Those frequent travelers of you will know that age isn’t a major factor where travel is concerned, however it’s also natural that we gain new interests, new hobbies and, more fundamentally, adopt a new lifestyle as we gracefully (we hope!) enter new phases of our lives. Whether it’s a knee injury from your 20s, a new found love for Ancient Roman literature or just an awakened desire to see the world, many things occur as we get older that will vary the way we travel.
It’s because of this that, with the help of a few baby-boomer travel experts, trip.me have undertaken extensive research to gain invaluable travel advice from those who have explored most corners of the world and acquired great respect in the travel industry.
With these tips in mind I’ve compiled a list of 10 essential places to travel in your 50s. Places that can appeal to everyone but are all-together perfect for those baby-boomers who love to get out and explore the world in great detail. After all, now the kids are gone (if you ever had them), you know what you want and you’re ready for some new challenges!
So lets get started…
Wayne & Pat Dunlap
Travel Blog – unhooknow.com
Wayne and Pat have been fortunate enough to visit 100 countries and are now featured travel speakers and writers. They take great enjoyment in helping people achieve their travel goals.
They believe that “all travel is dependent on what people want from their travel experience, what their financial situation is and what their experience levels in traveling are.”
“We recommend travel destinations in categories such as: budget vs. more expensive, advanced vs. beginning, relaxing vs. adventurous, etc.”
They say that, “In general we recommend those who are starting out their foreign travel (along with more experienced travelers) to go to western Europe where they have it all – beauty, culture, history, great food/wine/beer, architecture, big cities, small towns, and importantly for those starting out, excellent travel infrastructure and readily available English speaking support. We very much like France and Italy among several other countries. Tuscany and Switzerland are also wonderful. We liked our visit to Iceland. It is a unique country to visit and can be done going to or back from Europe.”
“Those where budget and value travel experiences are important and for those who already have experience behind them should consider the unique experiences offered in places such as: southeast Asia, South America, eastern and southern Europe. We love the Greek Islands, Thailand, Viet Nam, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Czech Republic, Croatia, and Spain.”
And a final bit of advice on some of their favorite places to travel – “Don’t forget the good old USA that has amazing diversity of travel experiences loved by foreign travelers. Other places we like very much are Japan and Mexico – both having a rich culture (very different) and wonderful people. Cruising is a great option for many to have fun and have a taste of visiting places without having to unpack and move around. There are many good deals on cruising now.”
Wayne and Pat’s book Secrets of Traveling the World for Less than the Cost of Living at Home is available to buy as an ebook for $7.96 on Amazon or $8.35 as B&N Nook Book.
Travel Blog – Hole in the donut
Barbara is another of those adventure travelers that doesn’t consider age as a factor when travel is concerned. Instead, Barbara recommends places based on culture or value for money but doesn’t see any difference in travel between “a 20-yr old, an octogenarian, or anything in between.”
Barbara had been to 7 of our final ’10 places to visit in your 50s’ and can “highly recommend all of them”, though I will include Barbara’s comments in the select recommendations by us so we don’t ruin the surprise 1-10 list!
Travel Blog – My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel
Donna believes that someone in their 50’s’ favorite place to travel very much depends on where they are located/based.
“Answers from American baby boomers will be much different from their European cohorts. My American boomer readers are big fans of visiting: Italy, U.S. National Parks (especially those in the western part of the country), Hawaii and Alaska.”
“As far as types of travel, they like: European river cruises, ocean cruises, road trips and active experiences in the countries that they visit.”
Donna L. Hull’s ebook, New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure, part of the Road Trips for Boomers series, is available for $2.99 on Amazon.
Travel Blog – Solo Traveler
Janice Waugh, the original solo traveler, is another traveler who firmly believes that age doesn’t matter and suggests that “most people in their 50s can go just about anywhere.”
“Yes, there are some party spots for 20-somethings but the majority of destinations are wonderful regardless of age.”
“It is my interests that determine where I travel.”
And with that, and with the help of Barbara Weibel, here’s the top 10 countries we’ve chosen to visit in your 50’s.
