Many Boomers plan to travel or write as part of their “new retirement.” I’d like to share several very helpful sites for those of you planning on doing either or both:

  • Let’s say you’d like some publicity/recognition for your expertise, book, or want to collect anecdotes, date, or opinions for a project. Take a look at HARO (Help A Reporter Out) at www.helpareporter.com. This site is free, easy, and allows you to either contribute your thoughts to those looking for info, or ask others for info. I’ve used it both ways. Warning – you get requests delivered to your inbox three times a day – about 35 or so each time – it becomes addictive reading them!!
  • Ever wonder what people put into search engines and how it can help you further your exposure, or help you figure out what people want to know? Take me, for example. I write about retirement issues, and using the site www.spacky.com, I can put in the word “retirement” and see that on average, 3.35 million people a month search Google using the word “retirement.” That’s a huge number, and I know there is a huge interest in the topic (but “retirement” is obviously a very broad word). The great thing about Spacky is that it also shows how often related phrases are searched. For example, about 135,000 a month search for “retirement community,” so I know that is a hot area of interest. As another example, let’s say you love to write about Boomer music. Is there an audience? If you put in “Boomer music” on Spacky, you’ll see there are about 1,000 searches a month for this phrase, and about 246,000 for the word “Boomer.” A fascinating site that is useful!
  • Want to write articles that may get you more recognition? Try a site such as www.ezinearticles.com. It’s free – I have eleven published articles – some authors have many, many more than that. Articles are read on the site, are often picked up by e-zine publishers, and can improve traffic to your websites. They do have fairly strict (I say this as a compliment) author guidelines, so be sure to read all the guidelines carefully, or your article will be sent back for editing (I’m saying this from experience!!!).
  • Do you have free time (and money)? If you’re interested in last minute trips that are excellent bargains, take a look at www.vacationstogo.com. Just one example of a site that can result in significant savings. My husband and I took a cruise at a great price (we were able to drive to the departure port which was, of course, important to last minute travel) using www.vacationstogo.com this past January.
  • Want to search a bunch of airlines at once for the best fare? One of many good sites (although it doesn’t search all airlines – Southwest and Jet Blue are not included, for example) is www.sidestep.com. It’s nice to see a comparison among the major carriers all at once.
  • For getting a good deal on a rental car, try www.priceline.com. Some people don’t like to use Priceline where you name your own price for a hotel, because you can’t be sure of the exact hotel, just the general area. But, since you can still reserve a car and cancel without penalty, we reserve a car the traditional way, and then when it’s close to the time we need the car, we Priceline it, naming our own price. We’ve done this the last two times we’ve traveled, and it’s resulted in significant savings on car rentals. (Of course, cancel the one you’ve reserved the traditional way.)
  • Traveling to the National Parks with someone over 62? Get a lifetime senior pass for only $10. My husband is 62, and we are traveling to the Pacific Northwest in a few months. This pass will save lots of $$$. Great buy. Check it out on the National Park Service site (www.nps.gov). It needs to be purchased in person.

There are many excellent sites for writers and travelers, of course, but these are all ones I’ve personally used, and have been very happy with the results.