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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

The island of Tuvalu -- is it selling its URL designation, .tv? Photo from timelesstuvalu.com.
The island of Tuvalu — is it selling its URL designation, .tv?
Photo from timelesstuvalu.com.

The usual April 1 routine among publications is to write up some ridiculous story and try to convince readers that it’s true. Today I’m going to reverse that.

All of these 12 travel trivia items have previously appeared in some form on clarknorton.com. Only one of them is false.

See if you can figure out which one is strictly for April Fool’s Day:

* St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was actually born in Britain.

Some of the most coveted and prestigious student residences at the University of Virginia have no bathrooms.

* Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa had 16 children; her 11 daughters were all named Maria or Marie.

The small South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has made millions of dollars by selling its Internet URL suffix .tv to companies that stream videos… Continue reading

Photo by Henrik Trygg

Item:

Oscars 2021 Gift Bag Includes a Stay at Sweden’s Remote Lighthouse Island of Pater Noster

–Visit Sweden USA

A headline in a press release about an offering this year in the “Oscars gift bag” — a bulging mix of high-end swag presented to Academy Award nominees in five top acting and directing categories — caught my eye today.

I was even more intrigued when I continued reading from the release, which was distributed by Visit Sweden USA, the Swedish tourism organization:

When the whole world turns its eyes to the Oscars on April 25, Sweden’s remote lighthouse island of Pater Noster will once again be in the spotlight.

“While just four actors and one director will bring home the gold in the top individual categories, all 24 Oscars nominees receive a gift bag including a stay at this lighthouse turned hotel perched at the… Continue reading

Elephants at watering hole in Etosha National Park in Namibia.
Photo by Dennis Cox/ WorldViews

In this post, contributing writer Robert Waite tackles the eternal problem of where not to go next — not because he didn’t love going there the first time, but because….well, there are lots of different reasons, and I’ll let him explain. He also offers advice for readers who would like to go.

By Robert Waite

As vaccines continue to roll out, thoughts once again turn to travel. For baby-boomers, it has been a lost year, subtracted from whatever travel-time we have left.

In my last post for clarknorton.com, I discussed seven places to which I would love to return, to linger longer. In this post, I give you seven places I’ve been to, loved, but will likely never see again, for various reasons.

Each deserves your consideration, post-COVID. Here goes:

A night of camping… Continue reading
Two Muslim women pass by an intricately carved door of traditional design in Zanzibar’s Stone Town. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

I was interested to come across a recent report that the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar was cracking down on tourists wearing skimpy attire in public.

According to CNN, Lela Muhamed Mussa, the minister of tourism, declared that tourists must cover themselves from shoulder to knee in public places — or their tour guides or operators would pay the price, with fines ranging from U.S.$700 to $2,000. (Tourists themselves, who support the bulk of the local economy, are exempted, though they’re likely to draw stares and recriminations from offended local residents.)

Predominantly Muslim Zanzibar attracts up to 30,000 tourists per month, attracted by its combination of sandy, sunny beaches bordering sapphire waters and the island’s equally colorful (if often sordid) history, centered around Stone Town, Zanzibar’s capital. It’s when the… Continue reading

Ireland's Cashel Rock, also known as St. Patrick's Rock, in County Tipperary, Ireland. Photo by Dennis Cox/ WorldViews.
Ireland’s Cashel Rock, also known as St. Patrick’s Rock, in County Tipperary, Ireland. Photo by Dennis Cox/ WorldViews.

I admit I was a little surprised several years ago when I toured the entire island of Ireland and discovered that St. Patrick — the patron saint of Ireland and largely credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland — actually did much of his missionary work and is reputedly buried in County Down, which is now part of Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

It was less than a quarter-century ago (April 1998) that “The Troubles,” as they were called — an often violent class-related and sectarian three-decade conflict in Northern Ireland between those who wanted to remain in the UK (mostly Protestants) and those who wanted to break away and join the Republic of Ireland (mostly Catholics) — ended in the Good Friday Agreement to settle the issue peacefully.… Continue reading

Working out a budget doesn’t have to be hard. Photo from Unsplash.com

One of the most common questions I’m asked about travel is “How can I afford it?”

