No more waiting for your yearly vacation. You’re retired and undoubtedly love to travel. Most baby boomers are likely retired or semi-retired, with the youngest hitting 55 this year and the oldest nearing 73. 94% of boomers planned at least one domestic travel last year, with an average of four to five journeys. 53% planned are foreign trips.
The AARP poll also found that trip preparation has gotten earlier. Travelport’s 2019 Global Digital Traveler Research says social media influences trip planning. 42% of boomers want more legroom, luggage allowance, or special meals, the report found.
Options abound. With your job behind you, how about a road trip? If you’ve wished to drive, this may appeal to you. Or maybe you had just enough energy to collect your last check and say farewell to jealous coworkers. A resort lets you relax without effort. (Except waving one for a poolside drink.) Or do you want an unusual trip?
Once you have time, energy, and money to go, plan. Here are some retirement vacation options for leisure, excitement, isolation, and luxury.
Blue Ridge Parkway
This 469-mile road connects Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains national parks. This gorgeous trip averages 3,000 to 4,000 feet in height, so take your time. Enjoy the vistas from roadside pullovers or trek 80+ trails. There’s plenty of housing, from campers to luxurious log cabins, plus traditional music, culture, bicycling, history, wildlife, and golf.
In North Carolina, visit George Vanderbilt’s 1895 Biltmore Estate. Self-guided tours of the 250-room mansion and garden are called “time travel experiences.” Accommodations are available at The Inn and in cottages. Blue Ridge Parkway offers a smartphone app with information on beautiful and historical sights, accommodations, and activities to help you plan your trip.
Need a driver? Rocky Mountaineer’s glass-domed trains provide an elegant way to see the Canadian Rockies. The Canadian Rockies Getaway Circle With Post-Tour Alaska Cruise is one alternative. This 16-night tour includes four Rocky Mountaineer days and seven Glacier Bay Inside Passage nights.
Vancouver is where the trip begins. The following day, you’ll board the Rocky Mountaineer to Kamloops Lake. Next, travel through the Canadian Rockies to Jasper National Park and the Icefields Parkway to the Columbia Icefield. You may ride an Ice Explorer into Athabasca Glacier. Lake Louise is also a stop before Banff and Vancouver.
After a few days in Vancouver, you can board a cruise ship for Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
History, religion, and current affairs fans will love visiting this little nation. The Israel Natural and Parks Authority has launched Israel Pass, which allows savings and simpler admission to national parks, nature reserves, and notable sites.
Tel Aviv’s beaches, parties, and artistic community should be your first destination. The Norman is a boutique hotel in a renovated historic property. Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market has distinctive fabrics, spices, herbs, tea, and fresh cuisine.
Caesarea, an hour’s journey north, offers Mediterranean vistas and Roman remains from its days as the area’s most important port. Jerusalem is a must-see for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Jerusalem’s most famous landmark is the Islamic Dome of the Rock. Crucifixion, Temple Mount, and Western Wall.
The King David Hotel’s view of Old Jerusalem is spectacular, even for dinner or a beverage. Israel is convenient and memorable, thanks to travel groups and rates, and concierge service can speed up your Ben Gurion Airport transfer.
For a visit to Australia, you should not have a timetable. In Sydney, visit the Opera House on a harbor cruise. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge if you have the energy and $200. See koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, fur seals, penguins, and kookaburras on Kangaroo Island’s nature reserve.
Corals, turtles, dolphins, sharks, and mollusks live in the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland, Australia. Melbourne’s Great Ocean Road in Australia’s southeast has craggy cliffs, sandy beaches, and the Otway rainforest. Brisbane, Queensland’s city, has a lovely river and the Story Bridge.
View Melbourne’s sights and skyline from the Yarra River. The seasons are opposite n the Southern Hemisphere, so most visitors to southern Australia go between November and March.
