Senior Tours and Vacation Travel
Adventure Travel is Ageless and Memorable
|Pilot Lars (right) and
ElderTrekkers, Robbie and Liz, relax in the balloon
basket while flying high over Cappadocia from Hot
Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Photo by Senior Travel Editor Alison Gardner
Most travelers today .... want memorable short-term experiences and adventures of one week to a month. Certainly, it is possible to plan and carry out independent alternative travel holidays with great success. But the two audiences who make up the vast majority of travelers today—older travelers and women—are far more inclined to research and select a carefully-planned small-group tour, a volunteer program, or an expeditionary cruise where the destinations, total expenses, and range of experiences are clearly defined.
— Alison Gardner
|Live With and Teach English to a Family in France
This volunteer program is a great opportunity to experience
French lifestyle and improve your linguistic skills at a low
You live with a host family and in exchange for your own room and meals, you
share your English language skills for around 15 hours a week. This program has
a focus on cultural exchange, it is designed for those of you wishing to experience
French culture in depth. Placements are usually in Southern France, however,
positions are available in Paris and other areas in France.
||Dates: 1 to 3 months placements, available all year round. Only 1 month placement in July and August.
Cost: From 390 Euros.
Contact: ALIORE, Worldwide Workshops, 23 rue Jean Giono 34080 Montpellier, France
Tel.: 00 33 951 79 79 72.
Website: www.aliore.org (Language & Lifestyle programme)
|Global Aware Adventures in Service
Volunteer Vacations for Retirees
This nonprofit currently offers volunteer projects in
18+ countries worldwide. Adventures in service focuses
on cultural awareness and sustainability.
costs, including airfare, are U.S. tax-deductible, though
airfare must be purchased independently.
Volunteers are of all ages, with an exciting
emphasis on multi-generational family groups.
||Dates: Start at 1 week
Contact: Globe Aware, 6500 East Mockingbird Lane, Suite 104, Dallas, TX 75214
Tel: 1 877 588 4562
Road Scholar: Educational Travel and Learning Vacations for Adults and Seniors offers tours, 5,500 learning adventures in 150 countries and all 50 states in the U.S., serving more than 100,000 participants per year. Road Scholar was founded by Elderhostel, a not-for-profit, in the summer of 1975 and began as a learning program conceived to combine not-for-credit classes with inexpensive lodging for older adults. The adult and senior tours range from small to large in size,
and combine educational, cultural, and adventure travel.
Adventures Abroad Senior Tours offers small-group tours for "mature" travelers (those 50+) around the world. The focus is on cultural immersion travel, adventure travel, and traveling off-the-beaten-path. Meet, eat, dine, and converse with locals rather than staying in more conventional tourist locations while being guided by experts in destinations.
Steves’ Europe Tours currently offers over 40 small-group tours and
hundreds of departures reflecting the "Europe
Through the Back Door" grassroots philosophy
of his acclaimed European guidebooks and public
television travel series. With a good mix of ages
from 30 to 80 (about 60 percent women), more than
half of participants are over 50 on the 2- to 3-week
country and region tours, while they make up 30-40
percent on the 1-week city tours.
ElderTreks — Over 50 Travel — Adventure Tours for Seniors has catered to 50-plus curious, adventurous travelers for
nearly two decades. ElderTreks currently offers small
groups of participants opportunities to learn in-depth
about environments, countries, and cultures in 80 countries.
With tours covering both land-based and ship-based tours, each itinerary
is described in “no surprises” detail and
its activity level rated from easy to challenging. Very
high on repeat clientele — always a healthy sign!
Walking the World offers adventure travel tours for people 50 and better. Adventure travel is a way of experiencing the world, not as a passive observer, but as an active participant. And walking, more than any other type of activity, allows you to experience firsthand not only a country’s majestic natural areas, but its rich and varied human cultures as well. With Walking The World, you’ll be walking through small villages, meeting the local people, and sampling some of the world’s finest food and drink.
Stride Travel is a metasearch site for senior tours, meaning it allows easy searches across over 700 tour companies and presents discounted options you should find of interest, most with reviews by people who have actually taken the trip.
Oceanic Society Expeditions.
The Oceanic Society is a nonprofit organization working
to protect marine wildlife and the marine environment
through conservation-based research and environmental
education. Half its itineraries are volunteer holidays,
the rest are educational. Participants become research
assistants, working side by side with academics and field
researchers, logging, recording, and collecting data,
including coral reef health monitoring and measuring
nesting sea turtles. These expeditions occur in Central
and South America and the Pacific Ocean region. Sixty
percent of clients are older adults.
Overseas Adventure Travels specializes in small group tours and expeditions for those over 50 to destinations around the world. The organization, based in Boston, Mass., offers to "take you off the beaten path so you can participate in everyday life in your destination," allowing opportunities for as much cultural interaction as possible with the local culture as you explore.
Discover Corps. A travel program that offers volunteer vacations packages to countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Discover Corps specializes in volunteer trips for seniors and their families. The 1-2 week trips combine citizen diplomacy, responsible volunteering, hands-on volunteering, cultural connections, and developing an authentic and meaningful travel experience. Discover Corps has an exclusive relationship with the National Peace Corps Association.
AmeriSpan offers immersion programs worldwide to learn 20 different languages including Spanish, Italian, German, French, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. Specialized programs combine activities including cooking, wine-tasting, sailing, golf and dance with language classes. With over 28,000 clients to date, the company offers instruction from beginner to advanced together with memorable cultural experiences. Some seniors prefer to avoid June, July, and August, which attract droves of college-age students; excellent months, particularly in Latin America, are February to April and September to December when older participants receive more personalized service.
Institute of America Tours, offers a wide
range of small-group land tours and small-ship
voyages led by practicing archaeologists who offer
behind-the-scenes commentary and insight that only
an expert scholar can provide. First-class luxury
is the norm on these senior tours with about 90 percent
of clientele over 50.