Baby boomers can put their name to a lot of firsts, but one of the most exciting firsts they go to participate in was travelling the word and visiting these amazing destinations before any other tourists got their hands on them. While many of these countries are tourist hot spots these days, it was the baby boomers who first jumped on plane — or a boat! — and headed off on the adventure of a lifetime. Have you been to any of these destinations?
The Caribbean is hugely popular with travellers today, but it was the carefree and adventure-fuelled baby boomers who first discovered this colourful collection on islands. Back before honeymooners and backpackers descended upon its shores, baby boomers in their twenties and early-thirties arrived to soak up the sun and take in the vivid hues and majestic landscapes. They got to know the locals, sample the food, and hike through the lush forests and across pristine beaches before bringing their tales of adventure home to share with everyone else.
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As strange as it might sound to many people today, Nigeria was a favourite with many baby boomers in the ’70s. The country was relatively untouched by tourists at the time and locals were more than willing to show them around and teach them about the local culture and customs. Due to the volatile state of the country these days, many younger travellers nowadays don’t have the same opportunity to explore Nigeria in all its glory, meaning baby boomers could be the first and last generation to appreciate and discover this exciting country.
In the first half of the 20th century, European holidays were mainly focussed on countries like France and Italy, which were both experiencing cultural booms at the time. That was until the baby boomers decided to chase the sun south and set up camp in Spain. They came in droves in the ’60s and ’70s to drink, eat and be merry! With so much to explore, many headed to the coast to surf and soak up the rays, while others explored the hundreds of tiny villages and small towns dotted throughout the country. For many, it was their first time trying Spanish wine and traditional dishes like paella, which they took back to their own countries to share with their friends and spread the word about Europe’s new hottest destination.
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For many baby boomers in the ’60s and ’70s, Bali was about one thing: surfing. In a far cry from much of Bali nowadays, the island was almost untouched by tourists and the long-haired surfers felt like they’d found paradise when they landed on the beach and saw the huge waves and pristine surroundings they had all to themselves. The locals were just as friendly as they are today and quickly took tourists under their wings and made them feel welcome and at home. While much of Bali is now overrun with rowdy revellers and tourists looking for a cheap holiday, baby boomers can always take comfort in the fact they got to enjoy it in all its glory first.
Although South Africa was still in a state of apartheid, many young boomers packed their bags and headed over to explore the versatile country. For many it was a chance to see the wild animals on safaris that had previously been reserved for the rich and famous and to take in the rugged and vast landscape. Many ended up prolonging their trip and staying to work for room, board and a little pay and to experience a vastly different way of life.