Boomer Travel Trends: Where to Go, What to See in Your Third Act

by Michelle Seitzer
Published April 30, 2015

The generation known for reinventing themselves is reinventing the way we view vacation. Boomers have pegged travel as their number one leisure activity, to the tune of $157 billion dollars a year, says this 2013 Forbes article. They’re not spending all their time and treasure visiting the kids and grandkids either, though multigenerational journeys are among the top seven post-retirement travel trends explored in the Forbes piece.

Long, leisurely days on the golf course and resort relaxation poolside aren’t entirely what these trips are made of: when the demands of midlife have eased, retirees are embarking on exciting excursions that often have life-altering results and diverge as much as the travelers themselves:

  1. Conscientious travelers. Sustainable “green” vacations are becoming increasingly popular among older adults. Forbes advises travelers aspiring to this type of journey to research carefully the operators and organizations sponsoring them; they should be non-invasive trips that benefit local residents rather than exploit them, and motivate communities to preserve and protect the natural resources (i.e. rain forests and coral reefs) the tourists come to see.
  2. Adventure is out there. Hiking, biking, mountain climbing, scuba and skiing: the 50+ demographic isn’t afraid of an active vacation, especially as many of them are in the best shape of their lives or at least looking to move in that direction. Staying active is a great way to maximize the life in your years; why not do so in a place you’ve never seen? (Read our article on active adult athletes who are burning it up at 50 and beyond.)
  3. Invite the whole family. Spending time with family is highly enjoyable for many empty nesters, though quality time is often limited in today’s “go, go, go” way of life. Take them away from it all and unwind together. Top travel companies report multigenerational vacations as occupying 10 percent or more of their entire business, according to Forbes.
  4. No more excuses. Retirees are taking the “what you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because of x, y, z” trips. While 50 is very much the new 30, most older adults are nonetheless realistic about their longevity and the possibility of life changing almost overnight (an unwelcome diagnosis, a parent’s need for more support). The time for excuses is past – especially now that the time is readily available. Get out your bucket list and start planning your next expedition!
  5. Do – and see – what you love. Wine, chocolate, history, culture: boomer couples, friends and individuals are making an adventure of their interests by visiting places saturated in their individual/shared passions.
  6. Life…from a different point of view. Be it a spiritual retreat in a secluded mountain cabin or a trek to the Holy Land, the 50 and over population is disconnecting and seeking inspiration and refreshment in a diverse range of locations.

Whether they trek to the ends of the earth or discover new sites that have been under their noses for years, boomers aren’t staying put and sitting still in their “Third Act.” The rocking chair retirement of decades ago has passed; today’s retirees are going places.

Want guidance on allocating retirement dollars for leisure and a legacy? Contact an HJ Sims Income Advisor today.

Michelle Seitzer is a freelance writer and not affiliated with HJ Sims. Ms. Seitzer spent 10 years working in various East Coast senior living communities, then worked as a public policy coordinator for the PA Alzheimer’s Association before settling down as a full-time freelance writer in 2010. Specializing in elder care content, Ms. Seitzer is the co-moderator of the first #ElderCareChat on Twitter. The opinions expressed by Ms. Seitzer are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of HJ Sims & Co, Inc or their affiliates. The material presented here is for information purposes only. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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