An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Think about what you want and what your travel style is.
Research destinations, and don’t forget to take the season, and any visa requirements, into account.
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
Chat to our staff, by phone or email. We can help allay any concerns or nerves you might have
Visit your GP for a check-up and advice on your physical fitness
Book your tour! This is the scariest step, and once done, the rest will fall into place!
Get prepared! Start walking or join a gym if your tour requires a moderate fitness level.
Research the countries you will be visiting. Read the books we recommend on our tour readings lists.
Purchase the clothing and equipment you will need, and – for shoes in particular – wear them in!
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.
Pack! You are getting close by now. Writing a list can be helpful here.
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 November 11, 2019.
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Discover the World Heritage Sites of the southern states of Australia travelling in a small group tour. A journey of learning around the southern edges of the Murray Darling basin and up to the upper southern part of this complex river basin north of Mildura. We start and end in Adelaide, stopping in Broken Hill, Mungo National Park and other significant locations.
Escorted program for couples and single travellers visiting Hobart, Launceston through the Tamar Valley along the rugged coastline of the north coast and heading back south to the pristine wilderness around Cradle Mountain and then on through Strahan, Queenstown and past Lake St Clair, before arriving back in Hobart. This 18 day small group tours to Tasmania for mature and senior travellers interested in the colonial history of Tasmania. We follow the footsteps of the colonists, visiting the churches where they worshipped, the houses in which they lived, the taverns where they drank and some of the mills in which they worked.
The Glory of Greece course examines the history of the Ancient Greeks from Mycenaean, Minoan and Homeric times until the commencement of the Peloponnesian War in 431BC. We discover the development of a classical, ancient people and culture.
The Tasmania Wilderness summer school is held annually in Hobart in early January. This summer school allows you to experience the great western wilderness of Tasmania, while staying at a comfortable ‘base camp’ in a Hobart hotel!
Houses and gardens of Southern Tasmania runs for five days and takes in ten different gardens and three heritage-listed houses. We will step back into the past and experience life as it was two centuries ago.
A fascinating small group tour, with an amazing mix of culture and history – the islands of Greece, the cradle of Western civilisation, where traces of a centuries-old history exists. Visit Santorini, a remnant of a volcanic era; Crete, the home of the Minoan civilisation with important archaeological finds at Knossos and Phaistos. Rhodes, inhabited since the Stone Age; and venture further to the island of Cyprus, where east meets west.
Our small group guided tour in the Netherlands provides us with a delicious taste of its delights. We view the main sights of old Amsterdam, a World Heritage Site, first on foot and then from the comfort of a cruise along its 17th century canals. Our exploration of Dutch gardens includes the Hortus Botanicus, an impressive university garden. Timed to enjoy what is perhaps the highlight of the program – a visit to Keukenhof’s bulb gardens. They contain more than 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths which fill over 32 hectares.
Enjoy the best of Bach travelling with mature couples or solo travellers in a small group tour. We take time to appreciate not just the music but also to explore Bach’s history and influences. The program spends 16 days visiting the locations that where influences on his life as well as attending the Bach Music festival in Leipzig.
An escorted tour to Northern Ireland & Ireland, with local guides and itineraries that give authentic experiences Ireland‘s capital, Dublin, including 1/2 day tour of St Patricks cathedral and Trinity college. Destinations also Aran islands , Kerry plus the world heritage site, the giant’s causeway. Ireland tours for singles over 50 and couples.
Our escorted tour gives guests an insight into the history of this Icelandic nation. Travelling as a small group, our daily itineraries explore the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and others, national parks and majestic waterfalls as we learn about Iceland’s natural heritage and its Viking past from experienced local guides. There is a single supplement for solo travellers.
Join our small group guided tour of Spain, exploring this fascinating country over 10 nights with like minded people. We start in Barcelona and make our way slowly towards Madrid. Enjoy the food and culture while learning about the history of each location from our expert local guides and Odyssey Program Leader.
As a travel company we seek to keep guests off the beaten path. Trips that are remembered for authentic experiences. Our small group journeys in Turkey are fully escorted by an experienced local guide and an Odyssey guide to give this type of experience whether at one of the many UNESCO World heritage sites explored or local bazaars. It is always about the adventure and memories that we will create.
A walking tour into England, Scotland and Wales provides small group journeys with breathtaking scenery to destinations such as Snowdonia national park , the UNESCO world heritage site Hadrians wall and the lake district. each day tour provides authentic experiences often off the beaten path from our local guides.
This 22-day tour begins much like our 16-day tour of Pakistan, travelling from Karachi to Islamabad with a six-day extension that allows us to further explore the northern parts of the country.
This small group tour to the Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, and the Gawler Ranges is designed for mature and senior traveller or solo traveller to discover the hidden gems of South Australia. Visiting the lesser-known western half of South Australia to explore the pristine coasts of the Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula – often strikingly underdeveloped compared to the East Coast of Australia – and the rugged landscapes of the Gawler Ranges. Delve deeper, and you’ll find a fascinating and often unexpected local history.
