From my visit to The New York Times Travel Show held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City in January, it's clear that boomers are a prime audience for many destinations. From Costa Rica to California, from Florida to the Philippines, from Morocco to Martinique, and everywhere else you can take a plane, ship, train or drive to visit, the post-50 market is on the move—and so are their millennial children.
In fact, The New York Times announced that its annual Travel Show reached a record attendance of 30,099 participants during the three-day event.
The New York Times Travel Show reached a new record of more than 30,000 attendees.
So where do you want to travel?
I always like to see what places The New York Times Travel recommends each year. On the list of 52 for 2017, I've been to Canada (a variety of eastern and western cities), Detroit, Hamburg (Germany), Minneapolis, Kingston (Jamaica), Napa Valley (California), Sedona (Arizona), Madrid (Spain), Portland (Oregon), and yes, believe it or not South Bronx, NY, which is on the list. Since I was born in the Bronx, I am curious to know more about this "industrial neighborhood's revival"!
That's only 10 of the 52 recommended spots. Looks like I have much more traveling to do.
What's Trending in Travel?
There were a few trends I noticed from the panels at the travel show. I also attended a media event sponsored by Trav Media, where I met with New York Convention & Visitors Bureau representatives to learn about their destinations and chat with Cruise Line International Association members to hear about their itineraries.
Travel is a huge business. While print travel publications have dwindled, there are more travel websites, blogs, podcasts and social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter where you can see and read about destinations. With Facebook Live you can share your trips while they are happening.
Here are a few travel tips and trends I want to share:
Travel agents are still needed. Elizabeth Harryman, travel editor, Westways Magazine, said that travel agents are still useful and can save you money. "They do this every day. You book a trip once or twice a year." Travel agents are best to use when you want to book a cruise, because they have a better understanding of each cruise brand. Alejandro Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group, echoed that consumers planning trips know a lot from reading travel websites, blogs and online information. Yet, travel agents can direct you to the best vacation because of their knowledge of what is available in the marketplace.
Authenticity and transformational travel is popular. Writer Margie Goldsmith (an old friend from my corporate days) noted: "People want authentic and experiential travel. They want to eat at the same restaurants as the locals. Food is a big part of the experience."
Margie Goldsmith is an adventurous travel writer during her life after 50.
Safety Is Most Important. With the changing environment around the world, safety was a top concern. Elizabeth Harryman encouraged people to continue to travel. "A rabbi once said to me that to fear is to already start the process of dying. So, go ahead and travel," she said. Alejandro Zozaya noted that 7.5 million new passports were processed in the past year, indicating that more people planned to travel outside the country.
Technology is affecting the travel industry. Arnold Donald, Cruise Line International Association Chairperson and president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, talked about sensors that are worn on cruise ships. "It's the size of a quarter. When you are using your sensor, we know where you are on the ship at any time. It's encrypted so no one else can use it," he explained.
Personalized service goes beyond cruises. Now there is text messaging to alert you that your room is ready at hotels and apps to help you navigate a city during your stay. "Digital is hospitable," said Brian King, global officer for Marriott International. He said his team caters to two generations of travelers: empty-nester boomers, who can take trips they've always wanted to take because they have more disposable income with the kids out of the house, and millennials, who have a huge interest in travel, are communal and enjoy tribal travel.
Cruising the USA and the World
Cruises are an easy way to travel for both boomers and millennials, and multigenerational cruises provide choices for every age group. "Traveling by ship has become a vacation in itself," said Arnold Donald. "When cruising, you wake up in the morning and find the world outside has changed."
And, you have many options:
Ocean cruises: Carnival will introducing Carnival Journeys later this year—ocean cruises that are nine days and longer from places like California to Alaska. These itineraries are conducive to retirees who have more time to travel. They also provide "voluntourism" experiences for people who want to have an interactive volunteer experience while cruising.
Carnival will offer longer cruises from Long Beach, California, to Alaska.
Wellness trends. I was eager to hear about new wellness trends that are being introduced on cruise ships. MSC Cruises, a European-owned company, is partnering with Technogym to launch the Wellness Experience in April 2017, including gym clothes for passengers and spa experiences.
MSC has partnered with Technogym for wellness experiences.
It's all about the food. Princess Cruises is enhancing the onboard experience with menus from award-winning chefs like SHARE restaurateur Curtis Stone and Chocolate Journeys, an exclusive arrangement with Norman Love, one of the world's foremost experts in chocolate. This one sounds absolutely divine! I must experience this chocolate extravaganza during my life after 50! (Note: Will have to send this to my boyfriend L who also loves dark chocolate. Maybe for next Valentine's Day!)
River and Yacht Cruises: For those who prefer small ships, river cruises are available from a variety of companies. Viking is one of my favorites, having traveled with them the past two years, once on the Douro River and last year on the Rhine. They have superb customer service.
There's also Windstar Cruises which provides yacht cruising with new cruises going to Alaska and Asia in 2018. And, for those who prefer river and coastal cruising in the United States, American Cruise Lines offers trips to places like Mississippi, Alaska and New England.
Beautiful places along the Viking River Cruise Rhineland Discovery.
Windstar Cruises are on luxurious yachts, some of them under sail.
American Cruise Lines offers paddle wheeler and coastal ships.
So Much to See and Do on Land, Too
There are many exciting places to explore during my life after 50—in the USA and abroad. From getting to know St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the USA to hiking in Oregon's Tualatin Valley; from relaxing at spa resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona, to navigating Tucson's UNESCO City of Gastronomy; from practicing yoga at Le Monastère des Augustines in Quebec to maybe even practicing in India one day; to exploring the culinary creations and spectacular scenery of Croatia, which had a huge booth at the show—I can't wait to be transformed by it all!
St. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest city in the USA.
Will I ever travel to Nepal? REI Adventures just makes it look so easy to get there!
Share what places you are inspired to visit.
This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.