The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

Luxury travel

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

Florence's Ponte Vecchio, medieval bridge over the Arno River. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, medieval bridge over the Arno River. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Dear Readers,

Auto Europe,  one of my affiliate partners, is giving away a 7 Night Italian Road Trip Escape, valued at over $3,200.

The winner will receive seven nights accommodations at three prestigious Italian resorts, a $250 credit toward a rental car, a food tour in Rome or Florence,  some handy travel accessories, and expertly written Italian travel guides.

You’ll find details on the prizes here.

The contest ends at 11:59 pm on Saturday, August 6th, 2016.

You can enter the contest by going here.

Learn more about Auto Europe, an international company that rents cars all over the world (including, of course, Europe).

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The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- part of a trend? Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — part of a trend? Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental.

First, let’s establish one thing: I’m not a particularly  affluent traveler, certainly by U.S. standards. I don’t really know where I fall in the spectrum of what I spend roaming the world , but I know that when I’m traveling on my own dime price is definitely an object.

Sure, I like to stay in a five-star hotel, dine in a Michelin three-star restaurant or fly first class as much as the next guy, but only if someone else is paying for it. As a consequence, I’ve stayed in some real dumps, eaten any number of meals in greasy spoons, and sat cramped in coach for up to 14 hours at a time on hundreds of flights, all to feed my travel addiction or in furtherance of getting a… Continue reading

Laos' Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

Laos’ Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

In recognition of Global Wellness Day — June 11 this year — I thought it would be apropos to mention a few of the more unusual ways to promote health while traveling. As a baby boomer, I’m prone to the usual stiff joints and other nagging ailments, and love the idea of medical tourism, even if it’s mostly an excuse to go somewhere exotic.

  • Water-based Meditation.

While I don’t practice meditation, I have a few good friends who do, and they always seem focused and calm. Does meditation have this effect, or are naturally calm and focused people drawn to meditation?

I don’t know, but I do know I could use a little more calmness and focus in my life, and I love being on water, so maybe I’ll try:

The Mekong Spa at Belmond… Continue reading

This is one of the beautiful images you'll find on StrideTravel.com. Photo by Dennis Cox.

This is one of the beautiful images you’ll find on StrideTravel.com. Photo by Dennis Cox.

“The Savvy Path to Breathtaking Travel, Without the Hassle”

“Less Planning, More Experiencing”

“A Journey of a Thousand Smiles Begins With a Single Click”

These are some of the taglines that express the essence of the new travel website, StrideTravel.com, where I worked for more than a year as Content Director. (My job is now in the capable hands of Content Coordinator Samantha Scott, who, together with co-founders Gavin Delany and Jared Alster, comprise a formidable team.)

In practical terms, Stride aspires to be — and in many ways already is — the best place on the Web to survey the wealth of multi-day, pre-planned trips that are now available from hundreds of travel suppliers around the world.

“Pre-planned trips” may encompass guided group or private tours as well as independent journeys… Continue reading

Here’s an interesting way to spice up a cruise:

On Hapag-Lloyd’s five-star-plus ship Europa 2 — considered the finest ship afloat today — the passengers will get to decide most of the itinerary. This should appeal to many baby boomers’ sense of adventure.

The ship will set sail from Istanbul on May 14, 2016, and reach Piraeus, Greece, the port of Athens, 10 days later, but where it goes in-between will be decided by the passengers once the ship has set sail.

The Captain will offer some help by letting those aboard know where the sun will be shining brightest during those days. And lecturers on board will present the highlights of the potential destinations.

While the Europa 2 is a German ship, this “Surprise Cruise” is bilingual with English shore excursions. (You just don’t know where the shore excursions will be.) I sailed on the Europa 2… 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

Note to readers: Today’s post is an updated version of a previous post on increasingly popular repositioning cruises, which generally represent excellent value and will sail this spring, largely in March and April:

Every spring, a number of ocean-going cruise ships leave the warmer areas of the world — say, the Caribbean, South America, or Hawaii — to travel to other regions (such as Europe, Canada, or Alaska), to take advantage of the more seasonable weather in the latter spots.

In the fall, usually around October or November, the vessels reverse this pattern, traveling from the cooler climes to warmer waters.

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

The cruise lines don’t want to run… Continue reading

Alexander Hamilton cuts a dashing figure on the U.S. ten dollar bill.

Alexander Hamilton cuts a dashing figure on the U.S. ten dollar bill.

Hamilton — a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the U.S. Founding Fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington — is the hottest show on Broadway, currently showing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The cast recording was also one of the top albums of 2015.

It’s fitting to mention it today because Hamilton was born on January 11, 1755 (some sources say 1757).

One of the leading figures in the American Revolution, Hamilton was known as a brilliant orator and influential advocate of a strong federal government, putting him at odds with Thomas Jefferson and provoking jealousy from his one-time friend Aaron Burr, who eventually killed Hamilton in a duel. (Burr, a fascinating figure in his own right, is now primarily remembered for shooting his rival.)

The Travel… Continue reading

Luxury cruise travel -- such as on Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2 -- is one favorite of senior travelers. Photo by Clark Norton.

Luxury cruise travel — such as on Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 — is one favorite of senior travelers. Photo by Clark Norton.

In my last post, I recommended a piece by Anita Mendiratta of the CNN Task Force contending that the world’s seniors (those aged 60 and up) are “global tourism’s silver lining.”

Based on world tourism and economic statistics, Mendiratta notes that senior travelers have more disposable income than other age groups, have more flexibility as to when to travel, and tend to stay longer on the trips they make.

But I thought her own observations about how seniors bring a special sense of excitement and awe to travel was especially insightful.

Baby boomers (now in their 50s and 60s) have a lifetime of experience and knowledge to bring to their travels, and I think this results in greater appreciation for — and excitement about — the places… Continue reading

The Zambezi Queen sails the Chobe River near Victoria Falls.  Photo from Mantis Collection.

The Zambezi Queen sails the Chobe River near Victoria Falls. Photo from Mantis Collection.

Zanzibar…Swaziland…Mozambique…

There’s something about the letter “Z” in a name that says “exotic” to me.  And I’m drawn to every place, geographic feature, form of transport, or travel-related entity that has a “Z” in it.

That’s what first took me to the Zambezi River in south-central Africa, which, naturally, runs between the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Zambezi pour over Victoria Falls, one of the world’s great natural wonders, on two occasions — an unforgettable experience.

So I was very glad to learn that this May, Mantis Collection is launching the “Zambezi Queen Collection,”  a four-vessel fleet of river boats — or “floatels,” as they call them — that provide access to the Zambezi and Chobe river systems, which occupy the region where the countries… 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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