Today, some of the best senior travel options come in groups.
They cater to travelers who are retired or working, singles or couples, and seniors with grandkids. So, whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, inspiration or education, you’re bound to be in good company.
Wherever your senior travels take you, be sure to check in with the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more about travel guidelines and notices so you can get to your destination safely.
There are a host of cruises for older adults. It’s easy to find a senior group cruise that fits your interests or abilities.
(800) 741-7956 or eldertreks.com
If you’re looking for a cruise driven by adventure and supplemented with education, try an expedition cruise. Expedition cruises, such as Canada-based Elder Treks, are known for their smaller group size. Expect to travel off the beaten path in destinations such as French Polynesia, Galapagos and Ecuador, and an Arctic tour that will introduce you to Greenland and Canada.
Seniors on the Go Travel
(770) 985-6131 or seniorsonthegotours.com
You don’t have to travel internationally to enjoy a cruise. Those closer to home are a great way to whet your appetite for on-the-water sightseeing. Lawrenceville’s Seniors on the Go Travel, offers North American-based tours that will have you soaking in panoramic views of the Great Lakes in the summer and the Mississippi River during the holiday season.
Cathy Stokes, owner and travel planner at Seniors on the Go Travel, said her travelers have been surprised by the affordability of North American cruises.
“The amount of inclusions that are part of the price, all of their shore excursions, all of their meals, beer and wine with dinner, all of the onboard activities,” Stokes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “A lot of time with cruises, you have to pay a lot of extra for shore excursions. Those are all included in the price.”
Finding a group travel specialist is more essential today than ever before. Travel requirements vary by country, making international trips more difficult without an expert.
Why not turn the complex details over to experienced senior travel group leaders?
Seniors on the Go Travel boasts nearly 40 years of experience in planning local, national and international tours. Experience the green hills of Ireland on the “Shades of Ireland” tour. Or discover the exquisite countries of Switzerland, Austria and Germany while learning about the historic Oberammergau Passion Play.
Trips with grandkids
There’s nothing quite like spending precious time with your grandkids. Doing it away from home can lessen the stress and help you soak in every moment.
(800) 454-5768 or roadscholar.org/grandparent-travel-guide/
Road Scholar is an online senior travel group. Their grandchild-focused trips are carefully curated with group guides who are experts in their fields and experienced in family memory-making.
“Many grandparents were separated from their children and grandchildren during COVID, and as vaccines have become more widely available and travel restrictions have loosened, we’ve seen lots of grandparents, grandkids, aunts, uncles and cousins reuniting on family trips,” Maeve Hartney, VP of Programs at Road Scholar said.
Group trips for single seniors
Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you can’t travel with confidence. A travel group is the perfect setting to find your ideal adventure and kindred traveling spirits.
Several women’s senior traveling groups are focused on the singles experience.
Overseas Adventure Travel
(800) 955-1925 or oattravel.com
Boston-based O.A.T. Travel is thrilled to help you rediscover the world. Their 50-plus women’s group is a vibrant and welcoming traveling community. International destinations include New Zealand, Vietnam and Morocco.
For company vice chairman Harriet Lewis, travel has become a core part of her identity. It was something she missed during the pandemic. She says travel is her way of “living my way of life the way I want to. A big part of that means getting back out and discovering the world again. I’m totally, totally ready!”
50+ Women’s Travel and Social Group 2021 and Beyond
This Marietta-based group, which is organized on the app Meetup, has plans to travel to Hawaii and Europe this year. The group is also focused on socializing and outings — there’s a Kenny G concert outing at Atlanta Symphony Hall in May.
Singles Travel International
(877) 765-6874 or singlestravelintl.com
The male crowd isn’t left out of singles’ travel.
Singles Travel International welcomes senior men and women on tours that range from adventurous to relaxing. Their 2022 travel calendar includes a sailing adventure at the Monaco Grand Prix in France and a holy lands cruise with visits to Greece and Jerusalem.
Dos and don’ts for every type of travel
Cruise do: Try new things. Traveling with a group may bring out a side of you you’ve never seen. In a senior travel group, you won’t have to worry about logistics or safety, which gives you more time to relax and live in the moment. And whether it’s something exhilarating such as getting up close to Alaska’s fjords and glaciers or educational such as Odyssey at Sea’s “World War II in France and the British Isles” tour, you’ll come home with new memories.
Cruise don’t: Don’t forget about the saving power of senior discounts. Those discounts can show up when you book your cruise travel. AARP members can get special discounts on room occupancy size and during restaurant land excursions.
International trip do: Relax through the hiccups. Travel — especially international travel — never comes without a few hitches, no matter how well-laid the plans are. If something is less than ideal, take a deep breath and smile or laugh through it. Some of the best memories are the spontaneous ones.
“I’m a planner by nature. But, when you’re on the road, you’ve just got to accept that plans will change”, Martin Hong, editorial manager of World Nomads said on the website.
“Don’t be so rigid in following your itinerary that you either miss out on impulsive experiences or stress yourself out to make sure you’re at a certain place at a certain time.”
International trip don’t: Don’t overpack. When traveling internationally, you’re likely making more than one stop. Don’t weigh yourself down with too much luggage. Buy travel-size toiletries. Do your homework before you go to find out what the weather will be like and what kind of shoes will be most comfortable.
REI suggests packing adaptable layers that you can add or remove amid changing weather. Layer a short-sleeve shirt with a long-sleeve top instead of using a bulky sweater. A lightweight jacket is a good option for cooler climates.
Trips with grandkids do: Choose activities you can all enjoy. Perhaps your high-flying, zip-lining days are over, but you know your grandchild would really love a paleontology dig in the wilds of Wyoming. Learning, experiencing and interacting together is what this trip is all about. So be intentional about keeping it that way.
Trips with grandkids don’t: Don’t plan every detail of the trip on your own. Instead, plan some activities or meals with your grandchild. They’ll learn how to feel confident planning travel and seeing those plans come to fruition in the most rewarding ways.
Single seniors travel do: Make new friends. This is an opportunity to get to know other cultures and other people. You are never too old to learn from the experiences of someone else. On your group trip, you’ll meet people from all over the country and perhaps the world. And when all is said and done, you’re likely to find you have more in common than you thought possible.
Single seniors travel don’t: Don’t forget your camera. Be sure to take pictures of yourself on your senior travel adventure. You can master the selfie or ask someone in your group to take pictures of you enjoying the sights. When you get home, you’ll want to remember all the details.
To get specialized news and articles about aging in place, health information and more, sign up for our Aging in Atlanta newsletter.