A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend The New York Times Travel Show at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC. I walked the floor and entered all the sweepstakes but didn’t leave with any trips. The exhibits were not too exciting, unless you wanted to plan a cruise, which many people waited in line to do since rates were cheaper if you booked on-site.
I did enjoy the seminars, particularly the one about “Global Travel Tips For Women.” The session was moderated by April Merenda, co-founder and owner of Gutsy Women Travel with panelists: Lea Lane, author, Travel Tales I Couldn’t Put in the Guidebooks, Iris Krasnow, author, The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married, Cheryl Benton, women’s market expert, Three Tomatoes, and Phyllis Stoller, Women’s Travel Group, Sita Tours. (Special thanks to Phyllis for providing me with a complimentary ticket to the show.)
My bucket list is full of places I want to visit in the U.S. and internationally. Listening to all the talk about travel made me want to pack my suitcase and go, go, go. I would love to go around the world during my life after 50. (What’s stopping me you ask? Oh, well, hmm – would anyone like to bequeath me a bundle of bills for an open passport?)
According to Cheryl, “women over 55 is one of the largest and growing audiences for travel.” Cheryl says that “women in this demographic group are intellectually curious and many of us have more time to travel now that our kids are grown. Plus, many boomers backpacked their way around Europe at a young age and now they want to go back to their roots and travel some more.” (I never backpacked through Europe in my 20s. The summer after I graduated from college, I did chaperone a teen tour and camped my way across the U.S. and Western Canada. It was a fantastic trip. Was that 30+ years ago? OMG!)
Lea encouraged each woman in the audience to take a solo trip during the second half of her life. “Discover a place and discover yourself,” she said. “Plan ahead and have a framework for your travel, pamper yourself and make things easy when you’re on your own. Be safe and keep your cell phone charged at all times. Consume your main meal at lunch time and carry sunglasses so you look glamorous when you eat alone.” (I went to the Miraval Spa in Arizona on my own after my husband passed away. I had never traveled by myself. It was a good place to meet and mingle.)
Phyllis talked about the different ‘women only’ trips she plans. “I started Women’s Travel Group in 1992 after living overseas for 10 years,” Phyllis said. “American women may have better careers and more dollars to spend than European women, but I’ve found that European women are more well-traveled.” (I noticed during my own international travel that Europeans are more likely to speak multiple languages so perhaps it is easier for European women to get around from country to country. What do you think?)
Iris shared her tales from the 200+ women she interviewed for her book, Secret Lives of Wives. “Yes, women can have it both ways: a committed, happy marriage and adventures in uncharted territory,” Iris said. Part of those adventures include travel. “I spent seven weeks apart from my husband during a separate summer. When I travel, I get myself,” Iris said.
Another seminar I attended was led by photographer Ralph Velasco. Ralph reminded us to have a plan for photography when we travel. I am definitely going to download Ralph’s My Shot List For Travel app before I go on my next trip. It includes all types of pictures to take to capture good photos.
Speaking of my next trip, this year I’m taking a female-only trip with my sister N and my daughter A. We’re going to Madrid and Barcelona in the spring. I’m so excited. I’ve never been to Spain. We’re using airbnb.com for our lodging – very reasonably priced.
Before I left the show, I listened to a presentation by Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places To See In The U.S. and Canada Before You Die. Patricia was a tantalizing travel guide with a wealth of information. “Travel is an education. As you go places and listen as an adult, it gives you more understanding and makes you who you are,” Patricia said.
Bird watching on Block Island in Rhode Island, autumn leaves in Vermont, cherry blossoms blooming in the spring in Washington D.C., plantation tours in Charleston, S.C. (where The Notebook was filmed — ooh, ooh, ooh must go there, I love that movie), the Kentucky bluegrass country, New Orleans French Quarter, Idaho whitewater rafting, Grand Tetons — there are so many places that Patricia highlighted, my bucket list is now completely overflowing and that’s just in the U.S. and Canada.
Patricia’s other book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die – A Traveler’s Life List, features many more international landmarks. Both books make perfect birthday gifts for anyone who is turning 50 or 50+.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away,” Patricia remarked as she inspired the audience to see the world. I agree Patricia. Yes, I agree.
Glad you enjoyed your time at the show. Women’s travel has been a fabulous and rewarding career and I personally am looking forward to the two trips picked for my personal vacations: India in Oct. and Sicily in Dec. Thanks Judi! Travel safely yourself.
Phyllis, India and Sicily sound amazing. Hope to participate in one of your women’s trips in the future.
I have a million places I’d love to see. But I always love coming home.
Janie, I agree. I do like the comforts of home too.
I can’t wait to hear about your trip to Spain – that’s next on our list. I’ve done very little traveling outside of the U.S., but plan to change that now that we’re empty nesters.
