Trek Talk - ElderTreks Blog


Stop Travel Anxiety


As relaxing as travel can be, it can cause a lot of anxiety. Worrying about logistics, flights, costs, unexpected changes and things like our health can create a major headache, and distract from the enjoyment of the destination. At a certain point, we all need to take a moment to take a deeper look at the way that we organize our travel. We need to see what we can do to lessen the worry and to enjoy our trips more!

There are so many different stages of planning a trip, and each has a different anxiety that goes with them, so we’ve broken them down and discussed each of them here, with some tips and tricks to ease your travel anxieties.

Taking the Anxiety out of Leaving Home

Leaving home can cause a lot of apprehensions, whether it’s due to leaving family members, your pets or just your home behind. It’s a lot of work to leave the country for even a few days – not to mention weeks! The more prepared you are, the easier it will be. Knowing who will take care of cutting your grass, picking up your mail or taking care of Fluffy will help to lessen the worry and get you more excited about your trip.

If you’re worried about being so far away, make sure to give your contact information as well as the info of the hotels that you will be staying at to friends or family members. This way, if they don’t hear from you via phone or email, they know where to find you. You can also figure out how to stay in touch via FaceTime, Skype or email on your devices if you don’t want to miss any updates from back home.

Taking the Anxiety Out of Planning a Trip

Planning a trip is a ton of work, especially an international, multi-day trip. Currency, language barriers, customs, food – there is so much to learn and understand about where you’re going. It can very quickly become totally overwhelming. There are so many incredible resources to help you understand your destination a bit more – from online blogs like this one to guidebooks and fellow travelers. Just make sure not to overdo it – reading too much might overwhelm you more!

You might also want to consider working with a tour operator rather than planning your trip on your own. Tour operators take the stress out of planning a vacation – they do all of the hard work for you so you can show up complete with the required information, and someone does all the planning for you. No more worrying about hotel reservations, or how you’re going to get from place to place. They take care of all of the details.

Taking the Anxiety Out of Travel Budgets

As fun and exciting as travel is, the costs can rack up pretty quickly. If you consider travel as an investment, that can help a bit with wrapping your head around it…although it doesn’t quite help when your Visa bill arrives. Whenever you can, try to focus on maximizing your budget, and finding value. Hotels with breakfast included or shuttles/transfers to and from the airport, or finding a tour operator that is all-inclusive are all great value-adds.

A Tour Company Can Reduce Anxiety

ElderTreks, a small-group adventure travel company for those 50+, offers all-inclusive itineraries where you don’t have to add on any extra tours or meals. That way you don’t have to pull out your wallet while on your tour. Be very wary of operators that give you a low starting price…what they don’t tell you is all of the extra cash you will have to shell out while you’re on the tour!

Overall, don’t stress too much about money while you are traveling. You don’t want to regret not spending a few dollars on an experience you will (probably) never have the chance to do again.

Taking the Anxiety out of Plane Travel

Planes can be scary – you’re flying through the air, for goodness sake – with absolutely no control. If you’re a backseat driver like myself, planes can be the epitome of a struggle. You can’t see or anticipate turbulence, and there is nothing you can do about anything if things were to (very unlikely) go wrong. I’ve found recognizing that fact, and deep breathing very helpful during very bumpy flights.

Be Prepared

I also always check out the expressions on the flight attendant’s faces – if they are smiling or are bored at the back reading a magazine through what I would consider a major bout of the bumps, I should be just fine. There’s also a new app that has just come out that claims to help you through turbulence called SkyGuru, that helps predict turbulence and sends you reassuring messages throughout the flight. Worth a try if you have a lot of flight anxiety.

Taking the Anxiety out of Your Time in Destination

So once you’ve actually made it through the planning/budgeting phase, you’ve boarded your flight, and you’ve made it to your destination, it’s time to stop worrying! So often we have a difficult time fully relaxing and detaching from our lives at home. Focus on living in the moment and put those electronics away! We will get so much more out of the experience if we learn to enjoy the moment, at that exact second, and leave the photos, updates or emails till we get back (or at least to one time during the day instead of regular check-ins). Otherwise, you’ll need a vacation from your vacation!

There it is – steps and ways to manage anxiety and worry for your travels from start to finish. What are your tips? Our biggest tip is to travel with an experienced tour operator, who can help you through the research, planning, and the trip phases. A small group adventure tour company like ElderTreks (, the world’s first adventure tour operator for travelers 50+ is the way to travel without worry. Traveling to over 80 countries and all seven continents,  you are sure to find your ideal trip with ElderTreks. When you think of ElderTrek just imagine what it would be like trekking with a local Elder. Wouldn’t traveling with a local Elder remove all your anxieties?


This post originally appeared on the Where in the World is Kate? Blog.


