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Senior Travel Newsletter: nature, cruise, barging, volunteer vacations.
Senior travel newsletter: nature travel, educational, cultural, volunteer, cruise and barging vacations worldwide.
New stories, April 1, 2016 
TravelWatch: Senior Travel Newsletter.

What's on the Travel News Menu for YOU Today
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1. Gourmet cuisine travelers and readers who love active mountain adventures will love this Dolomites culinary holiday in northern Italy served up with hiking and biking options.
2. With remarkable success in northwest India and in Turkey, a volunteer service horseback riding operator is breaking new ground with service projects in a remote area of Ecuador’s Andean highlands and with an indigenous tribe in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest.
3. For people requiring wheelchairs or having slow walking challenges, accessible travel guru, Candy Harrington has unveiled a new travel guide highlighting accessible trails and lodging options in five of Utah’s amazing national parks.
4. On British Columbia’s central west coast, participants may explore the Great Bear Rainforest aboard a classic wooden schooner and learn about the land and ocean animals of the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world.
5. Travel scams are an increasing menace in a world where technology makes it easy to reach out to travelers looking for the best possible prices. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is, so arm yourself with a few tips!

Before planning your next adventure, you may compare accommodation alternatives with sites such as www.trivago.com or use their data base for further information about your destination and read traveler hotel reviews.

Check Travel Golf Guide. Play golf in Algarve.

Dining and Hiking Adventures in Northern Italy
Italy’s active leader in guided and self-guided mountain adventures, Dolomite Mountains Ltd has announced a six-day Stars of the Dolomites culinary holiday that combines haute cuisine, luxury hotels, hiking and optional biking through the spectacular narrow valleys of this cherished UNESCO World Heritage Site. These hiking adventures begin and conclude at the Venice (VCE) or Innsbruck (INN) airport.
Italian chefs posing on cliff in Italy's Dolomite Mountains.
Mountain chefs and their Italian dishes are a highlight of this adventure.
Activities are concentrated around Alta Badia and Cortina d’Ampezzo rife with Michelin star-rated restaurants and with exciting, safe opportunities to hike along a via ferrata. These are mountain paths often traversed by avid mountain climbers with chosen routes safe for less demanding recreational walkers thanks to permanent installations of climbing aids that lead to the most incredible views. Walkers are accompanied by a professionally certified mountain guide.
Hiking in Italy's Dolomite Mountains. Biking in Italy's Dolomite Mountains.
Left: Hiking opportunities are flexible and well paced. © Randy Braun
Right: Road biking in the Dolomites. Giuseppe Ghedina
Stars of the Dolomites can be arranged as a custom or private tour. This beyond-the-rainbow gourmet adventure is from €3540 (per person, minimum four), with a 5 percent high-season supplement from July 20-Aug. 31. Included are accommodations in two five-star hotels, daily breakfasts, a trip briefing and maps, guide services while hiking or biking, arrival and departure night dinners sandwiched between five-course gourmet dinners at three restaurants draped in Michelin stars, shuttle service and more.
Gourmet meals, including breakfast, are created by expert chefs who prepare only the freshest ingredients, including some local produce and wild game found in the region. Accommodations include credentials ranging from membership in the exclusive Relais & Chateaux to the Leading Hotels of the World.

In addition to hiking along the via ferrata, guests may choose to hike for up to six hours within the Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park, a high plateau in the South Tyrol’s Val de Fanes where the Romance language dialect, Ladin, is spoken. Here in a karstic limestone landscape are panoramas of the Marmolada Glacier and perhaps sightings of bear while hikers are enroute to lunch in a typical farm house or an evening at a mountain lodge.
Photo of Italian cuisine and local wines.
After a day in the outdoors, bruscheta and white wine are a great beginning to a gourmet meal.
Sud Tiron Marketing
Photo and video safari tour opportunities in Italy's Dolomite Mountains.
For 2016 information and reservations for all of the adventures from Dolomite Mountains visit their website. It is a local company in the Dolomites specializing in and providing unique experiences in adventure travel within one of the most beautiful natural settings on Earth. The top three countries from which clients come are the U.S.A., U.K, and Australia in that order with roughly 60% being 45 and over.
Images courtesy of Dolomite Mountains.
Amazing photo opportunities in the Dolomites are around every corner. Check out the company's specialty Dolomites photo & video safaris. © Randy Braun
Horseback Volunteer Vacations Ride into Ecuador!
Relief Riders International is offering a volunteer adventure ride in Ecuador's highlands.
Daily rides in the Andean highlands are
mainly in the páramo above the tree line.
Since 2004, Relief Riders International, www.reliefridersinternational.com, has helped over 18,700 people, including 12,000 children in Rajasthan, India and more in Cappadocia, Turkey. RRI Visionary and Executive Director, Alexander Souri, has just announced an exciting expansion of RRI’s mission with the launch of a new horse ride in Ecuador. He explains direct from the Andes:

“I am writing to you from an Andean village nestled between two volcanoes, after having completed a remarkable ten-day scouting adventure that took me from a small isolated village in the Ecuadorian Andes, down into the vibrant beauty of the Amazon rainforest.
“We are very excited to announce a new ride/travel experience scheduled this August that will have us ride through the stunning high Andes páramo plateau to the remote Quechua village of Piñan. From there we will journey without horses into the Amazon rainforest to spend time with an indigenous tribe.

“Working in conjunction with the Ecuadorian Red Cross, we will perform a two-day medical camp, offering gynecology, dentistry and CPR/Emergency Medical Training to the village of Piñan, which is so remote it only receives from the government one day of general medical care a year. In addition, we are also designing an educational program that will support the students of the village school.
Ecuador's Andean highlands are full of picturesque volcanoes.
Ecuador’s narrow highland valleys are
rimmed by picturesque volcanoes.
Dugout canoe transport in Ecuador's Amazon.
“After our visit in Piñan, we will ride down the mountain and then fly into the Amazon where we will spend five days with the Sàpara people, an indigenous tribe renowned for their encyclopedic plant knowledge and healing abilities. Our five-day immersion into the Amazon will give us the opportunity to canoe down the headwaters of the Amazon, and walk through the jungle with the Sàpara tribe, gaining first hand knowledge of the importance and value of the Amazon rainforest. In addition, we plan to deliver a medical camp offering dentistry and gynecology, as well as a clean water project for the Sàpara school.
Amazon navigation is most often carried out by dugout canoe.
“The ride/trip is scheduled from July 31 to August 12 starting from Quito, Ecuador. The ride fee will be from USD$6,400 to USD$6800. Seventy percent of RRI riders are over 50 and we get a fair number of riders in their mid to late 70’s. Riders have been drawn to both India and Turkey. Sadly, we have had to cancel our Turkish rides due to the conflict in Syria and now Turkey. We look forward to sharing more details of this Ecuador ride shortly, so please save the date for this remarkable adventure and let us know if you are interested in joining us.”

Click here to see RRI’s Rajasthan, India relief rides scheduled for November 2016 and February 2017.
Images courtesy of Relief Riders International.
Relief Riders International volunteer expedition in Ecuador.
Indigenous riders shelter while the rain passes.
New Access Guide Highlights Utah’s Magnificant National Parks
If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring Utah’s magnificent national parks, but thought the rugged landscape might be too much of a challenge because you use a wheelchair or get around a little slower, then pick up a copy of Barrier-Free Travel; Utah’s National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers and prepare to hit the road. Penned by accessible travel expert Candy Harrington, this new travel guide highlights accessible trails, sites, and lodging options in Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.
Barrier-Free Travel in Utah's National Parks by Candy B. Harrington.
Barrier-Free Travel; Utah National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers ($8.95,
ISBN: 978-0692661468) is available at www.BarrierFreeUtah.com
Filled with useful access information the book includes:

Sand colored dot.Details on Accessible Trails

Sand colored dot.Access Details and Photos of All In-Park Lodgings

Sand colored dot.An additional 23 Accessible Lodging Options Near the Parks

Sand colored dot.Details on Free Accessible Bus Tours

Sand colored dot.Information on Accessible Ranger-Led Tours

Sand colored dot.Barrier-Free Camping Information

Sand colored dot.Loaner Wheelchair Locations

Sand colored dot.Special Access Pass and Discount Information

Sand colored dot.Scenic Drives, Accessible Viewpoints and Windshield Views

Sand colored dot.Accessible Transportation in the Parks
The book also includes information about recent access improvements in the parks. “I’m really impressed with the access upgrades that have been added in these parks over the years,” says Harrington. “For example, in 2015 a beautiful five-mile long accessible multiuse trail was added in Bryce Canyon National Park, and the existing trail out to Double Arch in Arches National Park was upgraded.”

This inclusive book is the third in a series of accessible travel guides to popular destinations throughout the United States. “Although it’s written for wheelchair-users and slow walkers, moms who have stroller-aged kids will appreciate the access information in this guide,” Harrington points out. “In the end, good access really benefits everyone.”

Known as the guru of accessible travel, Candy Harrington has covered this niche exclusively for the past 20 years. She's the founding editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of several accessible travel titles, including the classic, Barrier-Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She also blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.BarrierFreeTravels.com.

In our publication's Travel Article Library, see another Candy Harrington tips article about selecting the right barrier-free accommodation. And see another geographically-spectacular article in our collection about Utah's Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.

Did you know? Seventy-five percent of all inflight arguments between adults are a result of economy passengers reclining their seats.

