Travel Hacks That Every Baby Boomer Should Know

Baby boomers are currently the largest demographic of travelers. According to a poll from AARP Travel, they average about four to five trips each year and are always looking for the best deals. Since they travel so often it may be helpful for them to learn some of the best hacks and tips in areas such as how to book a trip, what to purchase for a vacation, and which travel apps will save them time and money. While baby boomers probably have the most experience when it comes to travel there are still new trends popping up every day.

Don’t Unplug All The Way

a closeup of a woman using uber on her smartphone
Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images
Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Baby boomers differ from younger generations when it comes to travel and one of the main ways is through technology. When they go on vacation they generally prefer to unplug from their phones and stay away from screens. With that mindset, they may be missing out on some useful travel apps.

For example, Uber and Lyft have started to replace car rentals and can easily take people where they need to go in minutes. Another app called Hopper helps people find the cheapest flights and the Airbnb app allows users to replace a stay in a hotel with affordable home rentals.

Try Not To Plan Ahead

a woman on the beach working on her laptop
EyesWideOpen/Getty Images
EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

It may seem like the best idea to plan every detail about a vacation in advance, but there are instances where waiting until the last minute is the better option. Since a high percentage of baby boomers get the chance to travel at their leisure they have the ability to wait until they see prices for flights, hotels, and other amenities decrease.

Travel and tourism statistics from Access revealed that around 47 percent of the people who plan ahead for their vacations end up spending more than those who waited until the last minute.

Use A Credit Card With Travel Points

a man swiping his visa credit card in a machine
Franko Lee/AFP via Getty Images
Franko Lee/AFP via Getty Images

It’s expected that people will spend more money on vacation than they do in their daily lives. A good way to save money on travel purchases is to use a credit card that rewards points or airplane miles based on how much people spend.

There are specific airlines and hotel chains with their own credit cards for people to use toward their travel expenses. Other flexible travel rewards credit cards include the Capital One Venture Rewards, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

How To Incorporate The Grandkids

a grandpa giving his grandson a piggyback ride
Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images
Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

As baby boomers continue to age they have become the primary demographic with grandchildren. One of the biggest baby boomer travel trends from recent years is vacationing with grandkids. The majority of their grandchildren fall into Gen Alpha (born after 2010) and are now influencing where their grandparents and parents take them on vacations.

Some of the places recommended for grandparents to take their young ones include national parks, amusement parks, and on road trips. Also, 67 percent of baby boomers surveyed by Expedia stated that they travel to visit family.

How To Stay Active On Vacation

a freediver snorkeling in the ocean
Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty Images

According to Precor about 35 percent of baby boomers regularly stay active. When booking a vacation they look for a place where they can continue to keep their bodies moving. This is why places that include activities such as hiking, snorkeling, sailing, and cycling tend to see a rise in baby boomer visitors.

While many hotels contain gyms, baby boomers feel it’s important to get out and explore their surroundings. They feel they need to stay active for various reasons such as preventing health issues, slowing down the effects of aging, and to remain social.

Guided Tours Are The Way To Go

a tour group outside a church on segways
Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images
Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images

Sidetravel recently reported that baby boomers use guided tours more than any other demographic. Some may perceive guided tours as a group of people in matching outfits only visiting the most touristy locations, but there happen to be many diverse tour options suitable for anyone.

The most popular vacations for baby boomers are weekend getaways, so small group tours with flexible itineraries are a good way to go. These are designed to fit with a busy schedule while giving tourists the biggest bang for their bucks. Educational tours that educate visitors about the local community or ones where they can study natural wildlife seem to be a favorite among baby boomers.

Where To Find The Best Exotic Destinations

a beach house in varadero next to hundreds of palm trees and right on the ocean
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When baby boomers travel internationally they mainly want to visit exotic or surreal locations that they’ve never been to before. While it may seem like a good idea to go to common exotic destinations such as the Galapagos Islands or Cabo San Lucas, there’s something else that travelers should consider.

Experts from AAA Travel suggest going to less-common locations including Madagascar, Malta, Montenegro, and the Cook Islands. This way tourists can still get the vacation experience without having to deal with large crowds and overpriced amenities.

Girls Should Stick Together

three women taking a selfie on a bridge
Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images
Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images

Travel Pulse found that female baby boomers are feeling more empowered in their daily lives and want to travel with like-minded women to gain healthy connections and new experiences. This is one of the reasons why girls’ getaways are trending.

Since baby boomer women are more experienced in life they feel more comfortable stepping into a new place, especially with other confident women by their side. Places such as the Catskills, Martha’s Vineyard, and Sedona, Arizona have highly-rated girls’ trip reviews. It should also be noted that women as a whole do 67 percent of the booking for travel tours and activities.

It May Be Time To Try Out A Budget Airline

a ryanair airplane about to land on the runway
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Budget airlines don’t usually have the greatest reputations regarding safety, cleanliness, and other essential things people look for when choosing an airline. Those who do a bit of research should be able to find some budget airlines that will get you where you need to go for the cheapest price.

Budget airlines can get away with not charging as much as mainstream ones due to them not having in-flight food, assigned seats, and that they put restrictions on luggage. A member of Baby Boomer Super Saver admitted he was able to find a flight on Ryanair from London to Leipzig, Germany for under $14.

Let Other People Stay At Your Home

an older man and woman packing a suitcase in a home
Bilal Qabalan/AFP via Getty Images
Bilal Qabalan/AFP via Getty Images

Since baby boomers are taking multiple trips a year the costs can add up. In order to make sure they’ll have enough money to last them through retirement there are certain things they can do to prevent their expenses from piling up.

