Road Scholar Senior Solo Travel Report Uncovers Trend: Married Women Traveling Solo

A survey by Road Scholar on trends in solo travel finds a surprising percentage, 60 percent, of its solo travelers in 2022 are married but traveling without their spouse.

Boston, Mass. –  Road Scholar, a world leader in educational travel for older adults, has released a report on trends in solo travel that finds a surprising percentage, 60 percent, of its solo travelers in 2022 are married but traveling without their spouse.

Further, 27% of married women surveyed have never traveled with a spouse on a Road Scholar program. When asked why they travel without their spouses, 42% of women surveyed said their spouse isn’t interested in traveling and 40% said they have different interests when it comes to travel.

“I cherish my time to explore and do what I want on my timetable,” says Road Scholar solo traveler Marcia Henderson, 66. “I like to walk, hike, etc. He has knee issues and doesn’t share my passion for nature, culture, and history. It would be an atrocity to not travel just because my spouse doesn’t like it. This is my passion, and he is supportive as I support his golfing.”

Road Scholar compiled data for this study from the community of 80-100,000 adults over 50 who travel with them each year, including a survey conducted earlier this year. They report that nearly 70% of their travelers are women. Compare that to the overall population breakdown in the U.S.- 58% of Americans 65 and older are women- and this suggests that women are generally more likely to travel in their later years.

There are also far more female solo travelers than male solo travelers among older adults: Road Scholar reports that 85% of their solo travelers are women. They gathered data from outside sources to suggest some reasons why so many more women are traveling solo than men, pointing out that nearly half of women over 65 in the U.S. are unpartnered, that there are far more widowed women than widowed men, and that the divorce rate is highest among older Americans and on the rise. But their finding that so many of their solo female travelers are married tells an intriguing story about the behaviors of Baby Boomer women versus men.

“I think this trend is really a mark of the population that we’re serving currently,” says Road Scholar’s PR Director Kelsey Knoedler Perri. “Two-thirds of our participants now are Boomers, and Boomer women are so much more independent than their mothers and grandmothers. It would have been far more unheard of for previous generations of women to be traveling the world without their spouses. And society has shifted to ‘allow’ older women the freedom to do it.”

Perhaps because of the increase in independence among Boomer women, Road Scholar has been seeing a steady increase in solo travel over the past 10 years. As a response to this increasing demand, they shared the exclusive news that they are developing a collection of programs for solo travelers, which they plan to debut in 2024, with departures starting in 2025.

Road Scholar is a world leader in educational travel for boomers and beyond. This not-for-profit organization was founded as Elderhostel in 1975 and has served more than 6 million lifelong learners over the past 50 years. With educational adventures hosted by expert faculty in nearly 100 countries and throughout the United States, Road Scholar truly is a university of the world. Learn more at

Read Road Scholar’s full study on senior solo travel here, and find their programs for solos here.

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Early Bird Registration for TD Five Boro Bike Tour Jan. 3-13

The TD Five Boro Bike Tour is largest charity ride in the world, with some 32,000 who thrill to bike 40 miles of New York City streets turned into car-free bike lanes while supporting Bike New York’s mission to transform the city through cycling © Karen Rubin/

Registration is opening Jan. 3 for early bird fees for Bike New York’s Five Boro Bike Tour taking place May 5, 2024. Regular fees go into effect Jan. 14.

The TD Five Boro Bike Tour is largest charity ride in the world, with some 32,000 who thrill to bike 40 miles of New York City streets turned into car-free bike lanes while supporting Bike New York’s mission to transform the city through cycling.

Standard (Adult & Youth) Early Bird Pricing:

Standard registration for adults and youths costs $134 (plus processing fees), $29 of which is a tax-deductible charitable donation to Bike New York to help fund free bike education, advocacy, and community outreach programming. Standard registration includes:

  • Rider Identification Kit (helmet cover, bib & bike plate) – this is your key to enter and participate in the Tour
  • Snacks and entertainment at rest areas along the route
  • Fully supported route with additional water stops
  • Access to free bike repair along the route provided by Trek
  • Access to SAG (Support and Gear) vehicles
  • Entry to the Finish Festival on Staten Island
  • Special edition finisher medal
  • Digital finisher certificate

Note: Early bird pricing ends at 11:59PM on Saturday, January 13.

Standard pricing, effective Sunday, January 14: $139.00

Bike New York Member Early Bird Pricing:

Bike New York Members get early bird pricing too: $134 (plus processing fees), $29 of which is a tax-deductible charitable donation to Bike New York to help fund free bike education, advocacy, and community outreach programming.

