We have always traveled as a family. When our children were home we had so much fun, but vacations were generally geared around activities that the kids would enjoy. But now……..we do everything we want! Baby boomer travel is the best! Traveling over 50, we sleep when we want, eat where we want, linger in the museum as long as we want. We stop and just sit on a park bench and people watch if we want or stop at a side walk cafe for a coffee as long as we want. We loved traveling with our family but this is a whole new dimension off travel fun.
We are kind of do it yourself people and it is no different when it comes to making our DIY travel plans. We like the idea of choosing exactly what we want to do and when we want to do it. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t the fly by the seat of our pants couple. We have plenty of concrete plans, but also plenty of time to be spontaneous if we want to. We chose our flights, the hotels and how our itinerary will look, yet we get to chose the prices we are willing to pay and the hotels that appeal the most to us. DIY travel plans are fun.
When we were younger hauling a couple of heavy suitcases wasn’t that difficult, but as we have grown older those same suitcases seem to just get heavier and heavier. Because we are doing the baby boomer travel thing these days and I suppose it is still true for young families try to pare down what you take.
Seems like every trip we take we take, we realize there are so many things that we can live with out and it gets left home on our next trip. Now we each have a small suitcase and together we have one carry on piece of luggage. We invested in new ultra light luggage, each suitcase, empty weights just 5.5 lbs.
We now use lots of packing tools, like compression bags, packing folders and packing cubes. So impressive what you can compress. The husband even like to take his pillow and it all fits. We don’t over pack and we plan to do some wash along the way. Usually stay in an AirBNB somewhere along the way and we try to book a place with a washing machine. We pack some wire hangers and a few clothes pins to air dry if needed.
As part of our DIY travel planning we enjoy tours. We have had some fascinating tours like the Undergeround Tour in Seattle. Did you know there is an entire abandoned city under the city of Seattle? We have toured many caves around the country. We have toured Phi Phi Islands in Thailand which was grogeous and the Roman Colosseum at night. The Colosseum at night gives an entirely new prospective. There is a private tour of Capri where you will be chauffered around in a red convertable and probably my most favorite your was the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai Thailand.
Surviving Jet Lag
Jet lag can be a killer. If you aren’t careful it can really wreck a few days of travel. Especially if you have children or you are a baby boomer. Once in Africa, after fighting the jet lag for about 3 days I finally succumbed and had to spend an entire day sleeping. Another time in Germany, we tried to stay awake with the locals and ended of sleeping straight through till 1 PM, wasting a half a day.
After some trial and error we have found a routine that seems to help us bounce right back after crossing several time zones. We really make an effort to land at our destination by about 2 PM especially if we are looking at a significant time difference.
By the time we collect our luggage, commute to our accomadations, get checked in and settled in, it’s usually approaching 5 PM. We go for an early dinner and then return to our accomadations. Exhaustion is really beginning to overtake us at this point and instead of trying to fight it, we give in and go to sleep. The first few times we tried to just take a nap, that doesn’t seem to work either because we always ended up just sleeping straight through to the next morning.
It was somewhat by accident that we discovered this. After sleeping for nearly 15 hours, we totally hit the ground running from there on in. I know it is exciting to get to a new place. You want to start exploring, Honestly just take the evening of your arrival, relax after your long flight and sleep. You will feel so much better the following day so that you can really enjoy the sights.
Take Your Time
Don’t try to cram to much into your trip. I understand that you are probably thinking you can rest when you get home and you may never get back again. That might be ture, but vacations are also about down time, time to relax. Honestly don’t wipe yourself out to the point of exhaustion and then you get cranky. That’s just no fun for you or those traaveling with you.
As you make your travel plans and your destinations have been choosen, set some priorities. What are the sites you just can’t leave without seeing. Put those at the top of your list. Schedule 1 or maybe 2 major sites in a day. Leave yourself time to relax a little, do a little shopping, enjoy a nice meal, lie on the beach, or read a book. You don’t have to run through your whole vacation.
Baby boomer travel is a wonderful experience. Maybe you are a recent empty nester and feeling like your purpose in life is lacking. There is a whole new world out there for you, time for your now. Grab it and enjoy it.