Benefits of Road Scholar, Formerly Elderhostel Travel Tours

Senior couple hiking

For seniors interested in Elderhostel Travel Tours, it is important to note that Elderhostel, Inc. has changed their program name to Road Scholar. While the program name has changed, many people continue to refer to the traditional name of the organization: Elderhostel, Inc. Now that you know about the name change, check out what Road Scholar trips have to offer you.

What Is Road Scholar?

Whether seniors call the program Elderhostel Travel Tours or the Road Scholar program, the agenda is designed for seniors who enjoy traveling combined with learning. This popular program is a great way to meet people and learn about the world. For travelers who are single or married, the travel tours provide a warm, inclusive atmosphere. For single travelers who prefer to share a room, Road Scholar offers to arrange a roommate, but for guests who would rather have a single room, that choice is available as well.

The Mission

Road Scholar's goal is to promote lifelong learning for people in the senior community, which makes them stand out as an educational travel provider. Their approach is different from commercial tours. Road Scholar is well connected with experts, local insiders and other educators willing to enrich the tour experience with an interesting history and background not often shared with tourists on most commercial tours.

The History

The travel tours started in 1975 with two longtime friends Marty Knowlton and David Bianco and 220 pioneer participants. In the 80s, the organization moved their trips across the ocean to Great Britain and Scandinavia. In the 1990s, ship and boat trips were added to the learning. The 2000s brought new growth for the company with tours to more than 100 countries and a name change in 2010 to appeal to newer audiences.

Benefits of Road Scholar Tours

Aside from the experience of meeting new people while touring, travelers enjoy a number of benefits. When you travel with Road Scholar Tours, benefits include:

  • Tours that are all-inclusive. Gratuities for field trips, accommodations and meals are included in the initial price paid.
  • Experts conduct field trips and lectures during the trips.
  • Travelers save money through Road Scholar's special airline rates, which are offered through their International Program. If these services are used and a guest has to cancel or change their plans, in most cases, a full refund is granted.
  • Road Scholar is able to offer flexible scheduling.

Additionally, for those who make travel arrangements through Road Scholar, 24-hour emergency services are provided to travelers to help with delays, canceled flights, and other unexpected changes. It is important to note that for those who make their own travel arrangements, when changes occur in flight schedules, the responsibility to make changes falls on the traveler.

Choosing a Tour

Road Scholar makes choosing the right tour easy.


They offer trips to more than 100 different locations including:

  • The Americas
  • Africa
  • Antarctica
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • South Pacific
  • USA


Interests represented among the tours offered are varied and provide something for everyone. Here are several of the main topics represented:

  • Adventure Afloat study cruise
    Vintner discussing wine
  • American studies and history
  • Arts and photography
  • Bicycling
  • Birding
  • Canadian studies and history
  • Cooking and cuisine
  • Country studies
  • Crafts
  • Cultural and fine arts
  • Food and wine
  • Golf
  • Health and fitness
  • Holidays, festivals and events
  • Homes and gardens
  • Language studies
  • Performing arts
  • National parks
  • Natural history
  • Nature
  • Ocean cruises
  • Small ship cruises
  • Philosophy and religion
  • Regional studies
  • Riverboats
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Tennis
  • Train trips
  • Walking/hiking
  • Winter sports

Activity Level

Activity Level

Another factor to help seniors choose the right tour for them is the activity level. Activity level one is the least active and level four the most active. Activity level one requires that guests be able to climb a few stairs and handle their luggage while activity level four travelers must be physically fit and able to keep up even when physically challenged. There are also outdoor activity levels that range from no sweat to challenging. Information about what is expected physically for any of the tours is available for each package.


Packages range based on the location, activity level and cost of the trip. Most packages range from about $1,500 to $10,000. Here are a few packages available in 2018 and 2019 to give you an idea.

  • In late 2018, you can travel to Spain, Italy, Malta, and Greece for 14 days. The trip costs about $4,000 and includes meals, three expert lectures, and 10 field trips. You'll explore the Greek theater, Generalife Gardens of Granada and the ruins in Segesta.
  • In mid-late 2019, you can visit Machu Picchu and Rapa Nui in South America for $4,700. These small group excursions last 15 days and have a moderate activity level. In addition to exploring with an expert instructor, you meet with locals to learn more about the history.
  • If you are looking for something more local, voyage along the Snake River in Oregon. Explore the world with experts from local fisheries and trace the journey of Lewis and Clark. For about $7,500, you can explore the countryside for 12 days hiking and biking.

Something for Everyone

Whether you prefer to study natural history, take a cruise on one of their shipboard programs, or pursue a personal interest, a travel tour is a great way to learn about art, history, and culture from local insiders and world-class experts. A free catalog is available through the Road Scholar website.

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Benefits of Road Scholar, Formerly Elderhostel Travel Tours