If you're part of the "Boomer Generation" you're likely feeling sought after by many in the travel industry. In fact, many organizations spend a considerable amount of time and money developing tours and itineraries they hope will be of interest to you.
They do this because they know that many Boomers, no longer restrained by small children at home, want to make their travel dreams come true. For many, those trips to Adventureland have now been replaced by dreams of adventurous vacations in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Once we enter our fifties, we find a whole new world of travel opportunities. There's plenty to choose from all over the world, but if you want to make your dream vacations even better than expected (and even enhance them), develop a new travel mindset. This means not traveling to some place just for the sake of being there but enriching your travel experience by combining it with things you love to do.
For example, if you enjoy walking, why not set out on a walking tour in the U.S., Canada or Europe? Love wine? Spend time visiting the great vineyards of California, Italy, France or Australia. Is cooking your hobby or do you want to master new techniques? Why not travel to Europe or Asia and spend a week in a cooking school? If you enjoy boating, rent a barge and slip along the canals of France or England. For real immersion in a country you love, take a language course. The possibilities are endless.
Think also of things you may want to do with your family. Just because the kids are no longer in the house doesn't mean you have to forego family vacations.
A few years ago as a Christmas present to our daughter and son-in-law, my wife and I rented a villa in Tuscany and, since there was plenty of space, invited another couple along who shared in the expenses. The house was a wonderful antiques-filled villa set amid olive groves and vineyards about a half-hour outside Florence and included a full kitchen and laundry.
We used it as a base and everyday set off for new destinations such as Florence, Siena, Rome and the old wine town of Greve in Chianti. With nothing preplanned and no schedule to keep, everyone had the freedom to go wherever they wanted each day.
Not only was the overall cost much less than it would have been if we had stayed in a hotel, it also let us have a casual and fun family get-together which we never could have had elsewhere. My wife still says it was the best vacation we've ever taken.
Following your dreams doesn't have to be a budget-buster. In fact, using the Internet or a good travel agent can unearth plenty of good deals. You can also read Where Your Travel Dollar Will Go Furthest to find where you'll get the best bang for your travel buck.
Jim Ferri's Never Stop Traveling is designed for travelers 50+.