Elderhostel: Not Your Average Bus Trip

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 22 December 2008

Want to travel the world and learn more about it at the same time? Elderhostel is the way to go. It is something that I look forward to taking advantage of when I am “of age.” Adults ages 55 and over become students in the global classroom when they travel with Elderhostel, a not-for-profit organization established in 1975 to provide retirees with “exceptional learning adventures.”

There is something for everyone at Elderhostel: biking the rim of the Grand Canyon, studying Monet’s masterpieces and visiting the villages where he lived, tracing the footsteps of Lewis & Clark, and so much more. It’s a program that was always highly spoken of by several of the residents from the retirement community I worked at years ago. Whether it’s international or domestic travel you crave, the trips are organized by the Elderhostel staff; essentially, everything but packing your bags is done for you.

Over 4 million adults have embarked on an Elderhostel adventure and the rave reviews on the website (and via word of mouth) clearly confirm its value. Bolstered by a belief that learning is “an integral part of a healthy and fulfilling life”, this non-profit organization seeks to provide top-of-the-line learning opportunitites at a great value, which is a hot commodity in today’s economically-challenged environment.

If getting on a plane does not appeal to you, day programs are available in many major cities across the United States. If you want to take your grandchildren along for the ride, there are trips tailored to your intergenerational whims. The user-friendly website allows you to peruse the many fabulous options offered, and you can search by location, interest, or cost, just to name a few. If you are like me and interested in just about anything related to travel or learning, you will need this search function to narrow down your favorites from among the nearly 8,000 offerings a year, located in more than 90 host countries.

Feeling pinched financially? Scholarships are available. Got someone on your gift list who is impossible to buy for? Gift certificates can also be obtained on the site.

The concept is wonderful: integrate a love of learning with a desire to see the world at the time of life when it might be easier to do so (empty nesters, retirees, etc.) – all at an affordable price. It’s perfect. Now, if only I could pass as a 55 year old…

Find out more about Elderhostel at www.elderhostel.org.

Have you been on an Elderhostel adventure? Share your story here!


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