Elderhostels: A New Adventure Awaits

by Bill Ness on May 19, 2008

If the term elder hostel brings to mind a bunch of gray-haired hippies wandering around Europe, sleeping in questionable accommodations and lugging a backpack, you are behind the times. Today’s elder hostels are well-planned, well-organized educational and cultural opportunities especially developed to appeal to the 55+ crowd enjoying active adult living.

There are thousands of choices for active adults available in hundreds of places. You might choose to visit Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, South America, or places you have always wanted to explore right here in the USA.

There are all kinds of educational tours that feature local and renowned experts where you can experience learning opportunities that often include in-depth lectures, field trips, and discussions with learned and experienced peers. Cultural tours can focus on music, theatre, or the arts. Study cruises are available so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds – being on a cruise and learning or experiencing something new at the same time. For the athletically inclined, there are walking, biking, hiking, and camping excursions.

Accommodations are very reasonable and are often in local hotels or college campuses. In many instances, most meals are included as well. You won’t have to worry about a thing: activities, lodging, meals and much more are all covered as a part of the packages. Active adult living has never been so easy.

If you are ready to learn new things, expand your horizons, meet new people and see new places, an elder hostel experience might be just what you’re looking for. Recent programs in the Chicago area sponsored by elderhostel.org include the following:

* The Life and Legacy of Abraham Lincoln
* 150 Years of Science Exploration and Education: Pioneers in Natural History
* The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The Times, the Issues, the Impacts
* Treasures of the Art Institute of Chicago
* Cahokia Mounds: A Prehistoric City and Indian Culture
* A Sampling of Chicago’s Cultural and Ethnic Diversity
* Origins of the Mississippi, Beat Your Feet in Mississippi Mud, and Mark Twain
and Huckleberry Finn
* Baseball Across Generations – Chicago
* The Southern Illinois Wine Trail and Tracing the Trail of Tears
* Holiday Sights and Sounds in the Windy City
* Pedal, Paddle and Partake
* Lake Michigan and Beyond: A Nautical Adventure
* Upper Mississippi: Historic towns, trails and tales
* The Ravinia Festival Experience featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Maybe a trip to the American Southwest would be more to your liking. While you’re there, perhaps you’d like to get those cerebral juices flowing and learn about crime scene investigations and forensic science.

Would you like to have an international experience here at home in the United States? Check out the program in New York that provides hostelers with the rare educational opportunity of meeting with ambassadors and discussing foreign policy issues.

If these adventures are not quite what you are looking for, perhaps a trip to explore Mayan ruins, Ancient Egypt, Tibet, or Kenya is right up your alley. No matter what kind of experience you are looking for, elderhostel.org is the best place to start. You can find a trip that goes wherever you want to go, does whatever you want to do, and you will always be with good company. Just be aware that with all the choices available, you may find yourself going back for more active adult living again and again.

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin Sutton July 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm

How can I recieve a catalog and restore membership after 10 years.


katherine rainville December 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Please send a catalogue. I am primarily interested in western and eastern europe


Marilyn S. Byrne February 25, 2014 at 8:18 am

Please send me a catalogue. thanks you

vera levett June 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I am an American but live in New Zealand and plan a holiday sometime in the next year and since my husband died I have to travel alone so finding some good places to stay will be very helpful.


Sally January 3, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Vera, I am a widow as well….have you ever traveled with this or any other group? Thanks, Sally

Donna Curry January 7, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Please send Elderhostel Catalogue.
Thank you.


Billie September 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I need a place to stay in north-central/north western Colorado while I search for seasonal employment for the winter. I am mature but haven’t reached retirement yet. Can any body help me out? I do housekeeping although I am educated and experienced in other fields. I have become nomadic with in the last year, but I am still quite responsibile! Would certainly consider working for room and board.
Thanks for any information


Daniel Kohn April 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Looking for information on ElderHostels in Australia and New Zealand. Particularly in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, and Christ Church in New Zealand. Four of us “elders”/retired Air Force, are planning a trip in October. Thank you for whatever help you can give us.



Ed and Sharon July 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm

We are headed across country from west to east on route #2. Leaving July 21st, 2011 and returning home middle of August. Looking for elderhostels in/on our path. If you are aware of elderhostels in the northern states ie. Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, as well as eastern states; Vermont, Rhode Island, Mass. Please contact us via email.
Thank You,


Toni Johnson August 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

How do i get a membership and get the mailer of activities?


