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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

The Grand Canyon taught Mitch a hard-earned lesson in trail guiding.

The Grand Canyon taught Mitch a hard-earned lesson in trail guiding.

One of our frequent contributors to clarknorton.com, my friend Mitch Stevens, is kicking off our occasional series of first-person pieces on how various baby boomers got started traveling for a living.

Mitch’s odyssey led him from summer camp in Pennsylvania to the depths of the Grand Canyon to college field trips in Wyoming and eventually to Tucson in the (mostly) sunny deserts of southern Arizona, where’s he’s been leading Sierra Club hikes for years and more recently founded his adventure travel company Southwest Discoveries.

Like the intrepid cyclists who compete in the 100-mile El Tour de Tucson race each fall, Mitch’s long-distance hikes through the canyons and across the mountains of the Southwest provide inspiration to me as I sit here at my computer giving my typing fingers a thorough workout.

So lace up your hiking boots, grab… Continue reading

Gorgeous Milford Sound on New Zealand's South Island. Photo by Clark Norton

Gorgeous Milford Sound on New Zealand’s South Island. Photo by Clark Norton

New Zealand is one of my favorite destinations.

I’ve hiked along the Milford Track and through Abel Tasman National Park, marveled at gorgeous valleys and mountains that served as dramatic backdrops for the “Lord of the Rings” saga, made my way through an eerie glowworm cave, cruised through ice blue narrow passages of Milford Sound, enjoyed the urban amenities of Auckland and Wellington, and dined on lamb, lamb, and more lamb (though there’s much more to the diverse Kiwi cuisine — I just like lamb).

The country consists of three main islands: North, South, and Stewart (the latter is much smaller), and climate can range from warm and tropical in the north to cold and wintry in the south. Don’t forget that the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, so beautiful Fjordland in the far south can… Continue reading

The beach at Rocky Point, Mexico. Photo from Visit Rocky Point.

The beach at Rocky Point, Mexico. Photo from Visit Rocky Point.

Today’s guest post, by financial writer Jim McKinley, offers several practical suggestions for business executives on how to avoid stress while taking much needed vacations.

I think some of the same suggestions can be applied to middle managers as well — and even some freelance writers!

As the winter holidays approach and visions of Caribbean or Mexican beaches beckon, here are Jim’s tips for truly getting away from it all (or at least most of it):

By Jim McKinley

Business owners work under a great deal of pressure and consequent stress. Business fortunes can change in the blink of an eye, and a deal you’ve sweated over for months can come to nothing.

Waiting it out can be highly stressful and can overwhelm even the most experienced business professional, considering how much is at stake. Sometimes, getting away from… Continue reading

You may want to eat your turkey at home next year.

You may want to eat your turkey at home next year.

Some 25 million Americans are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday – up seven percent from 2017.

It’s considered the busiest travel season of the year in the U.S.

Last year, more than 153,000 flights departed from U.S. airports between the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and the Monday after.

Airports are busiest on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, making it the worst day to fly if you’re looking to avoid crowds, delays, and disruptions.

The best time to fly to avoid disruptions is between 6 a.m. and noon.

Here are the busiest flight routes: 

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) → San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and reverse

New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) → Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and reverse

Kahului Airport (OGG) → Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and reverse

New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) →… Continue reading

What we left behind in Greece. Photo by Catharine Norton

What we left behind in Greece. Photo by Catharine Norton

After an idyllic three-week sojourn in the Greek islands (which I’ll write about soon in subsequent posts), my wife, Catharine, and I experienced  “one of those days” where virtually everything went wrong trying to get home to Tucson.

It was like having a karmic payoff for everything that had gone right in Greece, where we got tanned, rested, and ready (we thought) for the slew of appointments and other challenges that we knew awaited us over the coming weeks.

I don’t want to suggest in any way that our bad day compared to the serious disruptions that many travelers have suffered from weather-related delays and cancellations — including, no doubt, some on our own Newark to Dallas flight who were trying to make connections to a plethora of onward destinations.