If you aren’t a Member yet, you may purchase a membership during registration.

Bike New York Member registration includes:

  • All standard registration perks
  • Guaranteed placement in Wave 1 Standard wave
  • All the other benefits of being a Bike New Yorker!

Note: Early bird pricing ends at 11:59PM on Saturday, January 13.

Member pricing, effective Sunday, January 14: $139

VIP (Adult & Youth)

VIP registration for adults and youths costs $400 (plus processing fees), $84 of which is a tax-deductible charitable donation to Bike New York to help fund free bike education, advocacy, and community outreach programming. VIP registration includes:

  • All standard registration perks
  • Guaranteed placement in the first start wave
  • Choice of two limited-edition TD Five Boro Bike Tour jerseys produced by Primal Wear
  • Custom, limited-edition Tour-branded Manhattan Portage bag
  • Breakfast and entertainment at the Start
  • Timed climb over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge
  • Access to exclusive VIP lounge and gourmet lunch at the Finish Festival


The cost of charity registration depends on your selected charity. Charity registration includes:

  • All standard registration perks
  • Guaranteed placement in the first start wave
  • Breakfast at the Start
  • Lunch at the Finish Festival
  • The satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped further the cause of Bike New York and your chosen charity
  • Whatever other perks are offered by your selected charity

To get started, visit

More information at, [email protected]



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GeoCultura Unveils New Lineup of Tours for Curious Travelers for 2024

GeoCultura’s Irelands Wild Atlantic Way Tour traces the route to the Cliffs of Moher.

With the promise of new beginnings and a new year, GeoCultura has unveiled its fascinating lineup of expert-led small-group tours for the curious traveler in 2024. Offering discovery and immersion, these tours promise an enriching exploration of the world’s most fascinating landscapes, guided by experts in local geology, history, and culture, while staying in deluxe accommodations and centuries-old inns and experiencing culinary handpicked restaurants. 

Treasures of Southern England: London, Bath, and the Jurassic Coast Embark on a character-packed journey through Southern England’s most striking places with the Treasures of Southern England tour. Uncover the layers of history in Bath, wander the world’s largest prehistoric stone circle at Avebury Ring, and explore the fossil-rich Jurassic Coast. Peek behind the scenes of historic abbeys and cathedrals. Dates: May 6 – May 11, and September 15 – September 20. (Treasures of Southern England: London , Bath and the Jurassic Coast)

Journey to the Misty Isle: Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye Immerse yourself in the legends, landscapes, and rich history of Scotland on this exhilarating tour. Travel from Edinburgh to Inverness, then over the sea to the enchanting Isle of Skye.  Explore dramatic lochs and whisky distilleries. Live the stories and traditions of Scotland in the company of local guides. Dates: April 29 – May 5 and August 8 – August 14. (Journey to the Misty Isle: Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye) 

Scotland and the Isle of Skye: Landscapes and Photography Tour is geared for photography enthusiasts to capture the incredible mountains, lochs, and coastlines of the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands. Join award-winning professional photographer Alex Hare on a small group tour, where, you’ll gain technical and creative tips, tailored to all skill levels, and learn the ‘read’ the landscapes. Dates: Sept 17- Sept 23 (Scotland and the Isle of Skye: Landscapes and Photography Tour) 

Irelands Wild Atlantic Way Tour is a captivating seven-day journey along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, tracing the route from Galway Bay to the Cliffs of Moher. Delve into the rich tapestry of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, guided by experts who unravel the deep-time origins of West Ireland. Explore renowned landmarks, traverse the geopark’s highest peaks, and sail to an Iron Age fort on the Aran Islands. The Wild Honey Inn in the Burren Geopark offers a Michelin-starred experience but as the Chef Patron says: “where the service is proper, whilst having a relaxed and unfussy feel, and what’s on your plate depends on the seasons. Over four days, discover the geopark’s geological and cultural evolution, visiting landmarks like Dun Aonghasa, Poulnabrone Dolmen, and the iconic Cliffs of Moher. September 1-7, 2024 (Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

GeoCultura’s small group tours range from two nights and three days to six nights and seven days, and every tour is filled with stories that show how the earth, the land, and the people connect to bring us to where we are today. GeoCultura offers this new and exciting approach with trips to explore the world’s most important landscapes and geology and to hear fascinating stories linking them to local history. The tours have the benefit of being led by expert earth scientists working together with local historians and regional tourist guides. The aim is to immerse participants in the local culture and its origins, as well as enjoying the local cuisine. The tours provide an irresistible combination of awe-inspiring scenery, great company, and superb guides.