Amanda Dunning - September 29, 2016


ElderTreks is excited to announce a Flash Sale that is happening until September 30, 2016!


Receive 50% OFF the cabin price on select Antarctic Voyages.



SAVE 50%



Classic Antarctic Program - Discovering the Antarctic Peninsula - ANT

Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries. And this expedition offers you the chance to discover why, with an unforgettable journey through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll encounter a world where nature creates the rules, her unpredictable temperament making each trip unique, exciting and personal.

Ocean Endeavour

 Nov 6–Nov 16, 2016

Dec 3–Dec 13, 2016

Dec 12–Dec 22, 2016

Dec 21–Dec 31, 2016

Feb 23–Mar 6, 2017

Ocean Diamond

Dec 9–Dec 20, 2016

Feb 11–Feb 21, 2017

Feb 20–Mar 2, 2017

Sea Adventurer

Nov 27–Dec 7, 2016

Crossing the Circle - CCQ

Not only does this expedition include the most in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula, it also offers the opportunity to venture further south across the Antarctic Circle. As you head towards a milestone few travelers reach, you’ll feel you are in a world without borders, sailing through an endless stretch of sea, snow and ice.

Sea Adventurer       

Feb 24–Mar 10, 2017

Explorer's Quest:  Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula - EXQ

This extended expedition encompasses the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, the remote Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), as well as the extraordinary beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll enjoy unforgettable encounters with untamed wildlife in a vast, dramatic and spectacular setting.

Ocean Endeavour

Nov 15–Dec 4, 2016

To join us for one of these programs we require a non refundable deposit of 30% of the cabin cost.  Final payment is due 120 days prior to departure and if paid by cheque, we'll reduce the balance by 2%.

Space is limited!  Enquire now.

- September 20, 2016

What to tip a tour leader

No matter how many tours or trips travelers go on, the question of “what do you tip the Tour Leader?” comes up. Many don’t quite understand why it’s a standard practice, and if they do, they don’t want the amount they give to offend, or they just want to give a reasonable amount. We wanted to help answer the question once and for all with some helpful information and “tips” for you!

The ElderTreks standard suggested gratuity for Tour Leaders is $8-$10 USD per person per day. Since we have such long trips, we realize that does add up very easily. We always recommend that you give what you feel is fair. If someone went above and beyond for you and helped you immensely on your trip, feel free to give more (that’s always appreciated!), but just remember to give what you can.  Overall, there really is no wrong amount -- that’s why it’s only a “suggested” amount.

It is however, important to keep in mind that Tour Leaders are available for you 24/7 throughout your tour. They’re constantly working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly and successfully. They work tirelessly to make your vacation the best ever. They might also only work certain times of the year, and it might be awhile before they take another group on a trip. That’s why and where the idea of providing a tip for your Tour Leader comes from – they really do go out of their way to take care of you from start to finish!

There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about a tip:

  • If you know your Tour Leader is a local, consider tipping in the local currency or USD.
  • If you know your Tour Leader isn’t from the country, consider tipping in USD or EUR. If in doubt, ask your helpful Country Director.
  • We do pay our Tour Leaders a salary, but like every service provided to you, a gratuity as a thank you is appreciated.
  • Bring a small envelope with you as some hotels and destinations do not provide them.
  • Don’t forget – there is no wrong amount!

One of the great things about traveling with ElderTreks is the all-inclusive pricing, and once you land, the Tour Leader gratuity is one of the only things you have to add on. In fact, most of the other gratuities are included in your tour price, so you don’t have to worry about other tips at restaurants, or site guides, et cetera. It makes it really easy.

When traveling to far off and remote places, the kind gratuities are not only used to better the Tour Leaders’ lives, but also the families and communities around them. One of our Tour Leaders put his nieces through school with the generous tips he receives from the ElderTreks passengers. What a wonderful story!

There it is – some easy answers to a very common question. Do you have any other questions about tipping that we didn’t answer?

- September 15, 2016

Top 10 Cuba Tour Highlights

Cuba is one of the most talked about destinations this year, and it’s only the beginning of an exciting chapter in the Caribbean island’s history.

Cuba has been one of ElderTreks’s top tours and it continues to sell out. Why? Well, there are so many incredible experiences on the tour, and so many travelers are curious and eager to experience the fun, welcoming and unique culture that is Cuba.

For those who are interested in checking out this fascinating country, we’ve compiled our top 10 highlights in Cuba! We hope they inspire you to come visit this Caribbean gem.


No trip to Cuba is complete without tasting some of the well-known rums. One of the most popular drinks is a refreshing favorite – the Mojito. It combines sugar, lime, mint and soda water with of course, rum. A Cuba Libre (Rum, Coke and lime) is also a thirst-quenching beverage of choice for travelers looking to beat the heat – because it does get hot!


