How are older Americans approaching travel in this almost-post-pandemic world? Well, almost 13,000 Americans over the age of 50 have attended Road Scholar’s educational programs since July, when the not-for-profit educational travel organization deemed it safe enough to resume operating with the requirement that all participants be fully vaccinated.
Grandparents on learning adventures with their grandchildren accounted for more than 750 of those enrollments. Additionally, 18% of Road Scholars traveled internationally, while 78% chose the U.S. as their learning destination.
“This was a summer for grandparents to reunite with their grandkids and embark on learning adventures across the U.S.,” said Road Scholar President James Moses. “These folks decided the time was right, they were fully vaccinated and they were ready to get back out in the world to learn and discover together.”
Road Scholar’s most popular learning adventures this year have been in Costa Rica, U.S. National Parks and U.S.-based outdoor learning experiences. The most popular Grandparent programs focused on physical and educational activities with their grandkids, including canoeing in the Ozarks and learning about sea turtles in Georgia.
“We all are settling into the reality of learning to live in a world with COVID. And, for Road Scholars, living means learning and traveling,” said Moses. “Especially in light of the new Delta variant, participants’ feedback has been consistent: they are grateful that we will only enroll people who have been fully vaccinated and that our on-site leaders must also be vaccinated. This is a policy Road Scholar established as soon as vaccines became available and to which we are fully committed.”
“Requiring vaccinations allayed my fears,” said Georgina Schuster, a first-time Road Scholar participant. “Knowing that everyone I sat on a bus with, sat across a table from and sat in a classroom with was vaccinated was reassuring.”
Road Scholar offers guidance to help participants follow COVID protocols in each of the 46 states, territories and provinces and the 34 countries where programs have resumed. The organization arranges for COVID testing in countries that require it and has only seen a handful of mild or asymptomatic breakthrough cases out of more than 10,000 participants.
Nancy Coolidge, a long-time Road Scholar instructor, shared that “as we resume our programs, I am struck by how patient and appreciative everyone is. There is a collective sense of gratitude to be back on the road again. Things that we used to take for granted seem very precious now after what we have all been through.”
More than 6,500 older adults are currently scheduled to travel with Road Scholar between October 15 and December 31, 2021. So far, more than 52,000 participants have enrolled in programs for 2022: 26,700 in North America programs, 16,900 in international and 4,500 in Road Scholar’s Adventures Afloat shipboard programs, which resumed in August 2021.
To explore Road Scholar’s 1,000+ program offerings, please visit www.roadscholar.org . To request a mailed catalog, please call (800) 454-5768.
About Road Scholar
Road Scholar is the nation’s largest not-for-profit educational travel organization for adults – a true university of the world. It offers thousands of programs in more than 100 countries and 50 states. Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, the world leader in educational travel since 1975. Learn more at press.roadscholar.org.
Kelsey Knoedler Perri