To Travel Is To Live

Judiboomergirl travel logo“The travel industry is in a really healthy place. Travel gives people an opportunity to escape,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts at the 2019 New York Times Travel Show. Lindsey was one of the esteemed group of female leaders who addressed the crowd at this year’s industry panel at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City in January.

Are you ready to escape the everyday? If not, you will be when I’m done sharing this post filled with ideas to get you thinking or maybe planning your next vacation. As I told you in my previous post, boomers are on the go, spending the most $ of any generation.

The New York Times Travel Show Industry panelists

Panelists pictured (l to r): Jennifer Tombaugh, Christine Duffy, Jackie Friedman, Kirstin Karst, Lindsey Ueberroth

There’s great optimism in the travel industry

“People don’t want to stay home anymore,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. Christine mentioned that multi-generational travel is exploding — such as grandparents going with kids and grandkids or just grandparents taking their grandkids. “We will travel 5.2 million guests on our fleet this year,” she said. In May, Carnival started cruises from NYC to Cuba. (Uh oh, breaking news, thanks to our POTUS there may be no Cuba trips for now.)

Most popular places to travel in 2019

“Italy is still the main destination,” said Lindsey. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I’ll be heading there very soon so be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram @judiboomergirl. Lindsey also mentioned New York City, New Orleans, Sonoma County California, Tokyo, Iceland, Ireland, Southeast Asia (Myanmar and Cambodia), Portugal and Barcelona.

Italy travel poster

Italy is always a favorite destination for travelers

Kristen Karst, EVP and co-owner of AmaWaterways, commented that while river cruises on the Danube and Rhine are still in high demand, people want to see more unexplored destinations as well. “Our new ship on the Douro river in Portugal sold out in 2019 and into 2020,” said Kristen.

Portugal brochure

Portugal is one of the popular places to travel in 2019

Regarding river cruising, I received a press release from Viking Cruises announcing an expansion of its Egypt program for the 2020 season which will include the launch of a new ship, Viking Osiris, set to debut in September 2020.  In addition, there will be two new pre-cruise extensions designed to enhance guests’  knowledge of Egyptology prior to arriving in Cairo. These five-day extensions to Viking’s Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary will provide guests with privileged access to archives and exhibits in London and Oxford that are not normally accessible to the public. It’s actually not too early to start thinking of 2020 travel.

solo travel picture

More women are choosing to travel solo if they can’t find a travel mate

Jackie Friedman, president, Nexion Travel Group, highlighted the trend in solo travel. “Thirty-six percent of travelers said they would take a trip solo if they didn’t have anyone to travel with,” she noted. BTW, if you’re interested in going solo, you should read the post I wrote about solo female travelers for the Explorations by Collette blog.

“Small is big,” said Jennifer Tombaugh, President of Tauck tours. She was referring to Tauck’s small ship cruising which allows people to get to places they can’t on their own. Beyond cruising, small group land tours with an intimate-sized group and higher guest to guide ratio are desired. “The personalization is important,” Jennifer added. I know Collette Travel offers these type of tours as part of its Explorations brand too.

YO1 Wellness Center

YO1 India’s Holistic Wellness Center caught my eye. It’s America’s first luxury nature cure destination in the Catskill Mountains of New York

How do you book your travel?

When it comes to booking vacations, panelists had high praise for travel advisors and travel agents. “More than 97 percent of our business is booked through travel agents,” said Kirsten. Lindsey advised using a travel agent when booking a complicated trip, for example to multiple countries or locations. She said a travel agent can provide expertise and cut down on planning time. Ooh, ooh, ooh, my neighbor C is becoming a travel agent during her life after 50. Check out her new site. She is very knowledgeable about booking cruises.

Fly direct from Philadelphia to Bologna this summer

Wow-o-wow! If you’re a foodie and you love Italy, this summer you can fly direct to Bologna from Philadelphia. That’s correct, American Airlines is flying direct to Bologna/Emilia Romagna from May to September. I went to the kick-off media event in Philadelphia in April. Bologna/Emilia Romagna is high on my travel bucket list. Listen to these stats:

There are 11 UNESCO sites in and around Emilia Romagna.
Lonely Planet named Emilia Romagna the best destination in Europe in 2018.
Bologna is located in the heart of Italy. It’s between Milan and Venice and only 30 minutes by train to Florence.
♥ It’s the home of Motor Valley featuring museums about luxury cars like Lamborghini and Ferrari.

Fruit and vegetable stand in Quadrilatero

Fruit and vegetable stands in the Quadrilatero (photo courtesy of Irene Levine)

Food writer Irene Levine from More Time To Travel and Getting on Travel has visited Bologna/Emilia Romagna and has very positive things to say about it: “I have to admit, when in the Food Capital of the World, I guess my favorite thing to do is to eat! There are so many different opportunities to savor the unique foods of the Emilia Romagna region, whether it’s dining at one of the fabulous restaurants, taking a cooking class, touring FICO Eatalyworld or meandering through the Quadrilatero, the ancient food market in the historic center. I also love walking through the Piazza Maggiore, one of the most magnificent public squares in all of Europe, to see what’s happening that day or evening.”

Bologna cheese shop

An Italian cheese shop (photo courtesy of Irene Levine)

TripAdvisor unveils the 10 most popular U.S. summer destinations

When I travel, I often use TripAdvisor to research lodging, restaurants, and activities. I find the site offers a wealth of information for travelers booking vacations in the U.S. and internationally. The site just announced its 10 most popular U.S. summer destinations along with affordable alternatives. “Ninety-two percent of TripAdvisor members are planning a fun summer trip, up 12 percent from last year,” said Desiree Fish, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor.  Here’s the list of the 10 most popular followed by a more affordable alternative:

  1. Orlando, FL or try the more affordable Kissimmee, FL
  2. Las Vegas, NV or try Reno, NV
  3. Myrtle Beach, SC or try Kill Devil Hills, NC
  4. Maui, HA or try Oahu, HI
  5. New York City, NY or try Philadelphia, PA
  6. Key West, FL or try Key Largo, FL
  7. New Orleans, LA or try Miami, FL
  8. Ocean City, MD or try Nags Head, NC
  9. San Diego, CA or try Mammoth Lakes, CA
  10. Virginia Beach, VA or try Williamsburg, VA

There you have it – the most popular places to travel in 2019. Are you ready to book a trip yet? What places sound appealing? Any others to recommend? Leave a comment and let me know your favorite places to travel.

As Hans Christian Andersen said: “To travel is to live!”


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