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the National Science Foundation
Review of Road Scholar

Road Scholar reviews

55 reviews
11 Avenue de Lafayette
Boston, MA 2111, US
Tel: 800-454-5768
registration@roadscholar.org
2018 Customer choice award

55 Reviews From Our Community

Service
2
Value
2
Shipping
0
Returns
0
Quality
0

All Reviews

pennym83
1 review
1 helpful vote
12/30/18

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?

carak16
1 review
3 helpful votes
11/25/18

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.

arth45
1 review
3 helpful votes
11/14/18

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.

We decided to give them a second chance and applied for a Florida trip in March of 2019. (Maybe their March trips are jinxed?) Again, problems surfaced right at the outset. After paying the $200 deposit, and trying to complete the participant information form, we were immediately directed to a site which advised us that the connection was not private and information was NOT secure and then we were told to click on a "privacy policy" which would have meant having to change MANY settings we had with our browser. When we called to complain, we were advised they were having "technical issues" and assured us the credit card info was secure. Yeah, right. We wisely decided to cancel again and was verbally told the refund would be processed in 24-72 hours and then in a confirming email told it would take as long as "7 to 10 business days". Although it turned out that it was refunded in 24 hours, how can anyone trust this level of incompetence? You are reading negative reviews cause you want to be sure about this company. Despite lots of glowing reviews you may see elsewhere, we advise you to consider a different company. Shame never feels good.

williamb945
1 review
1 helpful vote
11/13/18

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.

Response from Road S., Road Scholar Representative
Hi William,
Thank you for letting us know that our website wasn't functioning properly for you. We would be glad to call you to help you process the enrollment today. Please feel free to provide us with your phone number by private message and we will reach out to you by phone.
All the best,
Your Friends at Road Scholar
lindab997
1 review
1 helpful vote
10/31/18

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.

Response from Road S., Road Scholar Representative
Hello Linda,
Thank you for joining us on our program to Southern Spain in May. We apologize that the itinerary for this program included more walking than you had anticipated. The hotel was changed to the NH Plaza de Armas due to lack of availability in Hotel Inglaterra. We would be happy to have a conversation with you about the experience and any concerns you might have. We did reach out earlier in October to discuss your concerns and left a message without a response. Feel free to reach out to our Participant Satisfaction Team at 877-634-1893 during business hours Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm (EST).
All the best,
Your Friends at Road Scholar
anas137
1 review
0 helpful votes
10/13/18

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.

Response from Road S., Road Scholar Representative
Hello Ana, thank you for your feedback regarding your program. We are sorry to hear that it was not an enjoyable time for you. Per our conversation with you yesterday, we believe a resolution has been reached. Please reach out to us directly if you have anything further you would like to share about your experience. Best, Your Friends at Road Scholar
paulf297
1 review
3 helpful votes
10/3/18

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.

Response from Road S., Road Scholar Representative
Hello Paul,
Thank you for letting us know about your experience thus far on your program. We’re sorry to hear it hasn’t been pleasant for you. We would like to address this and speak directly with the study leader on the program, so we ask that you please contact us directly with additional information regarding the program you are attending. We'll look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Best,
Your Friends at Road Scholar
paulag111
1 review
3 helpful votes
9/14/18

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.

katiet66
1 review
17 helpful votes
5/21/18

Let me preface this story with some background about myself: I backpacked through most of Europe by myself when I was studying abroad in Ireland. I suffered through horrendous bus rides, getting kicked out of seats on trains, sleeping in questionable hostels, and going weeks without being able to really do laundry. I know how crappy it can be to actually get from one place to another, and how worth it is to suffer through all of that just to lay eyes on something magnificent.

And yet, Road Scholar has, without a doubt, managed to give me the single worst travel experience I've ever had in my entire life, and we didn't even make it off the ground. I would never, ever, EVER recommend them to anyone looking to go anywhere, and as far as I'm concerned, Road Scholar needs to seriously reconsider their travel-making procedures and give my mother a huge apology and refund. (Also, I'm only in my twenties, so I have a lot of years ahead of me to make referrals.)

It all started with Road Scholar not getting us flights. We claimed our spot on a trip to the Lake region in Northern Italy, but no one ever called us back about any travel arrangements. It appeared we were on the trip IN Italy, but no one had bothered to make any arrangements to get us there. My mother called and left messages, emailed people, and the only response we got was that our flight should be booked at some point in early May (when our trip was set to start on May 22). Road Scholar urges people to book their flights through their preferred travel agency, which is who didn't call us back. The director of the Italian programs called us asking for our travel information, since she didn't have it yet. Interesting news to us. We were then told that we could make travel arrangements of our own (even though we were paying Road Scholar to do it for us) and then inform the program of our travel plans and how we were getting to our hotel. So we started to investigate making our own plans, when someone finally called us back saying that they were taking care of our travel arrangements, and they "didn't know why we hadn't had them made for us already." The director of the program was happy to hear this, because the Lake region of Italy is not as easily accessible as other areas.

