Tips to Travel Strong and Confident Leave a comment

Europe is a great destination for senior solo travelers.

Solo travel for seniors is age-defying.

In the eyes of others, solo travelers are strong, capable, confident, and, yes, even a little exotic. Be seen as such and age becomes insignificant.

Be just a little intrepid and your world will tilt on its axis. You’ll enjoy experiences you would never have traveling with someone else. Experiences you would definitely not have staying at home.

Solo travel should be Plan A, at least some of the time. It’s too good to be simply a fallback position should there be no one with the same interests, time, and money to travel with you.

Solo travel offers the amazing opportunity to pursue your own interests at your own pace without compromise and, at the same time, to access aspects of yourself and the world that are otherwise inaccessible.

It is an experience everyone needs.

a cooking class, great for senior solo travelers
Taking a cooking class connects people of all ages and is an amazing activity for solo travelers.

Why Is Solo Travel Great As We Age?

  1. It’s time for a little freedom. If you have spent most of your life surrounded by and responsible to others, this is your chance to be responsible to no one but yourself. Go to bed when you like. Get up when you like. Eat, drink, wander, explore what you like. It’s all up to you.
  2. You can explore new interests. Solo travel can be a gateway to new interests. Whether it’s music or hiking or discovering (like I did last month) that you like champagne, try something new. Maybe you wouldn’t go to a bar by yourself at home, but on the road in a town like Nashville, how could you possibly stay in with all that music around you? Perhaps hiking is not part of your lifestyle, but if you find yourself in the Lake District of England you may just find a new love. From pottery making to yoga, if something has struck you as enticing but unlikely to fit into your lifestyle at home, try it while traveling solo.
  3. You are interesting to people of all ages. I find that many people in their twenties and thirties are really curious about me. They seem to look at me as the kind of person they want to be when they get to my age–which, in their minds is very, very old. They see me as bold and welcome me into their conversations. And they often tell me that I am not like their parents at all. It seems I’m an alternative model to them for solo travel as a senior.
  4. Your world expands with cross-generational conversations. Talking with people younger and older than I am breaks me out of my limited world and gives me a better understanding of the issues faced by others. They can also amuse me. I remember walking down a street in Italy with an American man in his twenties. He turned to look back at a beautiful young woman who had passed us and said to me, “I love Italian women. They have great junk in the trunk.” Really! To have such access to young attitudes is a wonderful if not a curious and sometimes disturbing thing.
  5. Other cultures respect age in ways that North America doesn’t. My hair is grey. Given the courtesy I receive in some countries, I have thought that I present as older than I am. Then I realize that it’s actually about age being respected more in other cultures. Traveling on a train in India a young man wouldn’t dream of moving me from my seat even though I was willing (insisting) and had, by means of a seat shift, taken his. His response was, “but you are our guest.” I suspect someone younger may not have been treated quite so well.

Great Destinations for Seniors Traveling Alone

In reality, the best destination for any solo traveling senior is up to them. You might want to climb a mountain and, if you’re up to the challenge, it’s a great destination for you. So what can I offer in terms of destinations? How can I generalize? Here are trips that just about anyone can enjoy and they don’t involve learning another language.

Tips for Seniors Traveling Solo

Traveling in your third act is a wonderful experience. Whether you go for luxury or budget travel, it’s all available to you when you travel solo.

  1. Others will welcome the excitement of you. You are, by the mere fact that you’re traveling solo, adventurous to many. You’d liven up an evening for people. I have enjoyed many a coffee or meal with travelers and locals who welcome me into their conversation. I enrich them as they enrich me.
  2. Hostels are not just for the young. Once referred to as youth hostels, today they are just hostels. We often hear from seniors who enjoy staying in hostels in our Facebook group, the Solo Travel Society. Some, like the YHA hostels, are still non-profit but others are part of hostel chains. Yes, just like boomers, hostels have grown up. As the hostel clientele of the 60s and 70s has matured, so have hostels. To get a sense of staying at hostels as a boomer, read Sleeping with Strangers.
  3. More tips relevant to seniors from other posts on Solo Traveler:

And one final comment: don’t hesitate to return to places you visited when you were younger. Knowledge gained and life lived over the years will take you to a deeper understanding than you could have possibly had before.

Please share your thoughts and experiences about solo travel for seniors in our Discussion Forum.

Last updated: 19th October, 2022

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