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Solo travel

Solo travel can be daunting as apart of a life change process. This article shares some the benefits of travel groups for solo travellers. We have been looking after mature and senior travellers since 1983 we offer a range of tour types from Discovery tours to long stay and walking tours.

6 Mar 21 · 10 mins read

Solo travel as a mature or senior traveller

People choose to embark on solo travel for many different reasons. Benefits of being a solo traveller include an openness to a new travel experience that can never quite be matched by travel with a partner. For a senior traveler, solo travel offers a sense of freedom, and encourages a willingness to meet people and form new friendships. This is where travel groups for solo travellers or small group tours that incorporate solo travel can be ideal, because you are bound to meet like-minded people. Odyssey Traveller focuses on mature-aged and senior travellers and understand your need for a solo adventure . The company offers a unique collection of senior vacation tours and an in-depth travel programme that lets you explore the destination , the local culture and sights within a small group tour holiday for senior travelers.

At Odyssey Traveller there is a single supplement charged for joining the group as a solo traveller . The single supplement covers the cost of single occupancy of a room with a double bed when travelling solo . We seek to be transparent in our pricing for the single traveller . Only in exceptional circumstances would a single traveler with Odyssey Traveller have to endure a night or two in a single bed. We have a clear policy on room type allocation for our tours in Britain and Europe for the solo traveler , they same type of room for all on this group tour , no exceptions.

Small group tours for those travelling alone

Travel groups for solo travellers can be an intimidating prospect, particularly in a small group tour environment. But on an Odyssey tour, you are not the only solo traveller. Our Australia or New Zealand based tour director (tour leader) is also travelling as an individual. Typically, a third of all our small group tour travelers are solo on our senior vacation tours. Our small group tours have like-minded people, travelling by themselves or with their partner. In fact, the more adventurous destinations tend to be dominated by intrepid, solo travellers! These are also suitable vacation and adventures for solo female travel who can decide to share a room or have their own room for complete comfort and privacy. We can assist you in pairing you with another solo female traveller and by sharing the room you won’t have to pay for the single supplement.

Odyssey Traveller ’s small group tours are not solo travel tours for seniors, but are tours designed for those who like to explore and learn as they travel as a solo traveler or travelling with their partner in a group tour setting. Our organisation, our program leaders / tour director, and most importantly our clients, welcome the fellow traveller, both couples and the single traveller from all backgrounds on any trip. Our small group tour options are diverse in location and activity, South America, to Myanmar or the Scottish isles, from a Walking tour to searching for Dinosaurs or cultural experiences such as visiting places Monet painted. Odyssey has more than 650 travel groups for solo travellers offered each year, , so whatever travel style appeals to you we are sure to have something suitable. Odyssey does not offer regular river cruises, solo travel tours, or singles holidays for mature and senior travellers. However we do have different styles of river cruise as part of some of our itinerary collection, like a cruise down the Nile River on our Egypt tour and the Volga river on our Journey through Mongolia and Russia on board of a river cruise boat.

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Everyone is welcome

Forming and becoming part of a travelling group is enjoyable and a lot of fun, solo travel tours could be difficult if all travellers exhibit shyness, as a company offering small group tours since 1983 we remain wary of solo travel tours as a tour company , group dynamics and general involvement as part of a group is socially healthy for any group not just a senior traveler . Being part of a travelling group finds that the laughter and humour shared is genuine; as is the care and mutual respect shown to a fellow traveler on an Odyssey tour for mature and senior travellers . Friendship and associations formed with a new friend are often long lasting. In some cases a fellow traveller becomes a regular travelling companion for future tours! Group sizes on a guided tour are usually between 6 and 12 people. Our limited numbers mean that people actually get to know each other and feel part of a group – you don’t just feel like a number on a bus even our coach tour driver also tends to become one of the “family” on many of our tours.

Our small group tours are designed especially for mature and senior travellers, in short, the older traveler. We provide quality, flexibility and care that is tailored to our clients. Our local guides and tour guide prefer working with small group tours, the questions and dialogue tends to diverse and of a good level of curiosity from the traveler.

This article details common reasons for solo travel, its benefits, as well as some of its challenges. There’s also a real-life traveller story thrown in, drawn from the Odyssey Traveller archive of more than thirty-five years in mature and senior travel. Feel free to contribute your own in our comments section, below! We hope this post will inspire you to set off on a new adventure, whether you are travelling solo or not.

