Donna L. Hull is so obsessed with travel that it makes her feet itchy when she’s not out exploring the world. At her popular blog, My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel, she writes about active travel for baby boomers. Using her personal experiences and references as a travel writer, accompanied by the photographs of husband, Alan Hull, Donna inspires boomers to get up off the couch and go. She is also the baby boomer travel expert at REAL, powered by Humana. Other online credits include Uptake.com, iExplore and Affordable Tours. Print publication credits include AZ3Sixty Magazine, Oro Valley/Marana Magazine, Lovin Life After 50, Fifty Plus and Her Sports Magazine.
Cheapflights: Do you remember the trip that first gave you the travel bug?
Donna L. Hull: I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had itchy travel feet. But in 2001, I remarried into an extended family that loves to travel. On my first trip with them, we sailed the Baltic on a very small ship, starting in Stockholm and ending in London. That trip certainly turned my travel lust up a notch.
CF: What inspired you to start a blog focused on the baby boomer generation?
DH: When I started My Itchy Travel Feet three years ago, there were few, if any, travel blogs for baby boomers. I couldn’t find any sites that wrote about the type of travel experiences that my friends and I were having. Travel companies aimed at the mature, or senior, audience focused on more sedate travel. I saw a gap and filled it with articles, photographs and video about active travel for boomers.
CF: What are the advantages of traveling as a couple?
DH: The best part of traveling as a couple is the division of labor. My husband, Alan, starts researching the trip, then I refine it. He takes care of the logistical details, while I keep the blog running. But the best part of traveling as a couple is sharing the experience with someone who loves travel as much as you do.
CF: What destination currently offers the best value for the money?
DH: Value is a subjective term, depending on your travel preferences. Booking a trip in the shoulder season offers value, especially to European or the Caribbean destinations. Ocean crossings provide great value to cruise fans – usually at 2-for-1 prices. As far as specific destinations, I would concentrate on Argentina or Southeast Asia.
CF: What differences have you observed between the travel habits of the baby boom generation and generations X and Y?
DH: To be honest, I concentrate so much on the boomer generation that I don’t have a lot of insight into generations X and Y. But I know the travel traits that are unique to boomers. We want a slower journey. Finding authentic experiences is important too. Remember, many boomers have already traveled widely so they are looking for that unique travel experience. And we like our comfort and are willing to pay for it if our budget allows. Of course this is just a generalization. With over 77 million baby boomers in the U.S., our travel tastes are varied.
CF: What’s your routine before you fly?
DH: Can you believe it? Walking through the door of the airport terminal still gives me a thrill, even in today’s flying environment. Since I don’t like surprises, I’m one of those travelers who arrives at the airport early, organized and ready to fly. After negotiating my way through security, I’ll stop for a coffee or a meal, especially if I’m riding in economy. My boarding pass is at the ready when it’s time to board. And, I put on my best smile before asking the nice gentleman behind me to help lift my carryon into the overhead bin.
CF: How do you recommend anxious travelers stretch their comfort zone?
DH: I recommend that anxious travelers move out of their comfort zone in small steps. If you’ve never traveled internationally on your own, book a small group tour the first time. The experience will create the confidence needed for independent travel later on.
CF: How do you discover local or off-the-beaten-path places?
DH: My antenna is always up when it comes to discovering off-the-beaten-path places. I find many of them by reading travel blogs and articles on the web. Since Alan and I are attracted to the smaller towns or cities in a country, off-the-beaten-path experiences seem to come with those types of destinations.
CF: How do you get around a new country if you don’t speak the language?
DH: The best way I can! Seriously a smile accompanied by sign language helps me negotiate the language barrier.
CF: Of the airports you’ve passed through – Stateside and abroad – which is the most convenient?
DH: That depends on what you mean by convenient. For me, that means free Wi-Fi, easy parking, healthy food choices in the terminal, plenty of plug-ins for electrical equipment and less crowds overall. Those terms eliminate the really big airports, don’t they? In the U.S., I’m partial to second-tier airports like Tucson International Airport in Arizona. And I always appreciate when an airport does something special for travelers – like the live music at Portland International in Oregon or the comfy rocking chairs at Jacksonville International Airport in Florida. Internationally, I find Munich Airport to be a comfortable airport.
Cheapflights is proud to have guest voices express their opinions. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Cheapflights Media (USA) Inc.