Solo Travel Over 50: How to Travel at Fifty Plus
Over the past 15 years, we have witnessed a cultural change in how women travel. They have become aware of their need to step out of defining roles and make experiences on their own. The excellent news: Never before, solo travel over 50 has been so easy.
Female solo travel has become widely accepted in our society, but it is also changing the industry’s parameters. With nearly 30% of women who have already experienced a single trip and around 60% showing interest in giving it a try, travel alone for fifty-plus has become more appealing and affordable than the travel scenario of 25 years ago.
Solo Female Travel Over 50
There are many ways to start going alone and choosing travel destinations. It depends on the type of travel you have in mind, the purpose of your travels, and how you want to start travelling solo as a woman.
When I started travelling alone, there were few opportunities for women. It was unusual to see a woman going places alone. And often, solo women travelling alone were regarded as weird. Over the years, it has become common for female travellers over 50 and younger to go solo.
Let’s be honest; you don’t need a companion to visit places, and why wait for friends and family to join you when you can go solo? Yet, many women have fears of travelling alone.
Over 50 Solo Travel Tours
Below are 4 of the best ways to consider for 50-plus travel.
How to combine solo trips with guided tours
What has group travel with solo travel do? While some women prefer hitting the road and getting lost, some prefer the comfort of joining a tour. Even though solo travel isn’t about joining a group, an organised journey has benefits.
Organising your trip by a private tour operator, who takes off the trip planning hassle and does all the booking activities, can be a great way to ignite your enthusiasm for travelling and having peace of mind.
So I wouldn’t discard the idea of solo travel tours if this can be the first step towards a more independent way of travelling.
For solo travel addicts – like myself – organised tours are an excellent way to rekindle the group spirit, which inevitably fades over the years.
My solo travels in Australia, were eye-opening. After long-term travel alone, I realised that joining an organised tour was necessary to create a balance, improve my team spirit, and hone my social skills.
Many tour companies and online travel agencies specialise in group travel packages for the female traveller fifty plus.
Our Group Tours For Women Over 50
Our Small Group Tours of Italy are for the senior woman 50+ travelling alone who is in her 50s and beyond and loves to be active and gets out and about with like-minded female travellers. She also likes to explore places by meeting the locals and learning about the local culture responsibly and in a sustainable way. Click the link below to learn more about our group tour offerings.
Cultural travel and Food & Wine explorations
Cultural tourism is a classic that works mainly for many women at 50 plus who are keen to start travelling alone. It works great for the first-time traveller because it’s easy, handy and safe. If you fear feeling alone in your early adventures, exploring safe cities – in your own country or overseas – is probably the best way to go.
You can build a city trip itinerary within one or more countries for a long weekend or a couple of weeks’ holiday. Train travel is also a suitable way of getting around comfortably and safely in many countries in Europe, the US and Australia. This is how I started to travel solo: Germany, Austria and the UK were the first countries I visited solo.
I loved crossing Germany by train and discovering its cultural landmarks. From Hamburg and Berlin to southern Germany, I fell in love with Munich, a fascinating German city that became my ex-pat home for 12 years.
Cruising Solo as a Female Traveller 50+
If you think cruising solo 20 years ago was a no-go because of the high prices – unless you were travelling with a travel companion – going on a cruise for the single female traveller was not on the table. In recent years, an increasing number of cruise companies started to cater to this new market segment to suit the needs of many single travellers, especially retired and mature travellers, who are keen to go cruising.
If you are over 50 and want to travel solo as a woman, cruising can be a great way to combine cultural and international travel without the hassle of getting each single trip leg organised. Intercontinental and round-the-world cruising is also becoming very popular to cover long distances and see much of the world in one go.
Although it’s not a type of travel I would choose for myself, for many female travellers over 50 is the stepping stone and easiest way of getting started with solo travel.
How to travel the world long-term at 50
How to earn money while you travel
If you are semi-retired or want to retire and become a digital nomad, adding extra income streams to fund your solo long-term travels may be a good idea. There are several opportunities to work online, ranging from virtual assistant jobs to translating and teaching English as a second language.
If travelling the world and teaching English appeals to you, there are online courses that offer training to internationally recognised certification for teaching English to non-native people.
For instance, an online course at the Tefl Academy would be spot-on.
Volunteering At 50+
If you are more adventurous and plan to travel solo long-term, volunteering may also be something for you. There are plenty of opportunities in South America, Africa and South-East Asia. And various kinds of volunteering, from children’s education to animal care, construction, land conservation, and many more.
Websites online, such as helpx, offer exciting volunteer opportunities. You can read this article about volunteering if you are interested in volunteering in other parts of the world.
I also joined an Australian volunteer project on my solo trip in 2011; I became a wildlife warrior looking after injured and sick koalas at the Australia Wildlife Hospital in Queensland.
Tips on How to Get Started to Travel Solo at Fifty Plus
First, you shall make clear what you want to do with your first solo trip. If it’s fear holding you back from going solo, I suggest starting with city travel or anything easy along the way. You can see how you like it and in which direction it takes you. After my European city travel in 1993, I went to New York, Chicago, and Toronto by bus and loved it.
But what worked for me may not be the right thing for you. Here are my best tips for over 50 solo travel adventures.
- Diversifying the types of solo experience
I encourage you to expand your solo adventures as much as possible. If you like joining a tour, leave some time for yourself. It will help boost your confidence. Give yourself time to grow naturally into the next adventure and set a higher goal.
- Gradually extend your comfort zone.
And step into something more adventurous. When I started travelling solo in Australia in 2004, I used safe public transport like buses, trains, and flights and joined tours for trips like the Great Ocean Road and Tasmania. After that, I felt ready to drive alone, and now I nearly go everywhere.
- Consider joining small group tours.
For more challenging trip segments or destinations that aren’t safe for solo travellers, joining a tailor-made group can be a great choice. On top of that, it’s a great way of getting to know other solo female travellers in your age group and making friends on the go.
Where to stay solo
If you choose city travel for your first solo escape, you don’t have to worry about getting around. Most cities offer an extensive and safe public transport network. Walking and biking are among the best options for public transport.
Staying privately with Airbnb is an economical way, next to hostels.
While Airbnb is an excellent way of getting close to the locals for short stays, house sitting for the long-term traveller in Australia is the perfect solution because it allows you to stay for free in exchange for looking after the house and taking care of pets while the owners are away.
Moreover, the growing demand for single trips and personalised tours has made the solo traveller’s options varied and affordable.
Best Solo Travel Destinations
Many countries offer a women-friendly environment and are safe for solo female travellers. I’ve been travelling solo for +30 years, and these places are my picks. No matter whether you are a newbie or an experienced traveller. They are suitable for all kinds of experiences:
Penang For Solo Travellers (Malaysia)
Bali Off The Beaten Track for Solos
France For Women Travelling Solo
And all countries in the European Union. You can read this article about 8 safe cities for solo travel 50+.
Final Thoughts on Female Solo Travel Over 50
While your age or the lack of a travel buddy should not refrain you from travelling solo, you must also consider that going places solo is undoubtedly a fun and empowering way to go, but it is also challenging. The more you do it, the more you will like it and hate it.
If you want to travel solo and are a woman fifty-plus, this is probably the right time to consider it and take the plunge.
And if you are female and 70 plus and want to travel solo, here is an excellent article about travelling with medical conditions and seeking travel insurance.
It’s a good thing to create the way – that best suits you – there is no right or wrong way of doing it. If everything in the equation has the right balance and makes you feel comfortable in your skin, then go with it.
Travel solo at 50 plus, have fun, learn and repeat. And most importantly, do it your way!
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This post was first published in 2015 and last updated in Jan 2023