Who said travel was just for young backpackers? With the over 50 age bracket leading the way for solo travel, there’s never been a better time to book your tickets and head off on your own.
The stigma surrounding singles holidays is disappearing as we know it, and older travellers are feeling more courageous to do what they’ve always dreamed of.
When we hear the words ‘solo travel’, we automatically think that equates to being single - but that need not be the case. With many people in a relationship also choosing to embark on their own independent adventures, there’s never been a better time to go it alone.
In recent years, there has been a noticeable surge in popularity for destinations such as India,
Sri Lanka, Greece and Spain among older, solo travellers. If you’ve always dreamed of jetting off to somewhere new and exotic, you’re more likely to meet like-minded people who also want to spread their wings later in life.
That said, solo travel when you’re over 50 doesn’t have to mean flying halfway across the world. It could mean taking that weekend retreat for yourself, finally making that camping trip, or simply heading somewhere an hour’s drive away from home. Solo travel is a chance to do something for you, and you alone – no matter where in the world that may be.
As long as you have the right over 50’s travel insurance in place, the world is your oyster!
Safety first: Our advice for solo travellers over 50
It’s normal to feel apprehensive about travelling somewhere alone, particularly if you’ve never done it before. But it doesn’t have to be a daunting experience.
If you’re a woman looking to embark on a solo adventure, rest assured that the biggest demographic for solo travel is in fact among women over 50
. Nowadays, there are more security measures in place than ever before to guarantee your peace of mind. The availability of over 50’s travel insurance
also means you can obtain coverage even if you have specific needs or a history of medical conditions.
Regardless of whether you’re signing on to a group tour or planning your own trip, we have some tips to put any mixed emotions to bed once and for all.
1, Research is key
Grab some guide books, get reading those travel blogs – whatever it takes, you should become as familiar as possible with the destinations you’re travelling to. This way, you’ll feel more confident and in control of your trip. Creating an itinerary is an excellent start – figure out what you’re doing with each day so you don’t feel lost. Give yourself some wriggle room so you don’t feel overwhelmed or rushed. Remember, you can take it entirely at your own pace.
2. Travel light, and plan your luggage
Don’t lie awake at night worrying about how you’ll move your baggage from one place to the next. Instead, pack light and don’t leave it to the last minute. It also takes a weight off both literally and figuratively, as you won’t have to lug around a heavy load.
Keep it simple and stick to essential clothing items. Find a pair of comfortable walking shoes with good grip, and make them your best friend.
We recommend checking the weather forecast before you travel and understanding the climate at your destination at that time of year. If you’re travelling to a tropical continent, for example, there are rainy seasons to take into consideration.
3. Make any special arrangements in advance
Consider all the necessary options that you might need. Do you need a mobility aid, for example? Figure this out before travelling, and let somebody else take care of the logistics if needs be. There are many places to seek advice on how to make sure your journey is as seamless as possible. Even small luxuries such as an airport pick up
to and from your hotel can save you a whole load of stress.
4. Try to arrive during the daytime
If you can avoid it, don’t organise to arrive during the evening or night time. For one, it’s far safer to arrive when it’s daylight outside, and secondly, it will help you feel more comfortable arriving at a new, unfamiliar place and figuring out where you need to be.
5. Take it easy
The beauty of solo travel is that there’s no one who you have to take into consideration other than yourself. So take it slow, go at your own pace and plan around your own personal requirements. If you know you’ll need that mid-afternoon siesta after sightseeing, factor it into your itinerary. Your wellbeing should be your priority, particularly if you’re travelling solo.
6. Look after yourself
Chances are that you’re travelling to a new place to indulge in the delicious local cuisine, but remember to stay healthy. That means making sure you’re eating well, drinking plenty of water and staying active. It’s tempting to go for a few more Aperol Spritzes than usual when you’re on holiday but you’re better off pacing yourself. That goes for food, too.
7. Arrange travel insurance
Travelling can lead to the unexpected so it’s important to arrange travel insurance well in advance of your departure date. If you’re concerned about pre-existing medical conditions or age getting in the way, then know that there are specialist over 50’s travel insurance
policies available to cover your needs.
Why should you consider travelling alone when you’re over 50?
In our opinion, there’s never been a better time to travel than when you’re over 50. You’re probably (and hopefully) a lot wiser, and know what works for you and what doesn’t. It’s the perfect time to relish new experiences and tick those destinations off your bucket list.
Age certainly shouldn’t dampen a spirit for adventure and, chances are, you’re still feeling as excited by the idea of travel as you did when you were 18. This is why you should consider solo travel:
1. To escape the demands and responsibilities of your everyday schedule
If you’re over 50, you might be a parent or grandparent – or you might be part of the ‘sandwich generation’
where both a child and a parent are dependent on your care. Meeting the demands of each of the relationships in your life can certainly take its toll, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for becoming exhausted from it all.
You deserve to take a break from all of those responsibilities once in a while, and solo travel can be a fabulous way of rediscovering your own needs.