1. Witness the extraordinary natural landscapes in Iceland
Iceland is brimming with natural splendors for the keen adventure traveler and geo-science enthusiast. With an abundance of superior landscapes and activities, Iceland is a top attraction for those escapists looking for the ultimate outdoors adventure.
From the incredible Skaftafell Ice Cave in Vatnajokull National Park to viewing the magical Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), to travel Iceland is like entering a whole new world of fantasy.
2. Get in touch with your spiritual side in Bhutan
Bhutan’s untouched landscape and deeply Buddhist philosophies are an alluring combination that draws in those looking to preserve, or alternatively, gain a sense of peace and spirituality.
Tourism in the Kingdom of Bhutan comes at quite the price, however, as the country maintains its steep requirement that visitors spend $250 per day. Barbara Weibel, author of Hole in the Donut travel blog, is one traveler that isn’t happy about this rule, stating ” I find this absolutely ridiculous. Bhutan has said they are doing this to keep out the backpackers, as they don’t want to become another Nepal or Thailand, however in my view, backpackers grow up to become wealthy seniors, who regularly travel. There are other ways to “keep out the rifraf,” and I disagree that backpackers as a whole are not desirable travelers.”
That said, Bhutan private tours offer a great way to explore the hidden treasures of the Himalayas and are an easier way to avoid those “backpacker frowns” from the locals. AND, what’s cooler than visiting the only country in the world with a happiness scale – GNH, Gross National Happiness.
3. Walk through the spectacular Alps, Switzerland
The sprawling mountains of Switzerland beam with color and sublime landscapes that, any route taken, will take you on the walk of a lifetime. Then, after you’ve wandered your way through the fresh Swiss valleys there’s a magnitude of quaint mountain villages and contemporary city-life that awaits. And bundles of silky smooth Swiss chocolate.
Barbara Weibel was immediately struck by Switzerland’s overwhelming beauty – “Switzerland was a huge surprise for me. I flew into Zurich from Africa, intending to stay a day before taking the train to Italy. Ten days later, I was still in Switzerland. The scenery is gorgeous, and there are so many hiking trails available that are perfect for anyone who loves to walk, but doesn’t want to mountain climb or scamper from boulder to boulder. The paths are all improved and cable cars make the ascents, so many of the trails are quite easy.”
On the flip side, however, Barbara says that the Swiss are not the most outgoing folks, so you may feel that they are cold toward tourists. Something that shouldn’t deter you from seeing its array of charms.
4. Try Haggis and spot Nessy in Scotland, UK
Scotland is at the very vanguard of contemporary arts and culture, and with many stunning natural treasures crammed into this small country it’s obvious to see why its popularity hasn’t waned over recent years.
From seeing the traditional Highland Games to mixing in with modern arts at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, Scotland packs a punch for those travelers looking for something entirely unique and different.
Barbara Weibel says that overall “Scotland is wonderful, but I might suggest that visitors fly into Manchester in England and combine Scotland with a visit to northern England destinations like York and Newcastle, both of which are lovely cities. From there, Scotland is an easy train ride away, and there are often good deals on flight from the US to Manchester.”
5. Waltz through spice markets and ancient alleyways in Vietnam
Barbara Weibel says “Vietnam is fascinating, especially for baby boomers who may have lived through the war years. The Vietnamese are particularly welcoming to the tourist and those who speak English are becoming more prevalent. However, anyone who is not an experienced independent traveler will likely be more comfortable with a planned tour in Vietnam than trying to tackle it on their own.”
A cultural roller-coaster, your Vietnam experience will propel you into a whirlwind of exotic spices, warm locals, paradise beaches, quaint ancient towns and a history that will leave an indelible mark on your visit. It’s remarkable how diverse and wonderful a tour of Vietnam can be.
Learn the ancient history in Vietnam’s imperial capital, Hue, before taking a trip through time by discovering the catastrophic history of the Vietnam war in modern Ho Chi Minh. Relax with a cocktail on the pristine beaches of Nha Trang or travel Halong Bay and gaze in wonder as you float past staggeringly beautiful limestone cliffs. Vietnam has endless opportunities and for travelers of all ages.
