Boomers Collect Travel Experiences Instead of Stuff

Fancy home? Garage filled with exotic sports cars? Forget about it. Today’s affluent boomer doesn’t measure life by high-end material things. Instead, unique experiences are their preferred bragging right, especially when it comes to travel.

This is no surprise to me. Traipsing around the world writing about active travel for boomers—and experiencing a few luxurious adventures of my own—I’ve met my share of baby boomers intent on experiencing a destination through doing rather than seeing.

DSC_8973-okBagan Lodge in Myanmar

Where do affluent boomer travelers find their unique experiences? Adventure cruises, small luxury tours to formerly forbidden lands like Cuba or Myanmar, walking holidays featuring luxurious lodging, or safaris are at the top of the list. The combination of adventure, security and comfort allows boomers to explore in style. After all, our generation is known for being somewhat high maintenance.

Samburu IntrepidsSamburu Intrepids, Kenya

But don’t take my word for it. The Resonance Report 2013 says, “In 2012, 59% of affluents 55+ defined retirement as ‘a time to travel and explore new places’ and 42% of them are planning international travel in the next 12-24 months.” The report goes on to say that affluent boomers list touring wine country, visiting remote locations like Antarctica, participating in gourmet cooking classes, going on safari or traveling on the luxurious Orient Express as some of their top experiential choices.

Glamping is another top choice. The combination of comfortable, even luxurious, lodging plus an array of new adventures is the active experience that so many boomer travelers seek.


Take safari camps, for instance. What could be better than watching elephants lumber by while sitting on the deck of a luxuriously appointed tent, including ensuite bath, at South Africa’s Gorah Elephant Camp? And let’s not forget about amenities like gourmet dining and guided game drives.

Netting the fish

How about learning to fly-fish? Montana’s Ranch at Rock Creek accommodates the desire to try new activities like fly-fishing while glamping in the comforts of a canvas cabin situated next to a gurgling creek.

horseback-riding-snow Trying a new activity together is one of the best ways to bond with grandchildren and guest ranches are exceptional choices for multigenerational glamping trips. The time spent learning to ride horses at Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado—and the laughs you’ll share around the nightly campfire—are memory-making experiences that the extended family will always treasure.

Don’t have big bucks for your boomer travels? Glamping offers value at a wide range of price points. More importantly, the experience provides boomers with plenty of activities to satisfy the yearning to learn and explore. Shhh, don’t tell anyone—that’s what keeps us young.

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