Senior tours are a great way to see new places, meet new people your age, and stay active. Join us as we consider some top destinations.
Published on October 30th, 2023 in Destinations
When a seasoned traveler makes plans for their next adventure, there’s a lot to consider.
Aside from choosing a once-in-a-lifetime destination, older travelers typically often prefer the convenience of having transportation arrangements made in advance, planned activities tailored to their mobility levels, and the peer-to-peer connection offered by groups. For these reasons and others, it can be smart to consider booking senior tours rather than traveling alone or with one’s significant other.
Today, we’re going to look at how senior travel tours make it so that a person can enjoy new places stress free, while also making friends, learning new things and getting top value for their traveling dollar. We’ll also look at some of the best destinations for tours.
Join us as we help chart out your next adventure.
Why book a senior tour?
There are many reasons to think about taking a senior tour. Here are five of the top ones:
Plenty of tour companies to choose from
It used to be that booking senior citizen travel tours meant either having a savvy travel agent or being lucky enough to live somewhere with an active travel group through a church or other organization.
Thanks to the internet, times have changed profoundly for anyone looking to book a tour. Some simple searches online can bring up a wide range of potential tour companies for those thinking about adventure travel, with a 2022 article by Christina Sarkis listing the seven best travel companies for people over the age of 50:
The point is, an older traveler really isn’t limited these days when it comes to tour companies. The ideal tour company, depending on your needs and interests, is out there. There’s no shortage of potential senior vacation tours to choose from.
Easier (and safer) than traveling alone
Logistics might hinder an older person traveling alone or with their spouse, whether its navigating transit systems or ordering food in foreign languages. And if that doesn’t stop a would-be traveler, the safety issues associated with different places might. Solo travelers or couples really have a lot to think about before they make a trip.
Not having to worry about making it to their destination on time or being harassed is one of the best things about traveling on a tour. Professional tour companies can handle all of this and let a senior traveler sit back and focus on what they came to do: soaking up a new place.
A chance to meet other seniors
It’s not always easy to make new friends at any age, but it can be especially tough for seniors who no longer have a workplace or elsewhere to make acquaintances.
On a trip with the right tour companies, however, this can happen easily. Where people might have once been solo travelers, new friendships on a senior travel trip can be forged in a Bavarian beer hall, at the rocks of Stonehenge, on a bus heading into the hills of Tuscany, or much more. Some widowed or single individuals might even find new love on the right senior group trips.
The opportunity to learn
The tour guides on some senior tours can rival any guidebook or television host. In fact, the knowledge of these guides might be unbeatable.
Senior tours offer superior opportunities to learn. They can help people feel like a local in the places they visit.
Generally, a great value
Many seniors, even those who’ve worked hard and saved, live on some kind of budget, so they’ll want to do whatever they can to maximize the value of their spending if they decide to embark on senior travel. With everything they offer, senior tours can be great for this.
International senior tours
One of the great things about senior tours is that they can go most anywhere in the world; overseas tours for seniors are plentiful these days. Here are five destinations that make senior world travel worth it.
A person could spend an entire trip just in Rome and not get bored of all of its cultural artifacts or sampling its fine selection of foods like buffalo cheese pizza or gelato. In fact, there’s so much to do in Rome that the real challenge is knowing where to start.
With a senior tour, a person gets to go around with a guide who is paid to know stuff like: the exact number of Spanish Steps; the trap doors that used to be in the Roman Colosseum to bring wild animals face-to-face with gladiators; or the exact spot of the Forum where as many as 60 conspirators stabbed Julius Caesar to death.
Then there’s the rest of Italy, which is also well-suited for senior travel. From Rome, it’s a quick jaunt to Florence or Milan in the north, or Naples to the south. The nice thing about traveling in Italy with a senior tour is that it can eliminate having to drive on Italy’s roads and risk getting a traffic ticket.
Similar to Rome, senior travelers could do their whole trip in London if they wanted, given its supreme cultural offerings and rich history. But the United Kingdom has plenty of other places worth touring as well, such as:
Bath in western England, which has a charming city center and includes old Roman baths;
Edinburgh in Scotland to the north, with walking tours through cobblestone streets and hills that overlook the city;
Belfast, technically across the water in Northern Ireland, but also worth seeing, partly for its Titanic Belfast museum with nine, self-determined guided tours through different galleries.
Different senior citizen travel packages might include stops in plenty of other fine destinations within the UK.
Senior travel to foreign countries isn’t just about going to museums, eating good food or breezing through picturesque cities and towns. World tours can also be about paying homage to important parts of global history, even if it’s a little bit of an emotional and physical journey to get there.
More than 75 years on from D-Day, which shifted the tides of World War II, the beaches where Allied troops made landfall to liberate Occupied Europe are a must-see for what remains from the invasion. Landing crafts still sit at places like Utah Beach. Up from the beaches, German defense perches have also been left as a reminder for history.
Aside from the military relics, there’s also Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer where the remains of 9,387 American troops are buried. Group travel tours are welcome to come and pay respects to these brave soldiers.
Senior travelers don’t just have to be limited to western Europe. It’s possible to book adventure travel as extravagant as an African safari, with a variety of group travel packages available within Tanzania alone.
Whether it’s journeying through Serengeti National Park or much more, travel tour companies help make it so that it’s never too late to visit Africa.
