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Scranton, Pennsylvania, is one of those cities baby boomers just don't want to leave. Photo from Wikipedia.

Scranton, Pennsylvania, is one of those cities baby boomers just don’t want to leave. Photo from Wikipedia.

An interesting piece on The Huffington Post this week listed the number one town or city in each U.S. state that baby boomers just don’t seem to want to leave as they get older and/or retire.

The author, Moira McGarvey, runs a website called GangsAway.com that provides helpful info to people planning their retirements — including places to retire. Using U.S. Census and other data that the Gangs Away! gang has dug up, she came up with what she determined are the “stickiest” hometowns across the country — those most likely to find boomers age 55 and up who own their houses free and clear and are staying where they are rather than moving, say, to warmer climes, nearer to their children, or for some other factor.

McGarvey wasn’t able to come up… Continue reading

Hoisting the sails on a Maine windjammer is great exercise while traveling Photo by Clark Norton

Hoisting the sails on a Maine windjammer is great exercise while traveling Photo by Clark Norton

In my last post, I reported on the results of a study by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) — a grouping of leading medical, financial and technology companies, among others, who hope to help shape public policy toward aging as 80 million baby boomers in America alone reach the ages of 50, 60 and up — that showed that travel can play a vital role in staying healthy as we grow older.

Now I’d like to expand a bit on the results of that study, which was done in conjunction with the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Research (TRCS) at the behest of the U.S. Travel Association. This is being billed as the first comprehensive look at the beneficial effects of traveling on health, with the caveat that much further research needs… Continue reading

Boomers walking the Irish coast get gorgeous vistas -- and health benefits, too. Photo from Walking the World.

Boomers walking the Irish coast get gorgeous vistas — and health benefits, too. Photo from Walking the World.

Can travel keep you healthier as you grow older?

Yes, says a new white paper by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, and purporting to show for the first time a series of direct links between travel and increased good health.

While acknowledging that data on these links are somewhat limited, and urging more medical research on the topic, a GCOA survey of various health studies shows that the evidence already out there is compelling.

“Those who stay healthy as they age are able to sustain active lifestyles, including traveling into our 70s, 80s and beyond,” the study notes. “It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the reverse is also true: as one travels, one will be healthier.”

Start with brain health, which includes warding off… Continue reading

Reindeer in Finnish Lapland.  Photo from Visit Finland.

Reindeer in Finnish Lapland. Photo from Visit Finland.

In my last post, I analyzed the six U.S. tourism websites that the travel site skift.com considers to be among the 20 best-designed such websites in the world.

I was particularly impressed with the Oregon and Los Angeles visitor websites. For me, great website design encompasses not just spectacular visuals and clean typography but easy navigability leading to compelling, well-organized content. The other sites (Massachusetts; Washington, DC; Tennessee [Fall season]; and Florida, while all well designed, also contained some flaws.

If potential visitors — the baby boomer travelers that I focus on, in particular — get frustrated by not being able to find something they’re looking for right away, they may go elsewhere to find it rather than spending the crucial extra minutes on the site that might convince them to visit the destination. Tennessee, for example, has beautiful new sites for… Continue reading

Santa Monica Beach, an iconic site to visit in Los Angeles. Photo from Discover Los Angeles.

Santa Monica Beach, an iconic site to visit in Los Angeles. Photo from Discover Los Angeles.

I read recently that there are something like 850 million websites in the world, and who knows how many are travel-related, but it must be at least in six figures.

So a new list by skift.com (itself one of the best travel websites) of “The 20 Best Designed Tourism Websites in the World” limits itself to official tourism sites of either countries, states, cities or regions — known as destination marketing organizations, or DMOs. That certainly makes it more manageable.

Even though I always take lists like this with a large shaker of salt, I agree with the sentiment expressed in the accompanying piece by Samantha Shankman: “Websites created by destination marketing organizations are some of the most underused resources in travel today.”

Skift’s analysis of the 50 most visited U.S. tourism websites,… Continue reading

Baby boomers take a break while cycling the Dalmatian coast. Photo from Adventure Media News.

Baby boomers take a break while cycling the Dalmatian coast. Photo from Adventure Media News.

