Travel

Educational Trips Expand the Mind for Older Traveler

Retirees have a bevy of options to explore areas most tourists don't see.

Joe and Jo Ann Paszczyk, of Chicago, love unique travel adventures. Over the past decade, the couple have taken about 25 trips with educational organizations. “We have many interests—science, astronomy, history, nature,” says Joe, a former TV producer. Adds Jo Ann, a retired human resources manager: “These are not your normal souvenir shopping trips. You’re in small groups with curious people who like to learn.” In the past three years, they have gone on trips led by Chicago’s Field Museum to Madagascar, India and Tanzania. The expert guides “were always pointing out details that you would otherwise miss,” says Jo Ann.

Another good source of educational trips is alumni associations of universities and colleges. You don’t always need to be a graduate of the school to sign up. For example, in November 2019, Stanford University offers a two-week trip called “Unseen Japan,” led by a lecturer in international policy. At $9,695 per person plus airfare, the trip includes visits to temples in Kyoto, a tour of I.M. Pei’s Miho Museum and an overnight stay at an inn in the hot springs town of Matsuyama.

These trips can be expensive, so compare what’s offered before you sign up. For example, does the price cover most meals and drinks, tips for guides and drivers, special excursions, and medical, accident and evacuation insurance? Also, check to see if a professional tour manager will accompany the group to handle logistics and iron out any problems. Smithsonian Journeys always sends its own experts, Ledwin says.

Select a trip according to whether you seek an active adventure or a more leisurely pace, says Jo Ann Paszczyk. Most trips are rated by activity level. African safaris tend to be more sedentary because you sit in a vehicle all day, while other trips require a lot of uphill hiking. “We are clear on expectations,” says Au, of the Field Museum. “Our Mexico trip featured horseback riding and hiking uphill in altitudes over 10,000 feet. But our Greece trip was geared to anthropology and you are on a cruise ship with some walking during the day.”

Another benefit to traveling with a local institution is that it often creates a bond between travelers and the organization that extends beyond the trip. “We’ve made some new friends and become more part of the Field community,” says Joe Paszczyk. To him and his wife, that’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Most Popular

Planning to Sell Your Home in Retirement? Downsize Costs Along With Space
Budgeting

Planning to Sell Your Home in Retirement? Downsize Costs Along With Space

In this hot real estate market, consider the costs of buying and selling a house along with the expenses associated with your new digs.
November 13, 2020
What Biden Will Do: 24 Policy Plays to Expect From the Next Administration
Politics

What Biden Will Do: 24 Policy Plays to Expect From the Next Administration

The Kiplinger Letter forecasts President-Elect Joe Biden’s biggest priorities -- and the likelihood of progress on them.
November 19, 2020
The 13 Best Healthcare Stocks to Buy for 2021
Kiplinger's Investing Outlook

The 13 Best Healthcare Stocks to Buy for 2021

Most of the best healthcare stocks for 2021 will have some sort of ties to COVID, whether it's producing a vaccine or cure, or benefiting from the vir…
November 20, 2020

Recommended

Making Wise Choices During Open Enrollment
health insurance

Making Wise Choices During Open Enrollment

Contributing Editor Lisa Gerstner runs through the new variables of the 2020 open enrollment season. Also, hosts Sandy Block and David Muhlbaum talk a…
November 17, 2020
17 People You Should Tip for the Holidays
spending

17 People You Should Tip for the Holidays

The holiday season is prime time to give back. So who gets a holiday tip this year – and how much?
November 6, 2020
The Ways Pets Improve Our Retirement Well-Being
Empty Nesters

The Ways Pets Improve Our Retirement Well-Being

Getting pet-friendly when you leave the work world may give you a healthy boost.
October 14, 2020
9 Tips for Better Time Management in Retirement
retirement

9 Tips for Better Time Management in Retirement

These important time management techniques will help destress your life as you get busier -- yes, busier -- in your golden years.
October 14, 2020