Are you a fearless and over 50 traveler

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A fun guide for the adventurous over 50 solo traveler

Over 50 solo travel with a theme can encourage you to try something different. Are you interested in history? Pick your favorite historical event and plan a vacation around it.

Vacations for singles are more exciting when you add a theme to your trip and attend events or join tours that are related to it.

 Megalithic Burial near Marvão, Portugal, dramatic skies, burial is on the first third of photo, over 50 travel tips

Photo by Marguerite Megalithic Burial near Marvão, Portugal

A trip with a mythological theme can be a journey and not just a simple vacation. Travel through Greece or Italy in search of their majestical gods, or discover the knights of the United Kingdom.

If you are interested in art, you may want to create a solo trip around painting in different villages. If photography is your passion, go to Scotland in search of gorgeous landscapes, or how about learning to cook traditional Spanish cuisine? If textiles and embroidery are your hobbies, then head to Peru.

 Banski street art on wall in Bristol, UK. Going on street art tours are a fun way to get to know a culture for the over 50 traveler

My Trip to Bristol, UK. In Search of Banski and other great street artists

Vacations for singles with a theme will ensure that you stay motivated to explore during your solo journey. Solo travel over 50 is a delight when we get to see the places we read about, and to learn new things on location. Some people love to volunteer, and you can learn a lot from locals by connecting with them on a personal level.

What to do on a over 50 solo travel

Tours are a quick way to warm up to a new culture. You can get tips from experienced guides and other travelers about where to visit on your own, and where to eat like a local.

 I have just added street art tours to my list of travel must-dos, along with walking and foodie tours. The walking and the street art tours allow me to see areas that I might miss if I was alone, and the foodie tours allow me to discover the local cuisine.

 Learn how to cook with a local

Paella dish shot from above, Malaga Spain

Paella cooking class in Malaga

Many city markets offer cooking classes, which can be found through Airbnb’s Experiences tab. The Time Out Market in Lisbon provides cooking classes, and many private chefs offer courses in their homes or at restaurants. Reserve your spot before your departure date, and have fun immersing yourself in the culture.

 When I went to Malaga, I signed up for a paella class and chatted with wonderful fellow travelers during dinner. I joined a French food cooking class in Edinburgh, where I met many locals. I have yet to plan a trip around cooking classes, and I have my heart set on a cooking school in Ireland where I hope to spend a week learning new techniques.

 Pack your hobbies

sketch of blue skies, trees in silhouette and a red sun. Hobbies for traveling solo

Photo by Marguerite. Paint your trip!

Solo travel over 50 means more room to fill your trip with your favourite pastimes! Is painting your thing? Join a class or find a group that meets regularly. When I go to Edinburgh, I join the weekly Reconfigure drawing sessions at Summer Hall. If you’re a photographer, join photo walks, or if you’re more interested in exercise, look for walking groups that cater to vacations for singles.

Plan and research before you go

map with eye glasses and a cappuccino and a spoon in cup

Spend time researching before you travel so that you will have many options available to you.

You may find that you want to wander on your own and not join anything, but it’s always good to have some ideas if you have a change of plans. Don’t forget to look up meet-ups and Facebook groups to find interesting gatherings in the area.

Over 50 solo travel has lots of options to connect with other travelers.

 Make your solo trips fun and full of mini-adventures by planning ahead of time.

Here’s an example of a two week travel schedule:

●      Day 1: Walking tour in the morning, rest at the hotel, visit a park nearby, and dinner (reservation before traveling).

●      Day 2: Foodie tour, ask your guide for restaurant tips but have dinner at a place you reserved before traveling. You can entertain yourself at dinner by reading the reviews of your new restaurant list and decide which ones you want to try.

●      Day 3: Museum and walk around the neighborhood. Dinner in a place recommended by a local.

●      Day 4: Day trip to a town nearby, and by now, you may have a few more names or restaurants that you want to try, so make dinner reservations.

●      Day 5: Photo Walk and picnic at the park

●      Day 6: Bus tour to a special location, music concert in the evening and dinner at a unique local place.

●      Day 7: Morning walk, lunch at the street market, movies

●      Day 8: Create your last minute plan

●      Day 9: No plans during the day, cooking class in the evening

Remember to be flexible; don’t be afraid to cancel and rearrange things to your liking during your trip.

Take a break from sightseeing

 Have you come home from a trip only to find that you need a vacation from your vacation? Go to a movie, play, or concert. Take a break and spend a day relaxing at a park. Too much sightseeing can be exhausting!

Solo dining on your trip

If you have never eaten out alone and are wary of doing so, I suggest practicing a few times before you travel.

Make lunch reservations in nicer restaurants, a place where you would typically go with friends, and go on your own. Whenever you feel self-conscious or bored, pull out your phone and read an article or scroll online. The idea is to feel comfortable alone in a restaurant full of people.

As soon as you feel comfortable eating lunch on your own, graduate to dinner! Plan to eat an early dinner a few times and then make a reservation to eat during your usual dinner time. Some people prefer to eat at a counter when they are on their own. This is a fun way to meet other people, and it feels like casual dining.

When you call to make a reservation, ask if the restaurant has a communal table and if they do, book a seat. I don’t see communal tables much, but I sit there when I know that a restaurant has one.

Some people hate to dine out alone, which is fine- but don’t miss out on unique restaurants and book for lunch instead. Eating out is part of getting to know a culture authentically.

Drinking while exploring

 This is so important: You need to ensure that you can safely return to your hotel, so don’t drink too much. I only drink one glass of wine when I am on my own. Stay safe!

Dress like a local

Have you read articles about traveling, blending in with the local culture, or “How Not to Look Like a Tourist”?

 It’s almost impossible to look like a local when traveling out of a small suitcase, and all your clothes come from a different country where people dress differently, so go for a discreet look. Wear clothes that don’t stand out. Pack neutral colors to mix and match easily, and you just might blend in- but don’t worry if you don’t.

 I choose one primary color for most of my clothes, and I pack colorful accessories (scarves). Wearing one color makes it easy to do laundry because you will only use one machine! I choose darker colors like charcoal gray or black and work around them. When I get bored with my monochrome look, I may buy something locally.

Packing made simple

Pack light. You can always have your clothes cleaned during your trip, or buy clothes should the weather change. Not only does keeping your suitcase light help you travel with ease, you might want the extra space if you buy souvenirs.

Document your trip

Keep a journal of everything that you did and saw. You can use the calendar or note app on your phone to write down the names of the restaurants and galleries you visited, and any activities you did. Don’t forget to write names, emails, or social media of people you met so you can stay in contact.

Pro Tip: When you take a photo on the iPhone, you can swipe it up and write down where you were and a few notes about the location.

Step outside your comfort zone

What if you are terrified of traveling alone but want to try it out for a few nights? Why don’t you join a guided tour for ten days, get a feel for your environment, and stay on your own for three days after it ends?

You will love your mini-adventure! The tour will take you to all the key places, introduce you to the culture so that by the end of the trip, you will feel more comfortable with the location, and your extra days will be stress-free. Try it out. Once you start to travel solo, you won’t stop.

Stay safe

Always consider your safety when traveling alone. Don’t do daring things just because someone else does them, and listen to your gut at all times. It’s your trip. You don’t have to tick off any boxes. Your solo trip is for your pure enjoyment and no one else’s.

Don’t announce where you are going nor where you are staying on social media. Make it a personal rule to only post about a place after you have left the location.

Research the area where you will stay. Choose hotels, Airbnb’s, or hostels that are in a safe location. Read the lousy hotel reviews first, and then read the good reviews. Only then should you decide what is best for you. I always book hotels in a good area – even if it means paying a bit more.

Don’t forget comprehensive travel insurance, and make sure that it covers medical issues, cancellations, and anything else you need.

Keep everything safe when you leave your accommodations. If there is a safe, use it and if not, lock valuables in your suitcase. Don’t travel with anything valuable that you don’t need, and don’t leave jewelry in the room, even if it’s a pair of inexpensive earrings. People love shiny things! Unfortunately, I know this only too well. I couldn’t believe it when I noticed that a cheap pair of earrings and a wooden bracelet disappeared after the hotel serviced my room.

Getting around a new location

Walking is the best way to get to know a city. Section off areas or neighborhoods to get to know the city well and do a section a day. Research restaurants, galleries, parks, and other places of interest in each area so that you will get a taste of local life. I love to walk and take public transportation, but I book Ubers and taxis when I go out alone in the evening.

Are you traveling solo for the first time? Choose a city that’s easy to get around. Edinburgh, Lisbon, Berlin, and Amsterdam come to mind. Edinburgh is a fantastic city for a first solo trip because it’s not huge; it’s a walking city with many trains and buses everywhere; great for day trips, good food, and friendly people.

Once you have done your research and have a plan, don’t overthink things and have a wonderful time!

Bon Voyage!

Travel with a Theme

Travel with a Purpose

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Updated June 3, 2024

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

Welcome to the sunny side of life for women over 50! We aim to create a space where women feel empowered, supported, and inspired to lead their best lives after 50. Join our Instagram!

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Marguerite, this is like the ultimate guide for solo travel over 50! A few of my favourite ways of travelling in there, from travelling with a theme to travelling like a local! Loving the site!

  2. Hi Lara, Thank you! My trips have changed so much. I like the slower trips that allow me to get to know a culture while I do the things that I love!

    Best,
    Marguerite

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