The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

Monticello, Thomas Jefferson''s home, is just outside Charlottesville and can be reached by a hiking trail. Photo by Clark Norton

Monticello, Thomas Jefferson”s home, is just outside Charlottesville and can be reached by a hiking trail. Photo by Clark Norton

Last fall after a visit to Charlottesville, Virginia, I wrote about Ten Things I Didn’t Know about this lovely Virginia city where my daughter now lives.

And now, after a recent second visit, I’ve compiled a list of Five More Things I Didn’t Know About “C’Ville.” So I guess I’m learning. (Stay tuned next year for “One or Two More Things I Didn’t Know About Charlottesville?”)

You could call this the “sports and outdoor activities” edition of the things I didn’t know. It was warmer in October than it was last year in late November, so I got outside more, including to a University of Virginia night football game, a win over Pitt that came complete with exploding scoreboard every time UVA scored, enough cheerleaders and band members to… Continue reading

The pool at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs in California's Napa Valley. Photo from Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.

The pool at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs in California’s Napa Valley. Photo from Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.

As we get older (yeah, I know, who wants to be reminded of that?), we need to focus more on our health: eating better, staying active, perhaps taking brisk morning walks or gardening.

I also ride an exercycle, handy for winter days in New York when I can’t ride my bike outdoors.

But travel can also play a big role. Wellness retreats, for instance, allow you to get away from your usual daily activities and focus on renewing your health.

Wellness retreats offer a wide variety of services to rejuvenate your mind and body. Most options are relatively inexpensive and provide an all-new way of relieving mental and physical stress.

From centers in the U.S. and abroad, you can find the ideal retreat to suit your needs — and your budget.

These specialty vacations typically… Continue reading

Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2  is one luxurious way to cruise Europe. Photo by Clark Norton

Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 is one luxurious way to cruise Europe. Photo by Clark Norton

After posting my recent piece on repositioning cruises, I received this guest post entry from reader Suzanne Meades, offering some reasons why baby boomers might prefer taking a cruise ship to flying to and around Europe.

And for those boomers who have the time, I couldn’t agree more.

Both ocean and river cruising are big with boomers. A transatlantic cruise — fairly rare these days, except for repositioning cruises — evokes particular nostalgia for me, since a Spanish steamship took me across the Atlantic on my first trip to Europe in college. I even have a medal for winning the shipboard table tennis tournament, no easy task since the ship was rocking and rolling through the waves during my final match. At least, I think that medal is hiding around here somewhere…

As for seeing… Continue reading

The Tablift lets you read your tablet lying down or sitting up. Photo from Tablift.

The Tablift lets you read your tablet lying down or sitting up. Photo from Tablift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll confess: My wife can always tell when I’ve been drinking out of a particular glass by whether or not it has greasy fingerprints all over it (mine).

Same with who used our tablet last — my fingerprints are everywhere. Maybe it’s the chips I like to snack on. Maybe it’s because I have long fingers. Maybe it’s…well, who cares, I leave fingerprints. Fortunately, I’m not a burglar by trade.

But I do like to read, look at photos I’ve taken, and write and watch things, etc., on our tablet, and I especially like to do these things when I’m traveling, which I do for a living, so if I can spare getting fingerprints all over… Continue reading

Repositioning cruises can be some of the best bargains at sea. Photo by Clark Norton

Repositioning cruises can be some of the best bargains at sea. Photo by Clark Norton

Every fall and spring, a number of ocean-going cruise ships leave one area of the world — say, Europe, Canada, or Alaska in the fall — for another, such as the Caribbean, South America, or Hawaii, to take advantage of the warmer winter waters in the latter spots.

These are called repositioning cruises (repo cruises for short), and they tend to be longer — sometimes quite a bit longer — than a typical cruise.

The cruise lines don’t want to run the ships empty, of course, so they sell the cabins often at  much-reduced rates, especially considering the length of the voyages.  You might find a 17-day October repositioning cruise from Italy to Brazil, for example, for about the same price as a regular 10-day cruise.

In the spring, you might find a 12-day repo… Continue reading

Multi-generational travelers might opt to sail away to Alaska aboard the Disney Wonder. Photo from Disney Cruise Lines

Multi-generational travelers might opt to sail away to Alaska aboard the Disney Wonder. Photo from Disney Cruise Lines

Multi-generational travel is hot.

