Best tour companies for travelers over 50 for 2024
#tour #companies #travelers
results about Best tour companies for travelers over 50 for 2024
For many travelers, turning 50 is a sign you’re in your travel prime. By your sixth decade, you’ve learned a lot about how to make the best use of vacation time, so it’s no accident that older and wiser travelers tend toward senior travel tours. Tours for seniors offer the chance to leave the driving to someone else, not sweat the details, and be freed up to really enjoy a destination.
It’s a tour industry truth that most guests skew older, and most tour companies do a good job meeting the needs of travelers in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. But there are a few tour companies for seniors that truly go above and beyond. And while age is just one of the many factors that define your travel style, it’s still nice to know you’re traveling with a company that puts in the extra effort to make its trips for seniors work for everyone on the tour.
ACTIVE TRAVEL:5 best senior adventures for travelers age 50+
Here are the travel tour companies for seniors that shine especially bright when it comes to the offerings, amenities and details that serve older travelers.
1. Road Scholar
The tour company Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) is a great fit for curiosity-driven lifelong learners over 50. Its strong educational focus (it attracts a lot of retired educators) fuels its tours to more than 100 countries. Most Road Scholar guests fall in the 50s to 90s range, with an average traveler age of 72.
Learn more: Best travel insurance
As you’re browsing tours, you’ll see a big “activity level” bar that shows how physically demanding an itinerary is. On the least physically demanding side are “Easy Going” trips that maximize learning but minimize walking and stairs. The most physically active trips can include public transit, lots of walking, and uneven surfaces. There are also some “Choose Your Pace” trips where you can opt in or out of the more physically rigorous activities.
Road Scholar is a great choice for grandparents looking to travel with grandkids on a “skip-gen vacation” (grandparent-grandchild vacations that “skip” the generation in-between). Its Grandparent Programs are designed for grandparents traveling with grandchildren and include tours of Yellowstone, Paris and the Galapagos. And if your adult kids don’t want to be left out of the fun, include them too on a “three-generation” tour.
More details about Road Scholar:
- Average group size: Regular tour groups range from 13 to 24 guests; micro group trips are 12 people or fewer.
- Popular with: Lifelong learners over 50.
With nearly a century of experience under its belt, Globus has the wisdom of age. It’s a trusted guided tour specialist that ranks among the best travel tour companies for seniors by understanding that a one-size-fits-all tour doesn’t work for everyone. And by offering both a wide range of tours and the ability to customize your experiences, Globus makes it easier for travelers to find the tour that’s a just-right fit.
BRING THE GRANDKIDS: 8 grandparent-grandkid vacations for active seniors
Globus does this by offering a range of tour types, many of them ideal for senior travel groups. There are itineraries that focus on those can’t-miss tourist attractions for first-time visitors, Undiscovered tours with more off-the-beaten-path attractions and experiences, and Choice Touring itineraries that provide guests with a selection of activity choices at destinations. Globus’ sister brand, Avalon Waterways, is another option to consider: Its small ship river cruises feel a bit like a tour where you have to unpack only once.
More details about Globus:
- Average group size: Coach tours average 36 people; small-group tours consist of about 24 people.
- Popular with: Older adults who seek a wide variety of experience options.
3. Intrepid Travel
With its active-tour focus, it would be easy to mistake Intrepid Travel for a tour company geared toward only younger people. But North America managing director Matt Berna says the company is committed to being age-inclusive: “Life is an adventure at any age and it’s highly likely you’ll find people of similar age and interest sharing – and enjoying – the trip right alongside you.”
TRIPS OF A LIFETIME:12 Best Amtrak vacations and scenic train rides in North America
In fact, Intrepid reports that its senior travelers (people who fall into the 50-plus age category) are among the most interested in travel experiences like walking and trekking tours, cycling trips, and multi-activity adventures in national parks and other areas of great natural beauty.
And while these are definitely trips where you need to be in pretty good shape (Berna recommends “a general level of health and fitness”), Intrepid works hard to create itineraries that are about enjoyment over endurance.
More details about Intrepid Travel:
- Average group size: Most trips average about 10 people.
- Popular with: Active travelers of any age looking for interesting trips.
Trafalgar isn’t just one of the tour industry’s largest and most trusted brands, but it’s also an expert in travel tours for seniors, with well over half of its guests falling in that 50-to-71 sweet spot for travel.
Trafalgar works with its travel directors and local specialists to create tours with a mix of novelty and comfort. You’re likely to see famous sights and have unique experiences on a Trafalgar tour you couldn’t re-create on your own.
And while it’s not only senior travelers who want to stay well on vacation, travel health is a big concern for older adventurers. Recognizing that, Trafalgar has the tour industry’s first “well-being directors,” who focus on making sure all Trafalgar’s partners are following proper health protocols and overseeing all health-related questions from guests.
More details about Trafalgar:
- Average group size: Classic coach tours average 40 to 50 guests; small-group tours are generally in the 22-29 range.
- Popular with: Senior travelers looking for a mix of familiarity and novelty.
5. Smithsonian Journeys
Tour operator Smithsonian Journeys gives seniors the perfect way to go deep on a destination. Travelers of all ages like the company’s Classic Land Journeys, which mix iconic and less-known attractions, and its Active Journeys, which focus on adventurous itineraries in nature. But for seniors who have the time to slow down and settle in to soak up local life, there’s no beating Smithsonian Journeys’ Living In programs.