I’ve long wanted to bicycle through Europe, but a few things have held me back:

Do I really want to carry all my gear on a bike?

Is it too complicated to make all arrangements for accommodations along the way, especially if I’ve planned too ambitiously and wear myself out?

What if my bike breaks down and I can’t fix it?

If I go with a bike tour (which will essentially solve the first three problems), can I afford the expense?

And what if, in the end, I just can’t tackle the terrain if there are too many hills?

So I end up taking the train or driving — not that I don’t love European trains or roadways, but I still don’t get to experience Europe with the same intimacy as on a bike.

This… Continue reading

A treehouse hotel in Hocking Hills. Photo from ExploreHockingHills.com

A treehouse hotel in Hocking Hills. Photo from ExploreHockingHills.com

When it comes to my own bucket list of destinations, Ohio has never been high on my list.

Having grown up in the Midwest, I’ve driven through the Buckeye state many times, mainly to get to other places. I spent a weekend in Cincinnati once, found a great breakfast spot near Toledo, and know that Cleveland has a great clinic and improving baseball team, but most of my impressions of Ohio are of flat views from Interstate 80.

So when I learned that a spot in Ohio had made Buzzfeed.com’s list of “22 Stunning Under-the-Radar Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List in 2014” — the only place in the U.S. to make the list — I took notice.

Along with other global under-the-radar destinations like Jericoacoara, Brazil; Ladakh, India; Ipiales, Colombia; Kampong Thom, Cambodia; and the Lofoten Islands, Norway, comes… Continue reading

This 5-ounce container holds a full-sized beach towel, from Lightload. Photo by Clark Norton

This 5-ounce container holds a full-sized beach towel, from Lightload. Photo by Clark Norton

 

The Blackout Pocket from Scottevest is, appropriately, black, and protects your digital data. Photo by Clark Norton

The Blackout Pocket from Scottevest is, appropriately, black, and protects your digital data. Photo by Clark Norton

With just a week to go before Christmas, it seems like a good time to mention some gadgets and smallish travel items that are easy to carry but can come in useful on a trip — and which make great stocking-stuffers for the baby boomer traveler on your list.

These items all have a few things in common: they’re compact in size, they meet travel needs and wants, and they’re all nicely designed and packaged. In short, besides being useful, practical or in one case just enjoyable, they’re well-marketed.

If you have a hiker or camper or other kind of outdoorsy person in mind, this full-size beach towel from Lightload comes in a small 5-ounce waterproof container (pictured)… Continue reading

Monticello, Thomas Jefferson''s home, is just outside Charlottesville and one of its prime attractions.  Photo by Clark Norton

Monticello, Thomas Jefferson”s home, is just outside Charlottesville and one of its prime attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

Having recently spent a week in Charlottesville, Virginia, home to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the Jefferson-designed University of Virginia among other terrific places for baby boomer travelers to visit, I was intrigued to learn that the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (CACVB) has been garnering all kinds of awards for its marketing efforts on social media.

Just a few days ago, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) announced that the CACVB’s social media campaign had won a prestigious Adrian Gold Award, which honors outstanding achievements in advertising, public relations and digital marketing in the travel industry.

The CACVB has also taken home awards this year for “Best Public Relations Initiative” and “Best Online Marketing Campaign” from the Virginia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus, as well as a… Continue reading

The 2014 Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships guidebook is Douglas Ward's 29th edition. Photo by Clark Norton

The 2014 Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships guidebook is Douglas Ward’s 29th edition. Photo by Clark Norton

Each fall when the Berlitz  Cruising and Cruise Ships guidebook is published, cruise line marketing departments hold their collective breaths until they see how many stars and points their ships have received from author Douglas Ward, dubbed “The World’s Foremost Authority on Cruising” and whose 2014 edition is the 29th in the series.

An extra star from Ward, or deletion of a star from a ship’s ratings, can have something of the effect of a top chef gaining or losing a Michelin star. Ward, who takes 15-20 cruises a year and spends much of the rest of the time checking out ships in port and making shipyard visits, is known for his objectivity, attention to detail, and no-nonsense writing style.

You won’t find fluff, puff or snark in these 752 pages… 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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