The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

Clark Norton

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Carnival's soon-to-be-introduced Ocean Medal;lion can be worn around the wrist. Photo from Princess Cruises. .

Carnival’s soon-to-be-introduced Ocean Medallion can be worn around the wrist. Photo from Princess Cruises.

Every year brings advances to the world of cruising: new ships and amenities, breakthrough technologies, more enticing itineraries.

As cruise lines jostle to stay one wave or river bend ahead of the competition, they grow ever more creative – and passengers reap the rewards.

In 2017, that means more personalized experiences, a more varied choice of destinations, and more “Wow!” factors than ever. Happy sailing!

A Techno-Gizmo That Does It All, Almost

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, has announced plans to begin rolling out a techno-marvel medallion in 2017 that will do almost anything for you on board except mix your drinks (for that, you’ll need to sail on Royal Caribbean’s new mega-ship the Harmony of the Seas, which sports cocktail-preparing robots in its Bionic Bar).

Paired with an optional app for maximum… Continue reading

Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

Asking you to relive 2016 may be asking a lot, but here at clarknorton.com we offer sheer escapism!

Well, maybe not quite — but travel can, we hope, help take your mind off other things.

So, in that spirit, we offer up Our Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016 as found on clarknorton.com and voted on, in effect, by your clicks.

Yes, this is purely a popularity contest, with no quality control whatsoever. (Kind of like an election.) And because there was a tie for the tenth spot, there’s a bonus post to check out, should you wish to seek penance for overindulging during the holidays.

Here they are in order, counting down to Number One:

10. Top Bucket List Items: What’s Number One? and Top Ten Travel Predictions for 2016. (Tie)

Top Ten or Top Five lists (almost) always… Continue reading

Camping on ice in Nunavut will be hot this year, so to speak, among Americans vacationing in Canada. Photo from Nunavut Tourism

Camping on ice in Nunavut will be hot this year, so to speak, among Americans vacationing in Canada. Photo from Nunavut Tourism.

Since just about every travel publication tries to predict – or, more accurately, tries to convince you – where you’ll go in the New Year, clarknorton.com is no exception.

Here are my predictions for what will be the three hottest destinations for Americans in 2017:

*  CANADA – Approximately half the population of the United Sates says they expect to visit Canada in 2017, according to recent surveys, and many say they are planning extended visits of from four to eight years. Interest is particularly strong among residents of the western and northeastern coastal areas, as well as pockets of travelers from the Midwest and Virginia.

Perhaps surprisingly, Canada will apparently be inundated with U.S. visitors at the coldest time of year, in late January. And despite… Continue reading

flightSpeak lets you know what to expect at TSA security lines

flightSpeak lets you know what to expect at TSA security lines

‘Tis the season for holiday travel. But, in many cases, before you get home (or perhaps someplace that’s warm and tropical) for the holidays, you have to fight the Airport Wars.

Everyone who has flown during the holidays knows what this means: long lines to get through security, frantic searches for places to charge your cellphones, dodging other stressed-out travelers dashing to make their flights, maybe missing your own connections, and more — just the sorts of headaches that crush the holiday spirit before you even hit the eggnog.

You may even be at the airport right now as you read this (and, I hope, have your phone or laptop charged enough to do so).

If you’re en route, still packing, or just thinking about an upcoming trip now or any time of year, check out an app called… Continue reading

In my last post, I recommended a terrific book from the Quarto Publishing Group (Voyageur Press), Route 66 Roadside Signs and Advertisements, by Jim Sonderman.

If you ever traveled Route 66 or even just wanted to, you’ll love this tribute to an iconic American highway, the points of interest along it, and, of course, the signage that captured the imaginations of countless travelers — including me and my fellow baby boomers.

Now I’d like to highlight two more travel-related books from Quarto Publishing, which is based in Minneapolis and is turning out a number of excellent titles.

I was drawn to Backroads of Arizona (Voyageur Press, 2016, 2nd Edition), by Jim Hinckley with photography by Kerrick James, because I’m now living in the Grand Canyon State and looking to discover just the kind of “byways to breathtaking landscapes and quirky small towns” that the book’s sub-title promises… Continue reading

240x4009780760349748This year I’ve come across five travel-related books I’d like to highlight.

