Recently we were asked to change the dates of an upcoming trip to Croatia/Slovenia due to low enrollment. The Travel Change Team and Travel Arrangements Team quickly made the needed changes and kept us fully communicated via emails during this process. I was particularly impressed with the flight schedule which was customized to our requests. Thank you Road Scholar!
Review by DonutGurl3 months ago
My recent RS trip to Australia and New Zealand was great. Holland America provided comfortable amenities and our RS sponsored shore outings were filled with exciting adventures. Our team leader, Ngaire Douglas, shared her vast expertise with us and gave us wonderful insights into the history and culture of both countries. Ngaire offered options for our various levels of physical fitness so everyone could benefit from all the shore outings. This was my 14th RS trip and certainly near the top if not the top of my RS trips.
Review by Kitfox4 months ago
I have traveled with Road Scholar, formerly called Elderhostel, since 1998. I have done 48 programs both in the U.S. and internationally. I can't say enough great things about traveling with Road Scholar. I have always been pleased with their staff, the group leaders and most of all my fellow travelers. I have attended solo, with friends and with my spouse. As a solo I have always felt welcomed and included. I am still in contact with many people that I have met on trips. The educational quality is very good. I enjoy programs that make me think. I have seen a number of negative comments about Road Scholar not refunding deposits. The penalties for cancelling or changing a program are CLEARLY spelled out on their website, when you register by telephone and once you have registered, they are on the confirmation sheet. It is necessary to have these penalties so that folks don't sign up for trips and not take them, preventing those of us who would like to go an opportunity to attend. Many of Road Scholar trips fill quickly and have waitlists. Almost all of the programs have reviews which can be read before signing up for a program. These are reviews by people who have taken the trip. Most of the programs have great reviews or list caveats for a trip. I have traveled with other tour operators but keep returning to Road Scholar for the educational components and the great travel companions. In recent years the hotels have been upgraded, meals have greatly improved and a lot of programs have a meal or two that are "on your own" to experience someplace special or to visit with friends. I really like this option. I have found that my fellow travelers are well-educated and well-traveled and are some of the most interesting people to travel and learn with AND they are FLEXIBLE. Occasionally itineraries have to change due to weather, absence of a speaker, etc. Most of the attendees are mature but in my experience very active. I have done 6 intergenerational programs with grandkids and the experience takes being with the younger generation to a new enjoyment level both for me and for them! Road Scholar is TOPS in my book.
Review by Dorthey4 months ago
A recent hiking trip with RS to the Canadian Rockies was a huge disappointment. First, people who could barely get on and off the bus were allowed on this trip. Ridiculous. Only 4 of us could go on daily hikes they called "motivated" or harder than the others -- all of which I considered easy to very moderate. The hiking pace was also crazy slow. The catalog/website descriptions of the trip were way off base. Simply not truthful.
The majority of meals were served in a windowless hotel conference room. Very mediocre food. Breakfasts were the worst. Restaurant meals for dinner were way better, but certainly not terrific restaurants I would go to again. A couple of us younger, energetic folk purposefully left the group on two evenings just to get away and have some time to chat and eat at GOOD restaurants.
RS is clearly not for people, like myself, looking for true rigorous activity with other happy, young at heart people. It was clear to me that RS attracts a much, much older crowd, which is fine, but that's false advertising in their materials. Their original name of ELDERhostel fits their group way better. Nothing wrong with being older, but it sure isn't fun being around grumpy, negative retired folk who have a very "old and tired" mentality. I won't be going on another RS trip. Lesson learned.
Review by Ek5 months ago
1) activity level ("on your feet") was way over-stated! Mostly we sat at educational lectures and on buses. Visits to museums took zero effort.
2) much of Road Scholar's written communication was factually inaccurate and/or had non-stop discrepancies from one page to the next. EVEN OUR CRUISE SHIP'S NAME WAS WRONG (including on post-program survey)! $uch $loppy unprofe$$ionalism is unacceptable.
Review by Bathri Kukk6 months ago
It's been three months since my RS bike trip from Deggendorf to Vienna. The dust has settled, I've cleaned the mud from my clothes, and now I can evaluate the trip in a more objective manner.
I guess I should start by asking this question: would I do it again? I would love to say yes, but knowing what I know now the answer is a likely no.
I made my own travel arrangements and spent a few days in Munich and the immediate area before going to the Gasthaus in Deggendorf. That was all good. Bavaria is lovely and clean and the people are friendly and seem happy.
