When I think of senior and Baby Boomer travel, I think not only of cruise ships and golf courses, but also of bike tours and road trips. I know from my own travel experiences and my interaction with readers and fellow travelers that mature travelers can't be stereotyped or categorized. There are too many of us, for starters. According to CNN, as of 2011, Boomers made up 25% of the US population. 77 million people can't possibly want to travel to the same places or in the same way.
I've met a few travel providers over the years who tended to focus on bus tours and golf packages as ideal vacations for people my age and older. While bus tours and golfing vacations are great, they don't appeal to every senior or Baby Boomer. This week, I sat down and made a list of things I wish I could tell every travel provider about working with mature travelers. First on the list: Don't call us "elderly."
Photo © Sanja Gjenero
This French church and the adjacent town of Hunawihr are surrounded by vineyards. Hunawihr lies on the Alsatian Wine route, and it's perfect for strolling - you can pick up a walking tour brochure at the tourist office in Ribeauvillé or Riquewihr - bicycling and photographing.
The church, dedicated to Saint James the Greater, is used by both Catholic and Protestant congregations, as it has been since 1687.
Hunawihr is one of many cool small towns I've visited in France's Alsace region. I'm often asked how I find the towns I visit, so I've put together some tips for finding small towns to explore. I've included a few of my favorite towns, including Hunawihr, with explanations of how I found them.
Photo © Didier Bier / Creative Commons
As events in Ukraine continue to evolve, the US Department of State has updated its Travel Warning for that country. US citizens are urged to avoid travel to Ukraine, especially to Crimea. Russian troops have "secured" government buildings and airports in Crimea, according to The Guardian.
The State Department predicts that transportation in Ukraine could be disrupted with little warning, and that violence is possible. Although the US Embassy staff is still working in Kiev, their family members have been evacuated.
This Italian alley invites you to explore, to wander, to photograph. You can find alleys like this in many Italian towns. It's easy to get to a small town from a large Italian city, because Italy's train and bus systems are designed to serve communities of all sizes.
You may wonder why you should spend a precious travel day away from the big city sights, exploring a narrow alley or dining in a piazza where you're the only person from somewhere else. I would argue that you get the best of both worlds when you plan a day trip from a famous city to a less-famous, but still intriguing, town or village.
Day trips from your own home town can also be worth your time. How often have you dismissed a nearby park, museum or attraction, figuring you'll have time to get there later? Planning a day trip can lift your spirits and give you a much-needed break, particularly if you don't have time or resources to take a longer vacation.
Still not convinced? Take a look at our five reasons why you should take day trips.
If you're wondering where you can find this particular alley, plan a day trip from Rome to Gaeta, in southern Lazio. You'll find this alley and many more in the older part of town, near the port.
Photo © Christopher Patterson / Creative Commons
The Cabot Trail draws visitors to Canada's Cape Breton Island every year. This beautiful drive takes you all around the island, through towns where Acadian (French) and Scottish cultures predominate as well as through part of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. While you can do the entire drive in a day, I can tell you from experience that it's a very long, but wonderful, driving adventure.
It's a bit snowy on Cape Breton Island right now — perhaps not the best driving weather — so why not take our Cabot Trail photo tour today instead?
If you are planning a future trip to Cape Breton Island, we've put together some tips for driving the Cabot Trail in a day to help you make the most of your experience.
Photo © Nancy Parode. Licensed to About.com.
Doesn't this look like a lovely place to spend an afternoon?
This tree-lined trail is actually in an urban area. Forest Park, in Portland, Oregon, where this photo was taken, spreads over 5,100-plus acres and offers 80 miles of trails and roads. You can walk your dog, ride your horse, travel by bicycle or just walk through the woods.
You can find beautiful city parks all over the world. Parks are wonderful places to rest and relax, of course, but they are also great places to exercise and people watch. Best of all, you can do all these things in a place where locals gather. You'll get a glimpse of everyday life, regardless of which park you visit.
The latest installment in our Travel Like a Local series offers suggestions for things to do at a city park and showcases some of the many wonderful parks you can visit.
Photo © Mike Rohrig / Creative Commons
I used to think that Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) helped people plan, well, conventions. It wasn't until I became a travel writer and had opportunities to meet some of the dedicated, enthusiastic people who work for CVBs that I realized that the "visitors" part of the name was just as important as the "convention" part. CVBs promote tourism for everyone, from convention attendees to business travelers to vacationers like you and me.
The next time you're ready to plan a trip, be sure to get information from convention and visitors bureaus in the areas you plan to visit. CVBs have all kinds of travel information available, and they're more than ready to share it with you.
Photo © Jon Curnow / Creative Commons
Do you know where Vaduz is located?
If you guessed Liechtenstein, you're correct. The Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein and his family live in Vaduz Castle, which looms over Liechtenstein's capital city.
If your travels take you through western Austria or eastern Switzerland, consider detouring through Liechtenstein. It's a gorgeous, if small, country, ideal for a short stopover or day trip as well as for longer stays.
Take our photo tour of Vaduz, to get a better look at Liechtenstein's capital city.
Photo © Old Line Photography. Licensed to About.com.
BBC News is reporting that an Islamist militant group has threatened foreign tourists currently in Egypt. According to news reports, the militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has issued an ultimatum via Twitter, telling tourists that they should leave by Thursday, February 20.
According to the BBC, Egypt's government is taking this threat seriously. On Sunday, a tourist bus traveling through Taba in South Sinai was bombed; four people were killed and others were injured.
The Telegraph is reporting that Egypt's Prime Minister has warned travel providers of the ultimatum. Online travel newsletter Skift reports that Thomas Cook has temporarily canceled day tours from Sharm el-Sheikh to Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai.
Canada, the UK and Australia have updated their Egypt travel advisories and recommend avoiding all travel to the North Sinai. The latest Travel Alert for Egypt issued by the US Department of State "strongly urges" citizens to avoid the North Sinai.
This blog post begins with a sad story. I recently learned about several families who were scammed by a group calling itself London Holiday Renters. They offered family-friendly vacation apartments ("flats") in London. They had a website, and the families who called to learn more were able to talk with a real person, who answered all their questions and sent rental contracts in the mail. And then, London Holiday Renters asked for payment. Up front. By wire transfer.
The families wired the funds, and heard nothing more. When they called and emailed to get updates, the telephone number was no longer in service and the website was gone. And, of course, so was their money.
The website turns out to have been registered to someone in New York state. The families have reported the fraud to UK and New York authorities, but, unfortunately, they probably won't get their money back. The scammers are long gone.
This scam was very elaborate; most vacation rental fraudsters don't go to the trouble of answering phone calls and creating fake contracts. They simply ask for money to be wired and disappear.
So, how can you protect yourself against vacation rental scammers? We've put together some tips to help you find legitimate vacation properties and avoid rental scams.
Photo © Robert Linder