When you’re booking a tour or trek, it helps to be aware of the difficulty level so you’re not caught unprepared. Though there is no universal, industry-wide rating system, some travel providers offer a ranking to help determine the level of exertion.
Exploritas, formerly known as Elderhostel, offers a seven-level rating system to help gauge the difficulty level of each trips.
The scale starts at one, which means basically no exertion required beyond basic walking, and ends at seven, to which only the ultra-fit should apply.
Eldertreks Tour Company, which specializes in group adventure travel for the over-50 set, categorizes each trip from “easy” to “challenging.”
Easy adventures include tours that transport you by bus and train, while tougher trips could involve trekking in the mountains or a walking safari.
Intrepid Travel, for example, has multiple rating systems for its trips.
One tells you the difficulty level, starting at “relaxing,” and topping out at “extremely challenging.”
As a general rule, be honest with yourself about your needs and limitations.
Go through the itinerary with your tour company to assess how many miles you’ll walk each day, whether there is backup transportation, and if previous travelers have ever had any problems.
If they can’t answer, or try to tell you that all their tours are appropriate for all levels, consider that a major red flag.
Learn more in our Senior Travel category.
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