Even though we've just gotten back from holiday breaks, you can't blame us for already thinking about our next vacation. Especially after discovering the best places to visit according to baby boomers surveyed by WatchBoom, a site dedicated to travel for boomers.
The WatchBoom survey of 7,000 subscribers asked a number of questions on boomers' traveling preferences, including "If you could travel to one of five foreign countries on your next vacation, what would be your first choice, second choice, etc.?", which more than 3,800 participants answered. Mexico nabbed the top spot with 1,163 votes; Hawaii and the Caribbean were tied for second place with 972 votes, with Spain coming in third (216 votes).
"Baby boomers like to go to warm climates," said Nancy Clark of WatchBoom. "They're not necessarily desirous of seeing Alaska in winter [especially] if they have any kind of arthritic limitations getting around. They're more comfortable in warm weather than cold. [With cold weather activities], the trouble is if you hit a patch of ice, you'll fall and break a hip. When you're in your 20s, you're rappelling off of this and that, it doesn't cross your mind."
Though WatchBoom's readership is largely from the Rocky Mountain Front Rage area, these preferences bear out on a national level as well, says Nina Meyer, the interim CEO and chair of the American Society of Travel Agents.
Many of these locations -- especially top spot holder Mexico -- have a number of all-inclusive vacation packages that appeal to cost-conscious boomers and those looking for great value.
"The benefit is knowing the price up front," Meyer said. "Some are nearing retirement age, some are on restricted incomes, some are doing well. But when making plans, [they all] want to know the value of cost. These destinations have value, they have opportunity and they have easy access."
These countries, Clark said, align with where many post 50s are in their lives -- still working, but feeling a little more independent and wanting to embrace their interests, new and old.
"[Midlifers] are able to take trips to Mexico more willingly because they're not taking toddlers [with them]. They have a little freedom with where you go," she said. "People are [also] going after activities that they like to pursue... They can go to a warm climate and be assured that they can play golf everyday. The activities seem be more toward a hobbyist vacation" with boomers taking up things like culinary classes.
Along with being a great way to explore interests, travel has became an investment more boomers are interested in making now that they're slowly building up their confidence after the financial crises of 2008 and 2009, Meyer said.
"They’re not so interested in redocrating their homes," she said. "They’re investing more in travel and cultural experiences. Many didn’t have time [before] and travel has become a focus in what they’re doing in their retirement years and years where they have more time for personal experiences.
"[A lot of people say] 'When I’ll retire, I’ll do this, or I’ll go there,'" Meyer continues. "Well they’re there. So they’re taking the time to do those things now, while they still have their health."
To see what other countries made WatchBoom's survey of the best places to visit on vacation, take a look at our slideshow below.
Correction: An earlier version of this story included a slideshow with a photo of New Mexico instead of Mexico.