After 19 years designing custom trips to Spain and Portugal, we can honestly say that a huge number of our Totally Spain valued clients are what the industry likes to call `baby boomers´. Those people born in the US between 1946 and 1964. We really enjoy working with these experienced, mature travelers and, for that reason we thought, why not say something about it? So, in no particular order, here are 8 reasons why we value arranging trips for baby boomers and why baby boomers tend to love travel in Spain and Portugal. And dealing with us at Totally Spain, of course!
1 Baby Boomers Are Attracted to Spain & Portugal
Many of our clients have some experience or knowledge of Spain before booking through us. Some have studied here. Others backpacked in their college days and are returning to explore the country in more depth and, it has to be said, in better style. Others have developed an interest in Spain through Spanish music, cinema, literature or its cuisine. Jewish heritage sights across Spain and Portugal are another source of inspiration. We’ve planned lots of trips for babyboomers whose kids have or are studying in Spain. There are so many different motivations for the empty-nesters to get in touch and nearly all concern an underlying emotional connection with Spain. Thankfully, Spain & Portugal always lives up to its reputation for these travelers. And 99% of the time, it wildly surpasses expectations.
2 Baby Boomers Make Great Travelers
Maybe it’s because they are recently retired and keen to spend their ‘me’ time wisely – but the last thing baby boomers want to do is sit around in a hotel lobby or lounge by the pool. Not that there’s anything wrong with a dip in the pool. But you can do that back home so why would you choose to do it abroad? We love planning the types of trips we actually enjoy ourselves when we travel. And these are essentially the types of trips that the over-50s like to take.
That means understanding the region’s food, meeting the locals, picking up a few recipes, listening to the history and learning about the architecture, local traditions and more. Having spent years juggling busy careers and family life, they are now in a position to travel more and pursue their own interests while traveling. Our expert local guides are amazingly well-read and knowledgeable about their cities which they love to share. Baby boomers never need to be convinced about the merits of hiring an expert guide or not. They’ve been hiring industry experts for the past 30 years in their workplaces and know it makes sense to do it on vacation. It’s not just about not having to research (our baby boomers enjoy researching Spain) but they know that a good guide will take them to places that aren’t on any website and that many of the locals won’t even know about. A good city guide helps a traveler to peel back the layers and really interpret a place. And that’s something that really inspires our mature travelers!
3 Baby Boomers Demand Value for Money
Value for money is one of our key drivers. Not only do we want our clients to love their vacation, we also want them to feel that it was money well spent. It’s true that hiring a Spain Travel Specialist might seem a bit extravagant when there is so much free information online. But the experienced, mature traveler knows that a trusted travel specialist will not only save them time researching but will also save them their hard-earned cash by obtaining the most competitive rates for hotels, restaurants and key attractions.
Here At Totally Spain we bring the costs down by using our knowledge to obtain over-55 deals such as the special rates at historical Parador hotels. We also recommend free tours that are worth doing but we also highlight the extras that are worth paying for. Baby boomers appreciate not having to waste time working out train routes, connection times and ticket types. They like the ease of having a private driver waiting to collect them when they touch down and they love not having to stand in line at major attractions and shows.
Mature travelers appreciate our firsthand dining recommendations. Not just making their trip streamlined and stress-free, but creating unique experiences. We rack our brains and work our contact books really hard to personalise each trip and provide a thorough and very competitive itinerary.
4 The Over-50s are Open-Minded
We organise many joint trips from Spain into Portugal and a number of our cultural-themed itineraries straddle both places, so we often suggest Portugal when we are approached for ideas and advice. And we find that baby boomers are genuinely open to our ideas. Take for example the family group from Hong Kong that wanted a foodie-tour of Northern Spain. We recommended an extension with a direct flight from Bilbao to Lisbon to explore the contrasting cuisine there. We got the green light and the trip was a big hit. Another example is the Boston couple exploring their Sephardic roots in Southern Spain. We were able to identify sites nearby in Portugal that would complement the trip. Green light again and we think the Portuguese section of the trip was the highlight for them! We love when our clients are open to our ideas. 19 years in business means we are brimming with them!
5 The Over-50s Engage with Spain and the Spanish
We’ve all read lots about slow travel and how everybody is looking for destinations where you can really engage with the local way of life. We don’t do ‘slow travel’ as such but we do produce itineraries for what we call “boutique destinations”. These are the smaller cities where you have less of a checklist in terms of sightseeing and therefore much more time and headspace to experience what’s going on around you. We have written much about these places on this blog. Almost all of the clients who go for our ’boutique’ Spain trips are open-minded baby boomers. Perhaps they’ve already toured the big cities but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, these clients are dovetailing a trip with a secondary purpose such as learning Spanish. We often receive requests from solo travelers and couples who want to learn a new skill while they experience the Spanish way of life. We tend to place these travelers in the smaller cities such as Salamanca, Girona, Valencia, Malaga, Segovia and Santander where it’s easier to interact with the locals and observe and take part in the Spanish way of life and its many traditions and fiestas. Again, these trips are always a pleasure because our mature travelers really enjoy engaging with their new home-from-home and the people around them.
6 Baby Boomers Know What They Like
Perhaps it’s architecture. Or gastronomy. Or maybe something a little offbeat like collecting seaglass. But we love how baby boomers approach us with their specific interests and ask how we can incorporate this into their trip. We adore a challenge and we have gone into overdrive to find great locations to collect seaglass, play bridge, explore unique gardens, experience an archaeological dig or find village fiestas where giant paellas or tortillas are on the menu. These requests are the ones that really get us fired up in the office. When you know it’s going to be such a special part of a vacation, it’s easy to put in the extra legwork and pull that rabbit out of the hat!
7 The Over-50s Say Thank You
The majority of thank-you emails, texts and calls we receive about our Spain & Portugal trips come from our more mature clients. We love to receive feedback from them not only because it means a lot to our team, but we get to pass on the praise to everybody else involved, who made that trip so special and unique. 9 out of every 10 thank-yous are from these wonderful baby boomers.
8 The Over-50s Return to Spain
We love repeat business not only because it makes financial sense but it’s a real thumbs-up for the type of trips we organise. We’ve had couples come back again the following year sometimes with their extended families or with a group of friends. Or sometimes the return trips are to delve deeper in a particular aspect of Spain’s culture – perhaps seeing more of Gaudi’s architecture, learning more about Goya’s paintings or even to walk a section of the Camino de Santiago. We find working with the same clients is a bit like getting in touch with old friends – we both pick up exactly where we left off. We love receiving these calls and emails where we can quickly pull up our file, see what they did last time and come up with some fresh ideas based on their highlights from the previous trip.
So there you have it. Working with baby boomers and mature travelers makes our job more interesting and pleasurable. It’s what inspires us, every time we travel around Spain and Portugal, to source fresh and unique experiences for people who we know will appreciate them.