I think any or all of them would make great gifts for the baby boomer traveler on your list — or anyone else who enjoys a dose of history and adventure with their travels or making new discoveries on the back roads of America.

All are from the Minneapolis-based Quarto Publishing Group USA, under the imprints Voyageur Press and Zenith Press.

I’ll feature all the books in this and upcoming posts.

The first, Route 66 Roadside Signs and Advertisements, is written by Joe Sonderman, with photography by Sonderman and Jim Hinckley. It was issued by Voyageur Press in 2016.

If you remember traveling on Route 66 — or even just getting your kicks by watching the early 1960’s Route 66 TV show starring Martin Milner — you will love this book. It’s guaranteed… Continue reading

Mont-Saint-Michel is a remarkable sight as you approach. Photo from Normandy Tourist Board.

Mont-Saint-Michel is a remarkable sight as you approach. Photo from Normandy Tourist Board.

As regular readers of this blog know, I have a soft spot for off-the-beaten-track destinations.

Yes, I love Paris and Venice and London, but I also like to explore the lesser-known out-of-the-wsy places that many travelers never reach.

Once years ago, I  set off by train from Paris to visit Mont-Saint-Michel, a medieval abbey off the coast of Normandy that I had read about in college in the Henry Adams’ book, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.

The trip took two full days because the train connections were awful, but I made it, and didn’t regret it. It’s a dramatically situated Gothic masterpiece, rising atop a rocky island with a maze of narrow streets surrounding it.

Traditionally, Mont-Saint-Michel has only been reachable by land when the tides are out, via squishy mud flats. When the tides come in,… Continue reading

The Tip 'n Split, calculator and magnifier in one compact motif

The Tip ‘n Split, calculator and magnifier in one compact motif

It’s that season again — when it’s time to stuff the stockings that are hanging by the chimney with care.

The good news: If the stocking you’re stuffing belongs to an ardent baby boomer traveler, there are plenty of new travel gadgets that you didn’t really know you needed until you read about them here. And now you gotta have ’em…

Tip ‘n Split

Our first gadget is called the Tip ‘n Split, invented by a baby boomer named Connie Inukai.

Tip ‘n Split is a compact, multi-use gadget that functions as an easy-to-use tip calculator — and can even split your restaurant bill, if you wish. (It won’t actually pay the bill, however — that’s still up to you and your companions.)

But what I really love about Tip ‘n Split is that it also features a… Continue reading

1ef61fa7bf921f1dc6fc666030b62d88A few months ago I attended a stamp and coin show in Tucson and was disappointed to see that most of the displays were devoted to coins, not stamps.

And I became almost morose while chatting with some of the few stamp dealers there (all of whom were baby boomers, by the way). They each told the same story: in their experience, at least, stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Many of their items had been marked down for faster sale.

As a boy growing up in Indiana, I became a fervent stamp collector while still in grade school.

While I collected stamps from all over the world, including the U.S., I especially liked the issues of British and French colonies — not because I romanticized colonization (I didn’t know its moral implications at the time), but because they beautifully depicted far-away, exotic places that, quite simply, made me… Continue reading

Turkeys

Turkeys

For our first annual Thanksgiving Day Quiz, we shall delve into the history and the mystery of this travel-related holiday, when most everyone in the United States either heads to Grandma’s house or Grandma flees to the buffet at Golden Corral.

Either way, there’s bound to be turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and at least one relative who hits the sauce too much, cranberry or otherwise. It’s a quintessential American holiday, epitomized by food, football, family and friends.

But how much do you really know about it? Here’s the quiz, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberries

Cranberries

1..Which historical figure is most identified with Thanksgiving in America?

a. The Earl of Cranberry

b. Davy Crockett

c. The Sultan of Turkey

d. Governor William Bradford

2. Who  invented the green bean casserole, and when?

a. Betty Crocker in 1949

b. Dorcas Reilly in 1955

c.  … 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.

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