Cheap Travel Destinations for Budget-Minded Boomers

In theory at least, our generation has more money than other generations and more time to enjoy it. But maybe that doesn’t apply to everybody. If that’s the case with you, then you might want to read what Ron Whitaker writes about Cheap Travel Destinations for Budget-Minded Boomers.

It’s a New Year!

Ron Whitaker

Ron Whitaker

A time for everyone — baby boomers don’t get a pass — to stick to resolutions, to reflect, and to start thinking about some exotic, far-off destinations for your vacation this year.

So, where will it be in 2013? Paris? Rome? London? Sri Lanka?

Hold on a minute! What if you’re like so many boomers these days who need to keep a close watch on the budget? Are you condemned to a boring “staycation” this year?

Not so fast!

Believe it or not, there are some cheap travel destinations right here in the good ol’ U.S.A. that you can visit and enjoy while keeping to your budget.

Here are three of them. Once you’ve finished whetting your appetite on these cities, check out the infographic that’s printed with this article for seven more cities you might want to put on your 2013 travel bucket list.

El Paso, Texas

C’mon…Texas? Really??


For boomers who might be seeking a low-key, out-of-the-way cheap traveldestination, El Paso just might be your place.

It lies in the western part of Texas, and is a good distance from the bright lights, the hustle and bustle of the larger cities of Texas like Dallas or San Antonio.

While in El Paso, you’ll want to visit the El Paso Museum of Art and see some American works from the 19th and 20th Centuries. You can also see Mexican colonial art from the 1700s and 1800s.

And if you’re a Mexican-food lover, then El Paso is your city! Many restaurants serve authentic Mexican food, as well as that famous Texas barbecue you’ve heard about.

And if you’re a boomer who enjoys wine, El Paso won’t disappoint. With over 300 sunny days each year, this part of Texas has many fine vineyards. While visiting, make sure to check out La Vina Winery and Zin Valle Vineyards along historic Highway 28.

Spokane River

Spokane River

Spokane, Washington

If the Southwest doesn’t fit your style, how about the Northwest?

Spokane, once a busy center for fur trading, is the largest city in eastern Washington.

If you’re into outdoor activities, Spokane is definitely a cheap travel destination that offers a lot of bang for the buck!

In preparing this post, I spoke with Gina Mauro Campbell, Director of Visitor Services at the Spokane Visitors Bureau.

We discussed some great events and activities, at incredibly reasonableprices, that will interest the boomer traveler.

Gina discussed the incredible golfing opportunities that abound around Spokane. People come from all over the U.S. to take advantage of the 30+ golf courses in the area. And the great surprise (to me, at least!) was that all City and County courses are less than $30 for a full round! So grab those clubs and head to the great Northwest!

If golf isn’t your activity of choice, check out the stunning gardens throughout Spokane. Spokane’s forefathers purposefully set aside large portions of land throughout the community specifically to remain as gardens.

One well-known garden is Manito Park. Manito Park contains rose, Japanese, and French gardens, along with a conservatory filled with exotic plants year-round. And best of all, there’s no charge. Just be sure to bring your camera!

For the cyclist, check out South Hill, a stunning residential area offering eight miles of single- and double-track riding.

After a day enjoying the outdoors, catch a performance of the Spokane Symphony, or check out a show at the Opera House, or even a play at the Civic Theater.

And if all the outdoor activities around Spokane aren’t enough, take I-90 a half hour east to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, another pristine outdoor paradise that won’t disappoint!

South Bend, Indiana

University of Notre Dame Library.

University of Notre Dame Library.

Don’t laugh! South Bend is a fantastic travel destination you can visit on the cheap!

One of the most famous universities on the planet— Notre Dame— makes its home in South Bend, and is a huge tourist destination.

And if— a big IF— you can get tickets during the season, enjoy a Saturday afternoon cheering the Fighting Irish football team.

If you’re a more refined tourist and football just isn’t your thing, then check out some of the beautiful works of art located on campus, along with the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

What boomer doesn’t remember the Studebaker? Well, for the car enthusiast, take a fun tour of the Studebaker National Museum, then head over to the South Bend Chocolate Company and try some of their famous truffles and fudge!

The U.S.A. is about a lot more than New York and Hollywood!




  1. During the off season, most flights don’t get filled and therefore airlines go to great lengths of having the empty seats filled and will offer the last minute deals. Choosing the last minute option can for sure fetch you that affordable flight you are looking for. I found some great deals while going through a Travel Republic review.

  2. Some good suggestions Ron. Can I also recommend to your readers that another cheap way of traveling is to Home Exchange. Why pay to stay in a hotel or rent a villa or condo when you can stay for free?

    Many of our members spend 3 to 4 months each year vacationing this way and some even longer.


    Brian Luckhurst

    1. Brian:

      That’s a fantastic idea to help save money while traveling.

      It would also make a great article. Have you considered writing one here at BoomerCafe?

      (If not, perhaps we can connect, and we could discuss it and I’ll get one written for others to learn about this.)

      Have you found the accommodations in your travels comfortable?

      Thanks for your comment.

      1. Hi Ron

        I have just picked up your reply so apologies for not replying to your comments sooner. Yes I would be happy to write something about Home Exchange if BoomerCafe think it would be of interest. What would be the next step?

        Homes that we have swapped with in the past have always been comfortable, with some more luxurious than others, but I have always taken the view that the location is more important than the accommodation. Some Home Exchangers, mostly ones that are new to the concept, try to swap like with like, but does it matter if you swap a 1 bed apartment in New York with a 4 bed villa in France if both parties enjoy a successful vacation?



Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *