Vacation Options with Senior Travel Groups
New retirees who’ve dreamed of travel sometimes face a daunting reality when they’re finally free to book their getaways. Planning and undertaking a big trip to a new place can be stressful and even a bit intimidating, especially if none of your friends are going with you. For help booking a good hotel, finding the right flight, and seeing the sights, senior travel clubs and other organizations offer package deals with experienced guides and built-in travel buddies. Here are some options to explore.
Your college alumni association
Most university alumni associations offer group travel packages to members and their companions. If you’re interested in an offbeat or hard-to-visit destination, your alma mater is a good place to start. For example, the alumni groups at NYU, the University of Texas, and UCLA all have group tours of Cuba on their calendars. The Galapagos Islands are another popular alumni travel destination, along with scenic tours of China and Europe. These packages are usually all-inclusive, with a fee that covers airfare, cruise-ship passage, hotels, ground transportation, meals, guides, translators, and more.
National Geographic Expeditions
National Geographic’s travel and tours business offers a full menu of tempting destinations. Search by continent, the calendar, or the type of trip for options like cruises to Antarctica, photography expeditions to Central Asia, and Trans-Siberian Railway tours. These package trips come with premium price tags, but they also come with experts from National Geographic to help you make the most of your time in Namibia, Jordan, Patagonia, or whichever destination you choose.
Road Scholar started as Elderhostel, a nonprofit group dedicated to travel and lifelong learning, back in 1975. Today, Road Scholar offers hundreds of trips you can choose based on location and what you’d like to learn along the way. Like alumni groups and National Geographic, Road Scholar offers trips to unusual and once-in-a-lifetime destinations around the world but it also includes dozens of US itineraries. Among the domestic learning journeys are history tours of Georgia’s coastal islands, art and archaeology tours of Arizona’s Chaco Canyon, a look at modern art in Los Angeles, and hikes through Big Bend National Park.
People start Meetup groups online for just about every interest, including senior travel. There are more than 300 senior travel Meetups worldwide, and while some of those groups are small, others are large and active. Meetup’s Austin International Travel Club is open to area retirees and other adults who want to see the world, with past trips to destinations including Greece, Costa Rica, Bali, and Croatia. The advantage of setting up your group travel though a local Meetup is that you can get together before and after the trip for planning and reminiscing. Search for “senior travel” to find Meetups near you.
Travel agents sometimes get overlooked in the age of online bargain-hunting for airfares and hotel rooms, but they’re invaluable when you want the getaway without all the planning work. A good agent will find options to suit your budget, recommend excursions, and arrange for group tours at your destination. Check with friends and online reviews to find the best travel agents in your area.