We asked for upgraded seats because my mom has had both of her knees replaced, and while that doesn't inhibit her in the slightest from being active, it limits where she can sit on planes. In a cramped regular economy seat with no leg room on an international flight that was going to last 8-10 hours, she wouldn't have been able to walk off the plane because of how her knees would cramp up. But they said they could make the arrangements (which is also advertised on their website) so that was that. We got our itinerary, accommodations, and were all set. We were booked through United and Lufthansa (neither of which either of us will EVER book through again), so I downloaded the United app onto my iPhone so I could check us in and make sure we had mobile copies of our boarding passes in addition to the paper ones my mom printed out. We were all set to fly from Cincinnati to Washington D.C., from D.C. to Frankfurt, and from Frankfurt down to Verona where we would be meeting up with the group -- which, by the way, we never received any information regarding where the group was meeting, the transportation to the lake resort, etc. Nothing. Just "after you get there" stuff.

Then this morning, I woke up to a notification from United Airlines (and a text message alert that I had set up) saying that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled due to weather. Obviously I'm not blaming Road Scholar for that. What I am holding Road Scholar accountable for is what happened next: my mom called the Emergency Hotline (which is a recording -- and I HIGHLY recommend that they change this, because when I studied abroad, we had two emergency hotlines, both of which were always answered by real human beings, one for anything happening in the United States, and the other for the program, which was a different number for each location and a direct line to one of the program directors on the ground in the country you were actually in). We left a voicemail, someone named Mike called us back, and he was an absolute jerk. When you book your flight through a travel agency/group travel organization, if anything happens to your flight, it is the THEIR responsibility to take care of it. We were told by Road Scholar, and it's available on their website: "When you book your airfare through Road Scholar, we're there to help you in case of any emergencies." When Mike called us back and we told him that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled, he told us that he couldn't look up any other flights (on both United and any other airlines) for us to potentially get on to get to D.C for our transatlantic flight. Instead, he told us to call United ourselves and to go to the airport and talk to the desk agent. I then ended up on the phone (and on hold) the entire drive to the airport, which resulted in nothing because tons of flights had been cancelled due to airline politics and weather. We finally got to the desk agent at the airport, had a hell of a time getting rebooked on another flight, and weren't able to get the upgraded seats that we paid extra money for. When we called Road Scholar and Mike back to ask if during the course of our day when we would be traveling (and unable to make phone calls) he would call Lufthansa to at least make the airline aware of our need for better seating due to my mother's knee replacements, he was unhelpful and rude, at first attempting to refuse calling on our behalf and finally agreeing to, but only after repeatedly telling us "there's no guarantee of those seats" (something we definitely understood because we're not stupid).

Our rebooked flight wasn't set to leave until 7:45 PM tonight, putting us in Verona at 4:05 PM the next day (4 hours after the group transfer to the hotel), so we returned home instead of waiting around the airport for 12 hours. We got on both United and Lufthansa's websites and discovered that not only had our original itineraries not been removed, we had been double booked, one for a flight out of North Carolina to Munich through Delta, and another out of D.C. (the 7:45 PM flight) which had a 23 hour layover in Munich. A call to Road Scholar resulted in us being told that we had to contact the airlines. My mother was on the phone, talking to either United representatives or Lufthansa representatives, from about 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM. We were told we had reservations but no tickets, told we had tickets but couldn't see the numbers, told there were seats available for us to get upgraded to but we would have to try to get the desk agent in D.C. to arrange that for us, told that there was no guarantee we could get those seats, and more. It was incredible the amount of bureaucratic crap we had to put up with, especially since each airline wouldn't take any responsibility for us getting the seats we paid for and on a new flight, telling us "we'd have to talk to the other company about that." We finally called Road Scholar to see if there was anything more they could do, who encountered the same mess we already had, and all they did was eventually advise us to go back to the airport (a 45 minute drive) and talk to the desk agent to see IF they could put us in the upgraded seats -- ones we had already paid for and my mom couldn't make the trip without!

