Affordable, Fascinating Travel Opportunities Abound for Seniors

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 28, 1998 | Go to article overview

Affordable, Fascinating Travel Opportunities Abound for Seniors


Byline: Margo E. Schreiber

Question: I am 67 years old and I would like information about travel opportunities for myself. I am widowed and want to travel more, but I have no one to travel with. Also, what do you know about a group called Elderhostel?

Answer: There are so many opportunities for travel for older people.

This is a time in your life when you have more freedom and don't have to worry about being home by a certain date because you only have two weeks of vacation. The travel industry knows this, so there are so many options for the mature market.

Elderhostel, a travel and education program for people 55 and older, offers thousands of opportunities for both domestic and foreign travel, combining travel with opportunities to learn about culture, arts, music, history, social and scenic opportunities.

The trips are reasonably priced. Each trip includes most meals and reasonable housing accommodations. Companions of Elderhostel participants must be at least 50.

Elderhostel is an educational adventure for older adults looking for something different. The philosophy behind Elderhostel is that the later years should be a time of new beginnings, opportunities and challenges. This offers a way to keep expanding your horizons with people who are interested in the same things you are.

Elderhostel is a not-for-profit organization that offers inexpensive, short-term academic programs hosted by educational institutions around the world, which include the arts, literature, history, music, culture, navigation, astronomy, folklore, theater, and local topography and history.

You'll actually live on college and university campuses and stay in dormitories. If an educational institution does not have residential facilities or residence halls, participants stay in modestly priced hotels or motels.

The courses offered are unique, interesting and fun. A typical program usually meets five or six days for one and a half hours each day. The extracurricular activities take advantage of the rich cultural, educational and recreational life at the Elderhostel campus or community.

This leaves lots of time to get to know your fellow hostelers. The socialization is what is special about Elderhostel. The accommodations are simple, and meals are wholesome and nutritious institutional fare.

Most of the programs last five or six nights, usually starting Sundays and concluding Fridays after lunch or Saturday after breakfast.

Elderhostel is a great option for people traveling alone since you never are really alone because there are always opportunities to get to know your fellow hostelers.

Additionally, many airlines, hotels, resorts, cruise lines and car rentals offer discounts for people older than 65, and some discounts begin for people at age 55 or 60.

Some companies offer discounts of up to 40 percent on the cost of a room or rental car. When you book any travel reservations, ask if a discount is provided.

There are many travel agencies that cater to the senior group. One option tour operators offer is escorted bus tours specifically for this population.

One agency, called Mature Tours, is located in Connecticut, but they have a toll-free number for easy access.

Mature Tours caters to youthful spirits older than 50 and offers cruises and travel in the United States, as well as some trips abroad. …

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Affordable, Fascinating Travel Opportunities Abound for Seniors
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