What Is the Best Travel Company for Seniors? These 9 Tour Companies Are Perfect for You

These tour companies for seniors go the extra mile with special offers and amenities on trips for travelers 50 and over.
Laughing senior couple relaxing near mountain bikes in remote rural field (Photo: Trafalgar Tours)
Photo: Trafalgar Tours

For many travelers, turning 50 is a sign you’re in your travel prime. By your sixth decade you’ve learned a lot about how to make the best use of vacation time, so it’s no accident that older and wiser travelers tend toward senior travel tours. Tours for seniors offer the chance to leave the driving to someone else, not sweat the details, and be freed up to really enjoy a destination. 

It’s a tour-industry truth that most guests skew older, and most tour companies do a good job meeting the needs of travelers in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. But there are a few tour companies for seniors that truly go above and beyond. And while age is just one of the many factors that defines your travel style, it’s still nice to know you’re traveling with a company that puts in the extra effort to make their trips for seniors really work for everyone on the tour. 

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Here are the travel tour companies for seniors that shine especially bright when it comes to the offerings, amenities and details that serve older travelers.

1. Road Scholar

senior travelers on a Road Scholar tour to Costa Rica, using binoculars to look at wildlife from a boat
Road Scholar has a strong educational focus and attracts older travelers and multi-generational families (Photo: Road Scholar)

The tour company Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) is a great fit for curiosity-driven lifelong learners over 50. Its strong educational focus (it attracts a lot of retired educators) fuels its tours to more than 100 countries. Most Road Scholar guests fall in the 50s to 90s range, with an average traveler age of 72. 

As you’re browsing tours, you’ll see a big “activity level” bar that shows how physically demanding an itinerary is. On the least physically demanding side are “Easy Going” trips that maximize learning but minimize walking and stairs. The most physically active trips can include public transit, lots of walking, and uneven surfaces. There are also some “Choose Your Pace” trips where you can opt in or out of the more physically rigorous activities. 

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Road Scholar is a great choice for grandparents looking to travel with grandkids on a “skip-gen vacations” (grandparent-grandchild vacations that “skip” the generation in-between). Its Grandparent Programs are designed for grandparents traveling with grandchildren, and include tours of Yellowstone, Paris, and the Galapagos. And if your adult kids don’t want to be left out of the fun, include them too on a “three generation” tour. 

More details about Road Scholar:

  • Average group size: Regular tour groups range from 13 to 24 guests; micro group trips are 12 people or fewer
  • Popular with: Lifelong learners over the age of 50

2. Globus

two women on a safari vehicle toasting with sparkling wine at dusk on a Globus tour
Globus tours take senior tour guests around the world, including on safaris in Africa (Photo: Globus)

With nearly a century of experience under its belt, Globus has the wisdom of age. It’s a trusted guided tour specialist that ranks among the best travel tour companies for seniors by understanding that a one-size-fits-all tour doesn’t work for everyone. And by offering both a wide range of tours and the ability to customize your experiences, Globus ups the chance travelers can find the tour that’s a just-right fit. 

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Globus does this by offering a range of tour types, many of them ideal for senior travel groups. There are itineraries that focus on those can’t-miss tourist attractions for first-time visitors, Undiscovered tours with more off-the-beaten-path attractions and experiences, and Choice Touring itineraries that provide guests with a selection of activity choices at destinations. Globus’ sister brand, Avalon Waterways, is another option to consider, since its small ship river cruises feel a bit like a tour where you only have to unpack once.

More details about Globus:

  • Average group size: Coach tours average 36 people while small-group tours have around 24 people
  • Popular with: Older adults seeking a wide variety of experience options

3. Intrepid Travel

senior citizen and guide walking on a trail in Costa Rica on an Intrepid Premium Tour
Active seniors can find walking, trekking, and cycling tours from Intrepid 
(Photo: Intrepid Travel – Matt Turk and Phoebe Lee (Little Grey Box)

With its active-tour focus, it would be easy to mistake Intrepid Travel for a tour company geared only toward younger people. But the company’s North America Managing Director Matt Berna says the company is committed to being age-inclusive: “Life is an adventure at any age and it’s highly likely you’ll find people of similar age and interest sharing—and enjoying—the trip right alongside you.”