FOODIE VACATIONS:9 best companies for culinary tours
These three-week stays in Europe (Florence, Italy; France’s Provence region, and Andalusia in Spain) give travelers the chance to live like locals, but they also build in tour perks like planning experts, tour directors and organized learning opportunities. And in keeping with the mission of the company, education is at the heart of everything − it allows travelers to not just experience the world but also to understand it more deeply.
More details about Smithsonian Journeys:
- Average group size: Most land-based tours with Smithsonian Journeys have 12 to 24 guests.
- Popular with: Curious travelers (most of them ages 45 to 80) who want to learn more about the world.
6. Adventures by Disney
Though it has adult-only departures that welcome seniors, the real magic of Adventures by Disney is how perfect it is for multigenerational vacations. These upscale-leaning tours to destinations around the world create experiences that hit on different levels simultaneously, which means that kids, parents, and grandparents can all share special vacation moments without one generation feeling as if they’re just playing along.
MULTIGENERATIONAL TRIPS: How a vacation with my aging parents changed my whole perspective on travel
Before my first Adventures by Disney tour, I was worried that the Disney part would eclipse the destination focus. But it turns out that the main Disney element on the tours is the incredible storytelling, the true stories of a place’s history and culture.
Older travelers will appreciate the luxury hotels, the comfortable transportation options and the tour leaders, who work hard to meet the needs of each traveler. Built into each tour is the chance for the adults and the kids to enjoy different activities. For instance, on a Peru tour I was on, adults had dinner on their own while kids enjoyed dinner and a movie with the tour leaders.
More details about Adventures by Disney:
- Average guided tour group size: 35 to 44 guests.
- Popular with: Multigenerational groups.
Building and maintaining muscle is an important part of aging well, and there are plenty of travelers who are stronger than ever (even if there are a few more aches and pains) in their 50s and 60s. So it makes perfect sense that guided tour specialist Backroads – which specializes in cycling, hiking and multi-sport vacations – knows that a love of athletic pursuits is a lifelong passion for many. The active tour company has trips that range from active to easygoing, with a lot of flexibility built in to make them especially appropriate as senior travel tours.
PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT:How to Find the Right Travel Insurance Policy
Backroads even has options for couples or traveling companions in which one partner is sportier than the other. On many of its cycling tours, the company includes an e-bike option so groups with mixed abilities can ride together. Most departures include two support vehicles, so guests can bike as much or as little as they want each day. Backroads’ Dolce Tempo trips are also geared to be more easygoing tours for seniors but still offer plenty of fun and adventure along the way.
More details about Backroads:
- Average group size: Hiking and walking trips tend to average 16 guests.
- Popular with: Active travelers looking to see the world beyond the confines of a coach.
8. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.)
True to its name, Overseas Adventure Travel (often just called O.A.T.), supports older adventurers. Focused mostly on travelers 50 and older, the company has a variety of trip types, but two things in particular make it particularly great for senior travelers. The first is that it recognizes that retired travelers tend to have the flexibility for longer trips, so many of O.A.T.’s adventures are two weeks or longer. A number of them also include optional pre-trip and post-trip extensions to extend trips even longer.
BRING THE WHOLE FAMILY: 7 best resorts for multigenerational family travel
The second standout feature is the way O.A.T. caters to solo travelers, who can take advantage of the company’s free and heavily discounted single supplements on trips. Most spots for solo travelers on O.A.T.’s tours are offered without a single supplement fee. Bonus: O.A.T.’s Activity Level rating system makes it easier to understand the demands of a trip and match energy level and accessibility needs with specific itineraries.
More details about Overseas Adventure Travel:
- Average group size: Small-group tours average about 13 people.
- Popular with: Curious lifelong learners, many of whom are 50 or older.
9. Odysseys Unlimited
Odysseys Unlimited has a great reputation for tours that cater to the needs of senior travelers, but that’s only part of the reason it’s on this list. I like this small-group tour operator because it’s the go-to partner for more than 100 alumni associations and other organizations that offer tours to members. If you get alumni association tour brochures from your alma mater, you may already know the brand. But what you may not know is that you don’t have to go through an alumni group; you can also book with the company directly.
CRUISES FOR SENIORS: 7 best all-inclusive cruise lines in the world
The company’s small-group focus keeps tour group sizes down to 12 to 24 guests, which the company says allows groups to be flexible, efficient, and spontaneous. It builds in time for independent exploration, which can be particularly appealing to tour guests who are used to traveling independently.
Most Odysseys Unlimited tour travelers are 50 to 80, and guests must be able to get on and off buses and be up for a fair amount of walking (including uphill or on uneven terrain).
More details about Odysseys Unlimited:
- Average guided tour group size: 12 to 24 people.
- Popular with: Alumni association members and active older travelers.
More from FamilyVacationist:
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY. FamilyVacationist.com and TourScoop.com are owned and operated by Vacationist Media LLC. Using the FamilyVacationist travel recommendation methodology, we review and select family vacation ideas, family vacation spots, all-inclusive family resorts, and classic family vacations for all ages. TourScoop covers guided group tours and tour operators, tour operator reviews, tour itinerary reviews and travel gear recommendations.
Thank you for reading Best tour companies for travelers over 50 for 2024