Where Boomers Are Headed This Year

Experts: Those who can afford it favor cruises through Europe, visits to Ireland, Hawaii or the Mediterranean

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Where are baby boomers traveling this year? Area travel agents offered a glimpse into where their clients are headed in 2017.

At Allison’s Magical Moments Vacations in Syracuse, travel agent Allison Francisco said that most baby boomers want either cruises or Disney vacations.

In addition to multi-generational getaways, many trips she books are for people 55-plus who want to travel to Disney World without their adult kids and grandkids.

“I don’t know if it’s because people are realizing it’s an option to do it themselves, that they can have an amazing vacation without their kids,” Francisco said. “Maybe it’s just their turn to have a vacation and do what they want to do.”

She added that Disney is catering to more discerning vacationers with signature restaurants, spas, tours and the like.

As for cruising, she’s booking many eastern and western Caribbean cruises, most of which last seven or more days. Most vacationers aren’t booking shore excursions, partly because many cruise ships pack so many activities into the ship and also because baby boomers want to explore the ports themselves, especially if they’re experienced travelers.

European travel has experienced a minor uptick lately, she added, but “there’s more nervousness about it with the way the world is today with the political climate and terrorism. I think people are afraid. The surge of domestic travel will continue to rise.”

Trips involving historic sites, shows or a landscape markedly different from Central New York draw baby boomers. Richard O’Neil, travel agent and owner of Travel Choice International in East Syracuse, said that domestic trips rising in popularity among locals include trips to the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island in Michigan, Cape Cod, The Shaw Festival in Toronto, the Hudson Valley, Montreal, San Antonio, and Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster County, Pa.

He said that Sight & Sound in Lancaster County “is a favorite. They do a different show every year, so it’s a renewable trip. It’s a delightful area, too.”

Most of these are motor coach trips, which he said older adults like because “flying is a hassle for a lot of people, and with the motor coach, they won’t have to drive,” he said.

Planning a Trip

You can plan your vacation without the help of a travel agent; however, travel agents can provide services that can make your trip easier.

• Agents can help you brainstorm about where you want to go. It’s their job to keep their fingers on the pulse of travel hotspots.

• Travel agents also stay abreast of good travel deals. With their connections, they may be able to pull strings to get you in on a “sold out” cruise or upgrade that consumers can’t get.

• Your safety is a big concern. Travel agents can assist you in choosing safe places to explore and safer ways to do so. If you’re a less experienced traveler, travel agents can suggest ways to improve your safety wherever you go.

• Miss your connecting flight? Your reservation evaporate? If you get in a bind while abroad, travel agents may be able to help you or at least advise you as to where you can get help.