Advice for Mature-Aged Solo Travellers

Advice for solo travellers seeking advice on holidays for solo travellers over 50. Odyssey has been offering small group tours for mature and senior travellers all around the world since 1983.

11 Nov 19 · 8 mins read

Advice for Mature-Aged Solo Travellers

Mature-aged solo travel in small groups continues to grow, and for those in their 50s and older, holidays with an itinerary with like minded travellers for the mature solo traveler over 50 is an important one to consider. A good tour leader, like minded people appealing to travelers with a preference small groups that embrace lone travellers and the solo explorer as travelling companions is a pre-requisite for many worldwide trips offered by a reputable tour operator.

Several surveys show this trend.

According to Australian market research Roy Morgan, the number of older Australians taking holidays has risen since 2007, “but a growing proportion of them are going it alone”, that is single travellers are taking singles holidays. Solo holidays for over 50’s! This the young boomer demographic who are content within themselves and will take the solo tour/singles holiday to enjoy the adventure tour they have planned for some time! According to their latest statistics (2015), holidays for the mature solo traveller over 50, that is 5.4 million Australians aged 50+ took at least one holiday in the 12 months to June 2015. The proportion of those who travelled alone on their last trip ( Solo holidays for over 50’s) rose from 15.4% in 2007 to 16.3% in 2015, an increase evident among the 50-64, 65-74 and 75-79 age groups, with the 80+ age group remaining stable at 18.7%. Acknowledging that that the 80+ segment for solo traveller holidays will be flat as this group slow down with their demand for travel then offering small group tours and experiences that appeal and satisfy the single traveller whether male or female travellers is important.

Hitwise, the UK’s largest online behavioural research tool, said in 2018 that there had been a whopping 143 percent increase in ” solo travel ” searches over the past three years, after analysing searches made by 3 million consumers in the UK across all search engines.

According to a 2017 survey conducted by US marketing firm MMGY Global , one in four Americans said they would travel solo , an attitude “as prevalent among Millennials as it was among Baby Boomers.” Baby boomers as a demographic is defined as those born following the end of World War II (usually considered to be in the years from 1946 to 1964).

The 2019 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey shows that Boomers continue to be avid travellers, planning to take a total of 4 to 5 leisure trips in 2019. Included in the Top 6 of planned international travel is ” solo travel” (7%).

seniors travel mature-aged travel

Why do people choose to take a solo holiday?

The reasons why travellers choose to travel solo vary. Plenty of travellers seek out holidays that are an organised tour with a tour manager for mature solo travellers over 50. This is a solo adventure to experience their destination at a deeper level often with like minded travellers. As a solo explorer travelling alone , you set the pace and make the choices: wander where you want, eat what you want, and leave when you please. You no longer need to worry about a travelling partner who wants to stay cosy in the cabin on a cruise or in a hotel room, when you’re itching to get out into the beautiful scenery and enjoy the cultural experiences of your chosen destination.

Travellers find that locals are much more likely to approach you when you travel alone – with lucky solo travellers often becoming the guests of locals.

Most of all, a solo holiday is the way to get to know yourself and to build resilience. When you’re done, you’ll inevitably look back on your trip as a time you challenged yourself as lone travellers and come away a stronger, more independent person. However for mature and senior traveller single travel may be a consequence of life change. Their partner may be suffering from illness preventing travel or a divorce or early death. Many factors will shape whay a person is seeking out suitable holidays for solo travellers over 50. At Odyssey we seek to have an understanding of the issues around single travel, having specialised in looking after retired travellers since 1983 on a guided tour for the solo travel group of the travel sector.

Join Other Mature-Aged Solo Travellers with Odyssey

One of the biggest worries for potential solo travellers is the concern that being alone for so long might be lonely. Travellers frequently ask whether it is easy to meet other solo travellers on their journey.

The answer is that with solo travel becoming more and more common, you’ll certainly meet others who are on a solo holiday, some travelling independently, others on a small group trip.

The majority of mature-aged solo travellers do not wish to travel alone. According to London-based global market research firm Mintel in their 2018 Solo Traveller Report, 52% of solo travellers were interested in taking an escorted tour.

This is where Odyssey Traveller comes in. We offer fully escorted tours designed for the mature traveller with an itinerary designed to create the perfect trip. We generally have a mix of those travelling solo and as a couple. We do not offer Solo travel groups, our over 50 single traveller prefers to be part of the small group journey, a guided tour with a like minded fellow traveller. We have been providing adventure and educational programs to small groups since 1983. A “small group” for Odyssey is typically up to 16 travellers, but we’ve experienced running a tour with as few as four people. Odyssey has published an article on the benefits of small group travel for over 50s purchasing a tour package. As well as setting out what defines good tour operators from a poorly organised tour operator, the paper sets out the main issue for the solos holiday which is service fees and single rooms and the single supplement. Odyssey to the majority of destinations particularly in the UK and Europe will not offer single rooms to the single traveler when booking with this travel company, you have your own room unless you have requested to share. Solo travel in groups can be daunting. Odyssey also provides advice on managing group dynamics for the solo traveler in a small group tour environment as well as commentary on being travel fit whether on a general holiday or one of our walking holidays.

A small group tour is a comfortable alternative to big-bus tours for large groups, and an excellent option for those over 50s travelling solo but would like a hassle-free travel experience.