So hot that it’s up 30 percent over the past year. And boomer-led family groups are spending an average of $1,000 more per year than other travelers,  according to findings at a recent family travel summit.

The second TMS Family Travel Summit, organized by TMS Family Travel and Family Travel Consulting,  brought together 38 travel journalists, editors, publishers and marketers to hear the latest research, discuss travelers’ needs, and determine marketing strategies for family groups led by retiring boomers. 

The multi-generational travel phenomenon presents both challenges and opportunities for those in the travel industry.

 But what, exactly, constitutes multi-generational travel? 

One speaker defined it as a travel party comprised of at least one traveler over age 60 with at least one traveler under age 18 who resides in a different household.… Continue reading

Seats don't recline on Spirit Airlines -- a possible solution? Photo by Spirit Airlines

Seats don’t recline on Spirit Airlines — a possible solution? Photo by Spirit Airlines

You’ve probably heard about the recent spate of airline seat reclining wars.

One passenger wants to recline his or her seat. The passenger sitting behind the first passenger doesn’t like the intrusion into his or her space — or possibly getting hit in the knees, head, or having a beverage spilled all over him or herself, or being unable to comfortably work on a laptop.

Tempers flare, and heated words are exchanged. Various rights are invoked — “my right” to recline versus (in the case of the other passenger) “my right” to have what little space the airline allots me to myself, without having your head practically lying in my lap.

Sometimes gadgets are employed. In one recent case, a “knee defender” — which prevents the person in front from being able to recline — led to… Continue reading

Tuvalu, a small island nation in the South Pacific, is profiting from its country URL code, .tv. Photo from timelesstuvalu.com

Tuvalu, a small island nation in the South Pacific, is profiting from its country URL code, .tv. Photo from timelesstuvalu.com

Until I read about it in The New York Times, I had no idea that Tuvalu — a small South Pacific island nation previously best known as one of the most likely to sink below water as the oceans rise (“Toodle-oo, Tuvalu,” goes the sardonic refrain) — has been making millions of dollars by selling its Internet URL suffix .tv to companies that stream videos and the like.

Every country and a number of dependencies has been assigned a country code, usually based on its name, and Tuvalu lucked into the .tv designation years ago.

I salute their entrepreneurial spirit, even as their low-lying atolls threaten to become the next Atlantis.

It turns out Tuvalu isn’t the only country doing this sort of business.

According to The Times, Colombia has… Continue reading

Craving a Hawaiian honeymoon? Let Fundly help?

Craving a Hawaiian honeymoon? Let Fundly help.

“Help us get to Hawaii,” plead a pair of honeymooners. And a variety of folks have chipped in $2,400 for it.

“London is longing for Jesus,” writes another, and $1,070 has been donated for one woman to help bring him there, or so the implication goes.

Meanwhile, someone named Renie wants to go to Rome — that wish has brought in $730 — while another $435 has been kicked in for a woman whose “lifelong dream” is to move to France.

All the above and plenty more would-be travelers have opened campaigns on Fundly.com, one of the world’s top crowdfunding sites, to try to convince other people — be they friends, family, neighbors, or complete strangers — to donate to their travel funds and bucket list destinations.

If you aren’t familiar with the term crowdfunding, it’s really just what it sounds like: getting… Continue reading

ChocoChicken restaurant in Los Angeles, open and ready for business. Photo from la.eater.com.

ChocoChicken restaurant in Los Angeles, open and ready for business. Photo from la.eater.com.

First, the recipe:

Chocolate Chicken

Ingredients:

Two boneless chicken breasts, cut thin

1 tsp. unsweetened or semisweet cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. paprika

a dash of cayenne pepper or chili flakes

Chocolate, a key ingredient in Chocolate Chicken.

Chocolate, a key ingredient in Chocolate Chicken.

lemon juice (enough to make mix “goopy”)

some cilantro or basil, chopped

melted butter (you choose the amount)

optional: cumin or garlic powder

whiskey for flambeing

Instructions:

Mix above ingredients together (except whiskey if flambeing).

Wash chicken and coat thoroughly with mix.

Let sit for awhile  while you figure out what to serve with it, or have a cocktail (optional, but if flambeing, don’t use up all your whiskey).

Cook chicken — grill it, fry it, bake it, saute it, stir-fry it, flambe it, whatever you like, but do make sure to apply sufficient heat that it… 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.