* Soon we would board the ship for our week-long river cruise on the Rhine.

“We have a few hours before we have to check out of the hotel,” I said to my boyfriend L. “I’m going to squeeze in another museum. Then we can grab lunch at De Bakkerswinkel cafe before we leave.” L packed while I spent the morning navigating my way to the museum area where the “i am amsterdam” sculpture stands tall.

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The “I am amsterdam” sculpture welcomes visitors to the Dutch capital.

There are so many fabulous sights and attractions to see in Amsterdam and I had 120 minutes to spare. I deliberated. Do I visit, as the Viking brochure says, “the remarkable light-infused building that venerates the short and productive career of tortured 19th-century artist Vincent Van Gogh?” Or do I go see the “lush paintings of Rembrandt and other Dutch masters that adorn the Rijksmuseum?”

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The Rijksmuseum houses the paintings of the Dutch masters.

A Visit To The Van Gogh Museum
I chose Van Gogh Museum and am so glad I did. I purchased my ticket in advance so I didn’t have to wait on line. (Note: I highly recommend you visit this museum when in Amsterdam and definitely buy your ticket online or in advance.) Continue reading

My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” – First Stop Beautiful Bruges

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Our first stop for our pre-trip on “Rhineland Discovery” (courtesy of Viking River Cruises) was the beautiful medieval city of Bruges, Belgium. My boyfriend L and I spent time exploring on our own and with a Viking guide.*

The night before we left home we watched In Bruge, a comedic thriller with Colin Farrell. (Note: It was the movie that prompted me when I arrived in Bruges to attempt to climb the 346 spiral steps up to the top of the Belfort. I never made it to the top – I was too dizzy after the first 173 steps. I still gave myself an A+ for the awesome view halfway up and allowed myself a few extra pieces of chocolate for the calories I burned climbing.)

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The Belfort at night is breathtaking.

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My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” – A Delight for the Senses

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“We would like to see if you would be interested in beginning a conversation about a potential press trip in 2016,” said the Viking River Cruises PR team last December. “OMG, OMG, OMG!,” I said to my boyfriend L. “Last year’s “Portugal’s River of Gold” was amazing. How will we top that trip? And now Viking is inviting me on another river cruise.” My heart was pounding with excitement.*

Did I say I love being a blogger during my life after 50? I do. I do. Did I tell my boyfriend L how lucky he is to be my boyfriend during my life after 50? You bet! You bet!

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The “Rhineland Discovery” EIR Longship.

Which River Cruise Should We Choose?
“There are many wonderful river cruises where should we go?” I said to L. We narrowed our choices to “Cities of Light” with romantic Paris and medieval Prague on either end; “Romantic Danube” with stops in Budapest and Vienna; and “Rhineland Discovery,” with highlights of the legendary Rhine.

Can you guess which trip we chose?  Continue reading

A Captivating Day At “The New York Times” Travel Show

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50More than 29,000 people attended the 2016 The New York Times Travel Show at Jacob K. Javits Center in NYC last weekend and I was one of them. With 545 exhibits, it was a captivating day.

According to a recent AARP Travel survey, America’s 76 million Baby Boomers spend over $120 billion annually in leisure travel. So, I was interested to see what I could glean about travel from this year’s show.

Learning From Travel Experts
I attended on Friday Media Day, which kicked off with several seminars. My favorite speaker was Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) and one of Fast Company magazine’s 2015 Most Creative People of the year. MET was named the world’s #1 museum by TripAdvisor. The MET Costume Institute exhibit is a trip I enjoy each spring. You can purchase advance tickets for “Manus x Machina – Fashion in An Age of Technology,” on display from May  5 – August 14, 2016.

Sree told us that online sites like TripAdvisor and other mobile tools have become very helpful when booking travel. “My wife used her iPhone to book everything for our trip to Italy,” said Sree. (I did the same – TripAdvisor, VRBO, Homeaway, and Airbnb topped my daily ‘to do’ list last week as I perused apartments and villas, reading reviews on my iPad. I’m happy to say that my 2016 family vacation to Italy is almost completely booked. I also used Expedia to check flights and Allianz to buy travel insurance.)

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Speakers: (clockwise from top l.) Sree Sreenivasan, Lorraine Sileo, Erin Bender, David Callaway.

Lorraine Sileo, svp of research at Phocuswright, a global travel market research company, said that “TripAdvisor is the most influential source of travel advice or information.” She said that “many people share so much of their vacations via social media that they don’t need to share any highlights when they get home.” (I hear you Lorraine. I do share pics from my travels at JudiBoomergirl on Facebook and Twitter. However, I wait to write my blog posts until I get home. Readers can find past travel posts on my Travel and Leisure page. ) Continue reading

My Travels On “Portugal’s River of Gold” – First Stop Lisbon

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50In yoga we learn to flow with the river. That’s exactly what I did during my travels last week on “Portugal’s River of Gold,” courtesy of Viking River Cruises. I was invited to, as Viking says, “explore the world in comfort” along the Douro.* My boyfriend L (I tell him how lucky he is every day) joined me.

As our first-ever cruising experience, L and I agreed that river cruises, because of their small size of only about 100 or so people, are the way to go cruising during one’s life after 50 and after 60, 70, 80, and even 90 (I will share more in future posts about the two inspiring friends R and A who were in their 90s.)

If you haven’t planned a trip yet, not to worry – there’s plenty of time ahead. While not inexpensive, we found that these inclusive cruises are well worth the value and convenience if you want to travel with ease.

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There were many stops on our Portugal cruise and I took time to do as the young students in the small village of Favaios (one of my favorite excursions) encouraged me to do: “observe, feel, taste, smell, buy, play, enjoy, and learn.”

It was an amazing trip and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

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