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Italy Travel Expert Kathy McCabe
Interview with Italy Travel Expert Kathy McCabe
Interview with Kathy McCabe, Italy Travel Expert
posted on 10/11/2011 via . Michael
As a general travel writer, McCabe has written about everything from taking her dog to luxury hotels to choosing a Caribbean cruise. Read her interview with BabyBoomerTrips.com to learn about her favorite destinations in Italy and more!

BabyBoomerTrips.com: We would like to take you back to a time when you were first starting to think about traveling independently. Can you relay some personal travel experiences from when you were just starting to travel on your own? Were your travel experiences very simple, such as going to "the lake," or the nearest "big city," or was it something more exotic like backpacking through Europe, hiking through Nepal, or taking a VW van cross-country? How much planning was involved back then, and what were your information sources?

Kathy McCabe: Well, first of all, I am not a baby boomer but a member of Generation X, so I may have a different perspective on things than many of your readers. My parents took me to Europe for the first time when I was 10 years old and that helped to form my passion for travel and travel philosophy. The primary reason we made the trip was because of the advent of People Express – anyone remember them? They had cheap flights from Newark, N.J. to London and you paid for everything extra (drinks, checking baggage). It was such a great experience that the following summer we used them to fly back to London and visit Amsterdam. The People Express went under. But they were one of the first airlines – and the emergence of low-cost airlines overall – that democratized independent travel and paved the way for how we travel today.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: In your early travel days, how did you view the idea of flying to some distant country or a third world country? How does this compare to now?

Kathy McCabe: Well, I had grandparents who although of modest means, spent their retirement years traveling all over the world. I remember their last big trip was to China when I was five years old. So they definitely planted the idea that this was possible and of course technology, the global economy, etc. have made it all so routine today. One other memory about flying – when my parents first started taking me on trips in the late 70s, I remember my father always dressing up to fly – wearing a blazer and nice shoes. That’s how I knew flying used to be a much more special and exclusive experience. Unless you are flying in first class, you rarely see people dressed well to fly anymore. It is so routine.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: A fair amount of time has elapsed since you first started to travel independently. How has the travel industry changed since that time? How have your personal travel habits changed?

Kathy McCabe: The Internet has changed everything, period. And in fact has made my business – a subscription newsletter on travel to Italy – possible. Although we offer a print, mailed version, many of our subscribers access the newsletter and our archive of issues online. But the problem with using the Internet for travel tips is that there is just too much out there! If you put the words "travel" and "Italy" into the Google search engine, you will get 215 MILLION results. How daunting is that? I believe the next phase of the Internet travel revolution will focus on trusted sources of travel advice.  People are looking for ways to cut through the clutter. I believe I offer that with Dream of Italy – I am an expert in Italy travel. That’s it. I am completely focused on this country and travel to Italy myself several times a year. I think people – especially busy boomers – are looking for trusted, up-to-the minute (guidebooks are researched over a year before they are printed) travel tips via the Internet.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: Do you still have a "Dream Vacation"? If so, where/what would that be?

Kathy McCabe: Well, within Italy, that would be to the Italian islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa. They both seem so exotic – Pantelleria is actually only 30 miles off the coast of Africa. I would love to rent a house on one of these islands and just do nothing for a week. I tend to run around so much in Italy – though no one should feel sorry for me! – that it is still work and not a vacation. Outside of Italy, I would love to travel to South America, particularly Argentina. But I can’t seem to get away from Italy – there’s a large Italian population there and that’s probably one of the reasons why I want to go.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: List your top 5 favorite travel destinations.

Kathy McCabe:

Rome  –  my favorite city
Maratea – a wonderful seaside resort about two hours south of the Amalfi Coast.

Puglia – on the Adriatic, fantastic beaches, incredible food – where I would buy a second home if I had the money!
Campania –  this is the region of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the hills of Avellino
Turin – this northern city is full of surprises, from gourmet food (think: truffles, chocolate, Barolo wines) to fascinating museums (including the best Egyptian collection outside of Cairo

BabyBoomerTrips.com: In your opinion, what do you think some of the hottest travel destinations for baby boomers will be in the near future?

Kathy McCabe: I know that Italy is hot and I am sure it will continue to be. In fact, most of my subscribers are baby boomers. 30% of our readers have been to Italy seven or more times. Clearly once is not enough for boomers traveling to Italy! I think it has a particular draw for this generation – the simpler way of life, the desire for more meaning, the need to be surrounded by beauty in nature and art. Many of my subscribers are looking into buying retirement homes in Italy. We recently published an issue called “Living the Dream,” with tales of boomers who have bought and refurbished property in Italy and the nuts and bolts of making the move. I don’t see the interest in Italy waning anytime soon – it is definitely an addictive place.

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About Kathy: Kathy McCabe is the founder, editor and publisher of the subscription travel newsletter, Dream of Italy, The Insider's Guide to Undiscovered Italy. The four-year-old newsletter has been recommended by USA TODAY, National Geographic Traveler, U.S News & World Report and American Way (American Airlines). Through her newsletter and media appearances, including on Peter Greenberg's "Travel Today" and on ABC NEWS' "World News This Morning,” McCabe has helped thousands of travelers experience authentic Italy. This fall, McCabe will launch The Italian Dream Concierge, a unique travel planning service for those who want authentic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences on their next vacation to Italy.

Her first-hand reporting has included participating in the production of buffalo mozzarella in Campania, accompanying a man and his dog on a truffle hunt in Piedmont, soaking in magical hot springs in Tuscany, watching open-air opera in Verona, visiting ancient caves in Basilicata and enduring the hardship of reviewing new restaurants and hotels all over the country.

Kathy’s articles have appeared in USA TODAY, Saveur, Washingtonian, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, Global Traveler, The Travel Channel Online, Fodor's Travel Publications, The Dallas Morning News, The Baltimore Sun, The Boston Herald and more.

McCabe began her career in journalism at ABC News where she was part of an Emmy-Award winning investigative team linking money and politics during the 1996 presidential election. She holds a M.A. in non-fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S.F.S. in European Studies from Georgetown University and is a graduate of the Stanford University Professional Publishing Program. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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