Elderhostel Programs

Elderhostel offers wonderful opportunities to the people aged over fifty five to work out their body and mind, through an excellent combination of education and activity. This is the world’s largest not-for-profit educational travel organization, meant for the adults. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, the Elderhostel programs include meetings, discussions, cultural programs, educational trips in more than 90 countries spread across the world. A wide variety of programs are offered by this organization and some of these programs require certain level of physical fitness. The participants in these activities are well informed about the physical demand required in a particular program well before the beginning of the schedule.

The main focus of majority of the Elderhostel programs is on education. The participants are however not burdened with test and evaluation. People from any kind of academic background can take part in the activities. Generally, the programs offered by this organization can last from one day to few weeks. Sometimes, special programs and tours are arranged by this organization, which otherwise could not have been arranged by the participants on their own.

Different types of offerings arranged by this organization include one day tour to different towns and cities in the United States, tours to the National Parks in the US for more than one day, tours for five to more days in different places across the globe, various outdoor activities and different adventure cruises. Apart from these, intergenerational programs are also offered by this organization. In these Elderhostel intergenerational programs, people can attend along with their grandchildren. Even some scholarships are also offered to the participants who otherwise would not have been able to attend the program on their own. Every year, nearly $300000 is awarded as scholarships to the participants.

Different Elderhostel Programs

Since 1975, Elderhostel is the leader in educational tours. It has been conducting tours in all the fifty states of the US and in ninety other countries of the world. Along with the renowned experts who have huge experience, the elderly people can enjoy the tours in different parts of the world. Some of the popular tours offerings of this organization are briefly described below.

San Francisco: A Signature City

This is mainly a cultural and fine arts tour in the signature city of San Francisco. It would indeed be an enjoyable experience to sink into the fine arts of the city at the de Young Museum or to explore the wonderful Japanese Tea Garden in the Golden Gate Park. The package includes tours to the celebrated San Francisco places such as the elegant Victorian homes, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge and the cable cars. The participants will be accompanied by James Dalessandro, a popular novelist and screen writer.

Las Vegas, Nevada, Crime Scene Forensics

Las Vegas is one of the rapidly growing cities in the United States. Alongside the rich natural beauty of this place, the city is well known for gambling and world class entertainment. Science, technology and cultural tour to this place can be a wonderful experience to the participants. The program offered by Elderhostel in Las Vegas is arranged in association with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The tools and techniques involved in crime-solving are displayed in this program. The forensic technology is used in different investigations including murder, fraud, accident, robbery, kidnapping and assault cases. This provides the attendants good chance to interact with different experts including scientists, forensic pathologists and ATF agents.

Land of Contrast: From Texas Through Northern Mexico’s Copper Canyon

This mainly involves train ride. The trip takes you through eighty six tunnels, more than thirty seven bridges and a journey to 8000 ft from the sea level and finally it takes you to the splendid Copper Canyon. This is indeed a stunning location in Mexico and contains an area of thousand square miles. It consists of a wide stretch of pine and oak forests and unique ecosystems. The Copper Canyon is the ideal native place of the Tarahumara Indians. The participants in the trip will be assisted by the regional experts who will help them understand and enjoy the volcanic activity that was instrumental behind the formation of the Sierra Madres, Davis Mountains and Copper Canyon systems. The participants will get the chance to explore ecosystems, varied landscapes and unique flora & fauna of enticing Chihuahuan Desert. The trip gives you good chance to drench in to the history and culture of this place.

Spectacular Newfoundland Coast to Coast, Canada

Traveling along the coast to coast to explore the true character of Newfoundland can indeed be an enriching experience to the participants of the Elderhostel program. It is a thirteen day program and includes visit to rare land formation of the world as well as get to know about four centuries old human settlement. Tour highlights are listed below.
-Explore surface of the earth at the Johnson Geo Centre
-Enjoy the Geological showcase of the earth
-Watch whales and puffins at Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. This is home to largest colony of Atlantic puffin in North America
- L’Anse aux Meadows is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The program also includes visit to this primitive Viking settlement

Boston to Montreal: A Cultural & Historical Journey

This is an adventure Elderhostel cruise tour. This provides the participants the chance to explore different sites such as New France and New England in your journey along the Atlantic and the St. Lawrence Seaway. It offers you the scope to explore different events, tour to different historically significant ports and to understand the economies and cultures of these places. It is a 13 day tour, carried out by the giant cruise MS Maasdam. This is a 720 ft long vessel and cruises at a speed of 22 knots and can accommodate 1200 passengers. There is a library and culinary arts institute in the vessel.

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

This provides great chance to explore the diverse plant and animal species in the Galapagos. This is a very tough Level 5 program. This includes flying to Quito, located atop the Andes Mountains. The attendants have to snorkel in strong currents, swim and walk along the uneven volcanic terrains. Sound health, fitness, agility and proper eyesight are required to participate in this program. Tours are conducted for the people in small group of sixteen people.

Levels of Elderhostel Programs

Each Elderhostel program is allotted an activity level, extending from the least challenging, Level 1, to the most challenging, Level 6.

Level 1

Requires you to handle your own luggage, carry a buffet tray and climb a few stairs.

Level 2

Besides fulfilling Level 1 criteria, this level requires you to remain standing for up to one hour and get on and off a motor coach without difficulty.

Level 3

In addition to the criteria stated for Levels 1 and 2, Level 3 necessitates that you must be able to climb a few flights of stairs and walk up to 2 miles on an uneven terrain.

Level 4

Besides the criteria stated above for Levels 1 to 3, this level requires you to be in good health, be "mobile" and physically fit for participating in 3 to 5 hours of physical activity every day. You must also be able to walk 3 to 5 miles at a 2.5 miles per hour pace over uneven surface.

Level 5

Besides fulfilling Levels 1 to 4 criteria, Level 5 requires you to be in excellent health, very mobile and accustomed to an active lifestyle. Program activities may require up to 6 hours of arduous, moderate to fast-paced activities every day, which are equivalent to hiking 6 miles at a 3miles per hour pace over various terrains.

Level 6

Besides the requirements for all levels below this, Level 6, which is the highest level, demands that you have a high level of physical fitness coupled with basic levels of proficiency in the program activities. You should be able to meet "full" days of fast-paced, exhausting physical challenges.