Cuba – Forbidden fruit, no more

I stepped from the dimly lit terminal into the parking lot at at Havana International Airport. Blinking to let my eyes adjust to the brilliant sunshine, I marveled at row upon row of classic cars, their rounded silhouettes a chorus line of humpback whales. I knew about Cuba’s classic cars, but had not expected to see so many. On the broad boulevards, our tour bus was surrounded by 1950’s era Cadillacs with gleaming chrome grilles and ostentatious fins, painted in gaudy colors designed to make the most ambivalent pedestrian take notice. It was just the first of many surprises during… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | June 17, 2015
Category: Female Travelers, Senior Travel

Breeze through U.S. airport lines with TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry

Last weekend, I landed at Miami International Airport after spending a week in Cuba. My tour-mates, tired and bedraggled from a week crammed with activities, dutifully queued up behind a long line at Immigration. I breezed through Immigration, collected my luggage, took the Green lane at Customs, and was checked into my airport hotel room in 20 minutes, flat. I didn't even need to fill out the written customs declaration usually required upon entry into U.S. [caption id="attachment_23170" align="alignleft" width="195"] Global Entry kiosk[/caption] How did I manage this? I’m not a celebrity, nor did I jump the line. I simply… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | April 30, 2015
Category: Female Travelers, Senior Travel

Must-have smart phone travel apps

The day that smart phones became available, travel changed forever. Immediately, my smart phone became my watch, my alarm clock, calendar, address book, notebook, mirror, and even my flashlight, lessening the number of devices and the weight I needed to carry. As more and more travel apps became available, my smart phone quickly became my most valuable travel accessory. But with literally thousands of apps related to travel, figuring out which are truly useful can be daunting, so I put together the following list of my favorite and most beneficial apps: Maps With Me: [caption id="attachment_23109" align="alignleft" width="75"] Maps with… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (5)  | March 24, 2015
Category: Female Travelers, Senior Travel

The rising popularity of river cruising

A record 23 million passengers are expected to take cruises around the globe in 2015, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which recently made the projection in its annual State of the Cruise Industry Report. Admittedly, I have never been a fan of ocean cruising. As a long-term, independent traveler who immerses in the culture of the countries I visit, the idea of being trapped on a ship that visits ports of call for a few brief hours is more than a little off-putting. To that, add the issue of seasickness. During the two specialty ocean cruises I have… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | February 24, 2015
Category: Female Travelers, Senior Travel, Vagabonding Styles

Should terrorism keep Americans from traveling overseas?

In the wake of recent terror attacks in Paris and an article in an Al Qaeda magazine that provided instructions for making a bomb that is undetectable by current airport security technology, the U.S. State Department issued the following travel warning for Americans traveling abroad: “Recent terrorist attacks...serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness” On face value, the alert might seem a normal precaution, however a week later the Department of Homeland Security said, “there is no specific, credible threat of an attack… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (7)  | January 27, 2015
Category: Female Travelers, Senior Travel, Vagabonding Styles

Independent travel – not just for twenty-somethings

Not long ago I was asked to write an article about the differences between traveling independently as a senior and a twenty or thirty-something. Admittedly, I bristled. I replied that the essence of travel was the same regardless of our age. We all visit new places to satisfy our curiosity, to experience something different, and to learn about cultures different from our own. The myth that independent travel is only for the younger crowd needs to be debunked. Since then, however, I have not been able to get the question out of my mind. When I left corporate life to… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | December 30, 2014
Category: Female Travelers, Senior Travel, Vagabonding Styles

Travel is not a dangerous activity

Nine years ago, bedridden with a debilitating case of chronic Lyme disease, I examined my life. For 36 years I’d slaved away in jobs I detested because they provided me with a good living, but despite having all the material things that money could buy, I was miserable. In that rare moment of clarity, I thought, Is this all there is? Three-plus decades after entering the work force, I was no closer to achieving my dreams of being a travel writer and photographer. Instead, I’d become ensnared in a web of mortgages, car payments, and a seeming unending desire for… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 25, 2014
Category: Female Travelers, Senior Travel, Vagabonding Styles

Retirement, vagabonding style

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="A couple, strolling in New York. Photo: Ed Yourdon / Flickr"][/caption] The Wall Street Journal had a story titled, "The let's sell our house and see the world retirement." A couple, Lynn and Tim Martin, decided to ditch the stereotypical retirement lifestyle and hit the road. Here's how Lynn describes it: In short, we're senior gypsies. In early 2011 we sold our house in California and moved the few objects we wanted to keep into a 10-by-15-foot storage unit. Since then, we have lived in furnished apartments and houses in Mexico, Argentina, Florida, Turkey, France, Italy… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (21)  | October 29, 2012
Category: Lifestyle Design, Senior Travel

Want to travel? Wait until you are old

As I was sitting in Patan’s Durbar Square a few weeks ago, I noticed a couple elder tourists escorted by a guide: they were taking pictures, bending into unnatural shapes. The DSLR cameras they were shooting with looked like some sort of futuristic gear they could barely handle. They seemed quite clumsy and out of place, as they had been cut out from a lifestyle magazine and pasted into another wrong centerfold. Instantly, I was reminded of the persistent, conservative way of thinking I was pushed to accept back home: before you may travel and enjoy your life, you will… Read More...

Experimental travel via Latourex

[caption id="attachment_11065" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Joel Henry of Latourex"][/caption] Latourex, short for Laboratoire de Tourisme Experimental, is a couple of French charmers who developed their experimental travel techniques to make their trips more interesting.  Instead of just doing the same old same old -- go to a place, look at its museums, drink coffee at coffeeshops, attempt to blend in while suavely writing in your journal, hit on local members of your preferred gender -- they offer numerous travel experiments one can perform, in as controlled conditions as you like. Their list of potential experiments is available here, and their list… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | December 21, 2010
Category: Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Family Travel, Female Travelers, General, Senior Travel, Solo Travel