The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

0b4623e5-a51d-46e8-8c66-a40b164f4a3fI recently came across a clever ad that I love. It’s from a North Carolina- and Italy-based tour agency called Italian Journeys, and the ad is called “Italy Aptitude Exam.

It features a number of “exam” questions that, in a humorous way,  are designed to get you thinking about whether you’d rather spend this January in Italy — on their 10-day tour of Rome and Naples called “Fundamental Italy” — or back home in the U.S. in the dead of winter.

Illustrated with photos old and new, the exam asks you to choose between, among other things, shoveling snow or standing in the sunshine overlooking Rome’s Tiber River; having a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee or a cappuccino; eating American fast food or Italian pasta; and viewing a smoggy American city or what looks to be a dreamy photo of the Isle of… Continue reading

Hanging chads will be a hot historical topic as the US Election 2016 Tour hits Florida.

Hanging chads will be a hot historical topic as the US Election 2016 Tour hits Florida.

While most Americans are understandably sick to death of this year’s nightmarish presidential race, a British tour agency — called Political Tours — is busy putting the final touches on “US Election Tour 2016.”

Yes, a number of stalwart, stiff-upper-lip Brits — still reeling from Brexit — are actually ponying up £3,650 apiece to visit key locations in the epic confrontation of Trump vs. Clinton (AKA the Campaign from Hell).

The week-long tour — timed for maximum excitement from November 2 to November 9, the day after the election — visits the key battleground state of Florida as well as Washington, DC (which, of course, will be devoid of Congresspeople, who are all back home trolling for votes).

Political insider David Rancourt will lead the tour. Described as “a senior… Continue reading

Punakha monastery, Bhutan Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Punakha monastery, Bhutan Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In our last two posts, we took a look at some of the most popular travel-related bucket list destinations and activities based on a survey of 1,000 travelers by the website TotallyMoney.com. You can view those results, and my comments, by clicking here and here.

While my own experiences with a few of the items — such as gambling in Las Vegas — were on the margins (in the case of Vegas, dropping a few quarters into slot machines), I had pretty much done all those on the list.

My own bucket list tends to be a little quirkier than most. Places that end up on my list are pretty far-flung, represent something I’ve missed in past trips, or are just items that fulfill my admittedly peculiar travel obsessions. (I suspect that a lot of baby boomer frequent travelers’ lists are… Continue reading

Man with camel at Great Pyramid of Giza at sunset. Note how souvenir shops are not visible. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Man with camel at Great Pyramid of Giza at sunset. Note how souvenir shops are not visible. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In our last post, we took a look at the top five travel-related Bucket List items as determined in a survey of 1,000 people by TotallyMoney.com.

The Northern Lights, a wildlife safari, the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, and taking a cruise were all perfectly good choices — for baby boomers or active travelers of most any age — keeping in mind, of course, that everyone’s individual lists will be different.

A few of the second five in the Top 10 surprised me a bit — simply because they edged out others I would have expected — though they’re all understandable as highly ranked picks.

So here, with my comments and added travel info, are the five sights and activities that finished out the Bucket List Top… Continue reading

The Northern Lights, best viewed above the Arctic Circle,took the top spot on this Bucket List survey;

The Northern Lights, best viewed above the Arctic Circle,took the top spot on this Bucket List survey

While I prefer the term “Life List” to “Bucket List” — it just has a more positive ring to it — Bucket List has become the generally accepted phrase for delineating those often-challenging, mostly travel-related experiences you want to do before you, uh, can’t do them any more.

As a baby boomer, I’m acutely aware that I won’t have as much time or perhaps physical capacity as a millennial to, say, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, which has recently slipped off my Bucket List until  I can work myself into better shape. A few more years on the treadmill should do it, if my knees haven’t collapsed in the process.

The good news is, Bucket List items don’t have to involve super-strenuous exertion. In fact, according to a recent TotallyMoney.com survey of 1,000… Continue reading

Nuremberg's medieval city has been carefully reconstructed following Allied bombing in WWII.

