Travel the Atlas
Peter Greenberg has compiled a roundup of some of the more interesting options for swingin’ senior singles, which run the gamut from safaris to small-ship cruises. ELDERTREKS If you want some adventure on the road, ElderTreks has been offering senior-oriented trips for almost two decades. With both land and sea vacations, ElderTreks features some pretty exotic destinations, including Mongolia, Ethiopia, and Antarctica. Most of the offerings tend toward the strenuous, but the Activity Level rank gives an idea of just how active a particular tour is. A Level 3 (most physical) voyage in Ethiopia, for example, could include climbing down the base of the Blue Nile Falls, a three-hour hike in Lalibela, and camping in the Omo Valley after some serious off-roading. ElderTreks are not for the faint of heart or the physically unfit, and can range from about a week to a month or more.
If you’re adventurous, and looking to meet someone else who is, too, consider joining up with ElderTreks. SINGLES ADVENTURE CRUISES While the “Adventure” moniker may be a bit misleading considering this company’s emphasis on large-ship cruising. Still, for seniors aged 55+, it could be a good way to meet others. Senior singles in need of a buddy or wingman might like the “Travel Mates” program, which can help to start friendships and meet up with a roommate to avoid a singles supplement charge. Do be careful when exploring Singles Adventure Cruises options, though — seniors should look for cruises specifically targeted to them.
Otherwise, you could end up on a cruise full of single, hard-partying twenty-somethings. Their garishly-designed website doesn’t help, but seniors should look for cruises targeted at the “55+.” They also offer “Ad-Lib Cruises” for folks who don’t like to be overscheduled with group activities. These cruises allow you to be on a ship with significant numbers of singles and participate in group activities when you desire, yet still give you the freedom to pursue your own schedule. GOLDEN TRAVEL GUIDES Golden Travel Guides isn’t actually referring to the “golden years”; the company was started in 1997 by Rick Golden. But they do have plenty of options for senior travel, providing seniors with a search engine for exploring options on their own over the Internet. Alternately, they offer a toll-free number to allow you to speak with an actual “travel specialist” to help make your plans. Not all of their trips are singles-oriented; however, a significant percentage of their travelers on nearly every trip are, in fact, single. ELDERHOSTEL With more than 8,000 all-inclusive trips in all 50 states and more than 90 foreign countries, Elderhostel has a global reach. But a couple of things make Elderhostel a bit different from other senior-focused tour companies.
First, as a non-profit, Elderhostel is dedicated not to making money, but to providing meaningful experiences that help and educate both travelers and their hosts. Second, Elderhostel maintains a strong commitment to community service with many of its tours. For example, seniors learn about habitat restoration and biological research by helping scientists study endangered Giant Otters and Hyacinth Macaws in Brazil’s Pantanal. Finally, Elderhostel is committed to education as a goal for travel, with many of their trips having significant cultural components to show seniors a more meaningful side to the country than they might otherwise see. Elderhostel also offers inter-generational trips, for grandparents looking for service-oriented vacations for the whole family. ALUMNI CLUBS One final idea for senior singles vacations…trips for college alumni. Many university alumni clubs will sponsor trips that can re-connect seniors to long-lost classmates and spark new relationships. The added bonus of these trips, aside from the fact that all the participants will have at least their college in common, is that it will often help the ol’ alma mater, too. Contact your former college for more information on joining an alumni club.
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