 GeoCultura can also customize fully guided, partially guided, or self-guided trips with just friends, family, or colleagues. 

Additional information can be found at, Call: +44 2081 451011 or +1 713 400 6326.

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Kanazawa Japan: Center for Ski Spa, Gold Leaf Art

Kanazawa, which means “gold marsh,” has long been hailed as the pinnacle of gold leaf production dating back centuries. Tiffany & Company Japan, in partnership with the World Monuments Foundation continues their journey to foster preservation of Kanazawa’s celebrated gold leaf art scene

Japan’s Kanazawa region has the distinction of being both a center for Ski Spa, as well as ancient gold leaf art.

The Ski Spa concept is red hot in Japan’s Kanazawa region with travelers from around the world hitting the slopes and the thermal soothing waters for well deserved relaxation and healing properties. This region in the southern part of Ishikawa is defined by its geothermal hot springs, renowned for their healing powers that are said to improve digestion, skin conditions and muscle pain. Ski resorts on the outskirts of Kanazawa have become wildly popular not only due to their proximity to this artful, culturally immersive city but also due to the impressive hybrid experience of thrilling skiing plus soothing spa relaxation in incredibly unique settings. Notable areas include:

*Hakusan Ichirino Ski Resort: The largest slope in Ishikawa with easy access from Kanazawa, equipped with ski school and full rentals, traditional style ryokan for overnights and a selection of onsen baths for public or private usage including Japanese cypress bathing room and stone open-air hot spring, soothing scenario after a full day of skiing or snowboarding. The gondola ride is a special highlight, providing a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding mountains

*Kawachisenjo Onsen Kanazawa Seymour Resort: 3 lifts suitable for intermediate and advanced levels, 2395 ft of vertical range and 7 trails plus onsen baths avvailable for public or private usage.

Tiffany & Co. Japan partners with World Monuments Foundation to Foster Kanazawa’s Gold Leaf Art

Kanazawa is also a center for arts

Tiffany & Company Japan, in partnership with the World Monuments Foundation continues their journey to foster preservation of Kanazawa’s celebrated gold leaf art scene with a fresh 3 year initiative that focuses on maintaining the art and passing it on to future generations. The iconic brand proudly launched the “Kanazawa Entsuke Gold Leaf Manufacturing” training program for craftsman with a view to passing this intricate technique on to the next generation of artisans. The average age of celebrated craftsman is 70, hence the overarching goal to focus on preservation and education to emerging younger artisans.

Kanazawa, whose translation means “gold marsh” has long been hailed as the pinnacle of gold leaf production dating back centuries. Today, artisans continue to create exquisite blends that are highly labor intensive, using only the finest material and locally sourced materials. The Ensuke technique refers to framed pieces that are derived from a special gold-beating process to transform the leaf to wafer-thin paper sheets that are down to 1/10th of a millimeter. The painstakingly arduous process of maintaining them intact is an art unto itself, and the sheets are then either bound together for books or used as exquisite décor for lacquerware, statues and shrines.

Tiffany & Co.’s new initiative is centered around the preservation of this traditional craft as was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2020. Together in partnership with Kanazawa City, the Ishikawa Prefecture, the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Kanazawa Gold Leaf Traditional Techniques Production Society, 8 hand-selected skilled trainees who have gone through rigorous apprenticeship will continue to be guided.

The Tiffany Foundation has long been an avid supporter of WMF’s projects in Japan centered around restoration and preservation of traditional techniques that carry its heritage stories forward.

For more information Ishikawa’s tourism opportunities, visit

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First Phase of 34-Mile Adirondack Rail Trail Completed

Construction on the first phase of the Adirondack Rail Trail, 10 miles of what will be a 34-mile, multi-use recreational corridor for outdoor adventurers between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, has been completed © Karen Rubin/

Construction on the first phase of the Adirondack Rail Trail, 10 miles of what will be a 34-mile, multi-use recreational corridor for outdoor adventurers between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, has been completed, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced.

The first of three construction phases converted the former railbed along the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment of the corridor into a world-class shared-use path that when complete, will be open all year, free of charge, for hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers and snowmobile enthusiasts. 

To protect public safety, access to the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment was restricted during active construction. The public is now allowed in this segment of the corridor; snowmobile access through the entire 34-mile Adirondack Rail Trail begins on Dec. 10, 2023.