Nuremberg’s medieval city has been carefully reconstructed following Allied bombing in WWII. Photo by Clark Norton

I might never have visited Nuremberg, Germany, if it hadn’t been the starting point for a Danube River cruise last fall.

My wife, Catharine, and I arrived in Nuremberg several days early, intending to use it as a base for exploring the surrounding area, a region of Bavaria known for its charming medieval towns, rolling hills, and Autumn beer festivals.

But we ended up being so enamored of Nuremberg that we never left the city during our four-day stay there.

We were entranced by pathways leading intriguingly along ancient city walls, covered footbridges that crossed bucolic rivers and canals, flower-filled  parks that attracted residents out for Sunday strolls, winding streets that unveiled  tempting little restaurants and taverns, and  half-timbered houses lining picturesque squares.

One square is anchored by the former home… Continue reading

If you spin the globe near the Equator, you might end up here. Photo from andBeyond Vamizi.

If you spin the globe near the Equator, you might end up here. Photo from andBeyond Vamizi.

I’m not very good at remembering all the special commemorative days and sometimes obscure holidays that I should.

For example, I  forgot National Grandparents Day this year, even though I had written about it last year — and, even worse, it was my first Grandparents Day as an actual grandparent. It was only when a relative wished me a Happy Grandparents Day that the light went on in my head.

The United Nations first declared World Tourism Day in 1980 to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political benefits of tourism, which now accounts for about 10 percent of the global economy — the largest single industry in the world.

Airlines, cruise lines, rail lines, bus lines, rental car agencies…hotels, motels, B&Bs, resorts, inns…restaurants, cafes, street vendors…tour companies, guides, travel agents, guidebook… Continue reading

Bison roam Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Bison roam Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Cotopaxi, a company that makes backpacks, jackets and other outdoor gear — and donates a percentage of its earnings to worthy causes around the world — has come out with an infographic in celebration of this year’s 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.

It shows the top five U.S. National Parks in terms of annual visitation, plus five “Hidden Gems” that are far less visited.

The top five visited National Parks, in order, are Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain, California’s Yosemite, and Yellowstone, which extends over parts of three states: mostly Wyoming, but also Montana and Idaho.

I’ve visited all of the most popular ones at one time or another, but have to admit I’ve never been to any of the Hidden Gens: Washington’s North Cascades, Florida’s Dry Tortugas, South Carolina’s… Continue reading

You can Bicycle the "World's Deadliest Road" in Bolivia on this fun trip. Photo from Travel Supermarket

You can Bicycle the “World’s Deadliest Road” in Bolivia on this fun trip. Photo from Travel Supermarket

The infographic below from the UK-based TravelSupermarket.com came across my desk recently and I thought I would pass it along as a public service. It’s essentially a compendium of Extreme Adventures around the world that I can cross off my bucket list even before trying them.

Oh, I might try riding the Alpine rollercoaster in Austria or give the world’s fastest zip line in Wales a shot at pumping my adrenaline to warp speed.

But bungee jumping into a volcano in Chile, cliff camping in Colorado (yes, that means sleeping on the edge of the cliff), or riding a bike along Bolivia’s notorious Death Road?

Thanks, but I’ll leave those to another lifetime, which I would probably be starting soon if I succumbed to the temptation to try any of them, which… Continue reading

stone-money-logoWhenever I tell someone I first meet that I’m a travel writer, I’m almost invariably asked the same questions.

They usually involve some variation on “What’s your favorite place in the world?”, “How do I get your job?”,  and/or “Can I come with you?”

Depending on my mood at the moment, I may give one answer — or another — because some answers invariably lead to further discussion, while others almost always cut it short.

So here is my list of travel writer FAQs — with sometimes varying answers.

  • What’s your favorite place in the world to visit?

If I have the time and inclination to talk, I say “Yap.”

I pick Yap because not only do I like it a lot, but hardly anyone has ever heard of it, so it leads to stimulating conversation.

Yap is a group of small islands in the far western Pacific… 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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