According to the AARP, Boomers say they’re interested in authentic travel experiences that connect them with locals. Is this true for you?

Vacation possibilities are endless. Getting to know your own personal needs can help you get the most out of your travels so you can enjoy a trip custom-fit for you.

The List of Themes and Memories

But how do you go about it? Start by making a list of the most fun memories you have of past trips you’ve taken.

Notice if there are any repeating themes. While you likely don’t want each vacation to be a carbon copy of what you’ve done before, you can use these themes to guide your planning of future trips.

  • Do you want to vacation with friends or family?
  • Do you want to mingle with and get to know the locals?
  • Do you like to be near a lake, river, or the ocean?
  • Do you prefer the mountains or a desert vista?
  • What kind of weather is ideal for you?
  • Do you like to be with a group or to have quiet time?
  • Which mode of transportation do you prefer?
  • Would you feel comfortable in a place that isn’t English literate?
  • Would you like to be close to home or far away?

When you can build your answers into your travel plans, you’re likely to return home with happy memories.

Favorite Activities at Home

You should also consider your favorite activities when you are at home. What do you like to do to relax, have fun, or re-energize when you’re not on vacation?

  • Do you want your vacation to include a favourite hobby?
  • Do you prefer to have a schedule to follow or to spontaneously choose activities as-you-go?
  • Do you like simplicity or luxury?
  • Do you prefer an active or a more passive lifestyle?
  • Do you prefer to be indoors or outside in nature?

You might be surprised how often people book vacations that are filled with activities or set at a pace they don’t really enjoy.

It’s possible that you’d love a week of camel riding in Morocco or riding a bike in Tuscany, even though you never go cycling at home but you could end up tired, saddle-sore, and wishing for a car.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t try new activities; there’s plenty of room for new adventures on trips. It might be wise to incorporate new activities in small bites, though – say, an afternoon bike tour with plenty of stops – to see if it’s something you’d genuinely like to do more of.

I once took a group tour in Europe where I was on and off a bus several times a day, with only brief stops at places I wanted to see. I found the time restriction irritating. Others were content to follow the schedule set by our leader. What do you prefer?

What Is the Purpose of Your Trip?

Part of what makes travel so amazing is its capacity to broaden and deepen our cultural horizons, to help us learn something new about ourselves, or to have us practice an activity we enjoy, but in a new location.

  • Would you like to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn a new language?
  • Is a volunteer vacation of helping others a good fit for you?
  • Would you like to take a class that teaches you how to cook the dishes specific to the destination you’re visiting?
  • Is creative travel for you because you enjoy photography, painting, writing, pottery, weaving, etc.?
  • Are you looking for a Spa vacation or a Retreat?

Plan your trip around the kind of experience you’re looking for.

Travel Can Enhance Your Creativity

Travel can make you more creative. Some choose to travel as a way to explore their creativity. The fairytale look of a castle in Germany inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom. Paul Gauguin’s paintings were transformed by his trip to Tahiti.

While he was in Europe, Ernest Hemingway wrote books about Paris and Spain, and Paul Theroux seems to write a book every time he travels. A change of scenery can be inspiring.

Travel to a new location is known to be one of the best ways for self-discovery and creativity stimulation. I offer creativity retreats for midlife reinvention on the Island of the Arts – where I live – and I see wonderful results in most people’s lives.

When you take a little time to get to know the type of travel you prefer, your vacation can be both fun and fulfilling. You can come home refreshed, energized, and brimming with ideas and new friendships.

What kind of travel experience is best for you? Have you tried themed travel? What stories can you share of your best and words travel experiences? Please use the box below!

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