Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski's blog Baby Boomster focuses on active women over 50 who love to have fun, explore the world, stay healthy and vibrant for as long as possible, and want to make the world a better place for future generations. She has also been a professional voice-over actor for over 35 years in Los Angeles.
We got the chance to ask her some of our burning travel questions, and she was kind enough to answer them!
Rebecca: I've always loved traveling but didn't really get started doing it seriously until I was in my 50s. Life always got in the way and then I had two children to raise for many years by myself because my husband died. I finally had the opportunity to take a European trip to Spain with my boyfriend where we spent three weeks traveling around the country by train. After that I was hooked on travel to Europe. I love it!
Rebecca: I wouldn't say I specialize but I love river cruising. It's such a wonderful way to visit smaller villages in a country. I also love that there are usually only about 150 passengers compared to a huge cruise ship with thousands. On my blog, I specialize in boomer travel for people over 50.
Rebecca: We've gone on several amazing trips but one of the best was a month-long vacation that started in Rome. After four nights there, we took a train to Florence and visited several Tuscan hill towns as well as Siena. After that we drove to Sorrento, where we spent four more nights and then toured the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. We took the train back to Rome and boarded the Queen Elizabeth for an 11-day cruise ending in Southampton and then London. The cool thing was that we got unexpectedly upgraded when we reached the port and got to hang out at the Queen's Grill. The entire cruise and the people we met were incredible.
Rebecca: I would love to go to Croatia. I've heard it's quite astounding.
Rebecca: I try to pack as little as possible because I'm 64 and don't want to haul around heavy bags. Being a blogger, I always bring my computer so I can write as I travel. Also, very comfortable shoes.
Rebecca: Find places outside of the main tourist areas and see what a country is really like. We did a three-week sailboat cruise of the Grenadines and Grenada where we were able to stop where there were hardly any tourists. Lots of goats and sheep.
I've always loved traveling but didn't really get started doing it seriously until I was in my 50s. Life always got in the way...
Rebecca: Blogs: Nomadic Matt, Rick Steves, Midlife at the Oasis, The Gypsy Nester. Communities: Boost Your Blog, Girls Love Travel, Travel Bloggers Guide to Pinterest.
Rebecca: Banff and the Canadian Rockies -- It's spectacular. Go in the summer.
Rebecca: TripAdvisor, Pinterest, Google.
Rebecca: Sit on the aisle -- when you're older it's important to be able to get up and move around every once in a while to prevent swollen ankles. Compression socks help also.
Rebecca: Travel with only a carry-on so you don't have to pay luggage fees.
Rebecca: I look for authenticity in a review. Obviously, if someone has been given a free room or is doing a paid review, I'd be suspicious. Sometimes hotels or restaurants ask people to post good reviews. Look for details and honesty. No place is perfect.
Rebecca: Try to stay in smaller local run hotels. You get a more authentic experience and they often serve delicious free breakfast. Big hotel chains may be more comfortable but you miss out on the atmosphere.
Rebecca: Terrorist attacks. They will sometimes cancel a trip because they are worried about it. It's very rare. Just keep your eyes open but don't let it ruin a trip.
Rebecca: I've never planned a trip with a large group. I like small groups. Otherwise you have too many people who have needs that conflict with each other and it makes it hard to take your time and have fun.
Rebecca: When we were in the train station in Italy there are people who offer to help you find your train or carry your luggage. They asked to be paid and tried to intimidate us when we didn't want to pay the huge amount they demanded. It's best to avoid them.
Rebecca: Krakow, in Poland. It's one of the few medieval cities in Poland that wasn't destroyed during WWII and it's huge! You can have a first-class meal for two for about $30 US.
Rebecca: I thought Spain was incredibly friendly. They are laid back and love to party. I haven't really encountered an unfriendly country. I was only in France for part of a day and they were a little aloof.
Rebecca: Alaska. It's freaking awesome! And the salmon is divine.