Am I too old to travel solo? The answer is a resounding NO! Despite what some of the younger generation might think, the era of senior solo travel has emerged and is continually on the rise. It is more common than ever for seniors to begin travelling solo. As long as we have the mental capacity and physical ability we are never too old and we’re good to go!
Seniors choose to travel solo for different reasons than the younger generation. They may have lost their spouse, they may be divorced, their spouse may be too ill to travel or just simply doesn’t want to travel. Whatever your reason is for travelling solo as a senior, that is okay, and remember you don’t owe anyone an explanation. However, having said that, there are certain things that we as seniors need to know before taking off on our own.
15 Things Every Senior Should Know Before Travelling Solo
- More Skeptical Than When We Were Younger
- Don’t Take On More Than You Can Handle
- Prefer Different Destinations
- Trust Your Travel Agent or Tour Company
- Make Hotel Reservations in Advance
- Don’t Pack More Thank You Can Carry
- Dress Appropriately
- Remember Your Interests
- Remember Your Fitness Level
- Avoid Public Transportation
- We Have Become More Vulnerable
- Travel Has Evolved
- Technology Has Emerged
- Communicate With Home
- Purchase Travel Insurance
- Senior Solo Travel Trips Wrapped Up
We May be More Skeptical Than When We Were Younger
As we age, we tend to get a little more skeptical and cautious. This may prevent you from travelling solo in your golden years, but don’t let it. If you want to travel then travel, just start out a little smaller and visit your favorite destination in your own Country. This will begin to give you the confidence and courage you will need in order to embark onto bigger things.
Taking on More Than We Can Handle
I know in our minds we are still that cute 20 something year old… but newsflash! We aren’t! Despite what our mind tells us, our older body does have some limitations in our latter years and it is important to stay within our physical and mental capabilities. After all, we want to remain healthy while we’re out exploring our new found destination.
Senior Tavellers Often Prefer Different Destinations Than Our Younger Counterparts
While our younger counterparts may prefer wild and active destinations, our older brain is seeking a destination that is somewhat quieter which offers more passive activities, such as museums and lying on the beach and maybe if somewhat fit we can throw a bit of hiking in there, but make sure that you have the proper equipment with you to avoid injuries and that you have brushed up on safety before hitting the trails. If you are overly worried about your safety and your ability to navigate a destination on your own, then a cruise is a perfect and safe alternative for your first solo trip as a senior.
Trust Your Travel Agent or Tour Company
It is more than likely that you arranged your trip through a travel agent or you have opted to join a seniors tour group. If you haven’t and this is your first solo trip, I would highly recommend reaching out to a tour group or travel agent to make all of your arrangements. The are specialists and know the safe places to stay, things to do, major attractions, and all of the ins and outs of your chosen destination. Choose a travel group or travel agent that you trust explicitly, after all, this is the person or people responsible for choosing your accommodations, activities, etc. I’m sure you don’t want to end up at a swingers resort 🙂 If you are uncertain of where you want to travel, your agent will be able to provide you with the best recommendations based on your interests.
Make Hotel Reservations in Advance
If you opt to make your own travel arrangements, it is important to book your accommodations in advance as more amenities may be required as we get older. Do you need wheelchair accessibility? Is it within walking distance to the sites that you want to see? Is it in a safe area of town? These are all of the things that you want to explore when making your own reservations. It you are having difficulty choosing a “must see” and “must do” travel destination, check out these top Winter Destinations for solo travellers, written by experienced solo travellers, I’m sure something will catch your eye.
Packing More Than You Can Carry
Packing more than you can carry is a mistake that many travellers make, both young and old alike. Seniors aren’t quite as strong as they were in the younger years and may not be able to lift the same amount of weight or carry it for long periods of time. Only pack what you are able to carry, as there will be times when you will need to carry your luggage, even if for a short period of time.
Remember Your Interests
Our interests and hobbies tend to change over the years and we may not be up for white water rafting anymore. If your interests are of the more passive nature, choose a destination that is suitable for you. Have you become a foodie? A museum lover? A beach bum? History buff? These are the activities that need to be taken into consideration when deciding on a destination that best suits your needs. For Ontario Solo Travellers, we have so many safe destinations, just a short drive away. If you are a lover of all things road trip, then I HIGHLY recommend a summer road trip along Lake Erie to Ontario’s most southernly town, Kingsville, which is a foodies haven and a wine lover’s delight. For those senior travellers that are still a little leery about heading out on their own, I recommend a one night escape to either the Pillar N Post in Niagara-on-the-Lake or if you are seeking an Ontario destination with fewer crowds, I recommend the Arlington Hotel, in Paris, Ontario. I personally have stayed at both hotels and they cater more to the mature solo traveller. You won’t feel left out and you’ll always be well looked after. All of these close to home destinations are the perfect pay to introduce solo travel into your life.