Helen Padway September 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Would like to receive information abou teducational trips in the US – thanks, H.P.


Barbara S Carter September 6, 2011 at 11:21 pm

I would like to receive mailers and notices of Elderhostel activities and travel opportunities.


Peggy September 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Barbara, did you get the mailers and notices of Elderhostel activities and travel opportunities you requested?? If so, could you please send me the info. I am ready for a trip annually starting Febr.’13. I see where you posted in
‘ll so have you been anywhere and if so, I’d love to hear about it.


manley kiefer December 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I am interested in travel without using large airports and prefer traveling by ship, bus, train or other vehicles. I have traveled extensively for years, but at 85 and asthmatic I’m looking for economical travel and less hassle and especially at airports.
Some of my preferences are anywhere on or near the west coast of of the americas, both north and south.


Ruth January 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I would like more informaiton on joining and on trips/events.


Karen Cater January 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm

please send info on elderhostel trips coming up.


Elaine Gray January 21, 2014 at 1:18 am

I am interested in joining a tour to Tibet, Nepal or Turkey sometime this year. Do you have a catalogue you could send?


samantha.dahlstrom January 21, 2014 at 10:51 am

Elaine –
You can request a catalog for Road Scholar (formerly known as Elder Hostel) at https://www.roadscholar.org/n/account/catalogrequest.aspx.
Happy Traveling!

Lena Torslow Hansen April 14, 2012 at 6:11 am

I am interested in events in the Los Angeles area and possibly international trips. I do a lot of traveling on my own and would like to know what you have to offer. Do you have singles events ?


I am interested in studying French in France April 22, 2012 at 10:20 am

I am also interested in art and hisrtory also. I love train travel in Europe.My favorite city is always Paris,France.


Syl April 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I’m interested in receiving information – would like to see more of US


Paul Scollan May 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I’m retiring and interested in exploring possibilities of travel with my wife.


Toni July 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I’m interested in exploring possibilities of travel, primarily in the United States.


Lupita Lucio July 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Interested in travel in Colorado and canada alaska.thank you


Lupita Lucio July 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Interested in travel in states Alaska and Colorado and also travel in Canada. Thank you


Donald M. Nelson August 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm

hello, i am traveling to chicago, nashville washington D.C. pittsburgh, detroit, the first part of oct.2112. i would like information on elderhostel in those cities. i am single and 70 years old. thank you for your help. Don


Irene Weinberg October 1, 2012 at 12:16 am

I am interested in receiving info about events in NYC and also about traveling within the U.S.


Cynthia Cotton November 4, 2012 at 3:43 am

I want to receive emails about elderhostel In Europe, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland….thanks Cynthia


sam November 8, 2012 at 8:46 am

would like emails re: southwestern U.S. / Natl Parks / hiking, walking groups.


Elaine Berg December 3, 2012 at 1:12 am

I would like to go to Greece and Israel, with a group of seniors.


Elaine Berg December 3, 2012 at 1:14 am

I am willing to room share, stay in hostels, or a Kabutz


dolores January 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I am also willing to room share. I don’t have a particular destination in mind.
Almost anywhere sounds good.


marie mcdermott December 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

I would like to receive information about trips to Morocco, Vietnam, Thailand,Laos, Latin America, Africa.


Kaye Behrens January 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I am 75 and would like to see the Greek Isles and Turkey, also Croatia. I have been to Italy and always want to go back there. Could you please send me info also on river cruises in Europe.


dolores January 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm

This sounds good to me too!


Judy January 25, 2013 at 11:51 am

I have just looked at this site for the first time. I’m not yet up for any BIG trips, but would be interested in visiting Chattanooga, TN, which is almost in my backyard. I live in Knoxville, but I’m a relative newcomer and haven’t ventured very far. Do you sponsor local trips like this?


