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Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Finding Educational Trips for Retirees

My wife and I are planning to travel much more frequently in retirement and are very interested in educational trips and adventures. Can you recommend any organizations that specialize in this type of travel geared towards retirees?

Educational travel, which combines travel with in-depth learning opportunities has become a very popular way of travel among retirees. Here are a few good places to turn to find these types of trips in the U.S. and abroad.

Tour Organizations

One of the best places to start is with Road Scholar, which invented the idea of educational travel for older adults in the mid-1970s. The Boston-based organization offers 5,500 learning adventures in all 50 states and 150 countries.

You can search for learning adventures by location, interest, activity level and price. Road Scholar also offers "Choose Your Pace" senior travel tours that allow participants to adjust their level of challenge daily. They also offer tours designed specifically for grandparents traveling with their grandkids.

Another excellent option is Smithsonian Journeys, a nonprofit travel group affiliated with the Smithsonian Museum. They lead 350 educational trips a year on every continent that are led by experts from a variety of fields including academia, the diplomatic corps, scientists, curators and more.

If you are seeking more adventure, you may want to consider ElderTreks, which offers 50-plus travelers small-group adventures by both land and sea in more than 100 countries. Their trips center on adventure, culture and nature, letting you get up close and personal with the locals.

Academic Travel

Another good source for educational trips is colleges and universities. Popular choices include Cornell University's Adult University, which offers a half-dozen educational trips and courses in the U.S. and abroad, each lasting a few days to a week or more. There is also Stanford Travel/Study which offers educational travel journeys to more than 80 countries each year.

Most college and university trips are led by faculty who share their expertise, along with regional experts and local guides. You do not need to be an alumnus to participate.

You can also check out the Traveling Professor, a small-group touring company led by Steve Solosky, formerly a professor at the State University of New York. They offer dozens of tours abroad each year and take between 8 and 16 people.

Cruising Options

If you enjoy cruising, consider Grand Circle Travel, which offers educational travel aboard small ships. Naturalist Journeys is another option that specializes in nature and birding tours.

American Cruise Lines also offers more than 35 river and coastal itineraries in the Northeast, Southeast, Pacific Northwest and along the Mississippi River. It has themed cruises (Lewis and Clark, Mark Twain, Civil War, etc.) for people with specific historical, literary or other interests.

Viking River Cruises, which is geared to older travelers, focuses on European art, history and culture. Each cruise makes one to two port stops a day as the ship winds its way up or down Europe's most famous rivers like the Rhine, Seine, Danube and Douro. A free sightseeing tour is included at all stops, and special-interest excursions are available for additional fees. Viking offers tours in the United States as well.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published April 29, 2022
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