Travelling alone can be an intimidating prospect even for the mature solo traveller, particularly in a group tour environment. But on an Odyssey tour , you are not the only solo traveller. Our Australia or New Zealand-based Program Leader (tour guide), who will escort your group for the duration of the program, will usually be also travelling solo . Our small group tours have like-minded people, travelling by themselves as a single traveler or with their partner. In fact, the more adventurous destinations tend to be dominated by solo travellers! Odyssey Traveller ‘s small group tours are not designed strictly as solo travel tours , but are a group tour designed for those who like to explore and learn as they travel . We see travel as a form of education. The focus is on history and culture, and plenty of walking holidays offered around Europe, allowing participants to fully experience a destination in the context of the past events that have shaped it.

Roy Morgan’s 2015 survey appears to back us up regarding our participant demographic; the survey says that ” solo travellers from the 50-plus group were more likely than their younger counterparts to report having visited museums, art galleries, gardens or parks and historical places, but less likely to have gone shopping or attended a concert.” Education is not a short-term effect-you can reap the benefits long after a trip has concluded, making you a happier person who is more compassionate and more engaged with the world. (Read our related article: Why Join A Small Group Tour? )

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Inside the Pink Mosque in Shiraz, Iran
Inside the Pink Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Travelling Solo as a Mature-Aged Woman

Women are driving the growth of solo travel in groups, claims MMGY Global. A poll revealed that 72% of American women are taking solo journeys.

The reasons why women are more likely to travel alone than men are an issue of debate. Some have suggested that women are better able to cope with being alone for extended periods of time. Others have linked the increase in women choosing to travel alone to women’s empowerment: increased freedom for women in the later 20th and 21st century has empowered Baby Boomers and Millennials to do what would have been a dream for many generations of women. For many women, setting off on a solo trip is a chance for freedom and independence, to challenge oneself, and build confidence. It’s not surprising that out of the 72% who have travelled alone, 59% are planning to do so again within a year! Whatever the underlying drive is for the solo female travel and the solo female traveller we think that our natural travel style and the itinerary offered provide the cultural experiences and historical or wildlife context for a great group tour.

Of course, women have travelled alone for centuries. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the fascinating stories of these Five Female Explorers .

However, solo female travellers are also likely to worry about their safety. Unfortunately, women travellers can encounter threats to their safety than men do not experience. However, there are many ways for women to feel safe while travelling. For example; make sure to research your destination closely before you head off. Find out what the expectations for women’s dress are, and work out how to navigate common problems. Look into what places it might be better to avoid. You’ll find that the internet is a great resource – as is another fellow traveller who has been to your destination.

We have a number of resources about safe travel.

If you’re feeling unsure about travelling alone, make your first destination somewhere a bit more familiar – is there a European city you’ve always wanted to visit? After your first solo escape, you’ll have more confidence to take on somewhere a bit more adventurous.

Whatever you do, try not to feel intimidated about travelling alone as a woman. A majority of our travellers here at Odyssey are women, many of whom are solo . We cater to women seeking all kinds of experiences and offer flexibility but in a small group tour enviroment as part of an escorted tour with a tour director. Whether you want to balance education with independent travel , or are on a tour to meet like-minded friends, our holidays for solo travellers over 50 can work for you. For a solo traveller on a small group tour with Odyssey there is a single supplement for single travel . This covers the cost of single room occupancy for a room with a double bed. We have a clear policy on making this happen across Europe as this is exactly what are customers expect from us when they travel and acknowledge the cost of sole occupancy. There is no other cost though for travelling as a single on a escorted tour .

Advice for the over 50's

Solo Travel Advice for Mature-Aged Travellers

We have summarised the steps for you to take in order to make your solo travel dream a reality for single travel tours 50 and over seeking a travel group to join. Odyssey Traveller is easily reached by email or phone . Our friendly and experienced staff can help design the adventure you are seeking.

Think about where you want to go.

The first step is to sit down and really think about the kind of holiday you want.

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!

Mountain View

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Do you sell holidays specifically for solo or single travellers?

Odyssey Traveller groups are for a mix of couple and solo travellers. If you have a small group of solo travellers who’d like to take one of our groups, we can organise an exclusive departure just for you and your friends.

What are the best destinations for solo travellers?

The best destination is the one you always wanted to visit. Odyssey Traveller groups are small enough to give you freedom to pursue your own interests while with the group and when there’s free time scheduled. Travelling with like-minded people you’ll find new friends keen to share your interests.

What is a small group tour?

Odyssey’s small group tours are made up for like-minded travellers, usually 6 to 12 people travelling together with a dedicated Odyssey Program Leader plus expert local guides in each destination. Our tours include many group meals either at the hotel or local restaurants and all sightseeing listed on our itineraries. You can enjoy the amazing destinations without worrying about booking entrance fees or arranging transportation or reconfirming accommodation, it’s all organised for you.

How are tour operators preparing for a return to travel?

We have published our Peace of Mind travel page where we outline how we’re preparing for the return of travel and working with our local partners worldwide to ensure travel continues to be enjoyable and safe for our small group escorted tours.

Is it better to book tours in advance?

Booking in advance is always a good idea. By booking early you can organise your air travel or any other extra touring or visits you’d like to take and have a solid travel plan in place. Many destinations may require visas so booking early allows you enough time to organise your application and receiving your visa before departure. Tours that are based on special events like some of our Music tours like Bach, the man and his music, Oberammergau, Wagner Ring Cycle to name a few are always best to be booked in advance as ticket numbers and seat allocation is restricted. If you can’t book in advance, don’t worry, contact us as soon as you can and we’ll do our best to accommodate you on our tours even at short notice.

Is solo female travel safe?

Odyssey Traveller groups are a safe way of travelling and exploring the world as a solo female traveller. You won’t be alone for the majority of the time, but with a small group of people who will become friends and great travel companions along the way. There’s always time and opportunity to explore independently if you wish and our local guides and Odyssey Program Leader can assist with any safety concerns you may encounter, ensuring you are always safe and looked after on our tours.

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