If you would like travel inspiration and travel advice about all our destinations take a look at our collection of Articles. Our article on “Choosing your next small group tour” be of particular interest to those looking at travelling in a small group tour.

Solo travel senior

Why solo travel?

For some people, the freedom of solo travel makes it the best holiday option. You don’t have to compromise on your choices or your time. Not having to hold your partner’s needs in mind can be liberating! And many couples choose to travel solo in order to maintain their independence and keep the spark of their relationship alive.

The reasons for travelling as a single are many & often a private decision, however, you are not alone.

Solo travel might offer a brief escape or change of scenery. Many people today find themselves in relationships of care. Perhaps an illness keeps your partner from travel, or their needs take a substantial toll on your own. Sometimes, a brief escape can provide the refreshment you need so that you can return to your life with a renewed sense of your own self. This can be very beneficial, particularly when relationships of care are long-term. We have no doubt your partner will appreciate your new tan, and your photographs and stories of the world.

Or, different again, a holiday as a single might be your first step in a new life. Your circumstances may have changed, and a recent bereavement, a relationship break-up, or an empty nest might leave you wondering about your next steps. Taking these steps alone can be intimidating. A guided tour in a small group setting of like minded people might provide just enough support for you to spread your wings and rediscover who you are.

Central and West Africa

So, you are thinking about solo travel. What’s next?

The first step is to sit down and really think about the kind of holiday you need. Is it an exotic journey across Japan by rail? Perhaps you want to indulge your passions – for history, for archaeology, perhaps even Scandinavian architecture and design. The challenges of a walking tour might build up your confidence so that you can return home fitter and ready to take on anything. Or perhaps you just want to discover as much of the world as you can. Once you have determined the type of holiday you are craving, narrow it down to some dream destinations. Time of year is something to bear in mind. This will influence how practical your dream destination might be. Our article on responsible travel might point you toward some places you had never even thought of!

Odyssey Traveller offers small group tours with an educational focus. This attracts people who are interested in authentic experiences, and are naturally open and inquisitive about the world. We typically limit our tours to around 10-15 people. The spread of participants is usually two thirds couples, to one third single people. But given our small number, all participants get to know each other. We find this balance makes for really positive experiences for the mature and senior travellers who choose to travel with us.

Odyssey’s tour itinerary typically depart from a major centre, making it easy to for you join the trip. On the first evening you will meet your travel director and group travel friends before we start our adventure and venture off the beaten track with you new fellow traveler friends, usually our travel is by coach tour exclusive to the group. We work with reputable local tour company(s) in each destination to better support the local economy. We also assist you with independent travel before or after the group travel so you can have a perfect trip and return home with wonderful memories.

Saint James way, Spain

Accommodation considerations

Single travellers have the option of their own room – a rare luxury for some! To avoid the single supplement, we may also offer a shared room option, by matching two people of the same gender for a twin share. This can lead to even greater friendships and extra support for one another. Of course, over our twenty years, some funny situations have arisen too! One pairing of single travellers was challenged by a particularly open-minded individual, who enjoyed eating crisps in the middle of the night, in the nude! We are very responsive to the sensitivities of our participants, so more suitable arrangements were made for the remainder of this tour. Remember, solo travel sometimes throws up unexpected surprises! But after all, this is part of its appeal. We can even arrange for a virtual meet-up with your future room mate before you depart.

Alfama, Lisbon Portugal

How to prepare for solo travel

Visit your GP

While affording certain freedoms, solo travel also comes with greater responsibilities. You must understand your own fitness limitations and manage any conditions you may have. For all travellers, we recommend a thorough check-up with your doctor beforehand. They can help assess your fitness levels, provide advice on your health, and may equip you with emergency medications to carry with you in case. Don’t forget to bring enough of your prescription medication too so you are covered for the duration of your trip.

Packing suitcase

Plan your packing

Well-planned packing is also important – there’s no relying on your partner to remember the toothpaste (though a friendly fellow-tour member may oblige!). Follow this link for more detailed advice on packing for your holiday. Remember that you must bring the right clothes and shoes for the anticipated conditions. Cross-country tours may require both warm and cool weather clothing. And a first-aid kit is a must for any holiday, but rest assured our local tour operator and tour director will also have one available at all times when the group is on the go. We have compiled a special article on walking tours, available here.

