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Over 50 and Traveling Solo? Road Scholar Now Has All-Inclusive Trips Just for You

For decades, Road Scholar has been formulating high-quality guided tours of the world’s most popular destinations, but through a senior lens. Its all-inclusive group tours, which take as many as 100,000 people a year on vacation, are intentionally geared to the interests and demands of travelers over a certain age. In the past, the minimum target age for customers was 60, but now, it’s just 50 years old. 

Road Scholar itself will turn 50 in 2025. When it dropped its old name, Elderhostel, a decade ago, our founder Arthur Frommer took the opportunity to explain the tenor of Road Scholar’s tour offerings to travelers who weren’t familiar with the company.

“The goal of every Road Scholar program is—and remains—learning,” Arthur wrote on Frommer’s in 2014. “Every program is under supervision by a person of special experience with the city, country, region (or culture) being visited:  either an academic scholar, an author, a local community leader, or a person with profound ties to the area.”

The quality of its accommodations was also praised by Arthur. “Road Scholar’s clientele almost always demands to be placed in comfortable hotels, but not in pretentious ones of a five-star rating; the audience is cost-conscious, and prefers moderately priced hotels of comfort and charm…While Road Scholar’s prices are never rock-bottom, they are never in the stratosphere either.”

None of that has changed—but the way we travel has.

When Arthur wrote that praise, solo travelers weren’t particularly welcomed by the mainstream travel industry. Road Scholar, embracing of the season of life that its target audience finds itself in, has always taken pains to provide places for solo travelers among its standard group tours, even going as far as giving them the option of private rooms or of pairing them in rooms with fellow soloists to cut costs. But even in those situations, the travelers who were on their own would often still be a minority among many couples. Independent travelers could still join regular Road Scholar tours, and many do, but the social activities of the tour weren’t truly geared to them.

Road Scholar is changing that not by changing its core product, but by adding departure dates that are decidedly designed for solo travelers. Travelers who buy them will still travel in a group, as with all Road Scholar offerings, but the accommodations and pricing will all be devised with solo travelers in mind.

“Road Scholar’s program designers have hand-selected dates of some of their most popular itineraries for their pilot,” the company said in an announcement. “Each participant who enrolls in a solos-only program will get their own private room but can join the group knowing they’ll be among other solo travelers.”

Unlike for the company’s main trips, solo travelers who book the new all-solo tours will only be assigned private hotel rooms; they will not have the option of being paired with a roommate by the company on these solo trips.

Not all of Road Scholar’s tours and departure dates will be for soloists. To find the trips that are available, go to the company’s website, and under “Find a Trip” on the top search bar, click “Group Size & Type” and scroll down to select “Solo Only.”  On the resulting page, click the name of the tour you’re interested in, and then, in the dark blue bar, click “Dates & Prices” to see which departure dates are being organized as solo-only. Keep in mind that Road Scholar tours do not include airfare, but they do include hotels, tours, enrichment activities, nearly all meals, guides, and tips.

Note that the company doesn’t say these tours are for single travelers—that word implies that everyone on them will be romantically available. Although the 100%-solo composition of these tours will certainly provide the opportunity to find a soulmate on a vacation, these tours are not being marketed for romantic matchmaking, but as an opportunity for people who travel alone to avoid feeling like a fifth wheel to their fellow travelers.

More Americans are entering their senior years and living healthier, longer lives than ever. At the same time, cultural discomfort with traveling alone has been melting away, and more people of a certain age are willing to strike out on solo trips in 2024  than they might have been even 20 years ago.

If you are a traveler with life experience but have had trepidation about going on vacation alone, your traveling days need not be over. These escorted tours might just be what you were waiting for.

Publisher’s note: Frommer Media has no affiliation with Road Scholar or any other tour company. Nor do we receive any form of compensation if you book a tour with them, or with any other tour company.