Solo travel – enjoying small group tours for seniors

Scotland history - Urquhart Castle

Solo travel as a mature or senior traveller

People choose to embark on solo travel for many different reasons. Benefits of  travelling alone include an openness to new experiences 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 small groups that incorporate solo travel for seniors  can be ideal, because you are bound to meet like-minded, intrepid individuals.

Small group tours for those travelling alone

Travelling alone 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 leader is also travelling as an individual. 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!

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. Our organisation, our program leaders, and most importantly our clients, welcome both couples and single people from all backgrounds.

Everyone is welcome

Forming and becoming part of short term travelling group is typically enjoyable and a lot of fun. The laughter and humour shared is genuine; as is the care and mutual respect shown to each group member on an Odyssey tour for mature and senior travellers. Friendship and associations formed are often long lasting. In some cases, regular travelling companions are found for future tours! Group sizes 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.

Our small group tours are designed especially for mature and senior travellers. We provide quality, flexibility and care that is tailored to our clients.

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 as a single, or not.

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 likeminded 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.

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.

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.

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. 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 lives 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 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

  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.

aircraft-jet-landing

About Odyssey Traveller: small group educational tours for seniors & mature travellers

Odyssey Traveller is a not-for-profit organisation offering Australia and New Zealand’s most comprehensive educational tour programs. We provide worldwide experiences for mature travellers who are keen to blend a love of travel with a thirst for knowledge, and we welcome participants from any country.

Odyssey Traveller is famous for our small groups, and we average eight participants per tour. Our maximum group size is eighteen people, which ensures quality, flexibility and care that is tailored to our clients. We specialise in small group tours for the senior traveller who is seeking adventure or is curious about the world we live in. Typically, our clients begin travelling with us from their mid 50’s onward. Both couples and singles are welcome.

Britain's canals and railways

Odyssey Traveller is committed to charitable activities that support the environment and cultural development of Australian and New Zealand communities. Accordingly, we are pleased to announce that since 2012, Odyssey has been awarding $10,000 Equity & Merit Cash Scholarships each year. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic performance and demonstrated financial need. We award at least one scholarship per year. We are supported through our educational travel programs, and your participation helps Odyssey achieve its goals.

For more information on Odyssey Traveller and our educational small group tours, visit our website. Alternatively, please call or send an email. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Comments

Rae Smith
June 17, 2018
Can I also remind solo travellers that you must be able to carry your own bags. Regrettably I've seen too many solo women go all pathetic when bags have to be hauled into the bus or carried up stairs. My poor old man groans out loud when he sees too many solo women on a tour but he is a good soul and never refuses. Remember if you can't carry it, you can't take it!
Laura L McCall
February 24, 2018
I think it's so important to feel lonely at some point in your life. If you never get lonely, you never find out who you really are or what's really important to you. And like you said, you have to get out of your comfort zone and away from the things you thought defined you to find out what your real substance is. Travel is the best way I know to do this.
Wismon
November 24, 2017
Awesome Article… Really feel too happy to read this post. Thanks for sharing!
Diana
November 12, 2017
Interested in Kimberley's Croatia and South America departing Brisbane?

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