The Faces of Generation X Travel
To look at today’s travel media you’d think the the only people hitting the road are fresh-faced Millennials and Baby Boomers with newly emptied nests; what about Generation X? Instagram is filled with images of ingenues frolicking on the beach or looking wistfully at the horizon while magazines and tour companies target well-heeled Boomers making the most of retirement. In a recent issue extolling the virtues of solo travel Afar (one of my favorite travel magazines) mentioned Millennials, Boomers and even Matures by name with no word of Gen X at all.
“Dear Afar, are you there? It’s me, Generation X”
So who exactly is Generation X? Born between 1965 and the early 1980s, we were latchkey kids raised on a steady diet of independence and after school specials. MTV, grunge and hiphop provided the soundtrack to our formative years; we came of age and have a fondness for the 1990s (I personally haven’t accepted the 90s were over 10 years ago). We were initially branded as slackers (ironically so, as we tend eschew labels); apathetic cynics distrustful of mainstream authority with no real aims in life. Self-reliant, skeptical and savvy Generation X quietly rebelled against the excess of the 80’s forging a new path in large part thanks to the internet. Fast forward twenty years Generation X has revolutionized the internet age, wept as the World Trade Center fell on 9/11 and our savings accounts bore the brunt of the housing bubble and recession of the 2000s. Generation X is now starting to show a little gray around the temples and non-ironically wearing glasses. We are in the prime of our careers; and many of us are soccer parents toting around kids in a minivan, are caring for aging parents, or both.
At roughly 65 million (per Pew Research), Generation X is sandwiched between two much larger demographics with Baby Boomers at 77 million and Millennials at 83 million. Boomers are now transitioning into retirement and their “golden years”, trading in decades of work for a bit of fun and exploration to the tune of $157 billion annually. Millennials, whose lives play out on social media and skeptical of corporate culture, prioritize experiences over possessions. They don’t see a cushy retirement as a given and, more than any other generation, have the greatest desire to travel. In raw dollars Millennials spend more on travel than any other generation and the travel industry seems to bend over backwards to get their share. From hotel redesign to tech innovation, the travel experience is now squarely aimed at getting the Millennial dollar.
With the majority of the travel industry’s attention on affluent Boomers and travel-happy Millennials, when it comes to travel Generation X seems to suffer from middle child syndrome. While Boomers and Millennials may travel more, we’re not sitting at home in our flannel shirts and Doc Martens watching Empire Records. When Gen Xers do travel, we do it big spending more per day than both Boomers and Millennials. We are the drivers of multi-generational travel often traveling with kids and/or parents in tow. Statistics show that Gen X is hungry to explore, when we travel we want a bit of luxury while still being able to have an immersive cultural experience. We intensively plan our precious limited time off with a focus on active vacations and we really love to eat, with a destination’s food often being a highlight of our travels.Gen X is getting out there and I think it’s time the travel industry starts paying attention.
Aside from a few posts by Matt Long of Landlopers very little has been written about the Gen X traveler and really, that’s a shame. Most of today’s most well known travel personalities belong to Generation X. Samantha Brown? Check. Andrew Zimmern? Yep, he’s ours too. Instead of sitting at home watching Friends reruns, my fellow Gen Xers and I are getting out there and exploring the world. Whether balancing travel with a 9-to-5, leaving the corporate world for a life of location independence or aiming to show their kids this great big wonderful world in which we live; the following Gen X travelers will inspire you to get out there and see the world.
The Casual Travelist
I was first bitten by the travel bug at age 19 when lured by the slogan “Join the Navy, See the World” I did just that and explored the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East while serving on board the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. I’ve since switch careers and now practice as a physical therapist in Virginia Beach but still manage to sate my wanderlust and aim to show others how to make the most of weekends away and our precious limited time off here at The Casual Travelist. Also a freelance writer, my work has been featured on Afar.com, Southern Living and NPR. I enjoy laid back luxury- high design and great service where I can still feel comfortable in jeans; and you can find me exploring all corners of the world from the cloud forests of Ecuador to the urban cool of Copenhagen. When not jet-setting abroad you can also find me exploring my home state of Virginia.
