Some boomers want to travel the USA and see all the National Parks. Some have Alaska on their “Bucket List”. Others are more adventurous; safari in Africa, sail to the Antarctic, see the polar bears in Svalbard, hike the Inca Trail. The “Old World’ charm of Europe calls to some; while the exotic Far East speaks to others. Memories of the Vietnam War have some wanting to see what South East Asia is like today. Who doesn’t want to see a kangaroo or a Koala in their natural habitat? And of course many dream of a trip to the Holy Land.
What Baby Boomers do share in common is a new lifestyle. The kids are out of college; gone are tuition payments. These “Empty Nesters” are still active. Many may be retired. They have sacrificed for family and work for decades. Now it is their time to take advantage of their health before the physical limitations set in.
For some Baby Boomers their travel companion is missing; divorce, death, never married. When asked what would they like to do most, but don’t have anyone to do it with, the answer is travel.
Stitch is a new service that helps seniors 50 and older find companionship and romance. Senior Outlook Today recently conducted a Q&A with Baby Boomer Travel Expert Sandy Lipkowitz of Stitch. As Stitch’s travel spokesperson, Sandy has organized a successful trip with Stitch members to Mexico and in November will take a number of Stitch members to Europe, and planning a possible trip to Cuba in 2016.
SOT: What is Stitch and what do you do for them?
Sandy: Stitch is an online service that looks to provide companionship and an enriched social life for Baby Boomer plus individuals. I am their travel consultant. I write a blog and answer travel questions that members may have. I create wonderful Stitch sponsored escorted travel itineraries that Baby Boomers want. Suggesting roommates can avoid the single supplement that can range from 30-100%. Most important, providing a group of age-appropriate individuals the ability to enjoy the benefits of travel, with fun-loving, like-minded individuals.
SOT: Why are boomers more interested in traveling with groups versus independently?
Sandy: For some Baby Boomers their travel companion is missing; divorce, death, never married. Many have always had a traveling companion and don’t want to travel alone and not have someone to share the experience. For some, their companion may have always planned the travel; without that partner they have no idea as to how to even begin planning a trip. For others, it may be cost. Single supplements can range from 30-100%. That can add considerably to the cost to a trip. Traveling in a group with Stitch, can facilitate sharing accommodations to save the single supplement.
SOT: When it comes to boomers and travel, what are the most popular destinations?
Sandy: One size does not fit all. That applies to Baby Boomer travel desires too. Some boomers want to travel the USA and see all the National Parks. Some have Alaska on their “Bucket List”. Others are more adventurous; safari in Africa, sail to the Antarctic, see the polar bears in Svalbard, hike the Inca Trail. The “Old World’ charm of Europe calls to some; while the exotic Far East speaks to others. Memories of the Vietnam War have some wanting to see what South East Asia is like today. Who doesn’t want to see a kangaroo or a Koala in their natural habitat? And of course, many dream of a trip to the Holy Land.
SOT: Are there any destinations that are not friendly to boomers?
Sandy: That again is not a universal answer. That really depends on the physical health and travel experience of the individual. If someone is experiencing physical limitations, then their personal health issues need to be taken into account when travel destinations are considered. Many destinations are not physically friendly and should be avoided. Instead, destinations and tour companies that accommodate limitations can make for a pleasurable experience.
If someone has not traveled much and is uncomfortable in a country that does not speak the traveler’s native language, has very different customs and foods, that would not be the destination to choose. Instead, start with destinations that are familiar. For example, an inexperienced US Boomer might start with trips within the USA. Then branch out to Canada and the UK before going on to other European destinations and beyond.
SOT: What are some general travel tips for boomers?
Sandy: Don’t over plan. We are not 20 years old anymore. Pacing a trip can make all the difference. Allow for jet lag upon arrival. Take it easy the first day. Make sure you have enough time between plane changes. Nowadays, more delays happen and gate changes can be terminals apart. Plan enough time to allow you to get where you need to be with as little stress as possible.