Then when asked how they would be getting us to our destination in the Lake region (which is not an easy place to get to, as I looked up the train and bus schedules myself, because - remember - I have tons of experience at this point traveling on the ground across Europe), they wouldn't outright say what our plans would be, which could've been anything from picking us up in the airport in a car, giving us a damn rental to drive ourselves, or simply paying for tickets and expecting us to haul all our luggage from the airport to the shuttle to the train station in Verona, take the 2+ hour train to a town an hour away from our destination, have to catch a bus to the actual town we were supposed to be in, and then walk the rest of the way there. Seeing what all happened, I would bet it would've been the latter, which isn't a problem for someone like me, but is an issue for someone like my mom.

The moral of the story here is that my mom and I shouldn't have had to be on the phone with anyone other than Road Scholar, PERIOD. Seeing as we paid well over $10,000 for this trip, the minute the flight was cancelled, Road Scholar should've called us to let us know that they would be making other arrangements for us to get to our trip in the Lake region of Italy. THEY should've been the ones on the phone, dealing with the airline bureaucrats, working their hardest to get us any combination of flights to get us to Italy in the seats that we paid for. Or, if it really came down to it, they should've made arrangements for us to be on this trip at another point in time, offered us another excursion in its place, or simply given us a refund. Instead, they didn't want to do the jobs that we paid them to do, and we were the ones that had to take time out of our day, which was already scheduled to be a hectic and stressful time because traveling is simply just that, to do Road Scholar's job. They didn't look out for us one single bit and completely and utterly RUINED what was supposed to have been a wonderful trip for me and my mom.

My mother has an adventurous and curious soul and hasn't gotten to go to Europe the way she always wanted to. Since I graduated college, my mother suggested taking a mother-daughter trip. This was supposed to be incredibly special for the both of us, getting to go somewhere new together (I hadn't explored Northern Italy much and that's where we decided to go), learning about the food and the culture, and bonding over all the amazing things we were going to be able to do. I think my mom was even more excited about this trip than I was, voraciously reading all the required/recommended reading, practicing Italian in her room so she could order correctly at restaurants, not giving up when we hit little bumps in the road along the way. Instead, we have been nothing but doubtful at best in the entire planning of this trip, and deeply disappointed and angered at worst. I will never again recommend Road Scholars to anyone looking to go on group trips. Instead, I will steer people away and recommend that they either find a better travel agency, book the trip themselves, or go through Rick Steve's program.

Road Scholar should issue my mother a refund and an apology or risk being sued.

EDIT: Road Scholar did issue both my mother and myself a big apology. We were refunded for the tickets and were given a voucher to use for another program (or the same program, as it goes again in September).

Service
Value
march171
1 review
1 helpful vote
4/11/18

My trip to Japan with Road Scholar would have been excellent but for the unusable wifi "provided" (or really, not provided) by the Daiwa Roynet Hotels in which Road Scholar placed us. I was completely unable to work with colleagues in my home office because the wifi was usually so slow as to be unusable. The guides for our trip were superlative, but I couldn't enjoy the trip because I could not fulfill my work commitments, and people had been depending on me. The Daiwa Roynet Hotels claim that they provide wifi, but it has been unusable for me, for my wife, and for many people on our trip. I consider their claim that they provide wifi to be a fraud, under California law, and it ruined my trip.

lynnes52
1 review
5 helpful votes
3/19/18

I have taken two nice tours with R.S. However, shortly after booking an $8000 trip to Antarctica for Feb. 2019 (and before buying insurance) I had to cancel. My $850 payment was non-refundable. The trip is a year away. Does this policy seem reasonable? I'm not questioning whether the policy was included in the information because it was. The policy that says that your down payment for your trip is not refundable in part or in whole this far in advance is just simply greed on the part of this organization. This is an especially difficult policy for people who are on a fixed income. I will not travel with them again.

edm584
1 review
2 helpful votes
3/15/18

my wife and I participated in the Yosemite Valley program in September 2017. The tour was well organized and well staffed. The on site director "made the trains run on time" and the tour expert was in fact an EXPERT.
Meals were very good and on time.
i RECOMMEND this program to anyone who wants to tour a national park.

Tip for consumers: Consider staying a few days after the end of the program. There is so much to see.

