The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

You can bicycle along this canal with VBT. Photo from VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.

You can bicycle along this canal with VBT. Photo from VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.

It was news to me, but National Grandparents Day is on Sunday, September 13th. 

According to Family Travel Association:

  • 50 million U.S. households are now led by grandparents, forecasting a continued travel boom by this large group of baby boomers.
  • Today’s grandparents are far more active than their parents were, spending lots of time planning trips around specific activities.
  • As a result, multi-generational adventure travel is up 30% year after year. (Multi-generational travel is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry and tops the list of travel trends, according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report.) 
  • More grandparents are traveling with just the grandchildren, leaving the greandkids’ parents’ behind.  
  • 22% of all grandparents traveled with just their grandchildren in the past year.

Here are a few suggestions for multi-generational travel, whether it’s… Continue reading

Yvonne Craig as "Batgirl."

Yvonne Craig as “Batgirl.”

I recently read of the death of Yvonne Craig, an actress best known for her role as “Batgirl” in the campy late 1960s “Batman” TV series.

While Yvonne wasn’t  a baby boomer — she was 78 when she died after a two-year battle with breast cancer, weakened by a long regimen of chemotherapy — she was an icon of sorts for many boomers. She was a role model for young women — the first woman superhero, predating “Wonder Woman” and the rest — and an object of desire for many young men of the era.

I’m writing about Yvonne not because of this but because my wife, Catharine, and I briefly knew her while we were on a small ship cruise together down the Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea eight years ago.

It wasn’t her role as “Batgirl” that impressed me so much as… Continue reading

A Viking longship cruises the Rhine. Photo from Viking Cruises.

A Viking longship cruises the Rhine. Photo from Viking Cruises.

River cruising has exploded in popularity over the past decade. River cruise lines are rapidly expanding from their strongholds in Europe into North America, Asia, Africa, and South America, adding new ships and innovations such as all-weather “indoor balconies” – sitting rooms facing floor-to-ceiling windows — every year.

It’s recently become the hottest segment of the cruise industry, with no signs of slowing down. Here are some reasons why:

  • River cruising is more intimate than ocean cruising. Rather than the multi-thousand-passenger megaships that resemble floating cities — with built-in malls, casinos, and giant waterslides – the long, sleek river cruise ships typically hold from 120-200 passengers. And most won’t be getting any larger, due to the constraints posed by passing through locks and canals and under bridges. With fewer passengers, you won’t have to fight… Continue reading
Elfreth's Alley: The oldest residential street in the U.S. Photo by Charles Ridgeway.

Elfreth’s Alley: The oldest residential street in the U.S. Photo by Charles Ridgeway.

Quick Quiz:

What city in the U.S. can claim the first American:

  • Public school (1698)
  • Residential street (1702)
  • Library (1731)
  • Independent hospital (1731)
  • Fire-fighting company (1736)
  • Meetings of the U.S. Congress (1774)
  • First university (1779)
  • Public Bank (1780)
  • Daily Newspaper (1784)
  • Stock exchange (1790)
  • Circus (1793)
  • Manned air flight (1793)
  • Art museum and school (1805)
  • Carbonated water (1807)
  • Theater (1809)
  • Natural history museum (1812)
  • African American university (1837)
  • Advertising agency (1869)
  • Zoo (1874)
  • Merry-go-round (1867)
  • Ice cream soda (1876)
  • Cafeteria-style restaurant (1902)
  • Funeral home (built as such) (1905)
  • Thanksgiving Day parade (1919)
  • Totally air conditioned building (1932)
  • Cheesesteak (1932)
  • Girl Scout cookie sale (1932)
  • Fully electronic computer invented (1946)
  • Slinky (1948)
  • Polio vaccine (1960)

Not to mention (though I’m mentioning them anyway): the first U.S. Mint, the first department store, the first botanical garden, the first opera… Continue reading

The author climbing a mountain in Switzerland, temporarily solo.

The author climbing a mountain in Switzerland, temporarily solo.

If you’re planning to travel solo — or, perhaps more to the point, worried about traveling solo — the infographic below from Solos, A UK-based travel company that specializes in singles tours of Europe, may help ease your mind.

Solos has been in business for more than 30 years, running escorted tours to the UK, Ireland, France, and Italy, and has been voted the Best Singles Holiday Tour Operator in the UK for the past four years. An experienced tour leader accompanies all tours and you’re guaranteed your own room, a big plus when compared to many other tours.

You can also choose tours designed for folks in the 50s-plus age range.

Solos is happy to work with American travelers, and has a special website directed to them, with prices listed in U.S. dollars. You can also go to their… Continue reading

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry Crosses Delaware Bay.