Sergei February 26, 2013 at 9:24 am

In Russian hostels, for instance in Friends hostel chain, http://en.friendsplace.ru there’s no age limit. But in some hostels in St.Petersburg you can stay until you are 40.


scott zebro April 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Hi…I am currently living in Oregon and am planning on eventually moving to Florida…I am 61 years old and would like some info about elderhostels in the Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County areas…I plan on being in Florida in early May 2013….thank you


Glo Pop April 18, 2013 at 9:31 am

I want to go to Niagara Falls with my husband or a group or both. I am in South Louisiana. Does anyone have experience with elderhostels in Canada or US?


Becky May 1, 2013 at 8:55 am

Please send information on US trips.


Marilyn Shapiro May 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Please send a catalog, thanks!


C. Anthony Fino May 18, 2013 at 10:08 am

need catalog. would like to visit New Orleans and Miss. river


Da Dennis June 18, 2013 at 6:27 am

Are there any elder hostels in Melbourne, australia. I will be there for a week and seek a place to stay.


Barb July 7, 2013 at 8:35 pm

How can I get a catalog?


Rita July 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

We are interested in learning more about educational / travel programs both in and

out of the US. TY


Sammy D July 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Elderhostel has changed their name to Road Scholar, and you can request an e-catalog and learn more at their website, http://www.roadscholar.org.


Shellee a griffin July 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Please send me a catalog Thank you so very much shellee


BJ July 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

Years ago a co-worker of mine said that she and her husband went on tours with Elderhostel. They learned much and made friends along the way. The light finally clicked on when I was surfing the internet, and I am sorry that I wasted so many years daydreaming, as we are now 66 and 76. I would appreciate receiving more information about the tours offered by Elderhostel (Road Scholar) and the costs involved.
Thank you for responding to my request.


Crystal Morabito July 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Interested in Truckee, Ca 96161 off of Rt 80. My son lives there. Where
is a Elder hostel near there?


Catherine Samuels October 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I would like information about Elder hostels in the U.S.
Thank you.


Rosie November 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

I would like information about Elder hostels in the U.S., Colorado and Europe.
Thank you.


Cheryl January 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I am new to travel and would like information on national parks and other trips to learn and enjoy.
Close to home in Tucson or in California would be best for budget reasons.


Patty February 15, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Please send me more information about Elderhostels. Thank you


Mr. Bill February 24, 2014 at 8:23 am

Please add me to you mailing list.


samantha.dahlstrom February 24, 2014 at 10:34 am

I have added you to the 55 Places mailing list, thanks!


chuck February 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm

we are planning a trip to Paris, Italy and more in europe probably in 2015.
We have already been to Italy twice and would like to see more. Can you send us more info please.
Thank you


samantha.dahlstrom February 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Chuck – you can get more information about Elder Hostel trips at roadscholar.org. Have fun touring Europe!


Marilyn S. Byrne February 25, 2014 at 8:19 am

Looking for possibilities in the USA and Europe


Bhabani Charan Das March 1, 2014 at 8:47 am

I and my spouse both are Indian Senior citizens aged 79 and 75 respectively and life members of Youth Hostels Association of India and interested to travel in Canada . It may be noted that we have toured some countries previously but not Canada and so have been longing to visit it. We happen to know that elderhostel.org has recently been formed to extend various scopes and advantages to the elderly people. Apart from Canada we are also interested in USA too but our limited financial capability will not be sufficient to cover USA at the same time. We want to know the relevant information, regulations,membership etc of the organisation believing that t;his organisation my be of immense help to meet our aspirations at the cheapest cost.


Stanley Polansky March 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I,m planning a trip to Yellowstone Natl Park. Are there any elderhostels in that area? Plese send a catalog for that area. Thank You.


samantha.dahlstrom March 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm

You can request information on Elderhostels, now known as Road Scholar, at roadscholar.org/n/account/catalogrequest.aspx.


Marvin Todd July 25, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Senior hostels in Central and SouthAmerica


terriz November 8, 2014 at 8:00 am

Going to Italy and getting a rental car – need a list of reasonable senior hostels in Campobasso, or a spot nearby as a base for visiting Pompeii, Pisa, etc, on to Assisi, Siena, Lanciano and Florence and Emilia Romagna and ending in Venice. We note that cars are not allowed in many places so rail connections are important. Is there a good location to do day trips to these 5 locations or we could break it up to 2 locations. We just want a clean room for 4 people with bath and meals. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


samantha.dahlstrom February 25, 2014 at 10:03 am

You can request a catalogue at RoadScholar.org.


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