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In fact, Intrepid reports that its senior travelers (people who fall into the 50+ age category) are among the most interested in travel experiences like walking and trekking tours, cycling trips, and multi-activity adventures in national parks and other areas of great natural beauty. 

And while these are definitely trips where you need to be in pretty good shape (Berna recommends “a general level of health and fitness”), Intrepid works hard to create itineraries that are about enjoyment over endurance. 

More details about Intrepid Travel:

  • Average group size: Most trips average about 10 people
  • Popular with: Active travelers of any age looking for interesting trips

4. Trafalgar

An older couple laughing while on a break from hiking
Trafalgar offers tours around the world, including to national parks (Photo: Trafalgar)

Trafalgar isn’t just one of the tour industry’s largest and most trusted brands, it’s also an expert in travel tours for seniors, with well over half of its guests falling in that 50-to-71-year-old sweet spot for travel. 

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Trafalgar works with its travel directors and local specialists to create tours with a mix of novelty and comfort. You’re likely to see both famous sights and have unique experiences you couldn’t recreate on your own on a Trafalgar tour. 

And while it’s not only senior travelers who want to stay well on vacation, travel health is a big concern for older adventurers. Recognizing that, Trafalgar has the tour industry’s first Wellbeing Directors, who focus on making sure all Trafalgar’s partners are following proper health protocols and overseeing all health-related questions from guests. 

More details about Trafalgar:

  • Average group size: Classic coach tours average 40 to 50 guests, while small-group tours are generally in the 22-29 range.
  • Popular with: Senior travelers looking for a mix of familiarity and novelty

5. Smithsonian Journeys

Smithsonian Journeys Antarctica guests
Smithsonian’s trips cater to active seniors as well as those who prefer to stay in one place for longer (Photo: Smithsonian Journeys)

Tour operator Smithsonian Journeys gives seniors the perfect way to go deep on a destination. might be the perfect fit. Travelers of all ages like the company’s Classic Land Journeys that mix iconic and less-known attractions and its Active Journeys that focus on adventurous itineraries in nature. But for seniors who have the time to slow down and settle in to soak up local life, there’s no beating Smithsonian Journeys’ Living In programs. 

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These three-week stays in Europe (Florence, Italy; France’s Provence region, and Andalusia in Spain) give travelers the chance to live like locals, but also build in tour perks like planning experts, tour directors, and organized learning opportunities. And in keeping with the mission of the company, education is at the heart of everything, which gives travelers the opportunity to not just experience the world but to also understand it more deeply.

More details about Smithsonian Journeys:

  • Average group size: Most land-based tours with Smithsonian Journeys have between 12 and 24 guests
  • Popular with: Curious travelers (mostly between the ages of 45 and 80) who want to learn more about the world

6. Adventures by Disney

Adventures by Disney Egypt vacation and Sphinx of Giza. (Photo: Kent Phillips, Adventures by Disney)
Adventures by Disney is a great choice for grandparents looking for adventures with adult kids and grandkids (Photo: Kent Phillips)

Though it has adult-only departures that welcome seniors, the real magic of Adventures by Disney is how perfect it is for multi-generational vacations. These upscale-leaning tours to destinations around the world create experiences that hit on different levels simultaneously, which means that kids, parents, and grandparents can all share special vacation moments without one generation feeling like they’re just playing along. 

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Before my first Adventures by Disney tour, I was worried that the Disney part would eclipse the destination focus. But it turns out that the main Disney element on the tours is the incredible storytelling, the true stories of a place’s history and culture. 

Older travelers will appreciate the luxury hotels, the comfortable transportation options, and the Tour Leaders who work hard to meet the needs of each individual traveler. Built into each tour is the chance for the adults and the kids to enjoy different activities sometimes. For instance, on a Peru tour I was on, adults had dinner on their own while kids enjoyed dinner and a movie with the Tour Leaders. 

