Boomer Women Want More from Travel
We are the first generation women who studied abroad, joined the Peace Corps, traveled internationally for work and ,like myself, lived abroad. These experiences made us different travelers. Our mothers would be both scared for us and proud.
Boomers expect to see icons: Ponte Vecchio, Eiffel Tower, Vatican. But we welcome insights even prickly or dark ones. Second, we are looking for new countries to discover. Third we have reranked what is important to us, both during the trip and afterwards.
What would make a trip to the Adriatic special to a well traveled Boomer? A Croatian cruise will sate our love of coastal beauty; Mostar inland at the borders of the Balkan Wars is what we remember. A trip to Sicily is about food, villages, wines, Baroque, Greek, Roman history. Boomers are the last generation who think about the Allied invasion of this jagged isolated island. Sicilian Boomers bring home the warmth and poverty of a ‘homeland’. Jewish Boomers will connect to recently excavated synagogues. We ask about Ethiopian forced circumcision and opposition parties. We dig below the travel brochures.
Our emotional needs are different. We are without partners. We travel solo or with non family groups. At our age, we have rerank our needs; they now start with safety and health. Next is hotel comfort. Third is respect by hospitality staff etc. It is the last, respect, that is uncomfortable for Boomer women. We fly business yet allow staff to ignore us. We tip after poor meal service. We hear a concierge share our name and room number out loud but do not object. We suffer from what the French call ‘une pensee a l’escalier’: a thought on the staircase, or what we should have said.
here we want to travel has changed. Stats show the adventure traveler is a 47 year old woman who wears a size 12 dress (Mary Beth Bond, our pal at www.gutsytraveler.com is our source). Where Europeans go in 2020, is where Americans go in 2025. When a new destination opens like Myanmar in 2011 or Iran in 2015/6, Boomer women book. When Albania recovered, ask any tour operator what demographic booked immediately: it was Boomer women.
So we are different and you, out there, are not alone. You thrived as the only woman at work or the first in your family to have a career. You’ve been the family nexus. And the single mother. Celebrate yourself with travel. Ask for what you deserve. Learn both the good, bad and ugly of where you go. And try the new destinations before the crowds.
Phyllis Stoller, President
The Women's Travel Group, Smart Tours for Women