The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

The Garden of Earthy Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthy Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch

If you have a passionate interest in a particular topic — it could be just about anything — you’re a prime candidate for theme travel.

In my younger days, I was obsessed by the paintings of the 15th-century Flemish fantasist Hieronymus Bosch, and trekked all over Europe attempting to see every one of them; I fell a little short, but had a wonderful time and my  dedicated  purpose gave my journey added meaning.

I was traveling by myself, but theme travel often involves going with like-minded people who share your passion. Take theme cruises, for instance.

The Lure of Theme Cruises 

For six years I wrote a regular theme cruise column for Porthole Cruise Magazine, which chronicled the adventures of folks who are crazy about the most wide-ranging subjects imaginable:

Birding cruises….mah jongg cruises…vegan cruises…vampire cruises…marathon (running)… Continue reading

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Most of us probably don’t travel for our health — but generally speaking,  it’s a very good perk, especially for baby boomers.

Studies have shown that leisure travel can be good medicine.

There’s straight-up wellness travel, of course, such as visiting a health spa to lose weight.

But travel in and of itself can also do the job.

Here’s why:

  • Travel helps reduce stress and promote relaxation by taking a break from routine.
  • Travel usually results in greater physical activity, particularly walking. But you might also learn tai chi in China, practice yoga in India, or bicycle around Europe.
  • Travel promotes brain health by challenging us with new and different experiences and environments. It can potentially help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Travel can also help ward off depression… Continue reading
Dutch tulips: better than cave biking. Photo by Rachel Kramer on flickr.

Dutch tulips: better than cave biking. Photo by Rachel Kramer on flickr.

According to a recent survey of 40 countries around the globe conducted by motor home rental site SHAREaCAMPER, the Netherlands has the most adventurous people per capita, followed by Australia and Sweden.

The survey tabulated the number of online searches in each country for such adventurous activities as skydiving, bungee jumping, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, BMXing, and caravanning — the latter being what Australians (where SHAREaCAMPER is partially based) call traveling in RVs, campers, or motor homes.

Strictly in terms of sheer numbers of total searches, the United States placed first, but of course has a much higher population than the other countries. The U.S. finished ninth in the per capita rankings.

While the Netherlands was  outdone in skiing by Norway and Australia in surfing (no surprises there), Switzerland in… Continue reading

We would have liked to see this Thai dancing

We would have liked to see this Thai dancing

On our first trip to Asia  many years ago, my wife and I were traveling in Thailand and enjoying the most consistently good food we had ever eaten.

Every meal — whether it was a simple dish of pad Thai at a noodle stand or a whole grilled fish in a sit-down restaurant — was outstanding. We were in foodie heaven.

That is, until we spotted a placard in our Bangkok hotel lobby promising a memorable evening of traditional Thai dancing combined with an “authentic Thai meal in a genuine Thai-style lodge within a sylvan setting,” or words to that effect.

What could be better?

We’d have another great dinner and get to see some Thai dancing, which was on our to-do list. We always liked a nice sylvan setting.  And the price, while a splurge for… Continue reading

Budapest's Parliament building is Hungary's top must-see attraction . Photo by Clark Norton Can't afford to fly to Budapest? Try using kayak.com or Google Flights. Photo by Clark Norton

Budapest’s Parliament building is Hungary’s top must-see attraction . Photo by Clark Norton

Most of us, when we travel to another country, probably have in mind at least one “must-see” attraction., usually an iconic structure, museum, historic site, or natural wonder.

Examples might be Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, the Roman Colosseum in Italy, and the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary.

Recently, TripAdvisor — which has propelled itself into the world’s leading travel site and travel data bank — released a map of Europe displaying the “one thing you must do in each country, according to tourists.” (I found it in the Huffington Post.)

For most countries, the results were pretty true to form: The Roman Colosseum in Italy; The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium; the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tallinn Old Town in Estonia; the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece; the… Continue reading

Sit back, relax -- but don't get too comfy.

Sit back, relax — but don’t get too comfy.

Unless you’ve been camping in the desert or just can’t face listening to  the news lately, you’ve no doubt heard the story about the greatest PR disaster to befall an airline since, well, maybe ever.

And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer airline: United, or — as I fondly call them — Untied Airlines.

To briefly recap: On a recent flight scheduled from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville, Kentucky, United Airlines’ employees called in airport police to forcibly eject a 69-year-old baby boomer named David Dao, a physician who lives in Kentucky.

His crime? He refused to give up his seat and deplane when United decided that he and three other passengers picked “at random” had to leave  to make room for an airline crew that needed to get to Louisville.

The punishment? The police officers literally dragged… Continue reading

When riding a camel, .I just wart to get there. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

When riding a camel, .I just wart to get there. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Based on years of informal polling of friends and family, most everyone has pet peeves about words, phrases or expressions that leave them feeling like they’ve just heard chalk squeaking across a blackboard.

(I don’t know if teachers still employ chalk and blackboards, but baby boomers will remember.)

Words that irk. Phrases that irritate.

Many have to do with the workplace. For example, my daughter once had a friend who was a chef and couldn’t stand the word “meat.”

One of my brothers-in-law who works in business hates jargon-y business words like “parameters.”

My wife, a longtime magazine editor, is driven up a wall by nouns turned into verbs,  such as “impact.”

A friend who is an avid cook despised the word “dollop,” to the point where he almost refused to serve sour cream… Continue reading

Tour operators are bound to take a hit from drop-off of foreign tourism to the U.S.

Tour operators are bound to take a hit from drop-off of foreign tourism to the U.S.

As reported by travel guru Arthur Frommer and others, the U.S. travel and tourism industry — one of the nation’s largest economic engines, which contributes more than $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP  annually — is taking a potentially devastating hit in the wake of the Trump Administration’s attempted crackdown on travel from seven predominately Muslim countries as well as on immigration in general.

The statistics are stark. According to Travel Weekly magazine, a prominent trade publication, there has been a nearly seven percent decline in foreign tourism to the U.S. since late January, when the President issued his controversial (and legally questionable) executive order.

The seven percent drop-off hasn’t been limited to Muslims or to those from the seven named countries — it’s occurred across the board. In one survey,… Continue reading

Milford Sound is one of Zealandia's top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

Milford Sound is one of Zealandia’s top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

You may have read recently that a group of eminent geologists now believe there is a land mass that should be regarded as the earth’s eighth continent, based on scientific studies of the nature of its continental crust.

They’ve dubbed it Zealandia, partially because it includes the island nation of New Zealand in the western Pacific.

The term “Zealandia” was actually coined back in 1995 to describe a number of islands in the region (of which New Zealand’s three main islands are the largest) and what were believed to be submerged fragments of  continental crust that broke off from Australia in  the distant past.

Now the evidence is that Zealandia is all one big piece stretching from north of Antarctica almost all the way to the east coast of Oz.  That would make… Continue reading

Here's the house you could win.

Here’s the house you could win.

If you can write a convincing 200-word essay on “How would owning the Lakefront Dream Home change your life?,” you just might win a very nice Lakefront Dream Home in New York’s  Catskills Mountains.

Entrepreneurs Andrew Bares and Kelly Livorgna are offering up their 5.5 acre retreat featuring more than 250 feet of lake frontage on Swinging Bridge Reservoir in the town of Bethel, NY, to the winning essayist. Bethel was the site of the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 and is now the home of Bethel Woods, a superb music venue.

The two-bedroom house is in a woodsy area and offers direct access to fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, and cross-country skiing. It has a floor-to-ceiling fireplace, a large deck, and is well furnished.

I can vouch for the scenic beauty of the region, where I’ve spent a lot of time.… 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.

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