You can certainly look for the cheapest plane or cruise tix and the best values in tours, hotels or restaurants. But you can also try setting up a budget geared toward your finances so that your overall expenses don’t swamp your ability to experience those trips you’ve always wanted to take.

Financial blogger Eric Rosenberg, who writes for the website Earnin, where a modified version of this article originally appeared, takes you through the steps you’ll need to set up the kind of budget that’s right for you.

Yes, it can sound like a bit of a drag, but today’s software makes budgeting easier — and you may find yourself in some exotic land (or wherever your desires take you) sooner… Continue reading

Like most travel writers — not to mention millions of other dedicated baby boomer travelers — contributing writer Robert Waite is getting itchy to hit the road again once the COVID pandemic cools down.

But while many of us are eyeing new, bucket-list destinations, Bob is dreaming of returning to some of his old (and newer) favorites — to seek out more-in depth experiences and parts of countries that he missed.

It’s sort of a “been there, done that — but want to do it again” list. I can definitely relate to that (are you listening, Greek islands?).

By Robert Waite

Ottawa – What is a travel writer to do?

With borders closed and previously booked trips delayed or cancelled, one is left to journey only within the confines of one’s imagination.

And what I have been imagining recently are the places I have been to previously – ones to… Continue reading

Today (February 12 in 2021) is the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year — also known as the Spring Festival, which lasts for 15 days.

This is the Year of the Ox, the second sign of the Chinese Zodiac. Legend has it that when the Jade Emperor summoned the presence of a dozen animals, he declared that the one that arrived first would head the 12-sign Zodiac. The ox was kind enough to give the rat a ride, but the tricky rat hopped off to cross the finish line first. Thus the ox goes second.

According to the Travel China Guide, the ox is the symbol of diligence, persistence, and honesty, and people born under that sign are industrious, cautious, faithful and always glad to offer help — even to rats.

For baby boomers, ox sign years are 1949 and 1961. So we wish oxen readers an… Continue reading

Kyoto women in traditional garb.
When can we return to currently closed-off countries like Japan? Vaccine passports may help. Photo by Clark Norton

After a year when the COVID-19 virus has devastated the world’s tourism industry and thwarted vacation plans of millions of travelers, vaccinations have arrived that offer hope that 2021 may usher in some return to normalcy.

And none too soon for baby boomers, who have seen precious travel time and opportunities slipping away: cruises cancelled, tours postponed, bucket-list destinations closing their borders.

The fact that all this has been necessary to curb the ravages of the killer virus doesn’t make it any less painful — especially when you factor in the economic toll on tourism-dependent destinations. Estimates are that one in ten jobs worldwide are travel- and tourism-related.

And it’s not just airlines, cruise lines and big hotels that are hurting. As Scott Keyes, CEO of Scott’s Cheap Flights, puts it:… Continue reading

As the travel industry, beset by COVID-19 restrictions, tries to dig itself out of its gravest crisis since World War II, creativity and flexibility in pricing and timing will be key.

Airlines and cruise lines — two of the hardest-hit industry segments — are trying to lure back potential present and future customers by dropping a variety of fees and allowing for late ticket changes and cancellations, among other incentives.

Now the innovative website Travelstride (formerly StrideTravel) has launched FlexiPass by Travelstride, an industry-first travel pass that can be used for an exciting array of tours for 2021 through 2023. And it comes just in time for holiday gift-giving — but don’t delay: sales end soon.

Travelstride — a U.S.-based marketplace specializing in offering multi-day, multi-destination, expertly planned guided and self-guided trips — has partnered with 23 top global tour operators who will accept the passes.

Travelers can choose… 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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