Guest Author - Jim Fortune
Have you heard about Exploritas? No? What if I asked you if you had heard about Elderhostel? Elderhostel is now called Exploritas. Elderhostel was founded as an organization primarily for seniors. My mother started going on trips with Elderhostel when she turned 60. The group was started in 1975 and the minimum age for membership was 60. Being a member was a rite of passage for the older set. But now, that has all changed.
The focus of Exploritas has always been: Explore your mind and discover the world through authentic and thought-provoking adventures in learning. Now I ask, does that sound like the focus is limited to people over 60? Hardly. As a matter of fact, it could sound like the mantra of many twenty or thirty somethings that I know.
The focus of Exploritas will remain the same but the age of membership has changed. As James Moss explains it on the Exploritas web site, A few thoughts on our age policy, Initially the age of membership was age 60, but as time went on, the age of membership dropped to 55, but the decreased age in membership had little to do with the average age of the tour members. The group has always encouraged members to bring a younger spouse or even adult children with them.
These last few years more and more people are enjoying time with their adult children and the membership decided that a change was needed to allow people of all ages over 21 to enjoy the benefits of membership.
I am excited about Exploritas, not because I am in my fifties, but because the group has lot of fun trips that I can take overseas. Since these are group tours the prices tend to be prices you would expect with a group; lower and all inclusive. By all inclusive I mean hotels, meals, transfer fees, tips, transportation - just about everything but the alcohol you consume and some souvenirs for the folks back home.
One of the more popular trips is a 15 day trip that is an "Immersion in Spanish Language and Mexican Culture". You meet your tour in Mexico City and spend the night there. The next day you travel to Cuernavaca for 13 nights and return to Mexico City for a one night stay before heading home. Lodging in Mexico is in a four star hotel. The trip includes all hotel expenses, 44 meals - 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 15 dinners. Here is a quote taken right from the Highlights section of the trip from the Exploritas web site, "Activities include visits to the Palace of Cortes, lush gardens, colonial haciendas, pre-Columbian ruins, and private homes, plus a cooking class, tequila tasting, folkloric music and dance, and two fiestas." In Cuernavaca, you will be staying at a family owned establishment built on two levels that surrounds a large swimming pool. Plus you will be taking language classes in Spanish so you will get to take back some of the spoken culture you learn about, back to the States with you.
The price is only $2926 if you take the Janaury - February trip and $2799 if you leave in August. Airfare is additional and air arrangements can be handled by the Exploritas staff when you book your trip.
There are 8 trips for under $600. There are Last Minute trips, trips for Grandparent Travel, and Women Only.
There are lots of trips and lots of prices. You don't have to leave the country if you don't want to and for some lucky people, you don't even have to leave your home state. The web site is worth checking out and I hope you do; Exploritas - Adventures in Lifelong Learning
Despite the economy I hope you are travelling and enjoying yourself. Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy