The studies confirm it. Retiring Baby Boomers are seeking adventure like never before. They want a life filled with multiple “peak” experiences that leave cherished memories. And the result will be an economic windfall for those companies prepared to accommodate the new senior traveler.
Case in point, the 2016 Age Wave/Merrill Lynch, “Leisure in Retirement: Beyond the Bucket List” study predicts that annual spending on leisure travel by Boomers age 65+ will grow 47% between now and 2035. Currently, Boomers spend $157 billion on trips every year.
One active travel company has taken note of this trend and has embraced active senior travelers whose bucket list includes a journey down a western river. From July through the end of the 2016 season, Holiday River Expeditions (http://www.bikeraft.com/) is offering all those age 65 and above an additional $100 off per person on already discounted senior rates on whitewater rafting trips in Utah and Idaho.
“We hear ‘bucket list’ referred to over and over again when talking to prospective guests. Now we’re offering an incentive to hopefully inspire our senior travelers to get out there and just do it,” said Karen Johnson, Holiday travel advisor of 25+ years. “Lately we have had groups of retired friends traveling together, grandparents bringing adult children and grandchildren and even the solo senior guest. Our first White Rim bike trip this summer had no one in the group under the age of 67.”
Selecting those trips that most appeal to the Boomer crowd (fun and challenging but not too advanced) Holiday River Expeditions is offering their senior incentive on these summer river trips in Utah and Idaho for 2016:
Utah: Green River, Desolation Canyon – Six Day Trip Departures: July 18; Aug. 8, 15; Adult rate: $1175, Youth rate (age 5-18): $975, Senior rate (65+): $1080 before the $100 discount. See: http://www.bikeraft.com/utah-river-rafting/desolation-canyon/.
Utah: Green River, Lodore Canyon – Four Day Trip Departures: July 7, 15, 21, 26, 28, Aug. 4, 5, 11, 23, 25, 30; Sept. 2; Adult rate: $935, Youth rate (age 8-18): $815, Senior rate (65+): $815 before the $100 discount. See: http://www.bikeraft.com/colorado-river-rafting/lodore-canyon/.
Utah: Colorado River; Cataract Canyon – Six Day Trip Departures: July 11, 18, 25; Aug. 1, 8, Sept. 4, 18, 26 (8 Day Trip also available – please call). Adult rate: $1175, Youth rate (age 8-18): $1025, Senior rate (65+): $1025 before the $100 discount. See: http://www.bikeraft.com/utah-river-rafting/cataract-canyon/.
Utah: Colorado River; Westwater Canyon – Two and Three Day Trips departing multiple times each week from July 1 through Oct. 1. Adult rate: $465/$610, Youth rate (age 8-18): $425/$560, Senior rate (65+): $425/$560 before the $100 discount. See: http://www.bikeraft.com/colorado-river-rafting/westwater-canyon/
Idaho: Main Salmon River – Five and Six Day Departures: July 24 (5-day), Aug. 17 (5 day) and Sept. 2 (6 day). Adult rate: $1400/$1485, Youth rate (age 8-18): $1260/$1340, Senior rate (65+): $1260/$1340 before the $100 discount. See: http://www.bikeraft.com/idaho-river-rafting/main-salmon-river/
Holiday guest Lois Klinck (age 80) who rafted Westwater Canyon with Holiday along with her late husband Richard (age 84) had this to say about their “peak” experience, “We’ve been rafting together for 30 years. We’ve gotten old doing these rivers. We’re not intimidated being outdoors—we’re respectful of the river but we don’t fear it. I tell people to expect a once-in-a-lifetime moment on a river trip.”
Trip alumni Carol McWilliam (76) and her husband, James (80), rafted Desolation Canyon at these ages. Carol offers this insight:” Physically, I find subways in New York City more challenging than Holiday’s river trips. These river trips are geared for all levels and the guides know how to accommodate the amount of effort you want to or can put into being on the river. For example, they can help you pitch your tent, your camp site can be the one nearest the raft and kitchen, and they can help you get in and out of the raft. If you’ve ever done camping on your own, this is easier—you’re sitting in chairs around a campfire while the guides cook for you!”
Johnson likes to recount that the late Dee Holladay who founded Holiday River Expeditions 50 years ago was in his mid-70s when he ran a record high water trip on the Yampa River. The only requirements for anyone thinking of a rafting trip are to be adventurous and in good physical health.
Holiday River Expeditions uses sturdy, human-powered oar rafts, paddle boats, inflatable kayaks and standup paddleboards along with all the required safety gear, backed by one of the best trained crew of guides in the business. Guests are invited to rent the company’s camping gear or bring their own. Holiday-designed water tanks ensure that guests have enough clean water for drinking, “solar showers” and then some. Guides who turn into accomplished campfire chefs handle all meal preparations.
Note on prices: stated rates may or may not include BLM use fees (check the website for full details).
About Holiday River Expeditions
Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown steadily. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with over 50 years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a philosophy to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.