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Vacations for Older Adults: Education, Adventure, Service -- How About All of the Above?

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IMAGE Ever dream of flying a plane? Cruising China's Yangtze River? How about going on an archaeological dig? Or helping a needy child as a foster grandparent? People over aged 55 are making dreams like these come true every day through programs offered through various travel organizations.

Getting an Education While on Vacation

Learning While Traveling

Elderhostel's Road Scholar programs cover a tremendous diversity of topics and locations. These programs are aimed at a variety of abilities. So whether you desire a lot of physical activity or need more down-time, you will be able to find an adventure that is right for you. Both the domestic and international programs delve into many aspects of culture, history, and nature, providing you with a rich experience. You will even be able to find budget-friendly programs to help you have an enriching vacation that will not break the bank.

Continuing Your Education

If you are an inquisitive person, you can fulfill your love of learning at universities that offer educational programs for seniors. The Osher Lifeling Learning Institute at the University of Nevada, for example, offers an outreach program where you can take courses in art, finance, music, religion, history, as well as many other subjects. Check out the colleges and universities in your area to find out if they too offer similar programs for older adults.

Finding Other Enriching Travel Experiences

Seniors are flocking to travel tours with learning opportunities sponsored by companies that cater to the needs of mature adults. Several travel agencies aim to provide high-quality programs in destinations around the world. For example, on one vacation you can participate in a lecture series while cruising along the Rhine and Danube Rivers, take a guided walking tour of Amsterdam with an expert, and attend a classical concert in Vienna. If you want to explore your spiritual side, you can take a faith-based trip to a holy place that inspires you.

Do you want to learn and grow by helping others? Retirement is the ideal time to perform volunteer activities that you may have neglected because you were working full-time and raising a family. Organizations like Senior Corps sponsor programs that enable participants to make a difference. You can become a foster grandparent, help other seniors with day-to-day living, or get involved with community projects.

For those of you who fear that retirement means a life of early bird specials and lounge chairs by the pool, think again! Life is too short to miss out on all the opportunities to enrich your life.

  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

    http://www.aarp.org

  • Senior Corps

    http://www.seniorcorps.gov

  • Seniors' Info

    http://www.seniorsinfo.ca

  • Service Canada

    http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca

  • Just for seniors. University of Las Vegas Division of Educational Outreach website. Available at: http://edoutreach.unlv.edu/seniors. Accessed November 14, 2013.

  • Senior corps. Corporation for National & Community Service website. Available at: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps. Accessed November 14, 2013.

  • Programs for whatever you love to do. Road Scholar website. Available at: http://www.roadscholar.org/about/what%5Fprogram.asp. Accessed November 14, 2013.