“I was a local, not a tourist,” said a retired school teacher who recently attended a six-week Road Scholar “Living and Learning” program in Paris. Today’s seniors travel to learn about cultures as well as for leisure, according to local travel agents who noted that inter-generational travel is increasing in popularity.
Local travel resources
Addie Lindstrom founded her travel business 35 years ago when she bought a house at 7545 N.E. Sandy Blvd. and created office space for Addie’s You and I Travel Service.
“I’ve traveled to every continent and country,” said Lindstrom, whose top travel rule is sensitivity to cultures and people. After surviving a serious auto accident in 1980, Lindstrom continued to travel, even though she was confined to a wheelchair for months.
“People are generally more sensitive to elderly and special needs clients,” said Lindstrom.
Lindstrom estimates that 75 percent of her clients are seniors over age 55, and they love cruises, especially to Europe. Last year, she booked more than 800 cruises for clients. “River cruising is more laid back, easy to get on and off the ship, and you get to see more of the country,” said Lindstrom.
Sherrie Anderson, a client of Addie’s Travel for 30 years, said that Lindstrom is down-to-earth and her follow-through is excellent.
“Addie booked a memorable trip on the Concorde for my sixtieth birthday to England’s Cotswold region,” said Anderson.
Lindstrom indicated what’s trending today are multi-generational families traveling together, whether on a cruise or “to Las Vegas which is a good get-away and the prices are right.” For more information: Visit addiesyouanditravel.com or call (503) 282-7545.
Oregon American Automobile Association
Debra Witt, sales consultant for worldwide travel with AAA in Portland, estimates that 80 percent of her customers are seniors, but she distinguishes them by different categories of travel: seniors who back-pack through Europe, mountain-climbers in Nepal, and those who require mobility assistance. The most requested travel among seniors is river cruising, “because it’s easy,” according to Witt. Cruise destinations have expanded beyond Europe to include Southeast Asian countries and Egypt.
“AAA offers so many options — you can mix and match travel destinations along the way,” said Witt. For more information: Visit aaa.com or call (503) 222-6772.
Traveling on a budget
For seniors who are on a budget and interested in taking more affordable day trips, Portland Parks and Recreation’s Senior Recreation program (for adults age 60 and above), offers about 30 trips quarterly. Summer trips include a riverboat cruise to see the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, a Magic Mile Chair Lift ride at Mt. Hood to see the Cascades, and a tour of the Queen of Angels Monastery in Mt. Angel, Oregon.
The catalog indicates which trips are wheelchair accessible, and participants who need special assistance are encouraged to call Senior Recreation. The fall catalog, expected the second week of August, is available on-line as well as at community centers and libraries. Registration begins on August 17, but due to the popularity of the trips offered, participants are limited to a maximum of three trips during the first week of registration. After the first week, participants can register for as many trips as they’d like. Participants can also apply for scholarships to defray costs. For more information: Visit portlandoregon.gov/parks/39833 or call (503) 823-4328 during office hours, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and noon.
For the past 20 years, The Salvation Army Rose Center, 211 N.E. 18th Ave., has been offering day trips for seniors. According to director Becky Bitah, offerings include a day trip to Mt. St. Helens via motor coach, and a Hillsboro Hops baseball game. “People love our trips; we try to accommodate the demand, even running our buses twice for close-in destinations, like theater trips,” said Bitah. Events, tours and programs are published monthly in “Seniors on the Move” newsletter which is available online; however participants need to call or stop by the Rose Center to sign up for trips. For more information: see salvationarmyportland.org/rosecenter or call (503) 239-1221.
Lifelong learning opportunities
“Road Scholar changed perceptions of learning and aging when it was founded 40 years ago,” said James Moses, President and CEO of the not-for-profit Road Scholar. Since 1975, Road Scholar has offered 5,500 educational adventures annually in 50 states and 150 countries, and more than five million people have enrolled in its programs. In 2014, approximately 2,000 Oregonians enrolled in
Road Scholar programs.
Four of the top ten destinations for Road Scholars include Cuba, with a focus on people and cultural aspects. National parks in the western states are also popular, in addition to one particular U.S. city: Chicago. Ireland’s coast, countryside and Dublin also made the top ten list. The CEO noted that Road Scholar’s inter-generational programs are increasing in popularity in the travel genre.
Road Scholar recently launched “Living and Learning” programs: six-week cultural and language immersion programs in Florence, Paris, Berlin and Provence. Participants stay in apartments and become fully immersed in the local lifestyle. Throughout the program, a local Road Scholar host supports and assists each participant in pursuing specific interests. For more information: Visit roadscholar.org or call (800) 459-5768.