Welcome! We are the travel advisors for the middle-aged budget traveler. The Unbundled Traveler was born out of a potent combination of inspiration and perspiration. In 2014, I embarked on a low budget backpacking journey through Central America with a friend who is twenty years younger than me. She introduced me to a whole new way to travel that included staying at hostels, riding on local transportation, and eating street food. And most importantly, traveling without bundles of luggage! So much about this type of travel intrigued me, and frankly, made me feel like I was twenty-five again. I also realized that mentally feeling like a Millennial, did not compensate for physically being a Gen Xer! There were certain aspects of the low-low budget travel that I definitely found unappealing. I preferred paying the extra $20 for a private room over paying $6 for a bunk in a 10-dorm hostel. I didn’t mind paying a few bucks for a taxi, here and there, versus taking local buses everywhere. But I loved the spontaneity of this backpacking. I loved how it allowed me to really immerse myself in my destination, meet locals and fellow travelers alike, and discover the hidden gems in a touristy place. When I returned home and started planning my next adventure, I found a real cyber void on middle-budget adventure travel for middle-aged people. Site after site was dedicated to either the Boomers or the Millennials. I started the Unbundled Traveler to fill that void. We Gen Xers get ignored far too often!
Middle age is not synonymous with less adventurous
It was a few years ago, when I first noticed that everyone around me had begun referring to Gen Xers as “middle-aged.” Horrors! Nonsense. Not me. While it’s true I go through a box of Clairol every month, and crossing my legs when laughing has become mandatory, I still had plenty of play left in me. I was surely not “middle-aged.” Middle age was the gateway to becoming an old person. But, despite my protests, I had to accept the truth. According to one study, the average person considers youth to end at 35 and old age begins at 58. That makes me squarely middle-aged. But, I’m not dead yet.
With enthusiasm fueled by a desire to inspire other middle-aged travelers to ditch the suitcase and throw on a backpack (but still sleep in a comfy bed!), I started the Unbundled Traveler to share my experiences. The Unbundled Traveler is geared toward middle-aged pioneers who want to travel (with or without their kids) to safe, culturally interesting and inexpensive destinations. We’ll show you how to get there, what to explore and how to find adventures that won’t break the bank or your increasingly less tolerant body!
Everyone has different travel styles
For me, traveling is about immersing myself somewhere, not just snapping pictures and checking the destination off my bucket list. I travel to meet the locals, not just other tourists. I like to travel light, talk to strangers, and decide for myself where to sleep, eat and play. If you’re like me, you have a job or commitments that limit your ability to jet off whenever you want; but, you yearn for ways to bring cultural experiences into your life. You are a teensy bit scared to venture into the unknown, but your longing for an escape from the confines of your daily life motivates you to face your fears.
I get it.
I, also, understand that while you might want to travel like you are twenty-something; you have your limits on what comforts you’ll give up to do so. We are middle-aged, after all, and our bodies don’t take as kindly to abuse as they once did! If you’ve always had a hankering to go on an adventure, but didn’t think you could afford it or fell victim to the naysayers who told you it’s too dangerous; then, you’ve come to the right place to learn the tricks to inexpensive midlife travel. If you aren’t yet ready to take flight, that’s okay. Follow my Armchair Adventures to experience the fun at home.
Let me introduce myself
My name is Audrey. I am a forty-something, single mom with a full-time day job and a yearning to see and experience as much of the world as possible. As a youngster, I was fortunate to be raised by a father with the travel bug. Every summer, he loaded us into our motor home and we explored the continental U.S. As a young mother, I wanted to give my kids the same kind of childhood exposure to different cultures, but lacked the resources and the vacation time. So, we started slowly. Day excursions expanded to weekend adventures and eventually to week or two week long road trips. But then, a divorce and the responsibilities of daily life, working full-time while raising my children on my own, led to a long travel dry spell. The desire was there, but I couldn’t figure out how to get out of the slump. Travel just seemed like a luxury we couldn’t afford.
Sometimes all you need is a spark of motivation. For me, that came in the form of a promise made during a vodka toast. My book club had gathered to discuss Wintergarden. Our host, inspired by one of the scenes in the book, asked us each to name a five year goal and toast our commitment to fulfilling it. To my surprise, my suppressed desire to travel bubbled to the surface. I tossed back that shot and proclaimed that I would travel to ten countries within the next five years. I had thrown down the gauntlet and publicly committed to global travel.
In the summer of 2015, I met my goal – two years early.
Fortunately, I’m just that amount of stubborn that I could not back down from the challenge I’d created for myself. If I can do it, so can you. We have the same limitations: a job, the pesky compulsory education law that infringes upon leading a nomadic life with children, and a tiny travel budget constantly eaten away by more necessary expenses. Despite the challenges, I’m here to assure you that you can find ways to escape the daily grind and see the world – without resorting to grungy bunk beds or boring (and expensive) packaged tours. Grab your spouse, call up a friend, plan a mommy-daughter get-away or make plans for the whole family. Once you start, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to become an adventurer.
How can I help you?
I believe every middle-aged person with the desire to travel, should be able to do so. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of finding the right resource to guide or inspire you.
Traveling cheaply lets you travel more frequently. You’ll find a wealth of information on how to save money on transportation, accommodations, food and more.
I’ll share my recommendations on the budget hotels that appeal to us and what travel tools and accessories are absolute necessities for adventurers like us.
My tales will inspire you to travel in a way that lets you really immerse yourself in a culture rather than sit on a tour bus filled with other tourists.
If you bring along the kids, you’ll create memories with your children that will become stories they will share with their children.
You’ll discover that it really is safe to venture places where you don’t know a soul.
Used up your vacation time? That’s okay. You’ll find plenty of ways to feed your addiction to cultural experiences without leaving home.
Together we can dispel the notion that travel is a young person or a retiree’s game. If you are inspired by my tips and strategies for the middle aged explorer, please spread the word to your friends. The more of us out there, the merrier!
Thanks for stopping by! Now, throw back that shot of vodka and let’s go on an adventure!