Pay Attention to Your Fitness Level
I’m sure you have all heard the phrase “my mind wants to but my body tells me no”. This has become more and more clear to me the older I get. I still think that I’m able to hike 25 miles and set up tent along the way. That has proven to be wrong time and time again. Those days are long gone, but I am still able to hike a good 10 miles and come home to my comfy bed. It is important to keep this in mind when you are choosing tours and/or activities to do while you are away. If you have physical limitations, it’s not wise to be signing up for a 25 mile hike through the rain forest. There are many suitable leisurely tours offered for seniors that will help you to explore your destination, see the relevant sites, all while learning the history. I admit, that when I travel into unfamiliar territory, I opt for a day hike, but if this is your choice, make sure that you bring you hiking essentials with you and stay safe. If you still love a little adventure in your life, then you go girl! Go for it! There is no doubt about it that booking a day tour is perfect for solo travellers and it’s also the perfect way to meet like-minded travellers.
Avoid Public Transportation
As senior travellers, it is wise that we attempt to avoid public transportation at all costs for various reasons. We are in unfamiliar territory, which makes it easier to get lost, buses may be crowded and it may be necessary to stand for longer periods of time than what we are capable of, and you are being exposed to more opportunity for those darned pick-pocketers. For these reasons alone, it is recommended that you hail a cab or arrange an uber to get to your destination. Just sit back and relax and enjoy the ride, and I guarantee you will feel much safer travelling this way. However, I must add that no matter the mode of transportation of choice, it is always wise to be alert as to your surroundings.
More Vulnerable Than the Younger Generation
Let’s face it, as we age our cognitive ability decreases which makes us an easier target for those of more questionable character. If this is the case with you, I recommend that you not stray too far from your accommodations on your own, wear simple clothing, and leave your jewelry at home.
FROM ONE SENIOR TO ANOTHER, JOIN ME FOR MORE SOLO TRAVEL TIPS
Realize That Travel Has Evolved Over the Years
You will notice that travel has evolved since your younger years and it will look quite different now. There was a time when only the affluent were able to travel. The travel world has opened up and it is now available to all walks of life. Places of interest and airports will be much more crowded and will be more difficult to navigate. You now have way more options on where to travel, and the cost of travel has skyrocketed since our younger years. So when travelling as a senior, be prepared and bring your patience along with you.
Technology Has Emerged
In today’s world, we rely on technology for everything. This is also true when we travel. Many attractions have replaced its live guides with apps to be downloaded onto your phone, tickets for attractions are usually purchased online. Some accommodations have even abandoned the common light switch and replaced them with key cards. When travelling solo as a senior, it’s not necessary to be a technology geek, but it is advisable to have some basic knowledge and know how to navigate on your smart phone. It is also important to note that your cell phone may not work depending on the destination. If this is the case, you will have to purchase a SIM card at your destination. Even if your service provider does cover your destination, it is advisable to notify your provider when travelling out of the Country to obtain a cheaper “roaming” rate. When travelling as a senior, either at home or abroad, it is not wise to be without a cell charger so that your phone can be kept fully charged at all times. Keep in mind that your cell phone is your life-line when travelling alone.
Arrange Ways to Communicate With Home
When travelling solo as a senior, it is not uncommon for family and friends back home to be worried. In fact, many may have even though you’ve lost your mind. But never-mind that, you’re definitely not alone. Arrange to check in daily with a certain person and have them relay information to the others. This can be done by text, email, or an old-fashioned telephone call. Whatever method you choose, this is an important step especially when travelling alone as a senior.
Just One Tip: When travelling, I leave my kids a copy of my travel documents as well as an itinerary outlining where I will be staying and what tours I have planned.
JUST ONE BOOMER TRAVELS is a community of baby boomers (travellers over 50), found on facebook who encourage each other to escape into the world of solo travel, provide travel tips, destination recommendations, and most of all encouragement and inspiration
Purchase Travel Insurance
Lastly, purchase travel insurance! We never know when something will go wrong, but this is even truer as we age. Even if you have medical coverage through your Country’s Government, it is still HIGHLY recommended that you purchase additional insurance as government insurance doesn’t always cover everything that could happen. In our earlier years, we typically didn’t purchase cancellation insurance, but as we age, things come up either with our own health or the health of our aging parents. While we never want to cancel a trip, there may be times that the need arises.
Senior Solo Travel Tips Wrapped Up
No matter how old you are, if you want to travel, then travel! There will be some who say that you are too old to be travelling alone, but I say that’s hogwash!!! What do they know! There are certain things that we have to take into consideration before we take a solo trip in our golden years, but as long as we do that and use our common sense, we are still good to go. Go with excitement, get out there and live your life….. if I can do it then so can you. I have full confidence in you 🙂
HAVE FUN 🙂
PIN THESE TIPS FOR SENIOR SOLO TRAVEL