Elderhostel Tours

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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If you want to combine travel with cuisine, local flavor, and learning, it's worth taking a look at Elderhostel tours. They're as much adventure as anything else, but definitely focused on learning as your travel. My first impression was that the organization was the adult version of youth hostelling. It was also dead wrong. Don't mistake me: the International Youth Hostel Association is a wonderful institution. I am in fact a life member. But Elderhostel has a different focus.

For a start, it is not a membership group. It is instead an organized effort dedicated to providing opportunities for those who've accepted that they're not 17 or 25 any longer, but who still have energy and enthusiasm for international adventure. Elderhostel tours are open to anyone 55 or older. With more than 10,000 opportunities every year in 90 countries, they are a great option to consider, no question about it.

Elderhostel Tours: a Catalog Sampling

Whether you're interested in American Civil War battlefields, or the Great Silk Road from China through Central Asia, or the cuisine and wines of Portugal, chances are good that you'll find an Elderhostel program to suit. A two-week tour of the ancient civilizations of Peru includes hikes to the heights of Machu Picchu, an excursion to the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city of Cusco (once the capital of the Incas), and the ruins of the Trujillo empire, for example.

Perhaps bird watching and hiking the rainforests of Costa Rica appeals to you, maybe the art and theater of London do. Two weeks in either are sure to delight. Exploring Japanese culture, cuisine, and the cities of Matsue, Kyoto, and Kanazawa for three weeks is another characteristic direction. Programs in the United States and Canada are just as varied, from kayaking off the coast of Maine to absorbing jazz in New Orleans. Elderhostel tours are often booked well in advance, and for good reason. It's a great way to travel, whether as a single or with a few friends!

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