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry Crosses Delaware Bay.

Long before I could afford to take an actual ocean or river cruise, I loved riding ferry boats wherever I traveled around the world.

Whether it was ferrying around the Greek Islands, or riding the Star Ferry in Hong Kong, or taking the ferry from Washington State over to Victoria, BC, riding ferries was a way of getting out on the water both scenically and inexpensively.

And I still love it.

That’s why my wife, Catharine, and I (who shares my enthusiasm) have ridden the Cape May-Lewes Ferry three times in the past six years that we have vacationed in Ocean City, New Jersey, including this August.

The ferry travels from Cape May on the far southern reaches of the Jersey Shore across Delaware Bay to Lewes, Delaware, which lies north of beach communities like Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Ocean City, Maryland.… Continue reading

Whitewater rafting trips are one good option for baby boomer adventurers. Photo from Whitewater Connection

Whitewater rafting trips are one good option for baby boomer adventurers. Photo from Whitewater Connection

Over the past several years, I’ve had the following exciting, sometimes scary, often challenging, but ultimately exhilarating adventures:

  • Summiting a peak in British Columbia, then rappelling down the side of a cliff onto a glacier.
  • Whitewater rafting in Nepal on class IV and V rivers.
  • Riding a camel in the Sahara and Sinai deserts.
  • Hiking for a week over the hills and dales of County Kerry in southwest Ireland.
  • Feeling the rush of whales diving directly under my Zodiac and surfacing less than 20 yards away in Glacier Bay, Alaska.
  • Biking 45 miles from the top of Maui’s Mount Haleakala to the shores of the Pacific, the world’s longest downhill bike ride.
  • Swimming with piranhas in the Amazon.
  • Mushing a dogsled team in Finland.

And I’ve done them all after the… Continue reading

NJ-00078-CGreetings-from-Ocean-City-New-Jersey-PostersSince I just returned from a bike ride in Ocean City, New Jersey, I thought it would be a good time to reprint a post from two years ago about this bike-friendly city, complete with a few updates:

Bicycling is great exercise for baby boomers, who may find running to be too hard on the knees, surfing too fraught with teenagers, golf too pricey and frustrating, and hula-hooping just all-around too embarrassing.

With cycling, though, it’s easy to just hop on a bike and take off. Of course, it’s good to have someplace safe to ride.

Ocean City, New Jersey, on the lower stretches of the Jersey Shore south of Atlantic City, knows how to make cycling safe and appealing, which helps keep people out of cars and improve physical fitness and air quality as well.

Its longtime slogan “America’s Greatest Family Resort” is morphing into “America’s Greenest Family Resort.”… Continue reading

Central America and the Caribbean. Photo from Blount Small Ship Adventures.

The Grand Mariner also ventures to Central America and the Caribbean. Photo from Blount Small Ship Adventures.

Sixth in a Series

When it comes to cruising, you can usually divide people into two camps: those who like big ships and those who like small ships.

On our recent “Magical Lake Michigan” cruise with Blount Small Ship Adventures, I don’t know how many times I heard other passengers say they would never take a big ship cruise.

The notion of traveling on a floating city of 2,000-6,000 people just didn’t interest them.

Small Ships Vs. Large

Cruising on a small ship — usually defined as one carrying 200 or fewer passengers (though often far less) — does have plenty of advantages:

* Getting on and off the ship takes virtually no time, while on a big ship, you often have to wait in long lines to do either.

*… Continue reading

The Grande Mariner, Blount's 88-passenger ship that sails Lake Michigan and beyond. Photo from Blount Small Ship Adventures.

The Grande Mariner, Blount’s 88-passenger ship that sails Lake Michigan and beyond. Photo from Blount Small Ship Adventures.

Fifth in a Series

On our recent “Magical Lake Michigan” cruise aboard Blount Small Ship Adventures‘ 88-passenger ship Grande Mariner, we started in Illinois (Chicago), sailed to Michigan, made three stops (Holland, Beaver Island and Mackinac Island), and now were headed to Wisconsin.

The world’s fifth largest lake, Lake Michigan borders parts of four U.S. states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana — and only Indiana is not included on the itinerary.

Lake Michigan is the only one of the five Great Lakes not to share its waters with the province of Ontario, Canada. That made it ideal for some of the American passengers who didn’t own passports. (Though as an aside I would encourage  everyone to get one; for example, to take… Continue reading

1 2 3 32

Sign up to follow my blog


 Follow me on Twitter
 Connect on Facebook
 Amazon Author page
 Connect on LinkedIn
 Circle me on Google+

Best Baby Boomer Travel Blogs in 2015

2014Seal_Gold

image001

NATJA SEAL-Gold winner

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.