The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

If you spin the globe near the Equator, you might end up here. Photo from andBeyond Vamizi.

If you spin the globe near the Equator, you might end up here. Photo from andBeyond Vamizi.

I’m not very good at remembering all the special commemorative days and sometimes obscure holidays that I should.

For example, I  forgot National Grandparents Day this year, even though I had written about it last year — and, even worse, it was my first Grandparents Day as an actual grandparent. It was only when a relative wished me a Happy Grandparents Day that the light went on in my head.

The United Nations first declared World Tourism Day in 1980 to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political benefits of tourism, which now accounts for about 10 percent of the global economy — the largest single industry in the world.

Airlines, cruise lines, rail lines, bus lines, rental car agencies…hotels, motels, B&Bs, resorts, inns…restaurants, cafes, street vendors…tour companies, guides, travel agents, guidebook… Continue reading

Bison roam Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Bison roam Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Cotopaxi, a company that makes backpacks, jackets and other outdoor gear — and donates a percentage of its earnings to worthy causes around the world — has come out with an infographic in celebration of this year’s 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.

It shows the top five U.S. National Parks in terms of annual visitation, plus five “Hidden Gems” that are far less visited.

The top five visited National Parks, in order, are Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain, California’s Yosemite, and Yellowstone, which extends over parts of three states: mostly Wyoming, but also Montana and Idaho.

I’ve visited all of the most popular ones at one time or another, but have to admit I’ve never been to any of the Hidden Gens: Washington’s North Cascades, Florida’s Dry Tortugas, South Carolina’s Congaree,… Continue reading

You can Bicycle the "World's Deadliest Road" in Bolivia on this fun trip. Photo from Travel Supermarket

You can Bicycle the “World’s Deadliest Road” in Bolivia on this fun trip. Photo from Travel Supermarket

The infographic below from the UK-based TravelSupermarket.com came across my desk recently and I thought I would pass it along as a public service. It’s essentially a compendium of Extreme Adventures around the world that I can cross off my bucket list even before trying them.

Oh, I might try riding the Alpine rollercoaster in Austria or give the world’s fastest zip line in Wales a shot at pumping my adrenaline to warp speed.

But bungee jumping into a volcano in Chile, cliff camping in Colorado (yes, that means sleeping on the edge of the cliff), or riding a bike along Bolivia’s notorious Death Road?

Thanks, but I’ll leave those to another lifetime, which I would probably be starting soon if I succumbed to the temptation to try any of them, which… Continue reading

stone-money-logoWhenever I tell someone I first meet that I’m a travel writer, I’m almost invariably asked the same questions.

They usually involve some variation on “What’s your favorite place in the world?”, “How do I get your job?”,  and/or “Can I come with you?”

Depending on my mood at the moment, I may give one answer — or another — because some answers invariably lead to further discussion, while others almost always cut it short.

So here is my list of travel writer FAQs — with sometimes varying answers.

  • What’s your favorite place in the world to visit?

If I have the time and inclination to talk, I say “Yap.”

I pick Yap because not only do I like it a lot, but hardly anyone has ever heard of it, so it leads to stimulating conversation.

Yap is a group of small islands in the far western Pacific… Continue reading

Hiking the Escalante | The Toadstools

Note: This is the fourth in a series of “Hiking the Escalante” guest posts by Mitch Stevens, founder of the Tucson-based tour company Southwest Discoveries.

The series showcases some of the memorable adventures that await along the Escalante River Basin and its tributaries in southern Utah.

In this post, Mitch concludes the series with his visits to the Toadstools — which he describes as “a surreal and scenic experience that looks and feels as if it were taken straight from a science fiction movie” — and Calf Creek Falls, which he calls “awe-inspiring and mesmerizing.”

These hikes are well suited to adventurous, fit baby boomers with an appetite for great scenery and a side dish of geology. (Just don’t eat the Toadstools!)

By Mitch Stevens

Located along U.S. 89 in the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument, the Toadstools trailhead leads to a series of mushroom-like formations… Continue reading

Third in a Series 

Peek a Boo Slot Canyon - Hiking the EscalanetNote: In our first two guest posts from Mitch Stevens, founder of Tucson-based Southwest Discoveries — which runs guided hiking tours of Arizona and the Southwest — Mitch gave riveting accounts of “The Most Beautiful Hike in the Southwest” and “The Incomparable Stevens Arch.”

His Hiking the Escalante series that appears on his website focuses on the extraordinary Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument in southern Utah.

In today’s guest post, Mitch takes you into Dry Gulch, Spooky Gulch, and Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon.

The names alone are enticing, and if you’re looking for some adventure and what Mitch calls “spectacular solitude” deep in the heart of southern Utah’s no man’s land. you may want to add them to your life list.

As Mitch notes, though, these are not suited for hikers who are overly claustrophobic or with limited… Continue reading

Hiking Utah

In our previous post, guest blogger Mitch Stevens, founder of Southwest Discoveries, which runs hiking tours in Arizona and adjoining states, wrote about what he calls the most beautiful hike in the Southwest: Coyote Gulch in southern Utah.

Today he writes about what he calls perhaps the single most impressive natural feature in the West: Stevens Arch. It’s part of his “Hiking the Escalante” series and makes me want to fly/drive/hike to southern Utah right now (or maybe when it cools down a bit).  Reading his description of the sometimes rough and tricky terrain, though, I think I would want Mitch to lead the way. Here’s Mitch:

By Mitch Stevens.

Considering that the Western U.S. features some of the most amazing scenery on earth, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone, it may sound strange to say the single most impressive natural feature in… Continue reading

Today we have a guest post from Mitch Stevens, who runs a terrific Tucson-based company called Southwest Discoveries,  which specializes in hiking tours in Arizona and elsewhere in the Southwest.

This is the first post in a series that Mitch has written about “Hiking the Escalante,” showcasing the beauty and splendor of the awe-inspiring formations created by the Escalante River in southern Utah. It will give you a good sense of hiking Coyote Gulch, what Mitch calls the “most beautiful hike in the Southwest.” (And that’s saying a lot.)

Not incidentally, Mitch welcomes — encourages — baby boomers to join his hiking tours. This one is for active, fit boomers who enjoy the best that nature has to offer.

By Mitch Stevens

Hiking Coyote GulchCanyons are the Southwest’s magnificent natural cathedrals.

Sheer cliffs, red rock walls, ancient geologic sculptures and dozens of tributaries await the adventurous trekker when… Continue reading

The Royal Clipper in full sail. Photo courtesy of Star Clippers.

Star Clippers” Royal Clipper in full sail through the Caribbean. Photo courtesy of Star Clippers.

If romance is the universal language — and who says baby boomers have lost their sense of romance? — a Caribbean cruise is sure to spice it up with a potpourri of accents:

Perhaps a dose of “Yeah, mon” Jamaican hospitality one day, a Dutch treat on St. Maarten on another, and a dash of French joie de vivre on St. Bart’s on a third.

Or you could go British on Grand Cayman or all-American with a Spanish twist in Puerto Rico.

Stir in the Caribbean’s trademark turquoise waters, soft breezes, palm-fringed beaches, steel-drum beats, and alluring tropical ambiance, and you have the recipe for an unforgettable voyage.

Decision Time

Still, Caribbean cruises are as varied as the islands themselves, so you’ll need to make some decisions.

One is the itinerary.

Caribbean islands are… Continue reading

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Research has shown that as we get older, we tend to become more altruistic

As “narcissistic and materialistic values wane in influence” (with age) writes Jim Gilmartin, CEO of the Chicago-based agency Coming of Age, which specializes in marketing to baby boomers and seniors,”concern for others increases.”

In the travel field, this trend has helped fuel the rapid rise of volunteer vacations, also known as “voluntourism”

The concept is simple: rather than go on a more traditional vacation, such as taking a cruise or staying at a resort, you sign up with a company or agency that sets you up to work on a project such as helping in wildlife conservation, building classrooms and  homes, or improving local water systems, usually in the developing world.

Yes, you pay for the privilege of helping others, but it’s not necessarily all work and no play, and benefits accrue to the travelers… Continue reading

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Best Baby Boomer Travel Blogs in 2015

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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.

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