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oct 08 2009

Elderhostel changes its name to appeal to the under-50 crowd

(Courtesy Exploritas)

What's in a name? Well, a lot, especially if you're Elderhostel. The popular Boston-based tour company just changed its name to Exploritas, in the hopes of attracting more travelers. The company will continue to sell nearly 8,000 tours in 50 states and 90 countries, all with an educational bent.

The new moniker (pronounced ek splÔR i tahs) comes with a few other improvements, including more domestic itineraries in 2010 and a social networking tool on the company website. But the biggest difference is a drop in the age requirement, from 55 to 21. The goal is to attract more people in their 40s and 50s. Chief executive James Moses admits that Exploritas isn't likely to win over many twentysomethings.

Elderhostel had 155,000 travelers sign up last year, a drop of 40 percent from a decade ago, reports the Wall Street Journal. So the time is ripe for change. The tour concept got its start in 1975, expanding steadily over time.

The budget minded may balk at some of the Exploritas tours. A case in point is Patagonia: Hiking at the End of the Earth, where the picture shown in this blog post was taken. This two-week tour starts at a whopping $5,190 per person and includes accommodations, most meals, and guided hiking trips with local experts.

Looking for something closer to home? This 10-night itinerary in Utah starts at $1,528 and includes visits to Zion, Bryce, and Arches national parks and Lake Powell, all with a focus on geology. (Based on double occupancy.)

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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