Whether you’ve lost a beloved life partner or are simply flirting with the idea independent globetrotting, solo travel is quickly becoming a major travel trend for over 50s. It comes with a host of perks, from piecing together custom itineraries and moving at your own pace to interacting with new people and experiencing a destination through a local lens.
With so much to love, why not make your next trip a “me, myself and I” affair? You definitely won’t be alone, with the latest statistics from Solo Traveller revealing that roughly one in four people plan to travel solo in 2018.
Of course, travelling solo is quite different from travelling with a partner or a friend. That’s why we’ve put together some essential tips on how to navigate solo travel like a pro.
Pack a good book
Even the most seasoned of travellers can still feel a little intimidated at the thought of asking for a table for one. If you need more than a glass of vino for companionship always make sure you travel with a good book. This will become your new secret weapon when it comes to sitting down for breakfast, coffee, dinner, cocktails and everything in between.
When you haven’t got anyone to help you lug a suitcase up a flight of stairs the importance of practical luggage is magnified by tenfold. For example, if you’re planning to visit a string of cobblestone towns and villages in Europe be sure to invest in a suitcase with sturdy wheels. Think about your destinations and load up accordingly.
Learn the language
If you’re travelling to a foreign country, making an effort to learn the language will seriously enhance your solo experience. Not only will you be armed with a few basic words and phrases to exchange with friendly locals, but a basic grasp of the language could also come in incredibly handy if you find yourself in a sticky situation.
Sign up for a group tour
Just because you’re travelling solo, it doesn’t mean you have to experience a destination alone. Signing up for a group trip is a fantastic solution for seniors who want to travel but simply don’t have anyone to jet set with. Certain cruise lines do a fantastic job at catering to singles, while companies like Trafalgar Tours piece together guided holidays to over 200 destinations across the globe. Do your research, read reviews and find a company that ticks all your boxes.
Embrace a bit of both
If you don’t want to commit to a guided tour and still want to retain a healthy dose of freedom, why not enjoy the best of both worlds. You can book a solo trip but throw in a few guided day tours here and there. These are also a great way to meet people and immerse yourself in a destination. For example, companies like City Wonders do an incredible job at organising unique experiences across Europe.
Stock up on essentials
From safety to practicality, travelling solo calls for a few packing tweaks. We loved breezing through this article from Travel & Leisure, which offers some fantastic ideas for solo travel.
Whether you’re twenty something or sixty something, the importance of travel insurance can’t be stressed enough. No matter how careful you are or how “harmless” your trip the reality is that you never know what could happen. And if it does, it pays to be insured. From broken legs to emergency hospital visits, we guarantee that the cash you spend on travel insurance will pay for itself in the form of peace of mind.
Keep others in the loop
When you travel solo you don’t have the luxury of a partner or friend constantly knowing your whereabouts. Be sure to hand out a few copies of your itinerary to people back home and pencil in regular check-in dates via email or Skype.
Remember to relax
Travelling solo can be stressful and intimidating at times, which means it’s more important than ever to give yourself permission to relax and enjoy your own company. Whether this means sipping on sangria at a sun-dappled café, relaxing on a palm-fringed beach or giving yourself permission to sleep in until midday, remembering to relax is one of the golden rules of solo travel.
Do you have experience travelling solo as a senior? We’d love to hear your tips so go ahead and shar in the comments below.