Viñales Valley

Viñales Valley is that quintessential Cuban view of the Western part of the island that most travelers have seen a picture of. It’s visually stunning, with hills rolling over the tobacco fields, and palm trees with the perfect light of a stunning sunrise or sunset. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because of the traditional forms of agriculture still found in the Valley, specifically a lot of tobacco.


Speaking of tobacco, it had to be on the highlight list - Cuba is celebrated for its tobacco, and hands down, it is some of the world’s best. On the ElderTreks itinerary you visit a tobacco farm; where you interact with the farmer and learn more about the traditions, and then a cigar factory, where workers work tirelessly to perfectly hand-roll your favorite cigars. It’s a true art form.

Classic Cars in Havana

One of the appeals of Cuba is its a destination seemingly “trapped in time”.  Since Cubans couldn’t get their hands on new cars, or car parts for that matter they had to be creative to maintain their vehicles all of these years - lots of ingenuity and plastic seat covers were used! One of the most commonly cited highlights for ElderTreks travelers is their evening Classic Car tour, where they explored the historic city of Havana with the wind blowing through their hair in the backseat of a classic convertible.  


Escambray Mountains

The Escambray Mountains are in the South-Central part of the Island, and are home to Topes de Collantes, a nature reserve park. It’s full of waterfalls, trees, rivers – it’s truly beautiful. Here is some of the best nature walks, culminating in a stop at a local coffee house with locally grown beans. Not only picturesque and relaxing, its also much cooler, and a welcome break from the heat.

Santa Clara

Santa Clara is a unique stop on the ElderTreks itinerary because it feels the most local of all the towns visited, and you can sense that as soon as you set foot in it. Local people are a little bit poorer, and more aggressive with approaching travelers, and all of the prices in the streets and shops were in the local currency (not the CUC like everywhere else). It has a lot of history, specifically with the Revolution, and although some itineraries pass through it for a couple of hours, ElderTreks offers a chance to really explore it by foot, and by tuk-tuk. It’s definitely a highlight for off-the-beaten path travelers.

Buena Vista Social Club

So many people have heard of the Buena Vista Social Club, so to hear the infamous music and lively group performing in person is a true highlight. The energy, passion and dynamic nature of the performers is easy to be seen as soon as you hear the first note. The band effortlessly expresses the allure and enthusiasm of the original Havana club. 

Colorful Trinidad

Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a colorful and unique Cuban city with a ton of charm. Think cobbled streets, picturesque doors and windows, and colorful walls, with history abounding. It’s a fun city to walk (although the cobblestones are some of the most difficult on the trip and even in comparison to Europe) Considering the colonial city was founded in the 1500’s, it gets a pass!

Revolution Square Havana


Visiting Social Centers

One of the most unique characteristics about Cuba is the government. After all – it is what led to the embargo. It’s interesting to see how the government “takes care” of its people – from the senior centers, maternity homes and group schools, it’s a unique experience. On the tour, you visit all three of these places and get a chance to interact with the local people who will explain all about their daily life and what occurs.  It’s a highlight to understand more of what life is like for Cubans.

The kindness of the people 

Interacting with locals is a must on any ElderTreks trip, and Cuba is no exception. The local people are generous, welcoming and kind. They don’t have much, but they will share it with you and will share the stories of their lives. They love to ask questions and are happy that you are visiting and sharing in the beauty of their country. Don’t forget to bring donations with you. Some good items to have are pens, bars of soap or shampoo, and always leave some hair elastics, nail polish or other goodies for your room attendants.  The people, like most countries are the true highlight.

Have you been to Cuba? Do you agree with the list? If you are looking to explore Cuba, what do you want to see? Don’t forget to check out ElderTreks' 13-day itinerary to Cuba.

Amanda Dunning - September 09, 2016

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has quickly become a destination that many travelers want to visit.Myanmar is a vibrant tapestry of culture, history and geography. A delightful blend of diverse ethnic groups, graceful Buddhist monasteries, ancient pagodas welcome travelers to this exotic country. Bordering Thailand, Laos, India and China, Myanmar is at the cultural crossroads of Southeast Asia.

We asked Tour Leader Turin the top 5 must-sees in the beautiful country, and he gave us this great list.

Check them out!

1. Colonial city of Yangon

Yangon City

2. Temples in Bagan (Archaeological site from the 11th Century)

Bagan Temples

3. Floating gardens and fishermen of Inle lake

Fisherman of Inle Lake

4. Hill tribes of Golden Triangle

Myanmar Tribeswoman

5. City of Mandalay (The last capital of Burmese Kingdom)

Mandalay Myanmar

Is visiting Myanmar one of your must-sees? Check out ElderTreks’ 20-day itinerary to Myanmar (Burma)here.

- September 06, 2016

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