A Front Row Chance to Celebrate Protection of the Great Bear Rainforest
Russell Markel, Captain of Passing Cloud schooner and Founder of Outer Shores Expeditions, www.outershores.ca, has long had a front row seat to one of the most important conservation conflicts in Canadian history. That’s why he’s particularly delighted to be preparing for another season exploring British Columbia's land of the Spirit or Kermode bear with a series of 9-day sailing expeditions in the Summer and Fall of 2016.

As a marine ecologist and mariner who calls Canada’s Pacific Coast home, Markel has kept a close eye on the long process that has finally led to the protection of the planet’s largest intact temperate rainforest. With the March 1, 2016 passage of the Great Bear Rainforest Act which formalizes the protection of this globally significant area, the nearly 20-year push to conserve the region has now experienced its greatest victory.

Outer Shores Expeditions prepares for a new season exploring British Columbia's land of the Spirit Bear or Kermode bear and other exciting land and sea animals.
“There’s no doubt this season’s Great Bear Rainforest expeditions will have a celebratory feel to them,” says Markel. “Exploring this rainforest with the knowledge that it is now protected is going to be remarkable.”

Twenty-seven different First Nations call the area home, and they had to come together with the forest industry, environmental groups, and numerous government entities in order to create a sustainable future for this northern rainforest. Guests of Outer Shores Expeditions’ Great Bear Rainforest – Salmon, Bears, Whales & Wolves will gain a greater understanding of the region’s global significance such as the fact that it can store more carbon per hectare than any of the world’s tropical rainforests. Participants also have the privilege of discovering many of its greatest highlights with local First Nations guides.
Sail aboard Passing Cloud, a 70-foot classic wooden schooner with elegant design, fine accommodation, and remarkable sailing abilities.
Each priced at CAD$5,600 per person for nine days/eight nights, these expeditions are dedicated to observing, photographing, and learning about the ecosystems and iconic species of the region. Guests will view grizzly bears in mainland estuaries, visit bear viewing stands, explore salmon spawning streams and rivers as well as coastal estuaries, and encounter the abundant populations of whales, dolphins, sea lions, and sea otters of this exceptional region. As of April 1st, available Great Bear Rainforest cruise expedition dates are September 1 to 9 and September 19-27; and for a dedicated photography tour with wildlife photographer, James Thompson, September 28 to October 6.
For more than 10,000 years, the Great Bear Rainforest has supported the indigenous cultures of at least 27 First Nations.
Outer Shores Expeditions offers multi-day wildlife and cultural expeditions that are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Guided by a crew of professional mariners and expert naturalists, small groups of 6 to 8 guests explore, experience, and learn about the stunning wildlife and ancient cultures of coastal British Columbia while living and traveling aboard the 70-foot classic wooden schooner Passing Cloud. Outer Shores fosters stewardship and supports conservation-based research in the areas where it cruises. It is a certified Carbon Neutral company, Green Tourism Gold verified, and a proud recipient of the 2015 Canadian Tourism Award for 'Sustainable Tourism' and the 2015 Tourism Vancouver Island 'Tourism Sustainability Award'.
Images courtesy of Outer Shores Expeditions.
Captain Russell Markel has spent his life and career as a marine ecologist researching and exploring the British Columbia coast.
Travelers are a Favorite Target of Scammers
Clip art graphic of man presenting ticket at airport.It seems that travel, increasing use of technology and scams go hand in hand in hand! The British Travel Association (ABTA) is reminding consumers about the risks of booking their flights and holidays on fake websites, after seeing an increase in the number of vacationers reporting fraudulent travel-related websites.

The growth of holidays and flights available on the internet has provided a wealth of opportunities for the traveling public but it has also provided opportunities for fraudsters. For the small expense of setting up a website, unscrupulous scammers are ripping off members of the public for large sums of money.

ABTA has put together a list of warning signs that you may be entering scammer territory. A combination of these signs could well be an indication that the website you’re looking at is not legitimate.
Do your homework before you book:
Clip art graphic of man sitting in airport lounge.Yellow checkmark.Are the flight or holiday prices considerably cheaper than competitors? This could be a sign that something is not right. Do some internet research to see if there are negative reports shared by other travelers or warnings from travel associations before you book.

Yellow checkmark.Are there low resolution, “fuzzy” logos for listed travel trade affiliations and credit card companies?

Yellow checkmark.Is the only payment option a bank transfer? Not only is this likely an indication that no bank is prepared to provide credit card facilities, but if you are dealing with a scammer it will be virtually impossible to get your money back on any transaction you make.

Yellow checkmark.Are you being constantly “fobbed off” when you ask for your tickets? Again it is usually too late to get a refund at this stage. However, at least you can follow up on the booking independently to confirm whether your anticipated vacation is waiting for you before you get the ultimate nasty surprise when you arrive at the airport or at your destination’s accommodation.

Do you have a travel scam warning sign that you would like to share with other readers? If so, email it to the editor: alison@travelwithachanllenge.com. Have you ever been the victim of a travel scam? We'd like to hear about that too.


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