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Five more good-value senior tour operators

SmarterTravel

The last time we looked at senior-friendly tour operators, we revealed our top five choices. Now we’re shining the spotlight on five more companies that deserve consideration when planning your next escorted vacation. Our choices include two companies that focus heavily on Europe, two adventure outfitters, and one major tour operator that offers trips which appeal to many different interests.

Go Ahead Tours

As a division of EF, the world’s largest private educational travel company, Go Ahead Tours has some of the best pricing on escorted Europe tours we’ve seen, with air-inclusive rates often costing less than $150 per day. Go Ahead also offers a “Best Price Guarantee,” promising that if you find a similar tour elsewhere for a lower price, they’ll match it. The company’s tour lineup is Europe-heavy, with 50 different itineraries (although it does operate almost 20 tours in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific). While the company does not market exclusively to seniors, its tours are designed with a mature clientele in mind, with slower pacing and plenty of free time built into tour schedules. The average age of Go Ahead travelers is 58.

Rates start $999 per person for the eight-day “Lisbon City Stay” tour. Prices cover round-trip airfare and transfers, ground transportation, accommodations, guides, sightseeing and attraction admissions, most meals, and hotel taxes and gratuities. You can save with frequent traveler and early-booking discounts, free travel for group leaders, last-minute specials, and a variety of other promotions. Visit the Go Ahead Tours website for more details.

Vantage Deluxe World Travel

Vantage Deluxe World Travel has good options for travelers ages 50 and up who want a deluxe escorted tour experience without a deluxe price tag. The company specializes in European river cruises, but also features 60 land tours, ocean cruises, and exotic small ship sailings. Vantage charters three luxury river ships for 11 different itineraries on the Rhine, Danube, and Main rivers. Rates start at $1,599 for the 11-day “Holiday Markets on the Rhine & Main Rivers,” which includes airfare from select East Coast cities, airport transfers, river-view accommodations on the ship, 26 meals, guided tours, tour managers, and baggage handling. On all river cruises, you’ll be given headsets when sightseeing so you can always hear the guide.

You can cut costs on Vantage cruises and tours with four different savings programs, including $150 in refer-a-friend discounts, free travel for group leaders, a 10-percent-off full-payment discount, and frequent traveler credit. There’s also a roommate-matching program to help solo travelers avoid the single supplement. For more information, visit the Vantage Deluxe World Travel website

ElderTreks

The first adventure company designed exclusively for people ages 50 and over, ElderTreks promises its customers exotic itineraries, dedicated guides, small groups of no more than 16 on land tours, and completely all-inclusive land pricing (expect for tips to local guides)—no meals or excursions are left out. ElderTreks has a roster of more than 60 tours ranging from six to 32 days, with trips on all seven continents. Sample tours include the 15-day “Patagonia: To the End of the World” ($4,195), the 14-day “Tibet: Mountains and Monasteries on Top of the World” ($3,865), and the “18-day Madagascar: Island of Nature” ($3,995).

Trip prices start at $1,395 for the six-day “Valley of the Grizzlies.” Rates include all meals, accommodations, airport transfers, ground transportation, guides, all entrance fees and activities, and gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff. Airfare is extra. Solo travelers can take advantage of a roommate-matching program to avoid paying single-occupancy fees. Discount opportunities include a frequent traveler discount. Go to the ElderTreks website for more information.

50plus Expeditions

Another senior-friendly adventure travel company, 50plus Expeditions has fewer tour options and slightly less-inclusive pricing than ElderTreks, but it’s hard to beat 50plus’ low prices. Specifically tailored for active travelers ages 50 and up, this Toronto-based company’s four- to 38-day tours visit top adventure destinations in Europe, Asia, Canada, Latin America, Africa, Antarctica, and the Arctic. Trips are graded from easy (10 days cruising the Galapagos from $2,395) to demanding (eight-day Mt. Kilimanjaro climb from $1,895).

Tour prices start at $745 per person for four days in Costa Rica. Inclusions vary, but most tours include accommodations, some meals, ground transportation, guides, and adventure activities. Airfare is extra. To learn more, go to 50plusExpeditions.com.

Globus

Founded in 1928, Globus is one of the oldest and largest escorted tour companies in the world. Since its founding, the company has grown to encompass five different brands—Globus, Brennan Vacations, Cosmos, Monograms, and Avalon Waterways—but the original Globus brand is the most popular. Globus features hundreds of itineraries on six continents including land vacations, river cruises, family, religious, special event vacations, and vacations that follow historical figures such as Mozart and Da Vinci.

Rates start at $829 for the seven-day “Introduction to Ireland” tour. Inclusions vary, but most tour prices cover accommodations, many meals, the services of a professional tour director, sightseeing and excursions, ground transportation, and taxes. Airfare can be added for an extra charge. In addition to limited-time discounts on select packages, Globus offers AARP member discounts of $100 on river cruises and $50 on all other vacations. For more information, visit the Globus website.

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