One way is to rent out your house during the duration of your vacation. There are apps such as Airbnb and HomeAway for posting information about your house to be used as a short-term rental. It might be a good idea to talk to any potential renters beforehand, so you can make sure they’re trustworthy.

All Aboard For This Travel Tip

a suburban red train crossing the tracks
Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images
Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images

There are plenty of ways for people on a budget to travel to their destination of choice. Public transportation has seen a dramatic rise in ridership after six decades. In addition, low-income travelers have been seeking out more train trips.

Overnight train travel can be a helpful way to save both time and money. Passengers can see the schedule ahead of time and plan out their itinerary accordingly. This way they won’t have to worry about a hotel because the train will take them to their next destination while they sleep.

Work Doesn’t Have To End After Retirement

a volunteer park ranger with a green rain jacket and binoculars in a forest
Uli Deck/picture alliance via Getty Images
Uli Deck/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to CNBC nearly half (47 percent) of baby boomers have already retired. Even though they’ve stepped away from the working world it doesn’t mean they can’t find jobs outside of retirement. There are a good number of programs that allow visitors to work in exchange for food and a place to stay.

These jobs range from volunteering as a tour guide at a national park, pressing apples at an orchard, or leading a yoga retreat. Baby boomers can easily find something that they’re passionate about and get a free or inexpensive vacation out of it.

Immersion Can Heighten A Vacation

tourists speaking with a guide inside a house
Melanie Stetson Freeman/Getty Images
Melanie Stetson Freeman/Getty Images

Travel Market Report was able to collect some data noting that baby boomers want to immerse themselves in the local culture on vacation, especially when they travel internationally. This can be done by having a tour guide from the community, dining with people who know the area or even living with a local family.

Being able to learn about the cultural traditions and customs allows for baby boomers to gain new insights into how others live. A program from Diverbo allows tourists to volunteer to teach English at their villages in Spain and Germany in exchange for a free week of travel expenses.

Look For Senior Deals And Accommodations

an elderly woman buying something at a ticket counter
Vladimir Smirnov/TASS via Getty Images
Vladimir Smirnov/TASS via Getty Images

Getting older doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Various places across the globe offer special deals and accommodations for seniors. When Expedia surveyed baby boomers about their travel priorities 95 percent responded that they always look for the best deals.

There are numerous tour groups that specifically focus on the baby boomer market and design trips geared toward their needs. Also, several attractions tend to feature equipment that aids seniors such as devices for those with auditory or vision issues. Doing research beforehand on which places are baby boomer friendly can make a trip go a lot smoother.

Your Health Should Be A Priority

an old man reading a newspaper
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

All the get-up and go can be rough for the baby boomers who aren’t used to an active lifestyle. One of the main things that prevents this age group from going on a trip is if they are in poor health.

This is why it’s extremely important for seniors to set aside some time every day to rest and recuperate from their activities. One way to do this is to set a reminder on a watch or phone that can go off throughout the day.

What To Take On The Airplane

a close-up of someone wearing socks on an airplane
aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Long flights can take a toll on both physical and mental health, but there are items people can bring on the plane to make the trip less stressful. Since there isn’t any room to walk around it’s important to have a spare pair of compression socks on hand to help with blood flow.

It’s also best to bring any essential medication in a carry-on in case of emergency with copies of prescriptions and medical statements readily available. Those who get irritated by noise should consider bringing some noise-canceling headphones as well.

Invest In Travel Insurance

close-up of an elderly person writing with a pen on paper
Photofusion/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photofusion/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Unfortunately, there are a myriad of mishaps that can occur before, during, or after a vacation. These can range from medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost luggage, or a flight accident. Travel insurance is designed to cover anything that can go wrong, which can easily happen to baby boomer travelers.

Health insurance doesn’t necessarily follow people when they travel. More baby boomers are taking trips than ever before and this increase magnifies the benefit of purchasing an annual travel insurance plan. Travel insurance agents recommend that baby boomers, especially those with chronic illnesses, invest in a travel insurance plan.

Beware Of Common Travel Frauds

close-up of a person pointing at a
Martin Chan/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
Martin Chan/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

Retired Brains found that money lost to travel fraud has increased by a whopping 425 percent with more people booking and paying for their trips online. This is done by hackers setting up fake websites, hacking into people’s accounts, and posting fake advertisements online through social media.

It may seem difficult to figure out if something is actually a scam, but it’s recommended to check with the Better Business Bureau when booking things such as airline tickets, timeshares, and hotels. Keeping track of all purchases and finding special places for credit cards, cash, and IDs is essential.

Don’t Forget About Your Vacation Days

an elderly couple lounging on a beach
EyesWideOpen/Getty Images
EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

Miles Away reported that baby boomers make up about one-third of today’s workforce. Baby boomers actually use fewer vacation days than their Gen X and millennial counterparts, which leaves them missing out on earned vacation time.

They are reaching the point in their lives where it’s a now-or-never decision to travel, so they shouldn’t be hesitant about using their full vacation days to go out and see the world. Working baby boomers should allow themselves to take time and unwind on a trip because that’s what their vacation days are for.

Luxury May Not Be The Way To Go

a woman in a bathrobe relaxing on a lounge chair
Eric Robert/Sygma via Getty Images
Eric Robert/Sygma via Getty Images

Baby boomers rely on luxury when they go on vacation and make-up about 80 percent of the luxury travel market. When Globe News Wire researched baby boomer travel trends they found that they are highly interested in luxury travel. This can include features such as spa treatments, 5-star cuisine, and all-inclusive hotels.

Although all of these amenities sound like a great way to spend a vacation, they can quickly add up in cost. Instead, it may be suitable to make a budget ahead of time. This allows baby boomers to splurge on some luxury items, but be reasonable when it comes to how much they’re spending on the trip overall.