Unexpected Travel Destinations for Baby Boomers

Unexpected Travel Destinations for Baby Boomers

If you're a travel buff over 50, chances are you've already seen the usual suspects: Paris, New York and maybe even Beijing.

With our globe-trotting readers in mind, we asked The Experts: What travel destination would you recommend for baby boomers that they might not know about?

This discussion relates to a recent Journal Report article on a guide to adventure travel for retirees and formed the basis of a discussion on The Experts blog on Sept. 10.


SUZANNE SOMERS : I'm almost reluctant to mention this incredible place. It's my secret hideaway…Well, here goes…Amangiri in southern Utah. It has about 30 guest rooms; it is the perfect place, perfect for people who love health and beauty and incredible architecture and sexy rooms, organic food, massages, gorgeous vistas and remote desert views. I wish I owned it.

There are times lying in my beautiful hotel room with the glass wall at the end of our bed fully open (the glass disappears into the side walls), with the desert winds softly blowing about while we look out at this unbelievable, untouched, undeveloped desert view, and it takes my breath away. At any time I expect John Wayne and the cavalry to come riding by. Geronimo and his tribe on horseback would look impressive sitting on the ridge above. The effect is so magical I feel like I am actually in one of those old movies of my childhood! Amangiri is silent, it's sexy, it's sophisticated and the perfect spot for tending the soul and doting on your mate. We hike, walk, sleep, have spa treatments, drink tequila at sunset on one of the many private terraces. I'm not going to say anymore or I won't be able to get a reservation.

If you want to really splurge, charter a small plane from L.A. and land near Lake Powell, (less than two hours by air) and start your luxurious retreat that much sooner. Driving from L.A. is also extremely beautiful and remote if you are that type of person.

Suzanne Somers (@SuzanneSomers) is a health advocate, entrepreneur, Emmy-nominated entertainer and author of the forthcoming "I'm Too Young for This."



A Great Online Guide for Retiree Travel

MARC AGRONIN : It's easy to come up with lots of jaw-dropping beaches (after all, I live in Florida) but in terms of finding interesting and amazing places that you would certainly not known about, I recommend the Atlas Obscura website at www.atlasobscura.com. Billing itself as the "definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places," Atlas Obscura has combed the world with help from innumerable enthusiasts to find everything from the wacky (an 80-year-old house in Rockport, Mass., made entirely out of newspapers) to the sublime (Wave Rock in Marble Canyon, Ariz.).

Marc Agronin (@MarcAgronin), is a geriatric psychiatrist and the author of "How We Age: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Growing Old." He is the medical director for mental health and clinical research at Miami Jewish Health Systems and an affiliate associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.



Why I Recommend Bhutan for Couples Traveling in Retirement

MOLLY METTLER : Bhutan. It's a tiny (half the size of Indiana), Buddhist democracy nestled between India and Tibet. It's beautiful and as un-Western as it can be. Check out this amazing photo of Tiger's Nest, a Bhutanese monastery that clings to a side of cliff.

Fun facts: The well-being of the country is measured not by its GDP but by its GNH: Gross National Happiness. It's a biodiverse wonderland that is home to the rare Himalayan bear, the very rare golden langur and the exceedingly rare black-necked crane. National law specifies that 60% of the country maintain its forest cover. There are no stoplights in its capital, Thimphu. There is no internal air or rail service. If you want to see the country, you pay a licensed tour operator a minimum $200 to $250 per person per day. The daily fee provides a guide, a driver, a vehicle, your lodging and meals.

For more information on traveling to Bhutan, go to the government's official tourism site.

Molly Mettler (@mollykmettler) is senior vice president of mission at Healthwise Inc., a nonprofit founded in 1975 with a mission to help people make better health decisions. She also serves as a fellow with the Center for Advancing Health and is the author of "Healthwise for Life."



A Travel Tip for Retiring baby boomers: Take the Train

MORGAN FAIRCHILD : Have you ever considered train travel? There are some great train trips, and they can be fun and romantic. I took a train tour of Scotland a few years ago and it was fabulous. It was an antique train with great food and service. It stopped every night, so there wasn't all that jostling to keep you from sleeping. We were on a tour of Scotland, so no big hurry to get anywhere, and we got tours of places of interest at many different stops along the way. Fun, and I learned a good bit about Scottish history, which was quite fascinating! You can go on your own Grand Tour and feel like you're right in the middle of an Agatha Christie mystery!!


Morgan Fairchild (@morgfair) is an Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actress and activist supporting AIDS research, women's rights and the environment.