Cruise Southeast Asia
A river cruise offers adventure, elegance, and convenience if you’re unfamiliar with this region. AmaWaterways and other organizations provide Mekong River cruises, including Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Visit Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to see French colonial grandeur, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and the Killing Fields. The seven-day trip might include Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. With an additional tour extension, you’ll see historic temples and contemporary skyscrapers in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. From there, drive a motor coach to Halong Bay, where you’ll board a ship and sail amid the limestone rock formations.
Next, you’ll fly south to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to tour Angkor Wat, a 12th-century Hindu temple complex. After Angkor Wat, take a seven-day Mekong River tour.
So far away and with so many large cities, China awaits to be examined thoroughly. Start in Hong Kong for superb shopping, restaurants, skyline, and harbor views from Victoria Peak. Star Ferry to Kowloon to see the harbor.
Then travel to Beijing to see Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the world’s most significant ancient palace complex. Walk the 4,000-mile Great Wall and ponder its importance in China’s history. Fly to Xi’an to witness the Terracotta Army, 7,000 life-size clay warriors, and horses buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
Shanghai, China’s largest metropolis and financial hub, has a colonial-era waterfront promenade called the Bund. Try the most fabulous restaurants’ xiao long bao (soup dumplings).
Now may be the moment if you’ve always wanted to see the pyramids, the Great Sphinx, and the Nile. The Grand Egyptian Museum, open in 2020, has 100,000 items, including 5,400 from Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Even if you generally travel alone, consider a well-planned group trip that includes transfers, admission tickets, meals, excursions, and other preparations. Adventures by Disney provides easy-to-plan 10-day Egypt excursions for adults.
The schedule includes visiting Old Cairo with a native Egyptologist, the Great Pyramid and the Great Sphinx, and the Grand Egyptian Museum. A three-night Nile cruise, a visit to the Luxor Temple, a cookery class, and a tour of Tutankhamun’s tomb are included. A felucca (a wooden boat) or a private yacht ride to Ras Mohammed National Park for snorkeling are also included.
Scottsdale provides several possibilities for exquisite pampering. The Andaz offers rooms and bungalows, each with its pool, for more seclusion. The Hotel Valley Ho welcomes visitors with vintage 1950s décor and modern conveniences.
It takes 20 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to Scottsdale so that you can rest immediately. Old Town’s art galleries, shops, restaurants, and craft brewers are walkable and exciting when you’re ready to experience the city. One-Eyed Jack, a stylized jackrabbit, is one example of Scottsdale’s public art.
The Museum of the West has paintings, sculptures, artifacts, pottery, photography, and drawings. The Museum of Contemporary Art has installations, paintings, photos, and films. Visitors visiting Scottsdale should see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, his winter residence and architectural school. Tours highlight Wright’s life, personality, house, furniture, and construction.
Iceland’s Aurora Borealis
Is there anyone who doesn’t want to see the northern lights? The enigmatic northern lights don’t always arrive when expected. Long winter evenings are best from September to March, and bright moonlight should be avoided. Why not see Iceland while you wait for the sky show?
Visit the Blue Lagoon. Visit or stay at the Silica Hotel or five-star Retreat Hotel. Its landscape and milky blue sea make it Iceland’s most-visited destination. You could view the northern lights soaking in the lagoon’s warm water.
Hotel Ranga is a family-owned boutique that celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019. On-site observatories, outdoor hot springs, aurora warning service, comfy accommodations, excellent meals, and hospitality make the wait delightful.
Want greenery, taverns, and pleasant people? Want to uncover your ancestors’ hometowns? Ireland works.
Start in Dublin to see Trinity College’s architecture and historical manuscripts, prison-turned-museum Kilmainham Gaol, and the Guinness Storehouse. Join a pub crawl to hear Irish music and check out the bars.
Kinsale, Belfast, Dingle, Killarney, and Kilkenny are beautiful cities. The 110-mile Ring of Kerry offers stunning vistas, historical attractions, waterfalls, beaches, and monuments. Adare Manor, Dromoland Castle, and Carton House are great options.
A visit to the White Star Line ticket office in Cobh, County Cork, is moving and unforgettable. If you want to drive, note that automobiles have the right-hand drive, which might be perplexing in a conventional shift car. Comfortable, safe touring requires an automated vehicle or a driver.
