Here we are at the end January 2018 – how are all your wonderful travel plans coming along?
I confess my travel plans for the year aren’t as clear as I’d wish them to be, quite a confession for a travel blogger! But I do have one wonderful idea in place: a July wedding in Italy will take me to the Lake Como in Italy, a region I’ve been dying to see. Hopefully, one of the big bucket destinations like Antarctica, Patagonia, maybe even Africa, can be ticked off the list this year.
I must be the only baby boomer in the USA who hasn’t yet stepped aboard the Maid of the Mist.
What, you haven’t done that either? Well then, when are you free?
As noted in 3 Score’s New Year’s day post this blog’s raison d’être is to inspire travel and discovery among women 60+. But that doesn’t mean only women, and what is age other than a number? So, if like me, your ’18 travel plans are still mushy, let’s get started.
Why travel is important NOW
This isn’t one of those sappy “best years of your life” stories, or, worse, a terse warning that you’d better get going as time and tides wait for no man/woman (although both are true, and I suspect you know it).
Further, this post is not meant to encourage you to “spend it down” rather than preserve a nest egg for the pleasure of your heirs. Only you can make that decision.
Travel is always important: it is enlightening, liberating and invigorating for all ages.
Travel isn’t the unique province of the young, ‘digital nomads’ with a backpack, a plane ticket, and a cell phone to record their adventures for envious friends and the folks back home.
It’s for everybody. For all of us 60+, our time is now.
Travel has never been easier, or, dollar for dollar, cheaper.
The internet has simply democratized travel. Resources such as Trip Advisor have brought the world to your computer screen. Cruise Critic is just one of many opportunities to explore any manner of cruising. booking.com is just one of several online booking agencies for hotels and flights along with a host of others, many offering considerable discounts. Bottom line, Google search has revolutionized the travel industry, providing transparency from airfares to zebra watching.
Even if you traveled decades ago, the world is changing – fast.
You may have traveled internationally in the 60’s, 70’s, the 80’s. Today, corners of the world (think the Himalayas, Asia or Eastern Europe) that weren’t so hospitable (nor easy) to manage back then have tours galore. Consider, too, many places might shortly be changed forever: Antarctica comes to mind; Greenland and the Amazon basin are at risk for irrevocable change.
While some form of globalization has been going on since (or even before) the 15th century, the changing/homogenizing indigenous cultures is moving at breakneck speed. At the same time, modern globalization has helped make every corner of the world more accessible to travelers.
Given the forces of globalization and a general uplift in the world’s prosperity, travel is enjoying a relatively safe period around the globe. Remarkably, the US Department of State reports that drowning is the #1 cause of death for US tourists. Obviously, tourists aren’t frequenting the distressing and tragic regions beset by civil war and violent conflict.
Where and how to go
So many factors enter into this decision.
It’s clear Americans have been bitten by the travel bug: travel outside the U.S. in 2016 was up an estimated 8% over the previous year.
Yet of the nearly 70 million US citizens that traveled outside the country in 2016, over half stayed within North America. To be fair, travel to/from Canada now requires a passport or special travel card. Beyond that, Europe drew the most visitors (12 million), followed by the Caribbean (6 million) and Asia (4 million).
You may have mobility issues; if so the revered travel guru Rick Steves offers great advice.
There is DIY travel, booking everything on your own, even travel insurance online. Alternately, many people like the personalized service of the traditional travel agent, and the security of having a number to call if something should go awry on the road.
Personally, I like a hybrid model. I use a customized tour offering such as Yampu Tours when going places I haven’t been before. I booked through them for my first trip to South America, a wonderful experience. I hope to travel with them again.
If affordable, why not include the family? Intergenerational travel is rewarding beyond measure. It can be exotic or not, a safari or a modest ski weekend. Either way, you bond with the next generation through the memory of shared experiences. It doesn’t get better than that, in my opinion.
Looking for a volunteer experience in your travel? Cultural immersion? Adventure, luxury, spa, – travel now can suit your budget, open new horizons or just let your feet dangle off the float in the hotel pool.
To get started…
If you’ve been thinking about travel but procrastination has barred the door, consider…
- travel needn’t be expensive, and;
- travel needn’t be of long duration, exotic or to any foreign destination.
Try this checklist and get going on your travel plans.
– List up to 5 favorite pastimes/activities (sitting in the backyard with a beer doesn’t count; watching sports does)
– List up to 5 cuisines you really like
– What’s your favorite weather? Warm/cold? Beach/Mountains?
– Is ‘giving back’/cultural immersion important?
– What is the longest time you’d be comfortable traveling? A week, a month?
– List 3-5 places you may have thought about ‘someday’ visiting
– Do you want to rough it? Go Luxury? Air Travel? Train – don’t forget AMTRAK for wonderful, leisurely trips and senior discounts!
– What continents have you visited? If you did the 10-city Europe tour in the 80’s (that 10th wedding anniversary trip) you may want to return to a favorite country on different terms. Loved Italy? Now explore the provinces of Italy, and skip a repeat of Rome.
– What states/provinces in North America have you NOT visited (but are curious about)? The opportunities for travel in our own backyard are thought to be one of the reasons that a mere 35% of Americans even have a passport. There are just too many options here at home, from favorite small cities to our most treasured National Parks.
Congrats – you’ve laid out priorities and wish list for your 2018 travel plans. A couple of Google searches to click through to links and you’ll be packing in no time!
Here’s one last tip: Check out 3 Score’s “Where I’ve Been” posts on destinations from San Francisco to Sweden, solo travel, travel with friends and family.
Let us know your tales from the trail! There is still time to make it a wonderful travel year!
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