More details about Adventures by Disney:

  • Average guided tour group size: 35 to 44 guests
  • Popular with: Multi-generational groups

7. Backroads

Participants on a Backroads tour, a company that has tours for older travelers
Backroads specializes in active vacations, and knows that athletic pursuits are lifelong passions for many (Photo: Jaysen Niedermeyer/Backroads)

Building and maintaining muscle is an important part of aging well, and there are plenty of travelers who are stronger than ever (even if there are a few more aches and pains) in their 50s and 60s. So it makes perfect sense that guided tour specialist Backroads—which specializes in cycling, hiking, and multi-sport vacations—knows that a love of athletic pursuits is a lifelong passion for many. The active tour company has trips that range from active to easygoing, with a lot of flexibility built in to make them especially appropriate as senior travel tours.

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Backroads even has options for couples or traveling companions in which one partner is sportier than the other. On many of its cycling tours, the company includes an e-bike option so that groups with mixed abilities can ride together. Most departures include two support vehicles, so guests can bike as much or as little as they want each day. Backroads’ Dolce Tempo trips are also geared to be more easygoing tours for seniors, but still offer plenty of fun and adventure along the way.

More details about Backroads:

  • Average group size: Hiking and walking trips tend to average 16 guests
  • Popular with: Active travelers looking to see the world beyond the confines of a coach 

8. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.)

Senior travelers on the Iberian Voyage tour with with Overseas Adventure Travel
O.A.T.’s tours cater primarily to travelers 50 and over and offers a variety of tour groups for seniors (Photo: Overseas Adventure Travel)

True to its name, Overseas Adventure Travel (often just called O.A.T.), supports older adventurers. Focused mostly on travelers 50 and older, the company has a variety of trip types, but two things in particular make it particularly great for senior travelers. The first is that it recognizes that retired travelers tend to have the flexibility for longer trips, so many of O.A.T’s adventures are two weeks or longer. A number of them also include optional pre-trip and post-trip extensions to extend trips even longer.

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The second standout feature is the way O.A.T. caters to solo travelers, who can take advantage of the company’s free and heavily discounted single supplements on trips. Most spots for solo travelers on O.A.T.’s tours are offered without a single supplement fee. Bonus: O.A.T.’s Activity Level rating system makes it easier to understand the demands of a trip and match energy level and accessibility needs with specific itineraries.  

More details about Overseas Adventure Travel:

  • Average group size: Small-group tours average about 13 people
  • Popular with: Curious lifelong learners, many of whom are 50 or older

9. Odysseys Unlimited

Odysseys Unlimited has a great reputation for tours that cater to the needs of senior travelers, but that’s only part of the reason the tour operator is on this list. I like this small-group tour operator because it’s the go-to partner for more than 100 alumni associations and other organizations that offer tours to members. If you get alumni association tour brochures from your alma mater, you may already know the brand. But what you may not know is that you don’t have to go through an alumni group; you can also book with the company directly. 

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The company’s small-group focus keeps tour group sizes down to 12 to 24 guests, which the company says allows groups to be flexible, efficient, and spontaneous. It builds in time for independent exploration, which can be particularly appealing to tour guests who are used to traveling independently.

Most Odysseys Unlimited tour travelers are between the ages of 50 and 80, and guests must be able to get on and off buses and be up for a fair amount of walking (including uphill or on uneven terrain). 

More details about Odysseys Unlimited:

  • Average guided tour group size: 12 to 24 people
  • Popular with: Alumni association members and active older travelers

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Christine Sarkis
A traveling parent and longtime travel writer and editor, Christine Sarkis is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of FamilyVacationist. She is the former Executive Editor for TripAdvisor travel magazine SmarterTravel.com, she has spent nearly two decades finding and sharing the best places to go with an audience of enthusiastic travelers. Her stories have appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her expert advice has been quoted in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, Here & Now, Life Kit, and California Now. Her stories have been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008, and she is working on a travel memoir. Christine and her husband first met in Paris, and travel remains a big part of their shared experience. With their two kids in tow, they have piloted a barge down canals in France, befriended llamas in Peru, tended olive trees in Italy, and gone snorkeling with sea turtles in Hawaii. The family lives in California and loves traveling around the state. Their California favorites include Yosemite National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.