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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) at dawn in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews
Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) at dawn in Istanbul, Turkey.
Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Even as COVID-19 infections reach record highs in the United States, a number of countries have opened their borders to American travelers carrying U.S. passports.

These include popular destinations like Croatia — one of the few European countries now open to U.S. travelers — Turkey, Mexico, and Costa Rica, although some come with major restrictions.

Several Caribbean countries — including Aruba, Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten — also welcome Americans and their dollars, all-important to their economies.

Please note that I’m not recommending international travel at this time, especially if you have any reason to believe you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, or — like many baby boomers — you fall into high-risk categories such as advanced age or underlying medical conditions.

Until the COVID threat passes, you’ll also be… Continue reading

In the midst of a world pandemic — and, in the United States, the culmination of a bitterly divided, exhausting election season — I can offer a few words of advice: Take a hike.

Hiking is an ideal way to get out of your cooped-up house into the fresh air and, certainly for less-crowded trails, is well suited to social distancing.

It’s a healthy activity and usually fun as well. (Some tougher trails aren’t always fun, but tackling — and conquering — them can be highly satisfying.)

But hiking right — meaning minimizing any risk of injury or other problem that may occur — requires adequate preparation and thought.

Guest writer Rebecca Brown lays out the key things to keep in mind for three different types of hikers: day hikers, overnighters, and multi-day hikers.

So lace up your boots, fill your water bottles, and don your backpack — but first,… Continue reading

Sarakiniko -- Milos' moonscape by the Aegean. Photo by Clark Norton
If you want to move to Greece, an expat suggests, hire a local language tutor. Photo by Clark Norton

With the U.S. presidential election nearing and emotions running high, it seems a good time to start plotting a possible escape abroad if your candidate loses.

So as a public service, I’m running this piece from the editors of International Living, a publication that has provided ex-pats and would-be expats both inspiration and solid practical information for decades.

They call it their “Election Escape Plan,” but it contains some good timeless advice.

“While travel may be restricted currently,” they write, “this is a smart time to begin laying the groundwork for a smooth transition to a better, less-expensive life overseas.”

And they offer this additional suggestion: “Consider making a move in smaller steps. Think about a three-month escape or a year-long getaway. Come at this idea with a ‘one-step-at-a-time’ attitude… Continue reading

Here’s something I hadn’t thought much about — but probably should have.

In case of emergency on a remote hiking trail, or on a lonely highway, or anywhere that your cell phone doesn’t get service, what do you do?

Guest poster Harding Bush of Global Rescue has a suggestion: satellite communications. And you can get it for not all that much money.

I do have satellite TV — but that wouldn’t help much if I encountered some Rutger Hauer (RIP) or Javier Bardem character out on that lonely highway. (If you haven’t seen The Hitcher or No Country for Old Men, check them out).

And, one hopes, I could reach AAA, a park ranger, a rescue service — or my favorite ER doc who makes remote trail calls. Well, hope springs eternal. But you get the idea.

By Harding Bush

Traveling near or far? Going with friends, family or… Continue reading

Walking The World is a tour agency for active Boomers that believes in giving back. Photo from Walking the World

Ward Luthi, who runs the terrific tour agency Walking The World — geared to active travelers aged 50 and over — has developed a new initiative called the “OK Boomer Challenge.”  

The OK Boomer Challenge is a call to Boomers (and anyone else interested) to raise $15 million by the end of 2020 with the goal of planting 15 million trees in different parts of the world.

For each U.S. dollar donated, the organization One Tree Planted will plant one tree. (All funds raised will be donated to One Tree Planted, so $15 million will equal 15 million trees.)

“This is a challenging time for many but particularly, I believe, for older adults,” Luthi explains.  “We’re growing older. We have children, family and friends, and a planet that’s on… Continue reading

A view from the top of the Rock, with Spain in the background. Photo by Clark Norton

Like Contributing Writer Robert Waite, I was also thrilled to finally set foot on the Rock of Gibraltar — in our case, it was a few years ago, when my wife and I approached it by sea from Morocco.

Previously, we had passed it a few times while crossing the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain to North Africa, but from a distance all you see is a…rock. Not that it isn’t an impressive rock — one time I wasted almost an entire roll of film trying to photograph it from too great a distance — but when you approach it it quickly becomes apparent how alive it is with people and activity.

I’ll let Bob take it from here — with a hearty recommendation that you visit when you can.

By Robert Waite… Continue reading

Traditional fishermen ply their trade near ancient Galle, Sri Lanka. Photo from SkyHaven Tours.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a periodic series on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism providers across the globe.

Back in the late 1960s, when I was still mostly fantasizing about globetrotting, I picked up a paperback book called Bargain Paradises of the World.

Although all the pictures were in black and white and the information inside was perhaps overly colorful, it was the kind of book that got my travel juices flowing.

One particular “paradise” that caught my eye was Ceylon, the tear-drop-shaped Indian Ocean island nation that has been known as Sri Lanka since 1972.

My fantasy Ceylon — which had been colonized by Britain until 1948 and was known in the West mostly for its tea exports — was pictured by Bargain Paradises as an idyllic place where… Continue reading

According to legend, Ipswich’s “Devil’s Footprint” was formed when Satan leaped off a local church steeple. Photo from Historic Ipswich.

Following up on his Ipswich fried clams post — part I of a two-part series on the historic, scenic, and all-around inviting area of Ipswich and Essex, Massachusetts — contributing writer Bob Waite now asks us to back away from the table long enough to enjoy the other sometimes devilish delights the region has to offer.

By Robert Waite

Ipswich, MA – You can have a devil of a time in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Or at least the residents apparently did back in the 1740’s.

According to local legend, a visit by a famous English fire-and-brimstone preacher, the Rev. George Whitfield, to the town’s First Congregational Church, located atop Town Hill, attracted a crowd of thousands – and a curious Satan.

Whitfield, who had no sympathy for the devil, called Satan… Continue reading

The inimitable box of fried clams has helped put Ipswich, Massachusetts, on the culinary map

In his latest guest post, Bob Waite had me hooked with his first mention of fried clams, one of my favorite culinary indulgences.

And by the time I had finished reading his piece, I was salivating for a return trip to Cape Ann, a seafood haven and resort area that includes Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Bob grew up in Ipswich on Cape Ann, and writes here about his hometown and nearby Essex — one of which invented the fried clam (though both claim it). But wherever it was born, the Cape Ann area indisputably remains king of the clam. And that’s good enough for me.

By Robert Waite

Ipswich, MA – While many Americans back in the day were getting their kicks on Route 66, I was getting my thrills from the sea on Route 133.… Continue reading

Keeping track of what’s going on with airline fares these days is almost a full-time job.

That’s why I’ve turned to Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights — whose full-time job actually is keeping track of airline fares — to help navigate through the turbulence.

In this guest post, Scott tackles the real story behind the recent wave of U.S. airlines dropping change fees. As usual, it’s a mix of good and bad — or at least middling — news for the consumer. But for all the uncertainty, we’ll take what we can get.

By Scott Keyes

Last week, four airlines—United, Delta, American, and Alaska—announced they were permanently axing change fees, which for domestic flights had typically been $200 (plus any fare difference). Hooray!

Sort of.

On balance, this is a positive move for travelers, but it’s not nearly the panacea that airlines would have you believe. There are still… 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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