Life is sweet at home

Boomers love to travel, Northwest destinations

Boomers love to travel with their family.

Since the age 51-69 cohort plans most of their vacations for spring, summer and into the fall, it seems like a good time to look at travel trends for boomers. In the AARP Travel Trends Boomers 2017 report (published Nov. 2016), researchers noted that this year’s trends appear similar to 2016. Let’s see if you and your travel plans mirror these trends.

Travel specifics

According to the report, most boomers are looking for a laid back and relaxing trip that gives them a chance to enjoy quality times with friends and family. To orchestrate this type of trip, boomers often plan escapes to Mexico, the Caribbean and/or the British Isles (UK, Ireland) for international trips. For domestic getaways, they most often plan a trip to a Florida or California destination.

In terms of authentic experiences, about 50 percent say they would like to eat a meal or tour with locals. However, they are not so keen to stay with locals, domestically or abroad (18%).

Of the boomers who are still working, about 40 percent do not take all their vacation days and when they do go on vacation that same percentage try to stay connected with work while away. That is why many anticipate spending at least 10 percent of their vacation time working.

General travel trends

Exotic destinations are fun, too.

As might be expected, boomers do not capitalize on online resources for travel planning and booking as much as younger generations. That said, 41 percent will book at the airline/hotel/car website, particularly if they are members of a loyalty program. Interestingly, 82 percent of boomers are current members of an airline loyalty program.

The report also shows that although many continue to want to travel more in 2017 than they did in 2016, a few barriers remain in the way: cost (43%), health (34%) and security concerns (28%) top the list.

Popular Northwest travel spots for boomers

Not all of us are destined to travel to St. Croix or Scotland this summer or fall. Some of us prefer to stay a little closer to home for our vacation adventure. Here we profile a handful of local Northwest destinations that fill the bill for 1) time with friends and family, 2) a change from routine and 3) offer relaxation and rejuvenation:

Columbia River CruiseUnCruise Adventures based in Seattle offers inclusive 7-night cruises on the Columbia and Snake river themed Lewis & Clark, Wine Country and Pioneer America. They run roundtrip from Portland, Oregon, on a replica coastal steamer and feature guest experts, heritage guides, wine tastings and tours, and premium excursions to museums, forts, and scenic parks.  Checkout the website for dates and discounts.

San Juan Island GetawayFriday Harbor and San Juan Island remain one of the most popular by-ferry destinations in the Northwest. It’s hard to beat the island’s weather (so-called banana belt sun), shopping, dining, resorts, whale watching, historic parks as well as dreamy land and seascapes.  San Juan Island can also be a lovely one-day excursion. Get up early to catch the ferry at Anacortes and enjoy much of this San Juan Island favorite’s many attractions.

Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria’s travel moniker is “full of life.” It could also be “full of history” or “smothered in charm!” First time visitors are awed by the regal Empress Hotel, the imposing parliament buildings at night and the beautiful Inner Harbor. It’s a little bit of British heaven with its double-decker buses, pubs and shops filled with woolens even in summer. Victoria welcomes back veteran visitors to take a peak deeper into the city and surrounding neighborhoods, travel to Butchart Gardens and seek out nearby bays and parks for quiet and reflection.

Where do you plan to travel this summer or fall?