By Dimitra Lavrakas
Senior Voice Travel Correspondent 

Travel, education in one package from Road Scholar

Or tour from home with online options


November 1, 2023 | View PDF

Photo courtesy of Road Scholar

Pile onto a Swiss train with your fellow Road Scholars for a thrilling ride through the Alps.

John McCool just returned home to Anchorage from an 11-day whirlwind trip with Road Scholar. He believes he's done over 40 with them, and says travel is made easy because the itinerary is so well planned.

"You can't beat the prices, and it saves lots of time," McCool said. "No way could I have planned that-hotels, river trips, transportation."

Road Scholar, the name a play on the Rhodes Scholarship for college students from around the world to study at Oxford University in England, offers world-wide tours for seniors age 50 and older, although you can travel on a grandparents' trip with grandchildren. Its educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, a non-profit specializing in educational travel.

Anywhere you want to go, Road Scholar takes you there. Once arrived, you are in the able hands of a local who knows everything about their home territory.

"Everyone is a local who tells you everything about their land," McCool said.

His latest trip was "On the Road: The Oregon Coast, California Redwoods and Crater Lake," 11 days for $4,149, complete with hotels, meals and transportation.

The West Coast trip is outlined on Road Scholar's website: "From the jagged alpine terrain of the Cascade Mountains to mossy rainforests and wave-battered headlands, discover why the Northwest landscape is as awe-inspiring as it is unique. Learn alongside experts as you explore some of the world's grandest natural wonders. Marvel at a massive volcanic caldera at Crater Lake.

"Experience the thrills, excitement and breathtaking scenery of the Rogue River on an expert-led jet boat ride. Touch trees rooted when Caesar ruled Rome in the world's largest remaining stand of virgin redwoods. Explore ancient redwood forests, see the clear waters of America's deepest lake and learn about unique Northwest landscapes alongside experts."

The site also includes advice on the physical exertion of each offering. For this trip it states, "must be able to walk up to two miles a day. Be prepared for walking on uneven ground, unpaved trails or sandy beaches. There are steep stairs at some locations that will require you to be sure-footed. Elevations of 4,000 to 7,100 feet."

McCool's favorite countries are Austria and Switzerland.

"If you rent a car in Austria, the music on the radio goes from yodeling to Mozart to classical music to yodeling," McCool says.

He has fond memories of a lovely meal of wiener schnitzel in Austria, a nice salad, all by candlelight.

Questions answered

In these times, travel can be difficult due to weather and, recently, lack of pilots.

After you enroll, you'll receive a confirmation, basic information about your order, your rooming selection and payment information.

An information packet will arrive that includes an up-to-date daily schedule, contact information, travel directions, a packing list, a reading list-everything you'll need to prepare.

Emergency assistance and evacuation insurance is included with Road Scholar programs. It is recommended to update your vaccinations, especially if traveling abroad.

Online adventures

Can't travel any longer but still want to see the world? Road Scholar offers online courses of differing lengths.

Forty-five- to 60-minute lectures range from "Pacific Northwest First Nations Culture-Art & Ecology" to "Greek Gastronomy-A journey of Flavors, People and Landscapes." Cost is $25 per class!

Multiple days of lectures delves deeper into topics like "Advanced Digital Photography Techniques" and "Exploring Religions of the World," as well as travel destinations.

Go to

In 2023, free lectures in memory of August Ferretti, a Road Scholar enthusiast, are offered at

There is also a scholarship for online courses. Fill out an application at

Taking care of caretakers

Knowing that family caregivers need rest and recuperation from what can be full-time emotionally draining care of a loved one, Road Scholar offers a Caregiver Grant of $1,500 applied to programs available in the United States or Canada that cost no more than $2,000.

Photo courtesy of Road Scholar

Feel the passing of time while being dwarfed by a giant sequoia in California.

There's lots more on the website to explore from the comfort of your home. Go to


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