2 Food Trippers
Daryl and Mindi Hirsch are the co-founders, writers and photographers at 2foodtrippers, a site that celebrates the best in food and travel. Currently on a one year trip around the world, these 2foodtrippers are always looking for their next great meal and special experience. They love all cuisines from street food to Michelin starred restaurants and everything in-between. Daryl and Mindi love sharing their culinary adventures on the blog as well as with their 40,000+ social media followers.
Around the World “L”
Lillie Marshall, is the 6-foot-tall travel blogger behind www.AroundTheWorldL.com which chronicles Lillie’s own travels, and www.TeachingTraveling.com in which Lillie profiles “Teacher-Travelers” of all kinds. Lillie started her websites in 2009 when she took a leave of absence from teaching in Boston Public Schools to travel alone around the world for a year. What started as a budget solo travel blog began to evolve, as Lillie met her now husband the week she returned from her travels in 2010, had her first child in 2013, and a new baby in 2016. Lillie aims to show that you can travel around the world both with and without little ones in tow; sharing her love of all things beautiful, fun, and yummy.
Carmen’s Luxury Travel
Carmen Edelson is a luxury and family travel writer. She started traveling a decade ago and spent lots of time answering people’s questions and sharing her pictures with them. She’s been around the U.S., Caribbean, and Europe traveling to the most luxurious places and finding the perfect spots to unwind. Whether it’s with her children, girlfriends, or husband, she’ll find a fabulous experience to suit them all. Carmen launched her luxury travel blog Carmens Luxury Travel i
Carpe Travel is a website focused on family travel and wine related travel, because if you have kids you know the two must be paired with one another. Founded by Elaine Schoch, the site is dedicated to inspiring real people to seize their next adventure be it backpacking into Machu Picchu, car camping with their kids or sipping wine in Italy, Napa or even the Colorado wine country. Elaine has two kids, a job, and a mortgage…and a serious case of wanderlust. One that’s led her to Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, France, Honduras, Canada and all over the United States. Over the last few years she’s realized just how attainable traveling really is, even with kids. That it can and should be done – with and without kids. And, that waiting for someday is just a missed opportunity.
The Dining Traveler
Jessica van Dop DeJesus is a travel media specialist who focuses on food and attainable luxury travel at The Dining Traveler. Her travels began as a young officer in the Marine Corps and she has been to 41 countries on and off duty. She spent most of her post-collegiate years overseas, living in Okinawa, Germany and Belgium and keeps her ties to Europe fresh as her family by friendship and marriage live in Northern Europe. A bicultural upbringing growing up in both Puerto Rico and Western NY State also gives her broad perspective on food and travel. Jessica currently lives in Washington, DC where in addition to her travels, she blogs about the local food scene and explores the best the city has to offer.
Dish our Town
Andrew and Brenda Tolentino, along with their 12-year-old daughter Bailey make up Dish Our Town; a blog about family, food, and travel. Hailing from New York City, they have been traveling full-time for almost a year starting in Southeast Asia, visiting cities and islands in Thailand and Malaysia. However the main purpose for visiting the region was to reconnect with their birth country of the Philippines. Currently you can find the Tolentino family in London, their home base for exploring Europe; visiting countries such as France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. Even while on the road they try to keep some semblance of home and at the same time trying to experience something new, mostly through food culture and aim to inspire other families to travel.
Drive on the Left
Drew and Julie are an American expat couple currently living in London, moving abroad with their beloved older pup Basil for a career opportunity and to have the adventure of a lifetime. They started their website, Drive on the Left, to keep family and friends up to date with their travels and aim to show that even with career responsibilities you can still fulfill your dreams of wanderlust.
