Why Retirement Travel is Different Than Before
When I took early retirement, I knew that it would be necessary to keep an eye on expenses and spend more thoughtfully. One of the “sacrifices” that I, as a baby boomer traveling on a budget, have to make is when I am away from home I have to be more selective about where I stay. That means doing more research, maybe staying in a less “trendy” property and sometimes having to climb a few flights of stairs.
More often than not, if I have done my research carefully, I find that these smaller places are hidden gems and have just as much charm and ambiance as larger properties albeit, without Grand Pianos, airplane hangar-sized lobbies or glass elevators. These places are generally cozier, decorated with local crafts and often reflect the personality of the owners; not some generic focus group.
Also, the guests are different; or at least they act differently depending on where they stay. In the “grander,” more “prestigious” places I find it harder to meet people. It seems that when people spend a lot of money for a room, the bigger and more impenetrable the bubble surrounding them seems to be. When we do manage to break through the stuffiness, the conversation tends to be a checklist of the same places we have visited, where we stayed and how we make our living.
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At the smaller, less expensive places people tend to focus more on the journey, are usually less guarded with their opinions and more open to expanding their horizons; not only maintaining what they have. People in the less upscale places are more apt to ask questions because they want to learn something; not because they want to impress. Very often people in budget places can afford a few days in an expensive place but opt for less daily expenses and more time out traveling. To me, that is what baby boomer travel is all about. I am not looking to impress anyone, but to enjoy the good life and have some adventures.
There are of course exceptions, and I am happy to say that I know some of them. I also made a lot of generalizations, perpetuated stereotypes and even open myself up to charges of hypocrisy. Admittedly, sometimes it is fun to stay in a huge palace with polished marble floors, a starched and pressed staff and chandeliers bigger than a DC3. If it is that that matters to you, who am I to say there is anything wrong with it? Goodness knows I have done it myself. But, when it comes down to seeking what I see as the best of travel; meeting new people and having new adventures – high quality, downscale and intimate are where it is at; for me.