The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

Pilsner Urquell is the Czech Republic's most famous export. Photo by Clark Norton.

Pilsner Urquell is the Czech Republic’s most famous export. Photo by Clark Norton.

When you think of European beer, Germany may spring first to mind, but the real capital is the Czech Republic.

Czechs are said to drink more brew than any other nationality in the world: 40 gallons annually for every man, woman and child in the country. I’m guessing that the average is somewhat higher than that for adult men.

The very word “pilsner” derives from the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, where the country’s best known export — and my longtime favorite beer, Pilsner Urquell — is brewed. It was the first golden pilsner ever made.

On my recent Insight Vacations tour of Prague, I discovered that Pilsner Urquell is only the beginning of what Czech beer has to offer.

Along with 30 other journalists from around the world, I was fortunate to join the… Continue reading

Gravestones in the Jewish Cemetery, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

Gravestones in the Jewish Cemetery, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

For the most part, a visit to Prague is a light-hearted affair: exploring Prague Castle, perusing Old Town Square, sauntering across the Charles Bridge, and perhaps doing some shopping for crystal or dining in a beer hall (more to come on that in a later post).

But the historical  attractions are museum-quality relics of long ago, and bizarre incidents — political rivals being tossed out of windows, leading to destructive wars — are ancient history,  fascinating but distant. The Habsburg dynasty — which ruled here for nearly 400 years — and the Holy Roman Empire are long gone, leaving us buildings and cathedrals to admire but perhaps less to stir our souls.

But Prague has a more recent past that should stir us to the core, and it bubbles to the surface in the city’s old Jewish… Continue reading

Prague's Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square. Photo by Clark Norton

Prague’s Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square. Photo by Clark Norton

Yesterday an associate said to me: “I can’t believe you’d never been to Prague. Everyone goes to Prague. You’re a travel writer, you’ve been to more than 100 countries.”

Point taken. And don’t think it wasn’t gnawing away at me. My daughter had been to Prague. My future daughter-in-law had been to Prague. My parents had been to Prague. And just about all the travel writers I know at least claim to have been to Prague.For years now, it’s been one of the hottest, trendiest spots on the Continent.

My excuse has been that when I was riding trains around Europe for months at a time back in the day,  no Soviet bloc countries were included on Eurailpass, the rail pass I was using to get around to every country in Western Europe (except San Marino, but that’s another… Continue reading

Exterior of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

Exterior of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

When it comes to visiting European cities, I love old.

And you’ve got to love a city where the “New Town” section dates from the 14th century.

And where a section called “Lesser Town” has more going for it than many other cities can boast in total.

Prague, capital of the Czech Republic,  dates from the ninth century with the construction of Prague Castle, which is now the largest occupied castle in the world — covering 16 acres, it’s actually more like a palace — and houses the offices of the Czech president as well as the country’s crown jewels.

The castle was once the seat of power of the vast Holy Roman Empire, which ruled central Europe for a thousand years.

While some of the most beautiful parts of the castle are open only to the president, not the… Continue reading

The Age Busters Power Summit runs every day from March 13-April 2.

The Age Busters Power Summit runs every day from March 13-April 2.

I’m being featured on The Age Busters Power Summit for Women on Saturday, March 29 at 8 pm, talking about “The Important Role of Travel as We Age.”

 You owe it to yourself to attend this free virtual event!  

Go now to the www.theagebusterspowersummit.com/clanor for more details.

Thanks!

 

Answer to Last Week’s Travel Quiz:

About what percentage of jobs worldwide are related to tourism?

A. Five percent

B. Two percent

C. Nine percent

D. 12 percent

The answer is C, nine percent!

 

A Galapagos iguana, best seen on a stress-free guided trip. Photo by Clark Norton

A Galapagos iguana, best seen on a stress-free guided trip. Photo by Clark Norton

Do you come back from vacation more stressed out than when you left?

Based on a survey of world travelers by author Shawn Achor and “happiness researcher” Michelle Gieland from the Institute of Applied Positive Research, “poorly planned and stressful vacations eliminate the positive benefit of time away,” as Achor recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

(See my previous post on travel and happiness for more detail on these findings.)

Achor contends there are four main ingredients that you should add to your vacation mix to result in a happy travel experience:

* “Focus on the details”: Nearly three quarters of travelers found the most stressful part of travel to be “figuring out the details,” according to Achor. “Travel uncertainty, transportation, wasting time figuring things out on the trip, and being unfamiliar with the location”… Continue reading

Is this your idea of a low-stress vacation? Photo by Clark Norton

Is this your idea of a low-stress vacation? Photo by Clark Norton

Happy International Day of Happiness! I just found out that this is the second annual such day, boosted by the United Nations, which must be timed to coincide with the first day of spring — in the Northern Hemisphere, at least — and its sense of renewal (even though as I look out my window, snow is still covering my upstate New York landscape).

So I thought it appropriate to revisit the issue of whether or not travel makes us happier. Earlier this year I reported on findings that travel, in general, does make us healthier and happier than those who don’t travel, particularly as we age.

“Travelers,” one study found, “report higher satisfaction with regard to their stress levels and their physical health and well being.” It cited travelers’ reports of beneficial effects on “mood and… Continue reading

Keeping track of your passport can mean the difference between a great trip and a disaster.

Keeping track of your passport can mean the difference between a great trip and a disaster.

The recent news about the two passengers with stolen passports boarding the missing Malaysian Airlines jet has gotten me thinking about how important it is for international travelers to keep track of their passports — and pay attention to possible problems with these vital documents that could severely impede their journeys.

Years ago, when I was traveling in Austria, I thought my passport had been lost or stolen. I spent an entire day trying to retrace my every step since I had arrived in Vienna — restaurants, movie theater, museums — with no luck, then a couple of more days caught in a bureaucratic nightmare: filing a report with the Vienna police, applying for and receiving a temporary passport from the U.S. consulate there, and, in the interim, trying unsuccessfully without my documentation to… Continue reading

Boomers -- especially boomer women -- book more travel online than any other group. Photo from Adventure Women

Boomers — especially boomer women — book more travel online than any other group. Photo from Adventure Women

I’ve come across some statistics that should of interest to any travel marketers who wonder whether to reach out to women, boomers — and boomer women in particular.

In a previous post, I wrote about how boomer women spend the most money on travel.

Now, new findings show that if you’re basing a travel marketing campaign on social media, it pays to aim it toward women. 

With the exception of Linked In, where the majority of users are men, women dominate social media in the U.S., according to findings published at FinancesOnline.com (compiled from reports by the Pew Research Center and others).

Here are the stats: about three-quarters of adult women in the U.S. use Facebook, compared to two-thirds of the adult men.

For Pinterest, women outnumber men 33 percent to… Continue reading

New York's LaGuardia Airport -- sometimes saving money just isn't worth it.

New York’s LaGuardia Airport — sometimes saving money just isn’t worth it.

Booking airplane flights these days is one of the most confusing and potentially aggravating of all travel activities, which is why a lot of folks just leave it to travel agents.

But since I can do it myself online, I do. Just like millions of other passengers — including lots of baby boomers — I like the sense of control.

But how much control do we really have? Dotcom sites like kayak, skyscanner, priceline, hotwire, Expedia, Orbitz, CheapoAir, etc. etc. will all give you a range of prices, but they’re only good for that particular time — they can change (often drastically) day by day, hour by hour, even minute by minute.

Sometimes you find a great fare only to learn a few minutes later that it’s sold out — but wouldn’t you like to book this other… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.