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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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traveling baby boomers

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Gravestones in the Jewish Cemetery, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

Gravestones in the Jewish Cemetery, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

For the most part, a visit to Prague is a light-hearted affair: exploring Prague Castle, perusing Old Town Square, sauntering across the Charles Bridge, and perhaps doing some shopping for crystal or dining in a beer hall (more to come on that in a later post).

But the historical  attractions are museum-quality relics of long ago, and bizarre incidents — political rivals being tossed out of windows, leading to destructive wars — are ancient history,  fascinating but distant. The Habsburg dynasty — which ruled here for nearly 400 years — and the Holy Roman Empire are long gone, leaving us buildings and cathedrals to admire but perhaps less to stir our souls.

But Prague has a more recent past that should stir us to the core, and it bubbles to the surface in the city’s… Continue reading

Prague's Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square. Photo by Clark Norton

Prague’s Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square. Photo by Clark Norton

Yesterday an associate said to me: “I can’t believe you’d never been to Prague. Everyone goes to Prague. You’re a travel writer, you’ve been to more than 100 countries.”

Point taken. And don’t think it wasn’t gnawing away at me. My daughter had been to Prague. My future daughter-in-law had been to Prague. My parents had been to Prague. And just about all the travel writers I know at least claim to have been to Prague.For years now, it’s been one of the hottest, trendiest spots on the Continent.

My excuse has been that when I was riding trains around Europe for months at a time back in the day,  no Soviet bloc countries were included on Eurailpass, the rail pass I was using to get around to every country in Western Europe (except San Marino, but that’s… Continue reading

Exterior of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

Exterior of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. Photo by Clark Norton

When it comes to visiting European cities, I love old.

And you’ve got to love a city where the “New Town” section dates from the 14th century.

And where a section called “Lesser Town” has more going for it than many other cities can boast in total.

Prague, capital of the Czech Republic,  dates from the ninth century with the construction of Prague Castle, which is now the largest occupied castle in the world — covering 16 acres, it’s actually more like a palace — and houses the offices of the Czech president as well as the country’s crown jewels.

The castle was once the seat of power of the vast Holy Roman Empire, which ruled central Europe for a thousand years.

While some of the most beautiful parts of the castle are open only to the president,… Continue reading

The Age Busters Power Summit runs every day from March 13-April 2.

The Age Busters Power Summit runs every day from March 13-April 2.

I’m being featured on The Age Busters Power Summit for Women on Saturday, March 29 at 8 pm, talking about “The Important Role of Travel as We Age.”

 You owe it to yourself to attend this free virtual event!  

Go now to the www.theagebusterspowersummit.com/clanor for more details.

Thanks!

 

Answer to Last Week’s Travel Quiz:

About what percentage of jobs worldwide are related to tourism?

A. Five percent

B. Two percent

C. Nine percent

D. 12 percent

The answer is C, nine percent!

 

Ellen Perlman of BoldlyGoSolo (top) on Maui. (She did ride the bike down Haleakala volcano solo.) Photo courtesy of boldlygosolo.com

Ellen Perlman of BoldlyGoSolo (top) on Maui. (She did ride the bike down Haleakala volcano solo.) Photo courtesy of boldlygosolo.com

Last week I was interviewed about baby boomer travel for a recorded series called the Age Busters Power Summit, which will air sometime on or after March 13 (I’ll have more specifics in a later post).

The target audience is baby boomer women, and — never having traveled as a baby boomer woman myself — I asked my good friend and fellow travel writer Ellen Perlman, who writes a blog called BoldlyGoSolo.com, to give me a few pointers about what to suggest to women traveling alone.

Her tips were so valuable that I want to pass them along on my own blog.

While they pertain to just about any woman traveling solo, a baby boomer woman who is trying solo travel for the first time might find these especially… Continue reading

Utah's Monument Valley, author Patricia Schultz's absolute must-see  sight for North America. Photo from Utah Tourism.

Utah’s Monument Valley, author Patricia Schultz’s absolute must-see sight for North America. Photo from Utah Tourism.

 

Jordan's ancient stone city of Petra. Photo by Clark Norton

Jordan’s ancient stone city of Petra. Photo by Clark Norton

I just read an interview with Patricia Schultz, author of the extremely successful travel guide “1000 Places to See Before You Die,” whose first edition publication in 2003 presaged the bucket list craze.

She has since published a second edition, which includes another 200 entries, so if you’ve somehow managed to see the initial 1,000, you still have your work cut out for you.

Depending on how much travel baby boomers — the youngest of whom turn 50 this year — have done earlier in their lives, they face a daunting task of keeping up with Schultz, who says in the interview that she has now visited all the places she’s written about, though when the first edition was published, there were about… 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

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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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