6. Soak in the sun-drenched architecture of Seville, Spain
A wander through the leafy plazas of Andalusia’s vibrant capital can lead you to any of Seville’s charismatic cafes, old-world cobbled lanes, gleaming parks or grandiose palaces and you’ll never be let down.
Seville’s splendid Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and Europe’s largest cathedral and the impressive Alcazar Palace is a must-visit. Seville’s calm evenings will be graced with the ubiquitous Flamenco haunts and lively cocktail bars.
Barbara Weibel is a fan of Seville’s Flamenco, urging people that “seeing a performance is something that absolutely should not be missed.” However Barbara warns tourists against the peak summer times, stating, “Seville is brutally hot in the summer and is best visited off-season.”
7. Take a train ride through Canada
Be it catching the almighty Canadian railroad, steaming through vast areas of natural beauty, or hiking through Canada’s Rockies region, keeping a watchful eye out for gracious black bears and an even closer eye out for turquoise or emerald oasis’ that are equally gracious, traveling Canada opens ones eyes to the power of nature and reveals hidden treasures around every corner.
Canada’s city-life is equally well praised as multicultural Toronto sees a fusion of young art-types, a thriving start-up scene and a staggering 140 languages. Vancouver, in the very west of Canada, has a unique laid-back charm that makes it a very popular destination for older tourists while French and English Montreal serves up a healthy mix of quaint historic and super modern that pleases all.
An adventurer’s dream, being out in Canada’s great open is a supply of the freedom that, as travelers, we so passionately crave.
8. Feel the warmth of the Tuscan sun, Tuscany, Italy
Punctuated with olive groves, sunflower fields and luxury villas with fruitful vineyards, the Tuscan hills are a sprawling mix of all of Italy’s nicest things. Then there are the incredible cities that make up Tuscany that hold some of Italy’s most significant architecture and history.
It’s hard to say which city in Tuscany contains the prize possession when it comes to architectural treasures. The leaning tower of Pisa is so symbolic of postcard Italy that it has become an essential visit on everybody’s Italy itinerary, while Florence boasts the particularly impressive Duomo, the most iconic feature in an already outstanding skyline. Florence also houses some of the world’s most important art galleries and is a quintessential stopover in Italy.
Siena is perhaps less famous but nevertheless equally charming. Siena’s greatest asset is arguably its enduring Gothic architecture and piazza’s, in particular the Piazza del Campo, the historic public square which is highly acknowledged as one of the greatest medieval squares and architectural feats in the world.
Tuscany is an important Italian region to visit at any age but is perhaps best equipped for those intelligible kinds who enjoy the finer things in life; Baby boomer travelers!
9. Stand in awe above the frighteningly attractive Fjords in Norway
Norway, over the last couple of decades, has emerged as a favorite for many passionate travelers. Its resounding beauty lies in her terrific backdrops around the vast expanse of 17km of Unesco World Heritage Site.
Towering mountains kiss the sky either side of you as you cruise through the majestic deep blue fjord. Epic waterfalls, scintillating river scenery and the iconic Trolltunga rock are all key reasons why Nærøyfjord is such a popular destination for nature lovers.
The town of Flåm, located just inland to the east of the fjords, acts as a great base for day excursions and is also where you can embark on a 20.2 km sight-filled rail journey between Myrdal and Flåm in Aurland, Norway.
Baby-boomer travel writer Barbara Weibel visited Norway for the first time this year and was quite surprised by the culture, which was “unlike anything I had ever experienced.”
“I loved Norway, but travelers need to know that it is an extremely expensive destination.”
10. Flirt with nature on a hike through the Chilean Andes
Chile’s pristine, desolate, untouched mountainscapes of Patagonia are teeming with epic hiking trails, serene surroundings and some of South America’s finest nature.
While an Australis Cruise is also highly recommended with the added bonus of being engulfed by the splendid scenery as you float through near-mythical lands, Chile is perfect for those trekking enthusiasts as walking tours in Chile are as close to heaven as you can get.
From the iconic Torres del Paine National Park in Southern Chilean Patagonia to the ‘land of fire’ in Tierra del Fuego, photographers, walkers and nature enthusiasts will be enthralled by the rugged granite outlines, the emphatic glaciers and the crystal clear rivers below. It’s a true wonder in every direction.