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Over 50s Travel in Spain & Portugal

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After 15 years designing custom trips to Spain and Portugal, we can honestly say that a huge, huge portion of our Totally Spain valued clients are what the industry calls baby boomers.  Yes, 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 eight reasons why we love working with baby boomers and why baby boomers love Spain and Portugal and working with Totally Spain.

1 Baby Boomers Know and are Attracted to Spain

Many of our clients have some experience or knowledge of Spain before booking through us. Some have studied here. Others have loved backpacking here 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. And Jewish heritage is also a big travel motivator for a certain mature, babyboomer client. We’ve planned trips for parents whose kids had studied in Spain, yet work and family commitments prevented them from joining them here at that time. Now they are curious to experience the country that captivated their children. There are so many different motivations for the “empty nesters” to get in touch and nearly all have an underlying emotional connection with Spain. Thankfully, Spain always lives up to its reputation for these travelers. And 99% of the time, it wildly surpasses expectations.

mature travelers, traveling, Spain, Baby Boomers, active travel

For some it’s a return trip from their college days – for others Spain is a new destination. photo credit: Steps via photopin (license)

2 Baby Boomers are Great Travelers

Maybe it’s because they are making up for lost time 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.

We want to try the different region’s food, meet the locals, pick up a few recipes, understand the history and learn about the architecture. And that’s what our baby boomers clients have wanted too. 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. And here’s where our itinerary planning and expert network of local private guides and private drivers make a huge difference. Our guides are amazingly well-read and knowledgeable about their cities and love their jobs. And baby boomers never need to be convinced about the merits of hiring an expert 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 parts of the city 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!

mature travelers, traveling, Spain, Baby Boomers, active travel

Anybody can find a Gaudi building in Barcelona but our baby boomers want to see the sights from every angle and hear the history rather than read the blurb and tick the box. photo credit: Casa Batllo Front Window via photopin (license)

3 Baby Boomers Want Value for Money

Value for money is one of our key drivers. Not only do we want our clients to love their holiday, we also want them to honestly 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 with valuable advice and by obtaining the most competitive rates for hotels, restaurants and attractions.  At Totally Spain we know to look out for that valuable over-55s deal at historical Parador hotels. Or what free tours are worth doing and we can highlight the extras that are worth paying for (and vice-versa). Our experience is that baby boomers really 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. We all hate that sinking feeling of being in a restaurant where everybody is a tourist. Mature travelers appreciate our firsthand dining recommendations that will keep them out of these often disappointing “tourist traps”. What we do is not just make a trip streamlined and stress-free, it’s about creating a unique experience. We rack our brains and work our contact books really hard to personalize each trip and provide a thorough and competitive itinerary. Don’t take our work for it – here’s what a Californian travel organizer recently emailed us to say:-

“Thanks for your very long and thorough bid. In fact in all my years in the outbound tour business (since 1988), I have never seen as complete a bid.”

mature travelers, traveling, Spain, Baby Boomers, active travel

Baby boomers know its worth working with a travel specialist so they can spent their time in Spain looking at Dali’s Mae West lips (and they are worth examining) rather than standing in a line outside the museum. photo credit: Marilyn via photopin (license)

4 The Over-50s are Open-Minded

We organize 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. 15 years in business means we are brimming with them!

mature travelers, traveling, Spain, Baby Boomers, active travel

Sometimes we can offer a different perspective – like tagging on a day or two in Portugal! And our baby boomers are always open to new ideas. photo credit: Palace of Pena via photopin (license)

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 very 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.

mature travelers, traveling, Spain, Baby Boomers, active travel

Whilst we don’t mean it in the literal sense (although we have been known to join in ourselves), we are always chuffed to hear how involved our baby boomers are when they travel in Spain! photo credit: IMG_2412 via photopin (license)

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!

mature travelers, traveling, Spain, Baby Boomers, active travel

Some of our clients like Spain’s wines, some like its architecture and some like its landscapes and we work long and hard to find the perfect intersection points between all the interests when planning itineraries with clients. photo credit: ysios bodega de calatrava via photopin (license)

7 The Over-50s Say Thank You

We’re pretty relaxed when it comes to social etiquette but we do go out of our way to thank our clients for their business – and its a two-way street when it comes to baby boomers. The majority of thank-you emails, texts and calls we receive about our Spain & Portugal trips come from 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. Who doesn’t love to be thanked? It’s funny but 9 out of every 10 thank-yous are from these wonderful baby boomers.

over 50s travel traveler empty nesters

Our baby boomers are the best when it comes to saying “thank-you”! photo credit: 2012-02-16 Sostiene cartel arriba via photopin (license)

8 The Over-50s Return

As lovely as a thank-you is, we also appreciate when our clients want to travel with us again and many do, time and time again, thanks to the variety of trips you can take in Spain and Portugal.  We love repeat business, not only because it makes financial sense but it’s a real thumbs-up for the type of trips we organize for mature travelers. We’ve had many 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 sometimes five, ten or even 15 years later. 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.

mature travelers, traveling, Spain, Baby Boomers, active travel

Spain always lives up to expectations and, in our clients’ experiences, surpasses them. Whether you’ve been here already or you want to experience Spain and Portugal for the first time, we are here on the ground and we can help prepare your dream itinerary. photo credit: Salamanca, Plaza Mayor via photopin (license)

So there you have it.  At Totally Spain we really appreciate and enjoy working with baby boomers and mature travelers.  It makes our job more interesting and pleasurable. And it is 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.


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