Upon arriving in Deggendorf I was told I must provide my own helmet. That was the first I'd heard about that. Seems I didn't get a vital information packet. This necessitated a frantic taxi ride into town (at my own expense) to a bike shop. Luckily I bought one and made it back in time for an orientation ride. After that things settled down and a nice meal was had an I got to meet my fellow travelers.
The bikes they provided aren't my style. They are heavy, slow, and the saddles are catch as catch can. Some good, some not. There was a lot of grumbling about the saddles. Mine on the other hand worked fine for me. Didn't make up for the helmet mess, but one has to move on.
The actual biking, the lovely scenery, the food and beer were all great. Our group leader was quite good at her job. She may have been one of the best things about IBT, the outfit that RS contracted for the cycling part of the trip.
The educational aspect was less interesting than I expected. Churches, cathedrals, monasteries, a concentration camp. What more can you say?
I had a couple of good evening adventures where I went out with a couple of people to hear music and stroll around. Drank too much beer.
But there's not much one can do about the weather. We had some dreadful, chilly rainstorms with strong headwinds. The last two days in Vienna were total washouts. But, to be fair, we had some glorious days as well. Some of the vistas and villages delightful. We all had a very good time and lots of laughs.
But, here's the rub. You can't choose your fellow travelers. Some of the personalities were right out of a Hunter S. Thompson story. Autistic New Yorkers. Cancer survivors frantically trying to pack it all in before the end comes. One domestic abuse survivor who was like a life force sucking vampire. Lovely woman, but eegads, could she drone on! A 95 old man who road an ebike and was a true miracle of nature. And then we had Canadians. Three couples. I have nothing bad to say about them. Very nice people.
Which brings me to my one, very subjective observation. You might think that after two weeks together one or two friendships might be formed. But no. That's not why they come on these trips. They come to get away from something, to be distracted, to have a long party. When it's over, it's over. The RS veterans all knew the score -- once we said goodbye there would be no emails, no follow-ups, no promises to stay in touch. I think it may have something to do with being over 60 and facing one's mortality. No time for that. Once I returned home and the reality dawned on me, I felt a bit sad. This was a shared experience, but then again it wasn't.
And that is why I won't do another RS trip. I'd rather go on a trip where there are some younger people with a different energy. It's too much money to shell out to return home depressed.
Review by LocalVillain7 months ago
We recently traveled to Madeira for a medium rated activity level trip. Our guide was fantastic, providing enthusiastic and knowledgable information about the natural features and flora of the region as well as sociological and political contexts of present day life on the island.
Unfortunately, my wife became ill the morning of our scheduled return flight to Lisbon, from where we were to make connections to fly home (U.S.). Our guide was extremely helpful and communicative regarding our circumstances, but the process he was instructed to use to support us in this situation was seriously flawed.
He gave us an 8 page Road Scholar instruction sheet outlining the process by which we would be covered for expenses of our delayed and rebooked travel. The process is administered by something called "On Call." It turns out that this outfit is the same as "Emergency Assistance Plus", a travel insurance company.
We were required to seek medical care and have the attending physician fill out FOUR of the pages (in English) with results of medical examination, including vital signs, blood test results and a medical diagnosis. One form was essentially an affidavit requiring the physician to assert that the patient was unfit to travel. All four required signatures, email and telephone contact numbers.
Our guide advised us to go to the local public hospital emergency room, which we did. The situation at the hospital was chaotic to the point of nightmarish. My wife on a gurney with an I.V. in a hallway with other patients, most of whom were in much more serious medical issues. We observed one poor soul not 5 feet away who suffered a seizure and was bleeding from his mouth, probably from biting his tongue. It took fully 5 minutes before any medical staff intervened and attempted to navigate his gurney through the maze of other beds in the hallway.
Needless to say, the likelihood of ever even being examined by a Dr., let alone having him fill out a 4 page form, was an impossibility. We left the facility and ultimately made our own arrangements for return travel to the U.S. at considerable $ expense to us.
Upon contacting "On Call" upon our return, their response was to again send us the Road Scholar 8 page form originally presented to us. It seems that it is necessary now to get a Portuguese doctor whom we never saw and who didn't examine my wife to my wife to provide 4 pages of information from our home in Colorado.
We admit to our naivety in going to a public hospital in a foreign country, but given that many Road Scholar trips take place abroad, the process they've contracted for through "On Call"/Emergency Assistance Plus is a joke. We were hung out to dry with zero returned communication for hours. The communication we received was useless at best, and if it weren't so insulting, it could be considered ironic.
