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
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.
Volunteer in Ecuador and Galapagos
Lead Adventures offers volunteer and adventure programs in Ecuador and the Galapagos suitable for "grown-ups" and seniors, providing complete immersion in traditional Ecuadorian culture. You will learn about and share your knowledge of biodiversity, conservation, social causes, organic agriculture, animal welfare, and community building. Tailored group and individual customized options are available. You may choose to stay in a hostel or a hotel for more independence and have your travel arrangements customized for your specific needs.
Live With and Teach English to a Family in France
This volunteer program is an excellent opportunity to experience the French lifestyle and improve your linguistic skills at a low cost.
You live with a host family and share your English language skills for around 15 hours a week in exchange for your room and meals. This program focuses on cultural exchange; it is designed for those wishing to experience French culture in depth. Placements are usually in Southern France; however, positions are available in Paris and other areas in France.
Road Scholar: Educational Travel and Learning Vacations for Adults and Seniors
Offers tours, including 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 and combine educational, cultural, and adventure travel.
Adventures Abroad Senior Tours
Creates small-group tours for "mature" travelers (those 50+) worldwide. 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.
Tours For Seniors
The renowned tour company offers its unique approach to tours, with a committment to environment, society, economy and governance/ethics, and is a signatory of the The UN Global Compact. The company's senior tours feature local tour guides, small groups, safety, and customization options to countries worldwide.
Intrepid offers Premium, Comfort, Original, and budget-oriented "Basix" tour styles.
European Waterways: Hotel Barge Cruises
A tour operator more on the luxury side, these cruises provide senior-friendly tours through many beautiful rivers, towns, sites, festivals, and more in Europe. There are also many barge tours with small companies in Europe and worldwide that you should consider to enjoy Europe in a relaxing mode. Read our guide on Barge Tours in Europe: Best European Barge Cruises for more.
the World — Tours
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. More than any other activity, walking allows you to experience a country's majestic natural areas and rich and varied human cultures. With Walking The World, you'll walk through small villages, meet the local people, and sample some of the world's finest food and drink.
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 that protects marine wildlife and the marine environment through conservation-based research and environmental education. Half of its itineraries are volunteer holidays; the rest are educational. Participants become research assistants, working alongside academics and field researchers, logging, recording, and collecting data, including monitoring coral reef health 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.
An organization that offers multi-generational volunteer vacation
packages to countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Discover
Corps specializes in volunteer trips for seniors and their
families. The 1-2 week multi-generational family trips
combine citizen diplomacy, responsible volunteering, hands-on
volunteering, cultural connections, and developing an authentic
and meaningful travel experience.
Institute of America Tours
Delivers 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.