Are you celebrating your birthday with dinner and a cake? That's so last decade.

Buena Vista Images, Getty Images
Buena Vista Images, Getty Images

Folks in New Jersey are raising the bar on birthday celebrations when they involve a milestone year, according to experts in the travel business.

The goal is to get away, far away, with family and friends and ring in the big 4-0 or 5-0 in style.

Debbie Kolakoski, of Liberty Travel in Montvale, just booked a "destination birthday" for a female client who's about to turn 30 years old.

"They're booking Memorial Day weekend, five days, Aruba," Kolakoski said.

The Caribbean — particularly any resort that offers all-inclusive packages — is an extremely popular destination for these getaways, which have definitely become more popular in recent years, she said.

"The big ones we've been seeing are 40th and 50th birthday parties, although we've also organized some great multi-gen trips for grandparents celebrating a 75th birthday," said Henley Vazquez, CEO of Passported, an online itinerary planner. "It's almost like a wedding — there are hotel blocks, activities, organized meals — except a lot more relaxed since everyone's there to have a good time, minus and pomp and circumstance."

Vazquez also pointed to the Caribbean as a hot spot for birthday getaways, as well as Mexico.

But some birthday men and women have bigger, and further, plans in mind.

To celebrate her 40 years on Earth, Ewing resident Ingrid Fair is headed to Iceland next month with her best friend. They both turn 40 this year and have always planned to go big.

"You only turn 40 once," Fair said. "It's being able to go somewhere and have that experience and have that memory and have something special."

On top of the weeklong Iceland trip, Fair will head down to Hilton Head, South Carolina, during her birthday week in October.

The struggle now is thinking of ways to mark her 50th birthday with an even better itinerary.

"I'm thinking 50's got to be something really big," she said. "I would love to do a Mediterranean cruise."

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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