Review by Oneponycar7 months ago
Excited to see Alaska...so excited about this trip! Catalog said "Moderate Pace". OK...good....means we are going to move our bodies. Well, what a disappointment to learn this certainly was not going to happen! Unfortunately not all travelers could even do a low paced activity...a real damper for those of us eager for actjvity. Shame on you Road Scholar for misleading us to think this would be such an adventure. Some people had difficulty getting on and off the buses....walking for some was difficult! Pretty unfair tactics. A couple meals were served in hot, windowless hotel conference rooms. Hotel in Anchorage was pretty horrible and not clean. Have diet restriction and on 2 occasions group leaders (2) had not taken this into consideration...and I don't think they really cared ! One leader, I felt, could not wait until she returned home! In making my arrangements with Road Scholar I was asked on several occasions to get in touch with someone with my question...representatives for RD just didn't seem to have their information at hand...these were pretty basic questions. A very disappointing trip...too bad for RS...friends who travel were waiting for my critique...they won't be traveling with Road Scholar.
Review by Landcross7 months ago
I have taken two trips with Road Scholar in the last year. Peru & Patagonia. I booked a trip to Tibet, Nepal & Butan over 6 months in advance. When I canceled the trip within 2 weeks the kept the entire $500 deposit, No refund and no consideration for transfer. I called back within 2 week to rebook the Tibet trip and the told me I would have to pay another $ 500 deposit. I should have know better after my Peru trip. A woman in a walker and a wheel chair was permitted to go with us on this trip! This caused numerous hours of delay. Road Scholars did nothing.
Review by Troche7 months ago
I have enjoyed 6 intergenerational trips with Road School which each of my 3 grandchildren. I found the trips fun, and educational. On my recent trip I took my 10 year old grandson to the CA coast to see elephant seals, and go tide pooling. It also included falconry and we actually had a falcon land on our gloved arm! I cherish these trips and will probably take my youngest grandson on one next year!
Review by Stalemate Anselmucci7 months ago
In a short while you will hear why,
Fortunately I have not spent a dime yet.
In shorttheir customer service stinks, they don't answer questions in a forthright manner they are impersonal and they are Heavy $$$$manipulators and Not Non Profit
Who do they think They are kidding
Us seniors are sharp as knives when it comes to dough
Review by Chambless Drozdza7 months ago
They keep the entire price of the trip if you have to cancel. The customer service crew won't negotiate and isn't flexible.
Review by LHirni Kollauf7 months ago
Alaska is a very interesting place and rich with opportunities to explore. RoadScholar leaves the organization to Holland America. It's a good setup for certain travelers, mainly OLD. I'm 71 and found it very frustrating. Flew 3000 miles and spent the first night and morning in a conference room with no windows. The food was very mediocre at the hotels they used but the worst disappointment was that this trip had been described as "active" which for RoadScholar must mean breathing because we have spent the entire week riding buses for hours on end plus an 8 hour train ride. Getting these geriatrics on and off the bus takes forever and Road Scholar seems to attract know-it-alls.
These trips are fine if sitting on your butt and looking out the window of a vehicle is the way you want to experience Alaska. I thought a hike might be nice. Not RoadScholar.
Don't get me started on the cruise.
Review by Alomar8 months ago
I booked a tour with Road Scholars that was more than a year away. A week after the booking we had a change of plans and I had to cancel to trip. I was charged $500.00 for the cancellation. This cancellation charge was not explained when I booked the trip nor was the cost clearly spelled out in the documentation I received.
Will not use this organization again!
Review by Kiiwii Toefy1 year ago
Trying to navigate the Road Scholar website is an exercise in frustration to say the least! Why don't they use some of those donations for which they are always begging to hire some competent website designers?
Review by Kizo Bopo1 year ago
Why even offer on-line enrollment if you can't make it work! I just wasted 45 minutes and never succeeded in what I was trying to do.
Review by Binish Terantonians1 year ago
I booked a Cuba trip with Road Scholar almost a year in advance and had to cancel 2 months later and was charged $500.00. I had expected a cancellation fee but this was exorbitant
Review by OrKaS1 year ago
we just returned from our second Road Scholar trip
first was last year to Cinque Terra- no problems and no change in flights and/or itinerary
this most recent trip was from Antarctica- fabulous destination, largely run by a different company on the ship = antarctica 21
however, we were fogged in for 2 extra days
R.S. rebooked us from what was a non-stop to a 3 -stop trip home from Santiago, Chile
initially we were told by our guide they wouldn't retry
however, when we prevailed and said we would pay ourselves AND showed them that our original flights were available, they changed them
this took 24 hours of wrangling and was upsetting obviously
HOWEVER, our upset was compounded by the lack of any interested response when I tried to speak with upper management once we returned home
the insular culture of this company is frightening and akin to an inbred fraternity.
customers have no ability to accurately verbalize their frustration
we were not seeking renumeration, but rather simply attempting to understand why the so-called "custom travel" department was so insensitive to the individual traveler
we'll never travel with them again nor would we recommend them
Review by BattleShipNet1 year ago
Just landed for a road scholar trip , in a strange city, running late and worried you'll miss your transfer shuttle?