Japan can be another fine destination for senior travelers. Tours might include the wonders of Kyoto, which boasts 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Take in Mount Fuji or the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, which has 39.1 million people in its urban area and is the world’s largest city.
There are other nearby parts of Asia worth visiting, too. Hong Kong has fine shopping, many different cultures and, interestingly, superb outdoor hiking options within a short distance from the city center. Seoul, South Korea is, like Tokyo, another teeming metropolis with landmarks like Gyeongbokgung Palace and Seoul Olympic Stadium.
Domestic senior tours
Of course, a person need not travel the world over to enjoy a leisurely and relaxing tour. Here are five domestic senior travel excursions to consider:
Like some of Europe’s largest cities, America’s capital city brims with so many educational sites that a senior traveler might not know where to start. This is where a good tour company comes in.
Tour companies can help organize travel programs and itineraries and provide guided tours through the best places to see in the District of Columbia. While this is useful anywhere, it can come in especially handy in Washington, D.C. Someone on a tour might be able to hit a Smithsonian museum and Ford’s Theater in the morning and then still have time to make it in the afternoon to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, only 15 miles to the south in Virginia.
The right senior tour packages can help anyone enjoy the rich American history that Washington D.C. has to offer.
The Grand Canyon
Sometimes, pictures can’t do a site justice. The Grand Canyon, for example, is a place people can’t fully comprehend until they stand staring into the 1,902-square-mile-canyon.
Still, it’s not enough to just stay at the top of the Grand Canyon. The canyon has more than 400 miles of hiking trails that can either be walked on or ridden on guided animal tours like donkeys. There’s even a tiny hidden village inside the canyon, Supai, though special arrangements should be made ahead of time for anyone who wants to visit.
Tour companies that make it to the Grand Canyon might also make it to some other nearby amenities, everything from the red mountains of Sedona, Arizona to casinos and assorted nightlife entertainment of Las Vegas.
Yellowstone National Park
For anyone who wants to see wildlife, this is one of, if not the best places in the domestic United States to do it. More than 200 species of animals and 300 species of birds can be found within national parks like Yellowstone. Where else to see a wolf or bison trotting along a tour bus or a majestic bald eagle circling overhead?
Similar to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone is also reasonably close to some other things worth seeing. Grand Teton National Park is just minutes from the boundaries of the park in western Montana. Mount Rushmore and the site of Little Bighorn in Crow Agency, Montana are each within a day’s bus ride from Yellowstone and can ideally be part of the same senior travel packages.
Northern California wine country
Booking a tour to go through wine country is a wise move because a person doesn’t risk getting behind the wheel after having had too much to drink. For anyone who doesn’t imbibe, Northern California’s wine country also includes idyllic countrysides and cute small cities like Napa, Petaluma or Sonoma.
While the best time to book a trip to wine country through a tour company is generally thought to be spring or fall, this part of California stays generally temperate enough to be enjoyed year-round. Off-peak times might also be better for visiting wine country, as they can offer less crowds. Some tour companies might even offer lower prices.
America’s most famous waterfall can make another great destination for a senior tour and is near many other places worth visiting on the eastern seaboard. A tour to Niagara Falls might then go to New York City or west along the shores of Lake Erie to cities like Cleveland.
For anyone who doesn’t want to hop on a plane for an international tour or get on a bus for a tour within the United States, there’s another option: going through travel tour companies to take a cruise.
Here are six cruise destinations to consider for your next senior travel excursion:
Enjoy a cruise destination with many potential ports of call from the Bahamas to Barbados to the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s even possible to get cruises to Cuba these days, with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian among the cruise lines willing to venture to the once-forbidden nation from Miami.
Mexico has long been a popular destination for cruises, with its ports drawing more than 7.7 million visitors in 2022. This can also be a great way for seniors to see the country, which has gotten increasingly unsafe in recent years due to kidnappings and the drug trade. Elderly travel tours can help make it so that an elderly traveler can enjoy Mexico without having to worry.
While Alaska is fairly inaccessible in the winter, it makes an outstanding cruise destination in the summer. There’s ample wildlife in the southern part of the state, including the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Southern Alaska also receives 18 hours of daylight each day during the summer and can reach daytime highs of 60 degrees or more along the coast.
While it’s not the tropics, Alaska makes for a perfectly enjoyable summer cruise destination.
Similar to Alaska, Norway doesn’t make an ideal year-round place to cruise because of its harsh winters. But the fjords in this country are glorious to visit in the summer, with mild weather and enchanting outdoor beauty to take in. Senior group tours can help make it happen.
The Great Lakes region
Some fun cruises don’t require as much travel as the four destinations above. Enjoy cruising America’s iconic system of waterways, including Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Lake Erie.
It’s also getting easier for seasoned travelers to go on river cruises. While some river cruises are still prohibitively expensive, interesting destinations are emerging, such as the Mississippi River in the United States or the Saint Lawrence River in Canada.
Small ship cruises also allow people to see destinations that it might be difficult for a major cruise liner to traverse.
Prepare for your tour
Planning the perfect tour isn’t just a matter of choosing among exceptional tour companies or destinations. It’s also about having protection and support in place so that should anything happen on a tour, no one will need to worry. This is where Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) comes in.
We offer various advantages for our members beyond what ordinary travel insurance can cover. These advantages include:
*Spouses and dependent children when a family membership is purchased.