life after 50, boomer travel, over 50A 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.)

boomer travel, life after 50, over 50, boomer women, retirement

Panelists Lea Lane and Cheryl Benton.

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.)

boomer travel, boomer women, life after 50, over 50, retirement and travel, travel and leisure

Panelists Phyllis Stoller and Iris Krasnow.

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 for our lodging – very reasonably priced.

boomer women, life after 50, over 50, boomer travel, retirement

Author Patricia Schultz (left) inspired me to travel during my life after 50.

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.

Happy travels.