2. Perhaps you need some change
The term ‘midlife’ has come under much scrutiny over the years, but we’re here to tell you that it’s a time of renewal and reflection. Solo travel can provide a well-needed reboot; push yourself out of your comfort zone, without the input of others. It can show you the world through a different lens other than the one you’re used to.
3.To revive a tired relationship
Perhaps you have been in the same relationship for years. Normally, things can become a little jaded. Solo travel can inject some newfound excitement into your relationship, as you will have new experiences to chat about and catch up on. If you spend a lot of time with your significant other, it can give you a chance to miss one another, too.
4.You’re recently single
If you’ve experienced loss, travel might be just the medicine you’re looking for; whether that’s the death of a loved one, a divorce or a breakup. Grief in all its forms can knock you for six, along with your confidence and travel can be a beautiful antidote, no matter your age.
5. Or maybe your partner isn’t interested in travel
Everybody has dreams and goals – regardless of whether they’re in a relationship or not. It’s completely normal to have different interests to your partner or spouse, and they might not be as interested in travelling as you are. Take the opportunity to go solo, or you might live to regret it. Besides, you’ll come back with plenty to share with them. If you’re not quite ready to travel alone, why not join a trip with a group travel agency?
6. You’ve got an ‘empty nest’
Your children might have flown the nest. This can be an unsettling time when you’re finally left with your own thoughts again – it also provides an unmissable opportunity to find out who you are and what makes you tick. The best way to do this is alone - book those tickets and spend some time by yourself, or join a small group tour
, where you can make new friends.
7. Your professional life is lacklustre
Lacking challenges in your career can leave you feeling unsatisfied and in need of some form of personal fulfilment. Set yourself the challenge of a trip by yourself, and you’ll return to work with a new lease of life.
8. You’ve retired early
A common issue for retirees is that you might not have the same schedule as friends and family to embark on the trips you’ve always wanted to do. This shouldn’t hold you back – don’t sit around and wait for them, get those flights booked!
9. You have health problems and need a break
Stress can take its toll on our health without us even realising it. Booking a solo holiday can be an excellent stress reliever if you’re struggling with your health, and with the proliferation of wellness holidays and retreats
on offer, there are ways to take the stress out of travelling, too. With over 50’s travel insurance, you can rest assured that any existing medical conditions will be covered, too.
10. Money is tight
The costs of going on a trip as a family can certainly add up, but solo travel doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour. Airlines and travel agencies offer all sorts of holiday deals
that are geared up for singles or solo travellers, without a single supplement, so don’t let them pass you by.
What are the benefits of solo travel for someone like me?
Getting older doesn’t mean having to throw away all sense of autonomy. Having the ability to choose is an important part of being happy, regardless of whether you’re young or not. Whether you’re single or have a spouse, travelling by yourself has many benefits:
You’ll feel free and independent
With the right planning, you’ll feel totally free when travelling by yourself. There are few times in life where you can completely abandon all responsibilities - and midlife is one of them.
Not everybody seizes the day – so think carpe diem
. This is your trip, so plan it on your terms. Sleep when you want to sleep or book that activity session that you’ve always secretly wanted to do. You’re in the driver’s seat, so plan it according to your interests and not somebody else’s.
You’ll gain confidence
Travelling alone can be nerve-wracking, but you’ll be proud that you did it. There’s something character-building about conquering the fear of the unknown. Harness that fear – after all, you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do.
Rediscover who you are
Do you find you’re constantly taking care of others, but rarely yourself? You’re still you somewhere in there – you might just need some travelling by yourself to rediscover who that is.
You might discover newfound talents or reignite old passions
For many people, exploring new places means finding the time to try a new hobby or activity. Relish the opportunity, and try a course, learn a language, or go to a cooking class. Or alternatively, pick up something you once loved to do – or always wanted to try. You never know what it might lead to!
You’ll have new things to share with your loved ones
There’s no shame in running out of things to say in our close relationships – it’s more common than you think. Embarking on your own independent adventure means you’ll be brimming with new stories to tell. Many spouses and couples take separate adventures to fulfil their personal goals. Don’t be afraid to do it.
A newfound youthfulness
Travelling and backpacking have too long been considered a young person’s endeavour. With social stigmas dissipating, a solo trip can help you to act the age you feel. People with a sense of adventure have an undeniable vitality about them, and you’ll feel it too with a trip on your terms. Stress will melt away, and you’ll come back feeling revitalised.
You’ll fulfil the dreams you’ve had since you were young
When we’re young, we’re full of dreams and bright ideas. They don’t disappear – it’s often just that life gets in the way, or money becomes an issue. Why not embark on the adventure you couldn’t afford when you were younger?
Now’s the time to achieve what you always wanted to do – whether it’s seeing the Sistine Chapel, relaxing on a yoga retreat, wild camping in the forest, going on safari, or simply enjoying a glass of wine by yourself while you watch the sunset.
Protect yourself with over 50’s travel insurance
Age is just a number, and we believe solo travel is an exciting adventure no matter how old you are. We all need a bit of time for ourselves, in order to rediscover our independence and happiness. Get a quote from Insurance Choice today.