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Exploring the World as a Senior

According to a recent analysis by Squaremouth, 2023 marks the first year since 2019 when older travelers ages 60 and up will account for the largest travel demographic. This signals a return to pre-pandemic travel trends when travelers aged 60-plus accounted for 46.32 percent of travelers. But in early 2020, all that travel came to a screeching halt.

Now that vaccines are readily available and the pandemic seems to have subsided, seniors are anxious to resume travel and start checking off those bucket list destinations and adventures that were put aside during COVID.

The pandemic brought about a new concept of revenge travel—the desire to increase one’s travel after not being able to do so for an extended time period.

“Seniors have eagerly returned to global travel over the past year and a half, “ said Maeve Hartney, Chief Program Officer at Road Scholar. “There’s definitely a desire to make up for lost time.”

Recent studies by the National Institute of Health delved into seniors’ motivation for travel. The studies revealed the pursuit of happiness, escape from daily life, nostalgia and lifelong learning are the primary motivation factors. The study also revealed that the tourism experience contributes to the well-being of older travelers.

As the nation’s largest not-for-profit educational travel organization for adults—a true university of the world—Road Scholar offers thousands of programs in more than 100 countries and 50 states. This year, Road Scholar is reporting an increase in enrollments for international programs and longer-stay experiences such as their six-week Living & Learning programs in Europe that give a taste of living abroad.

“International enrollments have been so strong that, for the first time in recorded Road Scholar history, we took more international enrollments in a single week than domestic,” said Hartney.

Road Scholar also offers private plane programs including a WWII private jet program. “For those interested in learning about WWII in the places where the history happened, there’s just really no other way to do it in one trip like this,” said Hartney.

The price tags for these exclusive adventures may seem high, but as a not-for-profit, Road Scholar’s offerings are much less than the cost of traveling to each location individually.

Locally, La Roche University offers a membership-based Adventures in Lifelong Learning program for those 50 plus who want to continue learning while expanding their social networks through shared intellectual experiences. Community and social events along with health and wellness classes are among the offerings within the program. But there’s also a travel component.

“We have day trips to local and regional locations,” said Jennifer Engel, Executive Director of the Center for Lifelong Learning at La Roche University. “Examples from this summer include a trip to the Flight 93 memorial and Ligonier and in July, a trip to the Carrie Furnace in Homestead.”

As a nod to seniors seeking educational value from travel, this fall, the organization will host its first study abroad trip.

“We are able to offer it because La Roche undergraduates, as part of their tuition, all get to attend a study abroad experience (7-14 days),” said Engel. “We’re working with our Assistant Director of Study Abroad and the vendors La Roche uses to offer educational trips. Our first one is to Italy.”

For seniors seeking educational experiences locally and abroad with like-minded travelers, Road Scholar and Adventures in Lifelong Learning provide curated trips and adventures to meet expectations.

For more information and trip schedules for Adventures in Lifelong Learning, visit

Learn more about Road Scholar’s round-the-world adventures at

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