Who ya gonna call?
Not Road Scholar! They place no importance on this important aspect of customer service. At least they didn't when I took my trip to Santa Fe. The "emergency" call center didn't know who was supposed to meet us at the airport-didn't have any names-didn't know if they were still there or when they were leaving.
Really? I think that is what technology is for. Unforgivable, Road scholar. You can do better.
Review by Aethna Tatian1 year ago
This was a "craft" camp experience and I went just to have a vacation and do my own rug hooking with like minded people. The instructor was poor and ended up lying to the class, insulting me in front of two groups of students, and reducing me to tears. She even did it to the Program Director.
The camp is advertised as an "easy" activity but if you have any mobility issues and do not have a car, you cannot get to meals since it is a 3-4 block walk each direction for any meal. No drinking water was provided in our two classrooms. We could walk to find a soda machine which sold water for $1.50 or get our water from the bathroom sink. We did complain because it was hot and the camp brought a few bottles once.
Worst part, if the above was not bad enough, were all the meals. I think the kitchen was being run by untrained servers/bus people because no cooking was going on. Heard that maybe there was no food manager. Every thing (but some tasteless rolls and bisquits) was precooked prepackaged frozen food that was reheated and served. No serve yourself. Belgian waffles were put on the steam table and soggy when served. Amazingly tasteless. Greens on my first salad were slimy. No salt or seasonings of any kind were used in the food served. No condiments provided. Dessert was either brownies 3X, or pie filling a sprinkling of oatmeal or pumpkin pie filling with a grainy sugar struesel topping and zero whipped topping or anything to add. Rancid taco shells. Sigh. I think I threw away more food than I ate.
I am waiting to hear what RS and the camp are going to do. The program directed said refund. RS emailed me that someone would call yesterday and they did not.
Review by Wulin Tutterow1 year ago
Back in 2015, we started the process to reserve one of the first circumnavigation trips of Cuba scheduled to embark in March 2016. We experienced one example of chaos after another with Road Scholar not following through with promises, mailings to us which never occurred, and phone calls which never resolved the problems. Biggest concern is that they booked the cruise with a cruise line which was BANKRUPT and did not even know that fact till we apprised them of this early in the process. They then tried a bait and switch to get some of the circumnavigation transferred to air flights to and from Cuba. We finally cancelled and did ultimately get a full refund of the approximate $12,000 but even that took a while to process.
Review by Darvesh1 year ago
I'm on my 9th Road Scholar tour and can't wait for it to end. Disorganized! Political!
Study Leader informed us Obama canceled a planned oil pipeline but Trump is allowing it because he has stock in oil. Tonight we had a guest speaker who started off with a derogatory comment about the Supreme Court nominee. May cancel two booked tours, one with 8 friends who booked based on our recommendation.
Review by DIYit Freiert1 year ago
Road Scholar switched hotels on us after we had booked their tour of Southern Spain. The reservationist assured us that "the hotel change would cause no extra walking" during our trip. NOT TRUE! As we walked by the Hotel Ingleterra, Seville, on at least 6 occasions -- and were still several blocks from our new hotel -- it was clear the reservationist was either ill-informed or lied to us. The hotel switch caused as least and extra 6-7 miles in Seville alone. Complaints to the president of Road Scholar have gone unanswered so I guess the reservationist isn't the real problem with this travel company.
Review by Trevelyn1 year ago
I got the insurance as recommended and was told that it will cover me for whatever reason! Well North Carolina is getting hit by a hurricane and hurricanes and flooding are not in the insurance coverage.
I need my money back. I don't want them to hold it over my head that I "HAVE" to take a trip with them or I lose my $200.
I called Road Scholar spoke to a supervisor Sean who told me that it was sent in the mail and it's on line. That really that $200. Is spent on the admin, instructors, to get the overhead started.
Review by Merllen Delfini1 year ago
Road Scholar is 100 tops in every way! My PRAGUE experience was so gr8, I immediately booked another trip and eyeing another 4 next year!
Their offer & promises surpassed all expectations! It was an overall fantastic trip!
My first booking had 2 B canceled due 2 lack of enrollment. The organization did exactly what was promised: Keeping in touch in a timely manner & prompt refund!