Girl Gone Travel
Carol Cain is the publisher and photographer at GirlGoneTravel.com, a travel site featuring all her travel adventures, near and far, often with her beautiful family in tow. She’s a freelance travel blogger, with her worked featured on Expedia Viewfinder. She’s also a public speaker, often taking the stage at such conferences such as Women’s Travel Fest and TBEX, both national and internationally, where she advocates for diversity in travel media both on and offline and shares her tips as a former public relations professional for working with brands.
Green Global Travel
Bret Love and Mary Gabbett launched Green Global Travel with one goal in mind; to promote sustainable travel and eco-tourism one story at a time. From swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos to gorilla trekking in Rwanda they seek out travel experiences that respect and highlight the diverse environments and indiginous cultures the call planet Earth home. You can also find their work at National Geographic, NPR and the Today Show.
Julia Coney is a luxury lifestyle writer focusing on beauty, travel, wine and food. She has been featured in The Washington Post, Washingtonian, Texas Monthly, New York Magazine, Ebony, Essence Glamour, print and online publications. Julia’s love of travel started when she studied abroad in Paris during college and it inspired her to see the world. When Julia is not on a plane traveling, she is a tourist in her own city of Washington, DC.
Matt Long is a reformed cubicle dweller whose passion for travel has brought him to all seven continents. Mat has all the trappings of American suburban life; a partner, a mortgage and a couple of dogs but his drive to experience the world has led him him to a new career in travel media with his blog Landlopers. Whether its exploring the street foods of Thailand or being pampered in five-star luxury, Matt is a wanderer at heart who seeks out the best experiences a destination has to offer.
Leah Walker is a luxury travel and culinary writer, brand consultant and social media influencer who has as many stories as she does shoes. On her award-winning blog, Leah Travels, she documents her experiences, whether in the lap of luxury or gasping for oxygen as she’s hiking the Alps. She freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, Bonjour Paris, The Daily Basics, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine and Forbes Travel Guide. Having split time between Texas and the rest of the world, Leah is now living in Paris after being awarded the three-year Compétences et Talents visa, though her talents don’t extend to speaking French. Yet.
Misadventures with Andi
Andi is a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. Currently an ex-corporate marketing gal who gave up her job to travel around in an RV for a year with her hubby and her cat. She loves to travel via eating, seeking out local artisans and features to share on her blog Misadventures with Andi. A nomadic childhood as an Army brat had her living throughout the US, Latin America and Europe at a young age. Married to a Frenchman, Andi is a francophile at heart and loves everything French, especially food and wine.
My View From the Middle Seat
Christina Saull started My View from the Middle Seat to help DINK (Double Income, No Kids) couples get the most out of their travels. From advice on staying at beautiful, luxury hotels (or hotels that just feel luxurious) to stretching their comfort zone with “desk adventure” (or adventures most people can do if they mostly just sit at a desk all day). A DC-based mid-30s full time PR professional by day, with a mortgage and a 50+ hour work week she knows the limitations that a job and mortgage put on wanderlust. Christina’s goal is to help others in the same boat to use their two weeks vacation – and a few long weekends – to see the world. My View from the Middle Seat includes reviews that will have you rethinking your perception of cruising, guides to many Caribbean islands, quick getaways around the U.S. and lots of information on how to get the most of your trip to Europe.
Not Without My Passport
At 40, Helen sold her home and left her ad agency job behind to pursue her passions: travel, photography and freelancing. She’s snorkeled with sea lions in the Galapagos, camped with the desert dwellers of Jordan and traveled solo through the volatile West Bank. Her experiences are documented on her blog, Not Without My Passport, with the goal of encouraging her readers to nurture their curiosity, explore, see the world in a different way or just visit a destination simply because it’s beautiful. As a photographer who travels with at least three cameras, Helen also promises inspiring imagery to ignite everyone’s wanderlust.
