I recently returned from my first Road Scholar trip, and I had a great time! I wanted to share a little bit about my experience, especially about traveling solo with Road Scholar. I’m going to focus on the practicalities of the trip that will give you an idea of the way the program worked–you’re likely to take a different Road Scholar trip than I did so I figure that will be more relevant for you. Also–I don’t take pictures of my food–sorry! You’ll just have to imagine it!
While some Road Scholar trips have a “no solo supplement” price at least on certain departures, most do charge a supplement. I was happy to pay it in order to have my own room, but they also offer a roommate matching program so that you can share a room with another solo traveler and not pay the supplement. On my tour there were four women who did the roommate matching, and one of the matched duos seemed very happy with the arrangement while the other, though they were not actively unhappy, just didn’t seem to mesh as well. One of those women told me she’d likely pay the supplement in future.
I chose this trip because I’ve always wanted to visit Atlantic Canada, and I was able to drive there from my summer home in Maine, which kept the cost down.
Most of our travel was on a comfortable bus. We had one guide who was with us for the entire trip, and picked up other guides for specific parts of the program. There were only 21 of us, and we were on a full-sized bus so there was lots of room. The program provided bottled water and snacks on the bus at all times, as well as those free-to-pick-up brochures for the various sites we visited, and maps of the areas we would visit.
The program was focused on the Bay of Fundy and we had experiences that focused on all different aspects of life around the bay: the geology, history (including programs on the Micmaq natives, the Acadian settlers and their forced expulsion and the fishing and shipbuilding industries), current efforts to harness the tides for electricity generation, the tidal bore (including a midnight walk in Moncton to watch and listen to the bore come up the river–amazing!–and a whitewater rafting ride on rapids generated by the tidal bore–and the reversing rapids in Saint John.) Though everyone wasn’t super-interested in everything, there was such variety that I think everyone was happy with the program overall.
I was a little concerned about the amount of walking that would be required–this was a “keep the pace” tour per the Road Scholar website–but it was fine. We may have walked 2 or 3 miles a day but it was split into several walks and wasn’t taxing for me at all–granted I was probably 5 years or so younger than the next youngest participant in the tour but I’m generally a couch potato.
Most of the meals were included and while not gourmet, were very nice. Since it was the Bay of Fundy every single dinner had a seafood option. Lots and lots of haddock! The last night we had the option of a whole steamed lobster. There were a couple of gluten-free eaters in our group and they always were catered for. When we had meals on our own, they were always in locations where we had multiple options for meals–except a meal on the ferry where options were necessarily limited.
The hotels were adequate. We stayed at a historic seaside inn the first and last two nights, at new and nice Residence Inn and Hampton Inn properties, and at an old-fashioned “motor inn” type property. The latter was not at all impressive in terms of the quality of the property, but the view of the Bay of Fundy was amazing and it was very clean. The hotels were mostly just for sleeping as we were out and about most of the time.
The other participants were an interesting group and distinguished by their curiosity and love of learning–if you (like me) are one of those people then Road Scholar is for you! They were great company, as was our knowledgeable tour guide.
Overall I was really impressed with the organization of the tour and I’d take another Road Scholar tour in an instant–it’s a wonderful option for solo travel! And New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as you can see from my pictures, are absolutely beautiful!