Cindy and Jim Horner, residents of Sterling, Colorado, have made it a priority to expose their grandchildren to international travel. In 2022, they embarked on an African safari with their two grandsons, and this summer, they ventured to Iceland with their two granddaughters.
The Horners firmly believe that traveling with their grandchildren is an invaluable opportunity for them to experience diverse cultures and discover different parts of the world. According to Cindy Horner, “We have chosen to take our grandchildren on international trips to expose them to different geographical settings, cultures, and standards of living. It is our hope that they return with a broadened understanding of the world.”
To facilitate these enriching adventures, the Horners turned to Road Scholar, the largest not-for-profit educational travel organization for adults in the United States. Road Scholar, a division of Elderhostel, has been a pioneer in educational travel since 1975, offering thousands of programs in nearly 100 countries and 50 states.
Since 1985, Road Scholar has specifically designed programs catered to grandparents and their grandkids. These programs are tailored to different age ranges, ensuring that the activities align with the interests and abilities of the children.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought travel to a standstill, Road Scholar has witnessed a resurgence in demand. As travel restrictions ease, more and more people are dusting off their passports. However, it is important to note that travelers should be prepared for higher costs and potential flight delays.
Road Scholar acknowledges that their international Grandparent Programs have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, even though they currently have limited availability due to the rebuilding process. In contrast, domestic grandparent enrollments for 2023 are still at approximately half of what they were before the pandemic.
Traveling the world with grandchildren not only creates lasting memories but also fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation for other cultures. With organizations like Road Scholar, grandparents can embark on educational adventures that cater to the interests and abilities of their grandkids, ensuring a truly enriching experience.
Road Scholar Expands International Programs for 2024
“The appetite for global exploration is stronger than ever,” said Road Scholar’s chief program officer, Maeve Hartney. “Our participants have shown us that they’re really ready to get out there and explore the world again this year, and their grandkids are just as eager to travel abroad with them.”
Challenges in Summer Travel Season
This summer’s travel season has faced its fair share of difficulties, including flight cancellations and delays, heavy travel numbers, and a shortage of air-traffic controllers. According to the U.S. Travel Association, air travel demand in May was up 10% from the same period last year, but overseas arrivals remained 26% below 2019 levels.
Read: ‘The system is going to be stretched.’ Travel experts fear long waits, flight delays, and cancellations are in the cards this summer.
Expansion of International Programs
Road Scholar is looking to expand its international programs for 2024. Two-thirds of the new grandparent and family programs slated for next year will be international. The new adventure destinations for this year included Australia, Greece, Hawaii, and Idaho white-water rafting. In 2024, Road Scholar plans to add new trips to the Amalfi coast in Italy, Alaska, Germany, and Copenhagen, among others. Additionally, a grandparent and family program in Panama will soon be added.
Encouraging Big Adventures
Jean McMillan from Wayland, N.Y. has experienced the joy of Road Scholar trips with her grandchildren. While it was her grandkids who chose the international trips, McMillan encouraged them to dream big.
“I would have taken them on any of the trips,” McMillan said. “But I encouraged them to dream big so that there would be big adventures to be remembered that only we would share.”