The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

Jet lag, contaminated water, insect bites, infection, and injury away from home…the potential perils are enough to make some would-be travelers toss away those glossy brochures.

But knowledge, planning, and preventatives can help stave off many of travel’s unhealthy side effects — whether it’s flying fatigue, a nasty case of Togo two-step, or an emergency medical bill after you flip your whitewater raft in Nepal.

To test your knowledge of travel health issues, take our quiz.

 

1. The direction in which you fly may influence the severity of your jet lag. Other conditions being equal, which direction is most likely to produce bad jet lag?

a. East to west.

b. West to east.

c. North to south

d. South to north

2. One good way to counter the effects of jet lag is to:

a. Keep your watch set on “home… Continue reading

A Wyndham Vacation Rentals property in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Photo courtesy of Wyndham.

A Wyndham Vacation Rentals property in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Photo courtesy of Wyndham.

Did you know July is National Vacation Rental Month?

I didn’t either until I was sent a copy of a survey taken by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, the world’s largest professional manager of vacation rental properties, which queried more than 11,000 vacation rental travelers on their travel preferences.

It seems that “older individuals” (read: baby boomers aged 55+) prefer traveling with friends more than younger age groups do.

According to the survey, 36 percent of those aged 55 and over prefer to travel with friends when they rent vacation properties, compared to 29 percent of those aged 35-54 (which does include some younger boomers) and 26 percent for those aged 25-34.

Women in general, meanwhile, like to bring their own parents along (for obvious reasons, these women would tend to be in the younger age groups),… Continue reading

A simple Bangkok noodle stand can rival the best restaurants in many other cities.

A simple Bangkok noodle stand can rival the best restaurants in many other cities.

My recent post on The World’s Top 10 Cities took food into consideration, but also considered many other factors — such as scenery, sights, general ambiance, ease of getting around, friendliness of the residents, etc.

My list of The World’s Top Seven Food Cities includes several of those listed in my Top Cities post, but eliminates some and changes the rankings of others. (Like my Top Cities post, I’m sticking with international cities only, eliminating American cities because I’m partial to my former homes — San Francisco and New York — and would also have to include New Orleans and maybe Savannah, and by then I’d be more than halfway through my list.)

For starters, I’ll axe Jerusalem, Barcelona, Budapest, Venice, and Florence from my international food list, even though I’ve had some very… Continue reading

Bridge in Isfahan in the evening. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews.

Bridge in Isfahan in the evening. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews.

With a new nuclear deal in hand (or at least almost in hand, partly depending on U.S. Congressional action), tourism to Iran is expected to soar — much like U.S. tourism to Cuba has reached fever pitch since the recent thaw in relations.

While Iran has received a number of international tourists over the years — including some Americans — since the 1979 revolution brought the ayatollahs to power, economic sanctions have severely crippled Iran’s travel industry.

Still, tourism has been rising somewhat since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013 presented a more moderate face to the world. And with the threat of potential war over Iran’s nuclear program now largely defused, Iran is anticipating a sudden swell of new visitors.

The Iranian government is reportedly considering easing or abolishing visa requirements for many foreign nationals and… Continue reading

Protect your mobile phones like your wallet.

Protect your mobile phones like your wallet.

How careful are you about protecting your vital information while traveling? If you’re like me, you’ve left yourself vulnerable from time to time — maybe tapping into someone’s else’s unsecured network to use their Wi-Fi, or using an ATM on a busy street that presents an easy target for thieves to steal your PIN number, if they’re lurking nearby.

So far I’ve managed to avoid those types of disasters, but I came across this list of tips for protecting your personal information on the road that convinces me I’ve been more lucky than smart about it. The list comes courtesy of Experian’s ProtectMyID (www.protectmyid.com), and I’m going to start paying closer attention to its warnings:

  • Get Your Own Hotspot: Consider a portable router to create your own Wi-Fi hotspot for your electronic devices and that of any… Continue reading
Sipadan Island, Sabah, East Malaysia, might be a nice place to recover from surgery.

Sipadan Island, Sabah, East Malaysia, might be a nice place to recover from surgery.