Experience pleasant sections of the Way of Saint James, crossing some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes. We follow the pilgrims on easy distances of The Way to the mythical destination, Santiago de Compostella. Not since the middle ages has this adventure for body and mind been more popular. We also get to discover the artistic highlights and rich history of Northern Spain and Portugal, as well as enjoying local wines and exquisite food.
Our 21 night program has daily itineraries with plenty of authentic experiences provided by passionate local guides in the key destinations in France, Channel Islands and England for this small group of like minded people. For Solo travellers minimal single supplement applies for this European tour.
For centuries Malta & Sicily, held the key to the Mediterranean. Unlike other European tour companies, Odyssey provides a tour leader and local guides to share detailed itineraries about the destinations on these small group journeys. For mature couples and solo travellers. A reasonable single supplement is charged.
For centuries Malta, Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica held the key to the Mediterranean. Unlike other European tour companies, Odyssey provides a tour leader and local guides to share detailed itineraries about the destinations on these small group journeys. This escorted tour explores the geography, history, culture and peoples of these 4 islands. For mature couples and solo travellers. A reasonable single supplement is charged.
Our guided small group tour of Devon and Cornwall in England, designed for mature and senior travellers who are travelling with their partner or as a solo traveller. A journey filled with medieval treasures, charming fishing villages in the north Cornish coast, stunning cliff-top coastal views of the blue Atlantic, and atmospheric destinations traditionally linked to the legends of King Arthur.
Visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites introduced by local guides feature on this walking tour for mature couple and single travellers in central Spain. The days itineraries to selected destinations provide authentic experiences in central Spain. A single supplement is charged for solo travelers on these small group journeys.
Visit the largest landlocked country in the world, Kazakhstan. Once part of the Mongol and Russian Empires, Kazakhstan is where man first tamed wild horses on the vast Kazakh Steppe, the dry grassland that dominates its landscape and connects it with Europe and the rest of Asia.
An escorted small group tour to the Baltic States of Europe that explores the key destinations of this region starting in Berlin, then making its way through Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and concluding in St. Petersburg. Each day has scheduled itineraries supported by local guides who share knowledge and authentic experiences of the places visited. This is small group travelling to the Baltics for like minded people.
Unlike its neighbours to the west and northwest, Iran had not adopted Christianity and it was the explosive spread of Islam and its ready adoption, without the Arabic language or customs, which helped unite the culture and greatly enrich Persian heritage. Our program includes the great cities of Iran, historic sites, mosques, gardens, bazaars and teahouses.
Escorted tour on the Trans-Siberian railway network from West to East starting in Helsinki and finishing in Irkutsk after 21 days. This is small group travel with like minded people and itineraries that maximise the travel experience of the 6 key destinations explored en-route. Our small group journeys are for mature couples and solo travellers.
Morocco is a gateway: step through and discover a world of colour, diversity and wonder, unlike anything you have experienced before. Rich traditions and heritage are very much alive here, but there is also a paradoxical youthfulness to the culture that will draw you in.
Join Odyssey Traveller as we go on a 27-day journey across Central America, exploring the history and diverse scenery of Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Our program takes us to contemporary feats such as the Aswan Dam and also to current crucibles of the Egyptian experience such as Tahrir Square. Proof, were it needed, that Egypt’s role as the pivot of civilisation is far from ended. There is the opportunity to visit our Morocco, Jordan or Iran tours before embarking on this tour of Egypt.
Bounded by the majestic Himalayan ranges in the north and edged by an endless stretch of golden beaches, India is a vivid kaleidoscope of landscapes, magnificent historical sites, royal cities, colourful people and rich culture. Its ancient monuments are the backdrop for the world’s largest democracy
Escorted 13 day small group tour of the East coast of New Zealand’s North island. Off the beaten track, for like minded people curious about history, culture, wine and landscapes. Your tour director and local guides share their knowledge with you the traveller on this New Zealand tour for senior travellers.
Small group tour touring most of the Australian territory, travelling through the outback and visiting many of the famous sights as well as off the beaten track locations, giving you the opportunity the explore and meet our people in the most remote locations. Learn about the history of the people who explored the deserts, from indigenous communities to Europeans, as well as Burke and Wills, visit White Cliffs, Birdsville, Marree and far north Kakadu and the Kimberley.
An escorted tour of the Scottish isles including the isle of Skye draws on local guides to share their knowledge of the destinations in this unique part of Scotland. UNESCO world heritage site are visited as breathtaking scenery and authentic experiences are shared in a group of like minded people on this guided tour of remote Scotland.
This small group program is designed to give people an opportunity to explore Tbilisi, Baku, Yerevan as well as important monuments, historical and religious sites, diverse landscapes and ancient architecture by visiting the Caucasus Mountains and the lowlands of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Led by local English speaking guides, there will be the opportunity to meet local people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.