Suzanne Wolko was abandoned in Paris at Valentine’s Day by a (former) friend and became a solo traveler back before the internet and smart phones. Forced to figure it out on her own, her independent travel passion (addiction) was born and now more than forty countries later she continues to search for a new adventure to use all of her vacation days. Using airline miles and hotel points, she has traveled around the world in luxury for less and used the savings to splurge on private guides, wine and chocolate. She started her travel blog, PhilaTravelGirl – Flying by the Seat of My Points, in 2013 to share her experiences after two amazing journeys to Easter Island and Africa (Safari) on award tickets. In 2014, Sue became the “best Aunt in the world” when she took her oldest niece to London & Paris (two of her favorite cities) to educate her in becoming a world citizen. In 2015, Sue’s life took a twist when her job ended and rather than sulk, she jumped on a transatlantic cruise to Barcelona and traveled in Europe for three months before beginning a new job search and wallowing in expensive chocolate. During this time and with over twenty years as a Finance & Global Business Travel Manager for Financial Services firms, she embarked on a new adventure as a Luxury Travel Advisor at Arden Road Travel to help others plan their dream trips.
This is my Happiness.
Jenna Francisco shares her passion for art, culture,wine and family travel at her blog This is my Happiness. With family in Indonesia, the United States and Brazil her multicultural experiences offer a unique perceptive on travel. A community college professor and mom to two boys Jenna aims to show others how to travel smarter whether viewing Renaissance frescoes in Florence or exploring the California coast with her family. Jenna is a freelance writer whose work has been featured on Afar.com, Luxe Beat Mag and Travel Mindset.
Working a 50-hour-per-week corporate desk job with only three weeks of vacation per year doesn’t mean you can’t see the world. Since 2008, Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts have been showing people how to do just that – maximize a limited vacation allotment into the most travel possible. Based on their unique approach to work-life balance – work hard, play harder – they show 30-something and 40-something professionals how to lead the good life. You’ll find them cave tubing in Belize, hot air ballooning over Turkey, eating guacamole under a palm tree in Mexico, drinking wine in South Africa, dining at a Michelin star restaurant in New York City, scuba diving in Honduras, climbing mountains in Peru, or eating their way through the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Travel Life X
Troy and Dorene escaped the safety net of secure and unfulfilling 20-year corporate careers in marketing and television to redesign life on their terms. They sold their home in Canada and everything they own to live debt-free and location independent; to discover how meaningful travel experiences can be the greatest accelerator for change. They write about their experiences of finding happiness at Travel Life X Dorene and Troy also combine their past skills as a multi-media duo offering marketing consulting and video storytelling for travel and consumer brands while on the road.
Christina and Kevin Wagar along with their two and five year old boys are an adventure travel family focused on sharing amazing experiences that families can have around the world on their blog, Wandering Wagars. They’re active travelers and love inspiring families to break out and try something new. Kevin and Christina are part-time travelers, balancing jobs, school and birthday parties, but aim to make travel a large part of their children’s development and learning. No matter the time of year, they seek out new experiences and far-out destinations as way to bring learning, culture and adventure to their children and have a life well-lived.They don’t shy away from new experiences, opting to get in touch with the local culture at every opportunity. You can find them traipsing through the deserts of Jordan, bathing under waterfalls in Iceland, shredding mountains in Canada or searching for lost treasure in Colombia.
We 3 Travel
Like many Gen Xers, Tamara likes to take on new challenges and juggle multiple roles as a mom, marketing consultant, travel writer, podcaster and family vacation planner. On her blog, We3Travel, she offers destination information, sample itineraries, tips and reviews to help make family vacation planning easier. She believes the recipe to a fun family vacation blends activity, culture, food, and a little learning along the way. Based in Rhode Island, Tamara and her family of three travel the globe, one adventure at a time, and she always makes time for a few mother-daughter roadtrips along the way. Tamara is also the co-host of the Vacation Mavens family travel podcast, featuring weekly interviews with destination specialists and family travel experts offering inspiration and tips to get you out the door.