“The Adirondacks provide some of the most beautiful natural landscapes and resources in the world alongside scenic communities ready to welcome visitors,” Governor Hochul said“Today’s milestone is a step towards realizing the vision of the Adirondack Rail Trail and I look forward to the project’s ongoing progress that will bring year-round enjoyment to Rail Trail users and boost local economies.”

Upon completion of all three phases of construction, the Adirondack Rail Trail will connect the communities of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. The route will provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the unique charm and amenities of each community while providing access to miles of breathtaking trails, numerous campsites and abundant waterways in the Forest Preserve lands adjacent to the corridor. Along the Rail Trail, interpretive signage will help visitors learn about the history of the railway, cultures of adjacent communities and surrounding lands and waters.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of General Services (OGS) awarded Kubricky Construction Corp. of Wilton, Saratoga County, the $7.9-million contract for the first phase of construction. The contract is funded by NY Works, with an additional $225,000 supported by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund for construction oversight and inspections. The first phase of construction began at Station Street in Lake Placid, just west of the Lake Placid Depot, and ended just past the Saranac Lake Depot near the intersection of Cedar Street and Route 86, totaling 9.9 miles. In October, DEC announced a Request for Information (RFI) to submit ideas and plans for use and public access to the historic Saranac Lake Depot building on the Adirondack Rail Trail in the village of Saranac Lake. DEC is reviewing submissions before issuing a formal Request for Proposals. The RFI closed to public submissions on Nov. 3, 2023.

“The Adirondack Rail Trail is well on its way to becoming a prime destination in the Adirondacks, connecting New Yorkers to nature and attracting visitors to the region’s wide-ranging, multi-seasonal opportunities for recreation,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Today’s milestone marks the completion of the first phase of the Rail Trail’s construction and an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the sustained efforts of the State, federal, Indian Nation, and local partners working together advance this regional asset from concept to reality.”

The initial phase of construction also included work on expanded parking options in Tupper Lake and the removal of additional rails around the Saranac Lake Depot. Construction of the second phase of the trail, including the Saranac Lake to Floodwood segment, began in 2023 and will pause for the winter. This phase is expected to be completed in late 2024. The final phase of construction from Floodwood to Tupper Lake is expected to begin in 2024, pause for winter and conclude in 2025. The Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake trail segments were open to interim recreation throughout the first phase of construction. OGS will continue to oversee trail design and construction throughout all three phases.

The project is part of DEC’s strategic investments through the Adventure NY Initiative to enhance public access to State lands and facilities and connect people with nature and the outdoors. The trail is designed to be accessible by people of all abilities to the maximum extent practicable. Most of the trail surface will consist of compacted crushed stone. The trail will be paved in select areas within the village of Saranac Lake and on small sections of trail over bridges. 

Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said,“The OGS team is proud to have worked in partnership with the DEC and DOT to fulfill Governor Hochul’s commitment to creating a recreational rail trail that would allow residents and visitors to experience the scenic Adirondacks and its local communities with ease. As we celebrate the completion of the trail’s first phase today, we also stand committed to fully realizing the Governor’s vision of a world-class, multiple-use, year-round, and accessible trail connecting Lake Placid to Tupper Lake.”

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The New York State Department of Transportation is proud of the role we played in the beginning phases of construction on the Adirondack Rail Trail, clearing old tracks and laying the foundation for a new chapter of recreation in the Adirondack Park. This multi-purpose trail will allow residents and tourists alike to enjoy the natural beauty and majesty of the Adirondacks year-round in a sustainable way. Thank you to Governor Hochul and our partners at DEC and OGS for supporting this project from the beginning and for the work that went into making this first phase of the Adirondack Rail Trail a reality.”

“Completion of the first phase of the Adirondack Rail Trail is welcome news for our region. Investments and enhancements such as this are crucial to helping our region continue to develop,” State Senator Dan Stec said. “Once all three phases are completed, the trail will be a vital part of the North Country economy and provide another unique outdoor recreational activity for residents and visitors alike.”

“The Adirondack Rail Trail is a testament to New York’s commitment in showcasing how we can maintain the pristine character of our natural environmental resources while developing the capacity of them to serve as world class outdoor recreational assets,” Assemblymember Matthew Simpson said. “With the Stage 1 now complete, the reality of this vision coming to fruition is cause for true celebration. I applaud Governor Hochul and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos for their ongoing support of this project and offer a tip of the cap to the men and women who had a hand in the physical construction of this great project.”