Photography tips

Bring a camera!

Importantly, don’t forget your camera or journal! When travelling with a partner, we often relax knowing that the memories will be shared together. But as a single traveller, your unique experiences and memories are your own. Be sure to capture the sights, detail the experiences, and record the contact details of any new friends around the world. This will ensure your adventure and great cultural experiences live on in your mind for years to come. Your recollections might inspire other people in your life to step out of their comfort zone, too!

Eastern Mediterranean Islands for seniors

What to tell your family

In our experience, family members of solo travellers are supportive – and frankly impressed! Explain to them your motivations, and share with them the details of your impending solo holiday. They can track your itinerary and look through photographs on our website. They might also like to read the detailed country profile we mail to participants prior to their departure. Family and friends of solo travellers can rest assured knowing that you will be accompanied by fellow, mature travellers throughout the tour. And that our experienced guides provide the expertise and support to take the stress and worries out of the equation. Odyssey Traveller is easily contactable throughout your tour, should anyone want to check in on your progress. Of course, if you are too busy scaling a glacier, or trekking along an ancient pilgrimage track, we can pass along the message on your behalf!

Single traveller

So, what’s next?

We have summarised the steps for you to take in order to make your dream a reality. Odyssey Traveller is easily contactable, by email or phone. Our friendly and experienced staff can help design the adventure you are seeking.

  1. Think about what you want and what your travel style is.
  2. Research destinations, and don’t forget to take the season, and any visa requirements, into account.
  3. Talk to your friends and family. They may have advice or experiences to share with you. Plus, we know they would love to be involved in the process
  4. Chat to our staff, by phone or email. We can help allay any concerns or nerves you might have
  5. Visit your GP for a check-up and advice on your physical fitness
  6. Book your tour! This is the scariest step, and once done, the rest will fall into place!
  7. Get prepared! Start walking or join a gym if your tour requires a moderate fitness level.
  8. Research the countries you will be visiting. Read the books we recommend on our tour readings lists.
  9. Purchase the clothing and equipment you will need, and – for shoes in particular – wear them in!
  10. Make arrangements for the care of your family or pets in your absence. Short-term respite might be an option, or family members and friends could help out while you are away.
  11. Pack! You are getting close by now. Writing a list can be helpful here.
  12. Make your way to the airport, and hop on the plane. Once you reach your hotel, you will meet the other members of your tour, along with your experienced guide. Activities usually commence the very next day.

Before you know it, you will be returning home with a new set of memories and, with a bit of luck, new lifelong friends. We can even boast a marriage out of an Odyssey Traveller small group tour! So, what are you waiting for? Take the plunge and book a single holiday this year.


Originally published on November 7, 2017.

Updated on April 12, 2021

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Never travelled solo or gone as part of a group before?

Our small group tours are the ideal size to make new friends but also keep your independence while on tour. With the average size of 6 – 12 travellers a small group is a great fit for solo travellers, taking the hassle out of organising all the details of a holiday and the chance to travel safe through any destination.

Where can you travel solo female?

By joining one of our escorted small group tours you can travel to any destination we visit. All are safe to as a single traveller and our Odyssey tour leader will always be available to guide you and give extra advice on each city.

Why are group trips better for solo traveller?

Group trips are beneficial for solo travellers so you can easily move between cities and enjoy guided sightseeing with a small group of travellers, this minimises overall travel cost and also provides some company on your journey.

What are the travel companies that take solo travellers for group trips?

There are many companies offering group tours for solo travellers, we believe that people travelling solo should be able to join any tour and enjoy all the benefits of small group touring. Odyssey Traveller escorted groups are always welcoming and many of our solo clients travel with us yearly.

What happens during free time to explore?

On most of our tours we offer dedicated free time to explore and some free evenings to enjoy a city on your own and discover more the local culture and cuisine. The free time however doesn’t mean you will be alone – during the day the group will discuss options and make their plans, either independently or together. The Odyssey Program Leader will always invite the group to join her/him on their plans for the free time, be it going to a new restaurant, visiting a lesser known museum or going for a stroll around the shops.

How does the rooming work as a single traveler?

When booking an Odyssey Traveller tour you will have the option of sharing a room with another single traveller of the same gender (if available) or to pay a small supplement to ensure your own room (single) for the length of the tour. In some situations like on train journeys or some safari style accommodation there are no single cabins or tents so clients are paired together.

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