This island near Italy’s toe has several ancient villages. You may also search for the perfect cannoli or pasta. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Italian-Americans migrated from Sicily.
Palermo, Sicily’s capital, has vibrant outdoor markets, stunning cathedrals, and delicious street cuisine, like arancini. Pair them with wines from Sicily’s Mount Etna wineries.
Unique and attractive cities throughout Sicily’s coast and interior offer something for everyone, including ancient ruins at Agrigento, Siracusa, Selinunte, and Taormina.
Sicily has many beaches, stunning architecture, great seafood, and friendly people. Train, bus, vehicle, or private driver can connect cities. Main highways are well-maintained and well-marked, unlike some minor roads. Sicilian drivers adore tailgating at high speeds. Cities have limited streets and little parking, and Parcheggios are frequently found on the outskirts of towns.
Pure life? This Central American country’s slogan means “Enjoy life and be happy.” It has rainforests, jungles, Pacific and Caribbean beaches, volcanoes, and hot springs.
Wildlife lovers may view monkeys, sloths, wildcats, whales, reptiles, and sea turtles. You can unwind on an untouched beach or in a beautiful jungle after hiking, diving, surfing, golfing, or exploring nature.
Five-star hotels and magnificent resorts are found nationwide so that you may discover your Pura Vida. Playa Conchal surrounds W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal in Guanacaste. Playa Cativo Lodge is an elite beachside retreat in Costa Rica’s jungle, and Nayara Gardens offers breathtaking views of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has two international airports, LIR and SJO (SJO). When reserving a hotel, consider airport and ground transportation.
You should visit Africa for adventure, wildlife, or photography. Do you want to observe millions of antelope, wildebeest, and zebras migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara?
You may visit Africa by staying at a luxury resort, doing day tours, or joining an organized safari. The Bushcamp Company offers walking safaris in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park and Mfuwe Lodge, where you may observe giraffes, hippos, elephants, and antelopes. Beyond’s Ngala Private Game Reserve has luxury lodges & tented camps near Kruger National Park. See white lion cubs here. Or, try the 14-day all-inclusive Kenya Wildlife Safari with 4x4s, wildlife reserves, and a hot-air balloon trip.
Multigenerational travel is becoming increasingly common, so you may wish to bring kids or other relatives. The 10-day South Africa vacation begins in Cape Town and includes Monkeyland, Knysna Elephant Park, and Kapama Game Reserve.
Coast-to-coast road trip
“Drive your Chevrolet throughout America!” It’s terrific advice for travelers with loads of time. America has so many sites and driving routes. Route 66 connects Chicago and Los Angeles. This is the place for nostalgia, little villages, and the Grand Canyon. The legendary route ends at Santa Monica Pier. Take a photo at the “End of Santa Monica 66” sign.
Or travel south from San Diego to Savannah. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Route 50 connects Maryland and northern California across the Sierra Nevada, Appalachian, Rocky Mountains, deserts, plains, and farms. This itinerary includes Washington, D.C., the world’s highest arch, and Lake Tahoe.
Plan your cross-country trip with a map and a friend. One-way car rentals and flights may be the answer.
Explore the Globe Via Boat
Have weeks or months to spare? Budget travel? If so, you may want an around-the-world cruise.
Seabourn’s 2021 World Cruise: Extraordinary Oceans covers 60 stops in 32 countries on six continents. The Seabourn Sojourn will sail from Miami to Barcelona through Central America, South America, the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, and Africa.
Crystal Cruises’ 2021 Ancient Dynasties and World Wonders includes stops in California, Hawaii, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Dubai, and Egypt.
2021 World Discoveries visits 27 countries in 140 days. Silversea’s 2021 World Tour begins in Fort Lauderdale and concludes in New York after 150 days onboard the Silver Whisper.
These 2021 globe cruises may inspire your trip. Cruise aficionados adore having all preparations made for them, sleeping in magnificent cabins, and unpacking just once.