Work to transform the trail started in October 2020 when the State Department of Transportation (DOT) worked to remove rail infrastructure from the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment of the corridor. In March 2022, DEC and DOT announced the transfer of jurisdiction to DEC, marking the formal completion of the rail removal phase and the start of the formal trail design and construction phase. With the transfer of jurisdiction, DEC assumed management of public safety and recreational activities, as well as maintenance, along this segment of the corridor. 

Upon completion of construction, DEC will assume day-to-day management of the trail, working closely with stakeholders and municipalities. Up-to-date information on corridor conditions, phases of construction, guidance on interim recreation, and a public use map are available on DEC’s Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor webpage. Additional details about the 2020 Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan Amendment/Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement are also available on DEC’s website.

More information at

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Steeped Coffee Wins USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Gift for Outdoor Adventurers

You can enjoy the convenience, luxury and sustainability of fine coffee on a camping trip with Steeped Coffee, which won USA Today honors as Best Gift for Outdoor Adventurers  © Karen Rubin/

Santa Cruz, California – Steeped Coffee(R), the innovator behind the SteepedTM Brew Bag Method, was named USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Award recipient for Best Gift for Outdoor Adventurers. This prestigious award from one of the nation’s leading news platforms celebrates Steeped Coffee’s commitment to quality, convenience, and sustainability, making it the perfect accessory for outdoor enthusiasts.

The nominees for Best Gift for Outdoor Adventurers were submitted by a panel of experts and then selected by USA TODAY’s 10Best editors before being shortlisted for voting by the public. Of the 20 nominees, Steeped Coffee was voted #1 by consumers who recognized Steeped Coffee’s outstanding contribution to the outdoor experience.

Steeped Coffee’s innovation lies in its SteepedTM Brew Bag Method – a simple, yet elegant brewing solution similar to brewing tea, providing outdoor adventurers with delicious specialty coffee without the need for heavy brewing equipment. Each brew bag is filled with meticulously sourced, craft-roasted beans that are precision-ground and triple nitro-sealed for unbeatable freshness and superior flavor. With the entire packaging – both the inner brew bags and the outer packs – being commercially compostable, adventurers can enjoy the highest-quality coffee while leaving no trace behind.

“We are beyond thrilled to be chosen by USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Award as the Best Gift for Outdoor Adventurers,” said Josh Wilbur, CEO and Founder of Steeped Coffee. “Our mission has always been to provide a simple, yet exceptional coffee experience that aligns with the adventurous lifestyles of our customers, without compromising the planet. This recognition is a testament to our efforts and the perfect indicator that our game-changing brew method is hitting the mark.”

The best-selling variety pack, The Lineup, offers outdoor and coffee enthusiasts a collection of Steeped Coffee’s most popular roasts, ensuring that every preference is catered to, even in the wilderness. The Lineup features the following roasts:

  • Sunrise Blend: A signature light roast with vibrant notes of toffee, cocoa nib, and lemon-lime
  • California Blend: A classically-inspired medium roast with hints of roasted nuts and chocolate
  • Odyssey Blend: A robust dark roast with savory and earthy undertones
  • Breakwater Blend: A full-bodied French roast with subtle sweetness and smoky notes

Buy directly from the site ( where you can take advantage of 15% off holiday discount (code Coffee15), or on Amazon.

Based in Santa Cruz, California, Steeped Coffee is a Certified B Corp and Benefit Corporation helping to make great-tasting craft coffee more accessible, more ethical, and more sustainable through its patent-pending SteepedTM Brew Bag Method. The proprietary method brews coffee similarly to tea in pre-portioned compostable coffee bags, allowing coffee lovers to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee anytime, anywhere. Licensed to over 500 of the top specialty roasters around the globe, the SteepedTM Brew Bag Method is the easiest way to make a perfect cup of coffee by simply adding water without pods, plugs, or expensive equipment.

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Nature Lovers Converge on Southwest Illinois’ Great Rivers and Routes Region for Eagle Season

A mature Bald Eagle dropping down to start a fishing run at L&D #14, LeClaire IA.

As cold descends upon the Midwest, Southwest Illinois, the Great Rivers & Routes region draws nature-lovers from all over the country to catch awe-inspiring eagle sightings along the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River for what is the largest concentration of bald eagles in the country.

This January, thousands (of humans) will flock to the Great River Road to get a glimpse of the winged beasts. Adult eagles have a 7-8′ wingspan and love fishing in the Mississippi, providing hours of free entertainment.

