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Elderhostels: A New Adventure Awaits

by Bill Ness on 90 Comments

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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.

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    1. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.


    1. I am interested in the same information – AUS and NZ ElderHostels…….in AUS at Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns.

  3. 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,

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

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

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

  6. 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

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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

  11. 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?

  12. Hello,
    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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

  18. 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

  19. I would like to stay 2wks to a month in Florence, learning the art history & taking other art classes taught in English while staying with other seniors.
    I do not speak the language.

  20. I am looking for travelling by ferry up the inside passage in Alaska in a cabin.I am willing to share a cabin.I will be in vancouver next jul,y ,2016. Thanks for advice. I live in Australia. Hilary

  21. Please send me info on ElderHostels in Australia: Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns……..NZ – Auckland. Thank you very much

  22. Seeking employment as a traveling caregiver companion.
    I am 75 years old in excellant health
    Been a caregiver professionally for over six years
    Would like to travel in united states mainly

    1. Hi Dee,

      We do not run any elderhostels, but we recommend checking out Roadscholar.org.

      Patrick – 55places.com

    1. Hi Gail,

      One of our expert partner agents will be reaching out shortly.

      Patrick – 55places.com

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