Say Yes to Solo Senior Travel

senior travel woman

Some may think of travel as folly for young backpackers, escapes for families or romantic sojourns for couples. But if you’re single and silver haired, are you supposed to just stay home? Absolutely not! Don’t let age or partner-status dissuade you from having some adventures. As long as you are in relatively good health, ambulatory and have a sense of curiosity, there’s a whole wide world to explore, regardless of your age or stage.

Many people, young and old, are intimidated by the thought of solo travel. They worry about safety issues. They fret about being lonely or bored on the road. They get turned off by single-supplement charges on tours. However, the fact that you don’t have a spouse, friend or family member ready to tag along shouldn’t stop you from packing your bags. There are many group tours specifically targeted to the solo traveler – and not necessarily the single and ready to mingle type (although there are plenty of that sort, too).

Solo senior women should feel free to jump in and explore too. There’s a tendency to think that things aren’t safe out there in the big world. But with the basic common sense and security precautions that you would deploy even in your hometown, you shouldn’t be intimidated to travel alone as a mature woman.

Many travel companies and organizations specifically cater to older travelers. Not that multi-generational groups aren’t fun to be amongst, but sometimes you just prefer to hang out with like minded people in a common age group, with similar interests, energies and points of reference. Some voluntourism companies offer worthwhile projects that seniors can get involved with, satisfying wanderlust urges with a little do-goodism thrown in.

Senior travelers are often in an enviable position of finally having the time and resources for globetrotting escapades. No longer encumbered by work and/or family responsibilities, retirees generally are free to roam. They might not have the endurance for long days of heavy walking or climbing mountains like they used to, but then again, maybe they do. Today’s seniors tend to be fitter and younger in outlook than their predecessors, so don’t let society’s notions of what a senior should and shouldn’t do stop you from doing what you feel you can and can’t do. Get out of your comfort zone and live a little! You’ll be amazed how resilient you can be.

Boomer travel, in particular, is a booming business. There are countless group travel companies that will put together itineraries, book accommodations, arrange meals and coordinate excursions for every interest and budget. Escorted group tours can eliminate the fears of getting lost, not speaking the language or missing out on must-sees. It’s easy and convenient to let someone else handle all the little details. You just show up and enjoy.

Even if the majority of travelers in the group are partnered up, solo travelers are always welcome. Some may be divorced. Some may be widowed. Some may be happily single. Some just don’t have anyone available to travel with them at that time. If you have the desire to go, don’t let any of these excuses get in your way. You’ll find these group tours to be a wonderful way to meet people, develop camaraderie through shared experiences and even forge lifelong friendships. Solo travelers on a tour are often paired up to share a room or table, but you can usually pay a supplementary fee if you’d rather have a room to yourself. You can be as socially engaged as you want – or not at all, if that’s your choice. The daily dynamics are usually quite fluid and accommodating to everyone’s quirks, needs and preferences.

If you’re the intrepid sort, you can certainly go it alone without the backing of a tour group. Nothing is stopping you from booking your own transportation, accommodations, attractions, restaurants and excursions. The internet makes it easy. Many independent travelers love the thrill of pulling all these elements together to curate and experience the trip of their choice. No need for compromises or catering to other people’s whims. For some, the planning and prepping is almost as rewarding as the vacation itself.

Whether you prefer the security of a guided group tour or want the adventure of independent travel, being solo or being senior should not be a barrier. Do your research, determine what you want to see and do (and eat!), and start pulling the details together.

Make sure you don’t over-cram your days, as endless sightseeing can be draining. Schedule down time to rest and reflect – these are often the most meaningful moments of a trip. Don’t forget to leave room for a little serendipity and spontaneity to take you in directions you may not have planned.

*This post was written during a time when global travel was on pause, but with the spirit that it will resume again when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, it’s uplifting to plan and dream of future getaways.

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