Eagle Season

View a majestic American Bald Eagle up close at the Alton Eagle Ice Festival on January 6. Head to FLOCK Food Truck Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a free Eagle Meet & Greet and a chance to get your picture taken with America’s national animal!

The Eagle Ice Festival will also include: eagle-watching shuttle tours (departing from the Alton Visitor’s Center); food trucks; drinks available from the FLOCK bar; DJ tunes; live ice carvers from Ice Visions; Eagle Fest Beer from Old Bakery Beer Company; fire pits with s’mores kits for sale; and face painting for kids.

The National Great Rivers Museum will also be offering a number of free family-friendly activities on January 6. Stop by the theater for talks by eagle experts and to watch eagle film showings. Look through spotting scopes for a chance to view an eagle nest. Make and take your own eagle craft — an eagle head wrap!

Those seeking to see more beautiful birds of prey can stop by the Audubon Center at Riverlands across the Mississippi from Alton to view birds like eagles and owls on live display from the TreeHouse Wildlife Center. Enjoy guided bird hikes, eagle crafts and firepits with s’mores kits available on January 6.

The Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower will be open all day on January 6 for tours to see American Bald Eagles from 50, 100 and 150 feet high. There will also be a Birds of Winter educational session featuring local raptors from TreeHouse Wildlife Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is required for Tower tours but the Birds of Winter exhibit is free.

Check out these other activities:

The Great Rivers and Routes region is the only place where the Mother Road of Route 66 meets the Great River Road. The region celebrates three of the nation’s great rivers (the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois) alongside famous roads, history and small town charm.

Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau,  certified by the Illinois Office of Tourism, is a destination marketing organization which represents Madison, Macoupin, Montgomery, Jersey, Calhoun and Greene counties, and the City of East St. Louis in St. Clair County in southwest Illinois. Founded in 1985 as the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, the bureau transitioned to Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau in 2018 as the size and scope of the organization grew.

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The Best Chance to Lock in Space on a 2025 Grand Canyon Raft Trip is Now

Western River’s reservations team has opened reservations for river rafting itineraries in the Grand Canyon that begin in 2025 as early as April and continue through September.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT– The scramble for seats on the world’s most coveted river rafting vacations in the Grand Canyon begins on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. Mountain Time (5 p.m. Pacific, 7 p.m. Central and 8 p.m. Eastern), Western River Expeditions announced.
This annual event attract adventure lovers from around the country and around the world, who yearn to bag a seat on a coveted river rafting expedition through Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
“On Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. we’ll be taking reservations online, and at 9 am on Nov. 29, Western River’s reservations team will be available to take calls for river rafting itineraries that begin in 2025 as early as April and continue through the month of September,” explains Brandon Lake, co-owner and company CMO. “We encourage anyone interested to visit and join our email list for updates and reminders.”
This is the widely anticipated opportunity to secure reservations now for what many rafting aficionados consider one of the world’s ultimate river rafting experiences. These early bird booking dates are expected to secure reservations for up to 90 percent of Western River Expeditions’ 2025 Grand Canyon vacations inventory. Historically demand outpaces supply, and within hours of the reservation window opening, many departures are sold out. For trip details, please see visit Western’s Grand Canyon Rafting page.
“People ask us why we are taking reservations now for 2025; why not just focus on 2024?” says Lake. “Due to these high-demand trips, we must look two years ahead. Western’s 6- and 7-Day Grand Canyon trips for 2024 are sold out, and space is very limited in the upcoming season for shorter departures of 3 and 4 days. Travelers interested in possibly rafting the canyon in 2024 are still urged to call Western’s sales office. Because people book so far in advance, cancellations do happen. Getting your name on the waitlist is advised.”
The river rafting season on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon runs from April into September. The longer 6- and 7-day trips with the thrills of class III-V rapids are open to guests as young as 12. The minimum age is nine for 3- and 4-day trips that come with class II-III rapids. Western’s exclusive J-Rig raft provides accessibility for all levels of rafters on even the largest whitewater rapids in the Grand Canyon. Rafting trips include plenty of hiking in side canyons that allow access to waterfalls, slot canyons, native ruins, rock art, and geologic wonders that the 5 million or so casual hikers from the rim will simply never see.
For details on the trips, Western River Expeditions offers complimentary Expedition Guides in PDF format ( The comprehensive guides include river maps, overviews, full itineraries, camping and weather information, details on physical requirements, packing lists, and more.
Grand Canyon trips are always in high demand and fill quickly. To protect the Canyon and maximize one’s enjoyment of nature, the National Park Service closely regulates the number of rafting participants traveling through the Grand Canyon each year, creating space limitations and a scramble for reservations. 
For those who are flexible and perhaps miss the boat on Grand Canyon reservations, two lesser-known options to rafting the Grand Canyon include a four-day trip through Cataract Canyon, often referred to as the “The Grand Canyon’s Younger Sister”.
“Utah’s Cataract Canyon, located deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to the Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic one will find in the Grand herself. Just a short distance upstream on the Colorado River System, this is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” explains Lake.
“If you’re planning to travel with kids, an option that families often enjoy even more than Grand Canyon is a spectacular five-day family-oriented journey down Desolation Canyon on the Green River in Utah. This is a mellower but equally breathtaking rafting experience. Like Cataract, it also departs from Moab, Utah, and because it is lesser known, it has good availability for 2024,” he adds. 

Preview 2025 Grand Canyon dates & rates here

To access Grand Canyon reservations or obtain a copy of Western River Expeditions’ annual catalog, call toll-free: 866-904-1160 (Local: 801-942-6669) or visit the website at:

Also, there is still limited availability on select departures in the Grand Canyon as well as some unforgettable experiences in UtahIdaho, and Oregon. See them all at
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (
Western River Expeditions was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. In 2023 the operator was chosen by the readers of USA Today 10 Best as the #2 rafting company in the nation. The company is also the recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past 19 consecutive years (2004-2022).

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Hotels Poised for Strong Holiday Season Powered by Uptick in Business Travel

Hotels continue hiring spree to meet demand, ask Congress for help with more workers

New York City’s Hotel Peninsula decked out for the holidays. The business outlook for hotels remains strong for the remainder of 2023 thanks to an uptick in business travel and a healthy preference among business and leisure travelers to stay in hotels, the AHLA forecasts © Karen Rubin/

WASHINGTON (Nov. 16, 2023) – The business outlook for hotels remains strong for the remainder of 2023 thanks to an uptick in business travel and a healthy preference among business and leisure travelers to stay in hotels.

According to a survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and conducted by Morning Consult, 68% of Americans whose jobs involve travel said they were likely to travel overnight for business during the last three months of 2023, up from 59% in 2022. Hotels are the top lodging choice for 81% of business travelers surveyed.

The survey found that 32% of Americans are likely to travel overnight for Thanksgiving, up from 28% a year earlier, while 34% are likely to travel overnight for Christmas, up from 31% last year. Meanwhile, 37% of Americans said they were likely to travel overnight for leisure during the last three months of 2023, down slightly from 39% in 2022.

The survey also found that travel attitudes have largely returned to pre-pandemic norms. 71% of Americans now say their likelihood of staying in hotels is the same as prior to the pandemic, and nearly 70% of business travelers say their employers have either returned to the pre-pandemic normal or increased amounts of business travel. This is good news for hoteliers, as business travel is one of hotels’ main sources of revenue.

The survey of 4,006 adults was conducted Sept. 18-23, 2023.

Other key findings:

  • 45% of Americans said they are more likely to stay in a hotel this holiday season than they were last year. 
  • 44% of Americans said they are likely to take more leisure/vacation trips this holiday season than they did last year.
  • 59% of those planning to travel overnight for Thanksgiving plan to stay with family or friends, while 30% plan to stay at a hotel.
  • 62% of those planning to travel overnight for Christmas plan to stay with family or friends, while 26% plan to stay at a hotel.

“Hotels are going above and beyond to take excellent care of guests as travel approaches pre-COVID levels, and this survey underscores that fact,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “America’s nearly 62,500 hotels are a bright spot for the nation’s economy. To continue growing, they need to hire more people, but a nationwide shortage of workers is preventing hotels from regaining all the jobs we lost to the pandemic. There are a number of steps Congress can take to help address our industry’s workforce challenges. Those include establishing an H-2B returning worker exemption, passing the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act, and passing the H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act.”

More hotel industry facts:

According to Indeed, there are nearly 85,000 hotel jobs currently open across the nation.

As of September, the United States had 9.6 million job openings, but only 6.4 million unemployed people to fill them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As of September, national average hotel wages were $23.36/hour.

Since the pandemic, average hotel wages (+24.6%) have increased more than 30% faster than average wages throughout the general economy (+18.8%).

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Governor Hochul Marks Milestone of 100,000 Low- and No-Cost Broadway, Off-Broadway Tickets Sold Under NYC Musical & Theatrical Production Tax Credit

More than 100,000 low- or no-cost tickets have been made available by Broadway and Off-Broadway productions participating in the NYC Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit. The deeply discounted tickets, which can be as little as $20, were sold to members of the community who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience a Broadway or Off-Broadway show. There are over 90 plays and musicals participating in the program that represent at least $1.7 billion in spending and more than 11,000 hires. © Karen Rubin/

More than 100,000 low- or no-cost tickets have been made available by Broadway and Off-Broadway productions participating in the NYC Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit. The deeply discounted tickets, which can be as little as $20, were sold to members of the community who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience a Broadway or Off-Broadway show. There are over 90 plays and musicals participating in the program that represent at least $1.7 billion in spending and more than 11,000 hires.

“New York is hitting a blockbuster milestone, with top Broadway and Off-Broadway productions making more than 100,000 discounted tickets available to New Yorkers,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Broadway is central to New York’s identity as a global hub for arts and culture, and my Administration will continue supporting this industry through the transformative New York City Musical & Theatrical Production Tax Credit.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The arts in New York State, especially our Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, are one of our biggest assets, and one that every New Yorker should be able to experience. Today, we give our regards to Broadway, and the partnerships that have allowed us to reach this exciting milestone.”

Under the NYC Musical & Theatrical Production Tax Credit, Broadway and Off-Broadway productions are required to create and implement a plan to ensure that their production is available and accessible for low-or no-cost to low-income New Yorkers. Productions may work directly with the State to identify community-based organizations or educational institutions serving low-income residents in the New York City, Long Island and Mid-Hudson regions to distribute tickets or work with a third-party partner, such as the Theatre Development Fund, which in turn provides low- or no-cost tickets to students, veterans, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and other groups.

In addition to making tickets more accessible, productions participating in the program are required to participate in a New York State-approved diversity and arts job training program. Productions may work with pre-approved formalized fellowship programs from The Theatre Leadership Project or the Black Theatre Coalition or create a self-operated fellowship program for individuals from diverse backgrounds to learn to work in the theater industry. Through this requirement, 75 fellows from underrepresented communities have been employed on productions.

As part of the FY 2024 New York State Budget, Governor Hochul secured a major expansion of the New York City Musical & Theatrical Tax Credit program to include Off-Broadway productions, which are major contributors to New York’s live entertainment economy.

Governor Hochul remains committed to supporting New York’s performing arts sector – a critical part of economic and cultural life in New York and a key driver of tourism across the state. Over the past year, Governor Hochul has awarded nearly $210 million in grants for non-profit cultural organizations through the New York State Council for the Arts thanks to unprecedented funding secured in the State budget. Since April, Governor Hochul has announced a total of $132 million in capital grants for New York arts organizations to fund critical projects that strengthen the State’s diverse creative sector, including over $90 million to support large-scale projects that prioritize community development and placemaking. Governor Hochul also awarded an additional $76 million in non-capital grants through the FY2023 Budget that provided flexible funding to nearly 3,000 cultural organizations and individual artists. NYSCA is currently accepting applications for its FY 2024 Capital Projects Fund, and will announce nearly $120 million in FY2024 grants over the next year.

Governor Hochul also maintains a strong commitment to building New York’s thriving tourism industry following her announcement that the state welcomed an historic 291.5 million visitors generating more than $78.6 billion in direct spending in 2022. The Governor announced a $450 million “Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs” Recovery Package to support industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic like the performing arts and revitalize tourism statewide. The package included: a $200 million Seed Funding Grant; a $100 million Tourism Worker Recovery Fund; a $100 million Tourism Return-to-Work Grant Program; a $25 Million Meet in New York Grant; and a $25 million I LOVE NY Global Marketing Campaign.

TDF’s Managing Director Michael Naumann said,“It has been an honor to develop the TDF Passport Series through the New York City Musical & Theatrical Production Tax Credit program with Governor Hochul and Empire State Development. It is TDF’s mission to make the theatre accessible to everyone and build new audiences. This program does just that – it allows New Yorkers, most of whom are first-time theatregoers who could not afford to attend Broadway and Off Broadway, to finally get the chance to enjoy live performance.”

“Governor Hochul is Broadway’s best partner in working to drive economic development while also diversifying our audiences and workforce,” The Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said. “As we continue to bring tourists back to Broadway, we are including more members of our community in the audience and working backstage. Governor Hochul’s efforts, in partnership with the Senate and Assembly, have resulted in in our shows providing more than 100,000 low- or no-cost tickets to New Yorkers while also creating 75 diverse fellowships on Broadway. We could not be prouder of this effective and balanced effort by our Governor.”