Sharon, I suggest trying airbnb.com for your lodging. It is a fun way to travel because you get to see how the locals live and it is much less expensive than hotels, especially abroad.
A trip with your sister will be wonderful! I wish my sisters and I were close enough (relationship wise) for such a thing.
THIS I love: “Lea encouraged each woman in the audience to take a solo trip during the second half of her life. “Discover a place and discover yourself,” she said.” <– Sounds heavenly!
Great wrap-up of the event. Thank you for sharing.
Lisa, perhaps a trip with your sisters will bring you closer together. It’s never too late to try. My sister and I don’t see each other that often but used to travel together to visit our mom in Florida. As for solo travel, also something to try during your life after 50.
My dream is to live for a couple of months in Paris and really immerse myself in the city and the people. Also on the (near term) bucket list: Alaska, Finland, Scotland, Prague and Santa Fe (another 2nd trip – LOVED it there). So much to see, so little time!
Claudia, sounds like your travel bucket list is full too. I would love to go back to Paris for an extended stay. All the places you mention sound wonderful. Happy travels.
Hi Judi! Thanks for sharing your visit to a travel show. I’ve never been to one before but as a life-long traveler I have been interested. I think I would be like you and go for the lectures as much as possible. I LOVE to hear about other people traveling about as much as I love to travel myself. And yes! I’m ready! ~Kathy
Kathy, thanks for your feedback. I also like to hear about people’s travels and see pictures too. I would go back to the Travel Show for the seminars but not really for the exhibits.
Oh, I would LOVE to see Ireland one day! I am inspired by your passion for travel, and I hope to stretch my boundaries in the coming years.
Sherri, I visited Ireland for business many years ago. It is a beautiful place. Go stretch your arms and legs and take a trip somewhere exciting this year. Go for it!
Hi Judy – hope you are well….thanks for the travel information. I’ve been chipping away at my travel bucket list…..Sicily is next! We always book a cooking class or food walking tour when we travel. Great way to experience the food of a region.
Cathy, just watched Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Sicily. The food looked amazing. He went to a family’s home and the grandmother cooked for him. Enjoy your travels and thanks for your readership.
Sounds like you got a lot more out of the travel show than I did, but I’m still glad that you did! I loved reading this post, and learning from it.
We loved Spain (we have family in Barcelona) and would go back to Madrid because I’d love to go to The Prada.
Anytime those bills come your way please let me know so you can take me along on a girls trip! Enjoy yours, Judy.
Cathy, will be sure to let you know if I win the lottery. Then I will take you along on a trip. Any tips for Spain, LMK.
Can I just say, I LOVE to travel!!! We’ve done 2 of our bucket list trips, China and St. Miguel, Azores. In June we will cross off a 3rd, Alaska. A few other bucket list destinations for us would be Italy or a Mediterranean cruise,(even better, both) Arizona, and a route 66 road trip. Have a great time in Madrid and Spain, and safe travels!
Lori, so glad that you love to travel. It sounds like you have some great places on your list. Enjoy!
I’ve had a lot of travel on the brain lately too. On the subjects of girls-only and travel-alone trips, I’ve got one of those coming up.
Each year my husband and I exchange homes with a couple in New York City. He can only stand 3 weeks in the city. But we’ve been offered their home for 5 weeks. So I am going to go out before he does. One of my girlfriends will join me for part of the time. Then I’ll be on my own for a few days before he arrives.
I’ve never travelled alone (except for business which isn’t really alone). I think it will be a little hard, but sometimes when I do things that are a little hard, I feel really great about myself afterward. It will be a new adventure in a place I’ve been many times!
Retired Syd, enjoy your trip to NYC. It’s my former home and one of my favorite places.
Can anyone recommend tour groups (domestic/abroad or both) that they have direct knowledge of and could highly recommend? I want to travel and may end up going alone so think group travel would be best solution. Only requirement would be I would like my own room and not have to share with a stranger. Thanks in advance for your ideas.
Nancy, you should check out Phyllis Stoller’s travel tours. You can secure single rooms. Her website is http://www.thewomenstravelgroup.com. Good luck!
I solo traveled to both Italy (2008) and Paris (2011). I also solo traveled with 2 small children to Australia many years ago. I used Rick Steves book on Florence for Italy and was so very lucky to win the trip to Paris from Rick Steves. Both trips were amazing and I love the adventure of taking a map of the city, finding a landmark for guidance and walking through new places. When I turned 50, I realized there were so many things, places and people I wanted to see and meet, if I didn’t take a few chances, let go of fear and jump, I would never have so beautiful experiences. I will most definitely do more traveling and most especially back to Paris!!
Gayle, wow-o-wow, how lucky to win a trip to Paris. Sounds like you are a world traveler. I loved Italy too and used Rick Steves’ books as well. Would love to go back to Paris some day too. Enjoy your travels.