More than any single thing, this day was a… Continue reading

Are you getting the most mileage out of your travel credit cards?

And I don’t mean just airline miles, but other, lesser-known perks as well.

Today’s guest post from consumer writer Andrew Rombach should give you some ideas about how to leverage your travel credit cards to their maximum advantage — and make your travel experience just a bit easier and more economical as well.

By Andrew Rombach

While cash back, airline miles, and discounts on shopping are pretty well-known fare for many travel credit cards, there is a long list of other travel benefits you may not be aware of.

These little-known travel benefits can save you plenty of money and make your travel a lot more convenient.

And they aren’t just limited to high-end cards. Knowing what to expect from your credit card benefits should also make travel hacking a bit easier as well. Here are a… Continue reading

While you're running with the bulls in Spain, someone may be making off with your possessions.

While you’re running with the bulls in Spain, someone may be making off with your possessions.

Today’s guest post may save you some money if you’re a traveler and a renter — and have renters’ insurance.

How much do you know about what your policy covers? You may be pleasantly surprised.

I know I’m going to check my policy more carefully from now on!

By Armand Levitz

With an average cost of only $12 a month, renters’ insurance offers tremendous value at a low price.

But what many travelers don’t realize is that renters’ insurance can protect you even when you’re far from home.

And you don’t even need an international renters insurance plan to be protected abroad.

Take the example of one couple, Andres Modak and Rachel Cohen, who recently took a trip to Spain to attend a wedding.

Unfortunately, what should have been a… Continue reading

Prague's famous Charles Bridge is often jam-packed with tourists. Photo by Clark Norton

Prague’s famous Charles Bridge is often jam-packed with tourists. Photo by Clark Norton

You may have experienced it yourself when battling humongous lines to enter San Marco in Venice, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, or the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, or when you found yourself in a wave of fellow travelers struggling to get a peek at the changing of the guard at palaces in London, Athens, or Prague.

You may have been put off by hordes of drunken revelers in Amsterdam, Mallorca, or Berlin (of which, we trust, you were not one yourself).

You may have found small Alaskan ports or Croatian islands too overrun by your fellow cruise ship passengers to appreciate the beauty that attracted you to such cruise itineraries in the first place.

You may have sought out privacy in Iceland’s hot springs, only to find them packed with Game of Thrones fans drawn… Continue reading

Just what does Medicare cover when you travel?

Just what does Medicare cover when you travel?

Today’s guest post examines an important topic: For those U.S. baby boomer travelers on Medicare, just exactly what kind of coverage can you expect when you’re on a trip, whether it’s in the U.S. or abroad?

Medicare expert Danielle Roberts says that all depends on where you’re going and what you’ve signed up for. Here’s her analysis:

By Danielle K Roberts

Whether you travel within the United States or to other countries, it’s important to know when Medicare travels with you and when it doesn’t.

 

 

Here are the key questions to ask yourself before setting off:

Are you going to another country?

How far outside the United States are you traveling?

Are you traveling from state to state?

Do you only have Original Medicare?

If not, what kind of Medicare plan do you have?

If you know the answers to… Continue reading

This idyllic scene could be yours if you plan properly. Photo from ExperiencePhlippines.org

This idyllic scene could be yours if you plan properly. Photo from ExperiencePhlippines.org

Even if you travel a lot, its easy to forget some of the basics of Trip-Taking 101. I know, because I’ve made all the “freshman” mistakes myself over the course of my travel-writing career.

And these days, despite — or because of — all the ever-changing technology and options available to travelers, it sometimes seems like you need a graduate degree in travel logistics just to get ready for a trip.

That’s why I’m glad to run this guest post by Jim McKinley with some simple reminders of what you can do to prepare for your next vacation, whether it’s halfway around the world or the next state over.

Which reminds me, I still need to make a bunch of hotel and train reservations for my trip to Europe next month…

By Jim McKinley

No matter… 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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