For avid travelers—and anyone in the workforce, really–retirement is an era in our lives to really look forward to. After decades of hard work, in retirement we’re finally able to kick back and relax, and have the time on our hands to do it.
But with a world as big as ours, it can be difficult, not to mention time consuming, to choose a destination. To think through your best options, first consider your reasons for traveling. For example, are you seeking adventure or a relaxing vacation by the beach? Do you want to unplug or explore the nightlife of a new city?
In its 2016 Travel Trends Report, the AARP discovered that baby boomers’ top three favorite types of vacations are bucket list trips, multi-generational adventures and relaxing vacations. Those are all great reasons to travel, and each offers unique destination options. To help you plan, here are our picks for the best places to go for those three types of vacations:
Bucket List Trip | Antarctica
What’s the number one type of trip baby boomers take? The bucket list trip. You’ve been waiting all your life for this trip, so let your imagination go wild. Interested in getting outside and giving back? Check out REI’s large collection of volunteer trips. Looking to embrace your inner Charles Darwin? Book the recently added Galapagos excursion. These are great options, but if you want our two cents, the best bucket list trip you can take during this phase of your life is to Antarctica.
If you’re one of the 58% of boomers who wants to feel completely disconnected while on vacation, there’s really no better place than Antarctica. The kind of place you’ll likely only visit once, Antarctica is a truly unique experience. It is virtually uninhabited, and almost completely covered in ice. But don’t let that deter you – it is as beautiful as it is isolated. The continent is home to a rich array of wildlife, which you’ll most likely come across frequently during your adventure.
But because it’s so isolated, we do recommend that before you go, you line everything up in advance–especially when it comes to travel insurance. Luckily, there are plenty of great plans specific to empty-nesters (and cruisers, which is a popular way to travel to Antarctica). When you travel to Antarctica, you will probably have to make stops at destinations along the way, including some places worth spending a few nights in (like Buenos Aires, for example). If you’re planning on taking your time and making multiple pit-stops along the way, choose a multi-trip insurance plan.
Multi-Generation Adventure | Majorca
According to the AARP, the second most common type of trips baby boomers take are family vacation. Traveling with children and grandchildren offers endless opportunities for relatives to bond with one another, creating unforgettable memories in new places. But for a trip to delight people of all ages and keep children happy, the destination must offer an abundance of activities and culture. Adults and grandparents deserve time to unwind too, so look for deals and packages that come with either a spa, a kid’s club or both.
Many travel experts agree that multi-generation vacations work best at all-inclusive resorts. They take the pain out of planning a detailed itinerary, which becomes all the more difficult with large groups. While many all-inclusive resorts are stationed in the Caribbean and other popular beach destinations, there are more off-the-beaten path options that can delight both adventure-seeking millennials and relaxation-inclined boomers. To get a cultural experience for the whole family at a good price, consider a trip to Majorca. Settled off of Spain’s western coast, Majorca is an island full of all-inclusive resorts that offer more than just all-you-can-eat, poolside buffets. With beautiful architecture—from castles to cathedrals—mountains, beaches and multiple museums, there’s something for everyone in Majorca.
If you’re traveling with the whole family, head to northern Majorca. Resort towns like Alcúdia and Port de Pollenca will please everyone in the family. Sitting on a giant bay, the waves are gentle enough for the kids to enjoy. And if freshwater is more your family’s speed, Alcudia is home to northern Majorca’s one and only waterpark—The Hidropark. For more adult fun, head over to S’Albufera Natural Park with your binoculars and enjoy searching for some of Europe’s rarest and most exotic birds.
Relaxing Vacation | European River Cruise
Cruises are far and away one of the best vacations for those seeking relaxation. With an endless varieties of operators, options ranging from budget to deluxe, and destinations from Africa to Iceland, there is a cruise for almost every person and preference. In our opinion, choosing the right cruise comes down to your priorities. If you want to spend more time tanning on the deck, consider a trip through the Caribbean on a ship with a lot of on-board amenities. But if you’re interested in really taking time to explore port cities too, search for a river cruise through a part of the world that’s as much, if not more, fun to see from the water than the streets. If you’re having trouble deciding on what kind of cruise is best for you, check out our guide that explains the differences between river and ocean cruises.
European river cruises are a popular choice among the baby boomer generation because they offer a unique balance of cultural immersion and relaxation. They allow travelers the opportunity to explore many of Europe’s most precious cities and the peace of mind of having a home on the waterfront to return to each night. On a river cruise, you’ll travel with fewer people, many of whom will be fellow baby boomers. One of our favorite rivers to explore is the Rhine; AMA Waterways offers an awesome trip during the Christmas season that takes travelers to some of western Europe’s famed Christmas markets. For summer travelers, there’s no shortage of trips to choose from, including a cruise from Uniworld that stops at famous castles across Germany and France. Whatever trip you choose, try not to miss the Rhine Gorge region, where the river is flanked by giant slopes of rock, like the famous Lorelei, and its banks are peppered with castles and fortresses. Away from the water, the area surrounding the gorge is home to myriad historic towns and vineyards. For all these reasons and more, the Rhine Gorge Region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So if your biggest priorities are relaxing and sight-seeing, a trip along the Rhine should be at the top of your list.
If you’re an empty nester who knows the perfect spot to relax and enjoy retirement, share with us, so we can tell other travelers about it! Here’s how: