Don't Travel Alone: Insight On Travel Clubs And Groups
Posted by Donna Mae Scheib on August 09, 2019
Don't Travel Alone: Insight On Travel Clubs And Groups
Retirement years are a time where many of us fulfill travel goals we have set earlier in life, and that’s why there are plenty of opportunities to join senior travel clubs. You can find these clubs at religious or secular organizations and senior activity centers, or start one of your own among your friends and family. Depending on what kind of trips you wish to take based on finances, health, and safety, you can choose a senior travel club that makes your travel dreams a reality with added social and financial advantages you can’t get traveling alone.
Travel groups have the benefit of introducing you to new people and spending time with old friends. This social contact can keep you happy and not lonely, as well as make it easier for you and the group to stay safe and healthy away from home. Established senior travel groups can also reduce your travel costs by selecting or partnering with lodging and transportation companies that offer reduced rates for seniors. They also provide learning tours, itineraries, and volunteering opportunities for you –although starting your own travel club can allow you to take initiative and seek out these opportunities yourself.
This article explains the different kinds of travel clubs and how to find or start one near you. Remember that pre-travel preparations include attending to your health and safety, protecting your home, keeping all your important documents in order, and finding at least one travel buddy if you need them. You should destinations based on how accommodating they are to these considerations, and travel clubs based on what kinds of destinations they offer. Also consider transportation, since airplanes and cars have considerably less legroom than trains, buses, or cruises and thus require more exercise in between. With that in mind, senior travel clubs still cover most any destination you may want to visit.
Kinds of travel groups
As mentioned, most travel clubs belong to a larger organization. A key difference between your prospective choices is that some emphasize international travel, some emphasize travel to National Parks and other famous national destinations, and some emphasize your home city’s destinations such as parks and museums –while still often belonging to an organization with branches elsewhere. Transportation may include planes, trains, and buses depending on the type of destination. These travel clubs you can access from senior activity centers or community ties will often charge a membership fee, involve sociable meetings, and offer educational tours of one kind or another. Travel clubs with local branches and national or international operations include:
- Kindred Tours (cruises and other trips in American Southwest and abroad)
- Singles Travel International (cruises, adventures, and tours domestically and internationally)
- Road Scholar Program (educational tours, cruises, train rides, adventures, and National Park visits internationally)
- Global Greeter Network (free walking tours in 200 cities)
- Sandemans New Europe (free walking tours in 20 world-famous cities)
- Elder Treks (adventure travel at various international destinations)
- ROW Adventures (kayaking, rafting, canoeing and walking tours internationally)
- Walking the World (hiking tours internationally)
Other, more specialized travel clubs exist. For instance, some travel clubs cater specifically to RV or train enthusiasts. Others are just for women, such as Women Traveling Together and Thelma & Louise. But one of the most popular niches is that of money-saving clubs. Vacations by Rail and Boondockers Welcome can help you save on transportation while the Evergreen Club and the Affordable Travel Club can help you save on lodging. Those are all for cross-country or international trips; AARP walking tours can educate you in your own city or others for free. You can also volunteer and/or donate on vacations with the American Hiking Society, Handsup Holidays, and Travel with a Challenge.
Making your own travel club involves gathering family and friends first, and their connections afterward. You can devote yourself to distinctly local travel, unlike most above options focusing on famous destinations. Cities and states offer trip planners, and you can expand your range after a few successful trips close enough to home. One thing to watch out for when looking for existing clubs is scams –which will fraudulently offer free transportation or lodging for a fee and pressure you into joining. You can and should avoid scams by researching any travel club’s reputation through secondary sources before you join. The next section of this article will explain other things to keep in mind during your search.
How to find travel groups
The prominent clubs linked above will often direct you to their local branches online, while those based in popular destinations may be accessible through another travel club’s trips to the destination. An online search of senior travel clubs in your city or state can introduce you to groups operating immediately near you, including truly local ones. If you want to find a local group concerned with local travel but can’t find one, that’s when it can be a good idea to make one yourself. You can just as easily find travel clubs by asking around at your local senior activity center, which may sponsor or organize them.
As mentioned, formal travel clubs often require some type of membership fee. Members typically pay annually and gain access to newsletters, sociable meetings, and other resources unavailable to non-members. Joining formal travel clubs may be contingent on exactly how far you want to go and what you want to see. However, they are more likely to be equipped for different challenge levels and health needs than when you travel alone or in an informal group. What you choose should depend on what meets your needs –happiness is a very important one.
Our golden years can be the perfect time to pursue travel goals we could not meet before due to financial or time constraints. With a travel club, you will not have to worry as much about loneliness, accidents or crime, or even the more time-consuming parts of selecting a destination. Whether you join an existing club or make one yourself, you will gain a valuable opportunity to be close to others while far from home.
Want more resources? Learn More >>
Want to stay updated with our blog posts and other resources? Sign up for monthly newsletter >>