Service
Value
michaelh465
1 review
6 helpful votes
2/13/18

My 82-year-old mother signed up for an RS "experience" in New England. The second she signed up, they were hounding her to sign up for more expensive $12,000+ tours in Europe. She then discovered that RS was planning to charge $180 ONE WAY from Manchester NH to their "hotel" just 15 minutes away. She had the foresight to buy their "Trip Insurance" but found out when applying for a refund, that they made her fill out a 5-page explanation as to why she decided against the tour. Roads Scholars are SCAM ARTISTS exploiting the elderly. This makes them FIRST CLASS SCUMBAGS, taking advantage of the vulnerable like our elderly. Shame on you! "NON-PROFIT"? Right! You hide behind that designation. Just crawl back under that rock. There is a special place in hell waiting for you.

nadinet6
1 review
5 helpful votes
10/12/17

Signed up for Cuba trip before travel warning. US Govt has pulled their embassy staff and has warned against traveling there. Road Scholar will not refund deposit.
I would be very cautious before you sign up for travel with them.

rr104
1 review
12 helpful votes
9/1/17

Had to cancel trip due to flooding Hurricane Harvey. Better buy their expensive insurance because they didn't care about Houston destroyed. No money back.

robertm539
1 review
5 helpful votes
8/17/17

our trip to ST. Augustine was canceled after a few weeks.did not want to take a later trip on account of price increases of already purchased airline tickets, insurance would not cover what i presumed it would.Road Scholar refunded the deposit and the insurance company refunded the full policy in a timely manner.WILL USE ROAD SCHOLAR AGAIN but will rethink about the insurance that i feel was overprice and what it doesn't cover.

judyg55
1 review
7 helpful votes
5/30/17

I paid in full for the inspirational England tour, and at no time has Road Scholar contacted me and I am sure none of the other paid persons going on this trip about the terrorist concerns in England and also Manchester England which is part of this trip.
Both taylor and Ellen at Road Scholar that I contacted regarding the terrorist problems, were very cavalier about it and said their office in England would let them know if there was a concern. Well, I am sure their main concern is the $$$$ they would lose if the trip got cancelled.
I travel all the time, world wide, and have never experienced the terrible customer service and total lack of regard of the safety of the tourist who book with their company.
this trip should have been cancelled, or offered to be rescheduled at a later date or a different trip somewhere else offered, or money returned.
Our retirees at RESDC are being told by me of this total disregard of the tourist.

robertm448
1 review
29 helpful votes
1/31/17

I booked a trip, paid in advance, and then without warning Road Scholar cancelled the trip. They have promised to return most of what I paid them, but will keep SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS. Don't trust them - I will never again.

benv121
Ben V.
1 review
3 helpful votes
7/7/16

Roadscholar.org is a great place to plan trips as a single adult. They plan the trips out completely and make it quite affordable. You don't have to be nervous traveling alone, because you're with a group of like minded individuals traveling solo, looking for the same type of history adventure you are. And with all the activities they have planned, there are no awkward moments to be had within the group. I love it!

lindaj88
Linda J.
19 reviews
2 helpful votes
1/19/16

My husband and I used to travel all the time in our 40's and 50's. When he passed away 5 years ago I thought those days were over. A friend told me about Road Scholar and I looked into it. It's like a travel agent for older adults looking for an adventure for the body and mind. My close girlfriend and I did our first trip this past spring and we are hooked!

georgee38
George E.
13 reviews
4 helpful votes
12/8/15

We went to Brazil for the riverboat cruise through the heart of the Amazon. We took morning canoe excursions to search for tropical birds. Throughout the trip we saw pink dolphins, toucans, hoatzins, caimans and piranhas. The jungle walks were amazing. I just can't say enough about road scholar and this trip of a lifetime!

elizabethn44
Elizabeth N.
5 reviews
1 helpful vote
12/5/15

We've been looking for new places to travel to, but didn't really know where to begin. We heard of roadscholar and searched it out online. What a great service! I love that they take you to places and plan the trip for you, including fun physical activities as well as sightseeing and cultural learning adventures. We traveled with some great people on our trip to Scotland which made the whole vacation that much better. It was amazing and we can't wait to book our next trip!

papab
16 reviews
66 helpful votes
8/28/14

I was sick of taking cruises and traveling with other 50 plus crowd that did not want to do anything but eat and watch shows. My wife and I wanted to exercise our minds and we discovered roadscholar really by accident. A friend we met on a cruise told us about this site and we have love it ever since. I cannot recommend this site enough.

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Customer Questions & Answers

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Hello Robert, the sizes of all our trips varies quite a bit. If you can give us the program number or title we'd be glad to check and see how many participants can attend a certain program you'd like to attend. We are also available by email -- contact@roadscholar.org and by phone at 877-436-8056 during business hours Monday - Friday 8am - 9pm (EST). We hope to hear back from you soon!

By Road S., Road Scholar Representative
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