Planning to Travel in Retirement? Consider Singapore.

MARC FREEMAN : Singapore is a well-established stopping off point for exploring Southeast Asia, especially destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia. But I'm convinced after three Singaporean stopovers that it's worth the trip all by itself—which is saying something, considering that Singapore is some 8,500 miles from the U.S. The compact city-state is extremely easy to navigate for English speakers, a prosperous and dynamic location, with the world's greatest airport and an efficient public transportation system once you land. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is massive, magnificent—and free. The neighborhoods are varied and vital. But the real draw, for me, is the food, specifically the street food, reflecting Singapore's long status as a global crossroads.


Indulging this food obsession, my wife purchased for me the Makansutra guide (www.makansutra.com) to Singapore's hawker centers—essentially concentrations of street food stalls with some picnic tables—as a 50th birthday present. It is by K. F. Seetoh, the pre-eminent expert on hawker centers, and the subject of an adoring Calvin Trillin portrait in the New Yorker, Mr. Seetoh estimates that there are 12,000 food stalls in Singapore. What are they like? Imagine stand after stand selling satay, laksa, Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, tropical fruit—the range is endless and everything is immaculate.

Marc Freedman is CEO and founder of Encore.org. Encore.org is a nonprofit organization working to promote encore careers—second acts for the greater good.



The Best Way to See the U.S. on a Retirement Trip

BUD HEBELER: When I was a kid, my parents asked my sister and I to plan for a month driving trip around the Eastern part of the U.S. and the next year another month driving trip around the Western states. We covered every continental state in those two months. In those days we didn't have AAA to help us or Google to do our research, so my sister and I used old-fashioned travel books about things to see in various places. It was wonderful, and I'll never forget it. So take a trip around the U.S. We live in a country with spectacular things to see all over.


Although we have friends that still do things like kayak in white water rivers in South America and have walked to the base camp at Mount Everest, our own preference is for less vigorous things like international cruises, golfing vacations in the summer, skiing in the winter and leisure in Hawaii. Resort information is readily available to those who like similar things.

Those who come to visit us in Washington state have always enjoyed expeditions around the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier, but be forewarned that summer is the only season to do that. Otherwise, you'll rust instead of tan in our three seasons of rain. Of course a salmon fishing trip at Westport is very exciting when the tide is opposing the river flow. Better yet, a float plane trip for some fishing off Vancouver Island or Sitka where the fish are more plentiful.

Henry "Bud" Hebeler was president of the aerospace division of Boeing Co. He has served on the board of MIT's Sloan School and currently focuses on the dissemination of free, sound financial planning on www.analyzenow.com.



Two Great European Destinations for Retirees

MARTIN FROST : I have two recommendations based on my personal experience—one is fairly well known and the second is less so.

My wife and I recently completed a Rhine River Cruise starting in Basel, Switzerland, and ending in Amsterdam. These cruises have become fairly popular in recent years. The particular ship we traveled on had room for 150 passengers, most of whom were our contemporaries in age. The passage was very smooth, the shore excursions were to small and medium-size cities that were picturesque (almost all included in the base price) and the food was excellent. I had always wanted to visit the Alsace region of France after reading a poignant story as a sixth-grader called "The Last Class," which described how the schools were turned over to the Germans after the territory was ceded by France following the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. It did not disappoint. It was much more enjoyable than the cruise my wife and I had taken two years previously on a large ocean liner which included stops in large capitals in the Baltic and required formal dress for many dinners.

The other destination is much less well known. It's the North Sea coastal city of Knokke in Belgium. The summer temperatures are wonderful—mid 60s to low 70s almost every day. It is a very relaxing and few places in the world have better food than Belgium. The town is not large and you can walk almost everywhere. You fly into Brussels and take the train to Knokke, which is the end of the line. There is plenty of high end shopping if you are so inclined, and Holland is a short drive away for a day trip. My wife has a longtime friend there and so we visit her almost every summer. Knokke has an ample beach if that's your thing—we are not really beach people but most who visit it are. There is a wonderful open-air market two days a week where you can buy fresh fish and cook it yourself.

Our preference is Europe because the flights aren't too long and the schedules are good. However, we will be looking for longer trips once I retire.

Martin Frost served as a member of Congress representing the Dallas-Fort Worth area in north Texas from 1979 to 2005. During the 1988 and 1996 election cycles, he was the chair of the Democratic Congressional Committee. He is currently a shareholder at the law firm, Polsinelli PC, in their Washington, D.C. office.


Link to the Article:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323595004579069342950682538