Am I Too Old To Travel Solo Over 60?

Over 60 travel
Over 60 travel surge - why you're not too old

Am I too old to travel solo? I hear and read this a lot. I want to tell you – you’re not… the tides have changed.

There’s a surge now in the over 60 travel age group

Although the over 60 travel bug is catching on around the globe, if you’re over 60 and it’s your first time looking to venture out on your own, then you’re not alone. And, you’re not on your own when it comes to pondering if you’re too old to solo travel. I read posts in our Facebook group, and we get emails and calls, questioning if over 60 or over 70 is too old (to travel) and if this age fits into our solo travel tour groups.

On the flip side, there’s also lots of shared stories in our Facebook group about first time solo travellers, over 50, 60, and over 70.  Comparing this to 2006 when I started Encounter Travel it’s a very different playground now for travel lovers in the over 60’s age group. This is the surge….. it’s not just me that’s seeing it, it’s the countless blogs written for and by older solo travellers, travel companies, and travellers, all seeing the trend – and what a fantastic trend it is.

There’s lots of reasons why travellers over 60, or over 70 are seeking out solo travel – maybe you just need a short break, or the opposite, now finally you’ve got the time for an indulgent longer trip. Or, you’re just tempted to see if you can ‘go it alone’, curious about the idea of solo travel.  There’s lots of reason why travellers over 60, or over 70 are seeking out solo travel – maybe you just need a short break, or the opposite, now finally you’ve got the time for an indulgent longer trip. Or, you’re just tempted to see if you can ‘go it alone’, curious about the idea of solo travel.  Or you could fall into the group of solo travellers that had solo travel in their past, but it faded away with family and work commitments.

And now to the crunch – you don’t have a partner, or a travel buddy and you’re considering the prospect of; solo travel.

There’s lots of ways to approach it; over 60 travel on your own. Here are some insights that I hope break down any barriers, and help get you started.

Start Out Small

If nerves are the big reason for starting out, there’s lots of choices that are far less daunting than planning a big trip on your own.  Test the water, plan a short trip, maybe even close to home.  City breaks in a new city close to home are the perfect start to see how you feel about planning, and travelling a trip on your own. Or, pick a short tour – the planning is done for you, you’ll have a company, and if it’s not you, you’ll be home soon (but it’s not often that new solo travellers don’t like it).

You Don’t Want to Be Alone

You’ve got the time now, and the big travel dreams but the idea of travelling day in and day out, and dining alone just isn’t for you.  You might be leaving home alone, but that doesn’t have to mean the only option is to travel on your own. Your best pick could be joining a tour. I am in favour of small groups, it’s the reason I only create small group tours.   Small groups are a closer match to an independent travel style, if comparing it to large organised coach touring. Of course, it’s not independent travel as the trips are arranged (not by you), but on a small group tour there’s the benefit of a more intimate touring style.  And generally it’s easier to make the solo connections with a group just for solo travellers -  seek out solo travel group! You’ll have your independence but you won’t be alone.  Find a tour that balances group time with free time.  From my experience our solo travellers appreciate a bit of free time to seek out their own experiences, or just take a break from touring.

Over 60 travel solo norway
Our solo travellers experiencing the summer midnight sun, Cape North, Norway

Pure Solo and Solo Travel Tours

Take a combination approach. You think you may be OK with some time on your own, but you’re not prepared to risk finding out if solo travel is for you on a big trip. Mix it up. Start out or end with a side trip, or a city break in your arrival destination – adding on a few extra nights to an organised tour. In any case, if you’ve travelled a long way, it’s great to have a day or  more to yourself, to refresh after a long flight, and switch into holiday mode (if you’re taking a break from work and/or busy family demands).

Over 60 travel fit

You don't need to have peak fitness to solo travel over 60. 

Are You Travel Fit?

You don’t have to be an intrepid traveller to leave home alone.  Maybe you’re not as fit as you used to be, or some general ageing ailments slow you down a bit. And you could be wondering if you can keep up with the pace of a tour group, or meet the demands of day to travel.

Without a doubt, being in good shape will bless your travels – there’s more choices of travel styles to pick from and you’ll have the energy to make the most of it. If you’re in top shape, walking and trekking for the over 60’s is a fantastic option – there’s great choices to join small groups and best of all there’s the common thread between the group – everyone loves the great outdoors and age holds no boundaries.

But what if that’s not an option, or other fast paced trips, and your sitting on the fence because you’re worried about your fitness?

There are so many different ways to travel, and they don’t all require good fitness.  You feel you’ve got a less than ideal fitness level, then it will narrow the field of your choices but there’s still going to be something for you.

Consider cruising, ocean or river cruising, you can set your own pace and pick and choose your own shore excursions. Otherwise, a resort escape or retreat maybe ideal.  When it comes to finding a travel group to join, seek out guidance of the fitness level required. Our trips all have guides on fitness from 1 to 5 (1 is mostly leisurely like cruising or a resort break, and 4 or 5 the most demanding). It’s common practice for most tour companies to set guidance of the fitness level required and highlight anything particularly demanding.

Is it Safe to Travel Solo?

Across more than 13 years of chatting with solo travellers it’s not age that defines this worry. I’ve heard it from travellers in their 30’s right up to over 70’s. If you’re looking to travel solo, it’s a good thing if you’re thinking about your safety – far more likely to stay safe if you pay mind to staying safe. I’ve got a blog about solo travel safety. It a nutshell, solo travel is has safe as you make it, the destinations you choose, and how you choose to travel. There’s always places to avoid, or things to avoid, but there’s always lots and lots of safe travel options that far outweigh the ‘not so safe’ options.

You’re Not Alone

Here’s just some of the posts in our Facebook group

“…. I seem to be a tad older than others. I am 71 and my husband has got tired of travelling. I haven't. Off in couple of weeks to Vietnam and Cambodia. Did it solo in Sept. Going a bit longer this time. Love Siem Reap.’, Kim

“I am coming up to 74 in March and have travelled solo for the last 15 years and intend to keep going. Have recently become part of the Encounter Travel Tribe and looking forward to new experiences with the tribe,” Brian

“71 and have been travelling solo for 15+ years, will be celebrating my 72nd in Italy this June, but can't do trekking (2 hip replacements and spinal arthritis), but still manage it,” Gerri

“Yep I’m 71 still trekking just love Peru,” Margo

“Thank you. I have joined but still apprehensive...just a little nervous. You have given me inspiration. I am 65 soon. I am thinking of doing Italy. I'm from Canberra. Love your spirit.” Natalie

 

Check out our Solos Only Tour Groups
For a full list of small group tours.

Cruising Solo?
You can avoid dining solo when you join a Cruise Circle for Solos for group, with cruises departing from Australia, orjoin the Facebook group.

Solo Traveller Dining Events
Check out our events in Sydney and then from time to time, other cities in Australia including Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Getting Started For The First Time?
Check out my book, How To Travel Solo But Not Alone

Something To Share?
Have you got a story to share?  Send us your solo travel story, for inclusion on our blog page. Know anyone that could find some encouraging words from my story? Please share and be a voice for travelling solo.


Find Us On Facebook
Travelling with us, or thinking about it, or just curious? Join our Facebook Tribe of solo travellers.

Enquiries?
Visit our Contact Us page on our website.

About the author

Justine Waddington

Justine Waddington is the founder and director of Encounter Travel, a company that creates holiday groups exclusively for solo travellers. As a solo traveller with 60 countries under her belt and 14 years of leading travel groups, Justine is in the unique position of being able to offer tips and advice from the perspective of an experienced solo traveller and also that of a travel agent.

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