OK, so you need a hip replacement — lots of baby boomers do. Or you need a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), another increasingly common surgery for the baby boom generation.

If you’re an American, you could get them done in the U.S. and run up bills upwards of $80,000 for the bypass procedure or $30,000 for the hip replacement, and hope your insurance or Medicare foots the bulk of it (if you have insurance or Medicare).

Or you could travel abroad and get the same medical treatments for a fraction of the price — and maybe even have a vacation to boot.

According to the book Patients Without Borders — Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Healthcare, a CABG will cost you about $20,000 in Malaysia, while a hip replacement will run about $12,500.… Continue reading

Sydney Greenstreet in "Casablanca." Peter Lorre was in it, too.

Sydney Greenstreet in “Casablanca.” Peter Lorre was in it, too.

I confess: I’ve dined on KFC in Nairobi, Big Macs in China, and A&W in Kuala Lumpur.

I’ve watched Bob Newhart reruns in Zimbabwe, ordered bacon and eggs in Mumbai, and visited the Holiday Inn in Swaziland.

There are times when seeing a familiar face — even Colonel Sanders — has proved reassuring while traveling in distant lands.

But usually not.

When I go abroad, in fact, I’m almost always drawn to the remote, the exotic, the unfamiliar, the unpredictable. Give me the jungles of the Amazon to the shores of Waikiki, the tea houses of Hong Kong to the salons of London, the ends of the earth to the easily accessible hubs.

When it comes to travel, I’m a hopeless Romantic, spurred by images on old postage stamps and scenes from Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre movies.… Continue reading

The Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, overlooks the Danube. Photo by Clark Norton

The Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, overlooks the Danube. Photo by Clark Norton

Travel + Leisure Magazine has just come out with its latest “World’s Best” lists — there are lots of those these days — one of which is the World’s Top Ten Best Cities.

Here’s the Top Ten as voted by T+L readers:

10. Jerusalem, Israel 9. Cape Town, South Africa 8.Barcelona, Spain 7.Krakow, Poland 6. Bangkok, Thailand 5. Rome, Italy 4. Florence, Italy 3. Siem Reap, Cambodia 2. Charleston, South Carolina 1. Kyoto, Japan

A loyal reader sent me the link yesterday and asked if I could name my own Top 10. I’m happy to oblige.

First, I will say that the above list is not bad, although I don’t quite understand how Siem Reap, Cambodia, makes the list, because it’s mostly known as the gateway to Angkor Wat — which, while being a world-class icon, doesn’t qualify… Continue reading

The Statue of Liberty -- I remember it well. Or not. Photo from U.S. National Park Service.

The Statue of Liberty — I remember it well. Or not. Photo from U.S. National Park Service.

False memories are an odd thing — they can seem as real, or more real, than things you’ve actually done.

I was reminded of this in doing research for my Fourth of July Independence Day Travel Trivia Quiz.

It seems that Thomas Jefferson was convinced later in his life that on July 4, 1776, an elaborate mass signing ceremony of his Declaration of Independence took place in Philadelphia. The Second Continental Congress did adopt the document that day, declaring U.S. independence from Britain.

Except the signing ceremony never happened as he remembered it. Most delegates didn’t sign the document until August 2, nearly a month later.

I’ve always prided myself on my memory, especially where travel is concerned. For instance, I can tell you that when I was ten years… Continue reading

Where in Asia would you find this location of Nathan's Famous hot dogs? Answer: Malaysia. Photo from Nathan's Famous.

Where in Asia would you find this location of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs? Answer: Malaysia. Photo from Nathan’s Famous.

Here are the answers to the Fourth of July Independence Day Travel Trivia Quiz from my previous post. (If you haven’t taken the quiz yet and want to, I’d suggest returning there first.)

Some of these questions were tricky, others merely difficult, and a few were relatively easy, especially with True or False questions offering just two choices. The multiple choice questions seemed to give people the most trouble, based on feedback I received. Thanks for joining in, whether Baby Boomers or younger!

1. True or false: As one of the 13 original colonies, Vermont was the only one that refused to ratify the Declaration of Independence.

Answer: False. Vermont was not one of the original 13 colonies.

2. Which U.S. president was born on the Fourth… 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.