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AARP says vacations win out over presents for Baby Boomers

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This bit of information from AARP caught my eye because I lived it: So-called “celebration vacations” are becoming the preferred way for Baby Boomers to celebrate big occasions such as a birthday or anniversary or wedding.

I believe this to be true because last year I celebrated my 60th birthday by organizing a family ski vacation to Breckenridge, Colo., that we took in February.

It was - far and away - a more rewarding, emotional trip than any kind of present. I had the gift of family and good times, and it was superb.

According to AARP Travel research released this week, Baby Boomers spend over $120 billion annually in leisure travel.

“Travel is the number one aspirational activity for the boomer generation,” it said.. AARP research found that the joy and satisfaction of travel make it a top choice for celebrating an important milestone, even over throwing a party or getting a piece of jewelry.

AARP did some polling and found 87 percent said they would choose a vacation over a party or jewelry to celebrate anniversaries. That was the No. 1 choice for celebration vacations.

Coming in at No. 2 was a milestone birthday -- a 50th, 60th or 70th -- which got 77 percent.. Retirement was No. 3 at 69 percent and a wedding was No. 4 at 66 percent.

For me, the success to my celebration vacation in Breckenridge was planning (in a former life I was a project manager) and the enthusiasm of those involved, who included my wife, my children, stepchildren, grandchildren, sisters, brothers-in-law, and a niece and nephew. There were 15 of us.

I had a single contact at Breckenridge, which eased the planning headaches because she helped me organize all the details and made suggestions of who to contact if there was an item on my to-do list she couldn’t fulfill.

And most everyone (63 percent) who said they took a celebration vacation did so within the U.S.
1. Las Vegas
2. Disney
3. Los Angeles
4. Florida
5. Hawaii
6. New York City
7. New Orleans
8. Chicago
9. California
10. Alaska

No Breckenridge ... too bad, we had a blast.