Single women over 60 are traveling like never before – and loving it. With so much travel information available in print and online, planning a rewarding solo vacation is easier than ever.
Being a single woman doesn’t have to mean traveling solo all the time. There are countless trips organized each year that group people (and some even women-only) together to share activities and meals.
Here are six amazing vacation ideas for single women over 60 – four organized travel experiences and two do-it-yourself vacations – for you to consider.
Margaret Manning, founder of Sixty & Me, tells us her reasons why traveling solo as a woman is both freeing and empowering.
In my 50s, with my kids out of the house and my ex-husband no longer in my life, I was finally free to explore the world in my own way. So, I took textile tours in India and Myanmar. I spent several nights in the rainforests of Bali. I learned yoga, took a cooking class in Italy and spent one month traveling through Europe by train.
Every one of these adventures was precious to me. I didn’t have to compromise with anyone to make them a reality. I just followed my heart.
Travelling alone as a woman over 50 feels different. More often than not, I am the one that young people turn to for advice. Nothing makes me happier than helping someone who I meet on the road to make a business connection or form a friendship. I have paid for dinners, been a shoulder to cry on and looked after children on 4 continents.
It is so wonderful to be able to give back a little bit! As a woman over 50, you have so much to offer the world! At home, you are one of many people living a normal life. On the road, you can be a hero!
When you travel alone, you are forced to face yourself. Sometimes the little girl that you find on the inside is fearful or timid. Other times, she is surprisingly brave and energized. Either way, she is wonderfully complex and worth talking to. You just need to remove the distractions so that you can hear her tiny voice.
On my last trip to Bali, I ended up singing 1970s songs in the back of a VW bus with my fake husband Alex. If that description sounds fascinating, trust me, it was much wilder in person!
I sometimes think that my kids (grown up now) are shocked by the photos I take on my trips. They would never imagine that I would receive a waterfall blessing or climb a volcano. They probably never expected to see me feed elephants at a sanctuary or learn Italian cooking.
These activities are like the pieces of my soul – diverse, complex, curious and wild. I hope that I will continue to travel alone as a woman well into my 80s.
Road Scholar offers learning adventures where itineraries are perfectly curated to give the most immersive and educational experience to groups of travelers.
Discover what makes the Scottish Highlands one of Europe’s most unique natural wonders, as you learn the history of ancient lochs, clan lands, castles and glens. Let historians guide you on the Road Scholar’s 13 days In the Heart of the Scottish Highlands tour, where legend blends with history and that is sure to make you step back in time.
This is a small group with light walking, nothing too strenuous. The trip includes 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 11 dinners.
“Seeing so many places and learning so much in a relatively short time and in such a comfortable and well-organized way is what Road Scholar does best and this trip was everything I hoped it would be and more.” —Nancy, Marysville, CA
Visiting Asia with a tour group doesn’t have to be intimidating. Overseas Adventure Travel’s 18-day Ancient Kingdoms tour takes you to Bangkok, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat with a small group.
Explore the Mekong River by boat, experience a tuk-tuk ride and learn about life in a floating village and a Hmong home. Visit the Killing Fields and Vietnamese tunnels used by the Viet Cong and gain insights into the southeast Asian conflicts that tore countries and families apart.
You must be in reasonably good physical condition to take this trip; you’ll be on the go for several hours each day and will need to be able to navigate uneven terrain and staircases.
This tour sells out quickly, possibly because OAT does not charge a single supplement on the Ancient Kingdoms tour. Airfare, visa fees, some gratuities, optional tours, some lunches and some dinners not included.
“Thrilling dream retirement trip!
I cannot say enough about this trip! So enjoyed learning about different peoples and cultures. OAT really shines! And I especially like the side stops where local people were plying their trades. Weaving baskets, harvesting, cinnamon, hunting, tarantulas for the market, pounding rice to make rice noodles. All fascinating, enlightening, and humblinRead more about review stating Thrilling dream retirement trip!g. Not to mention visiting, Angkor Wat! The accommodations were great, and the food wonderful. I highly recommend this trip!” —Ann K.
Norwegian Cruises’ newest ship to splash and join the fleet is the Viva. It is a state-of-the-art ship equipped with all the amenities and facilities to make your journey comfortable and memorable.
The 7-day cruise on Norwegian Viva is an exciting way to explore the Caribbean, with ports of call including Barbados, Antigua, and Saint Lucia, all departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
During your cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to explore each of the three beautiful Caribbean islands. In Barbados, you can enjoy the island’s famous beaches, explore historic Bridgetown, or take a tour of Harrison’s Cave. In Antigua, you can visit the historic Nelson’s Dockyard or relax on one of the island’s many beautiful beaches. In Saint Lucia, you can explore the island’s lush rainforest, visit the Pitons, or take a dip in the famous Sulphur Springs.
The Norwegian Viva also offers a variety of dining options, including specialty restaurants, buffets, and cafes, all featuring delicious cuisine prepared by expert chefs. You’ll also have access to onboard entertainment, including Broadway-style shows, live music, and themed parties.
Inside Japan Tours takes a slightly different approach to small group tours. Instead of chartering buses to take tour participants from place to place, Inside Japan Tours guides show you how to use the efficient Japanese subway and rail systems and give you plenty of free time to see the sights that interest you. You’ll also be asked to carry your own luggage. In return, you’ll discover the wonders of Tokyo, Kyoto, Kamakura and Hakone on the Tokaido Trail tour.
During your time in Tokyo, you’ll explore historic Asakusa, modern Harajuku and vibrant Shinjuku. In Kamakura, you can visit shrines and temples, take a long walk through the town or stroll on the beach. From there, you will move to Hakone, at the foot of Mount Fuji. Hot springs, hiking and museums are just some of Hakone’s attractions. In Kyoto, tour the Geisha district, visit the Golden Pavilion, explore one of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city or take the train to Hiroshima or Nara.
Inside Japan Tours does not charge a single supplement on the Tokaido Trail tour; solo travelers will be given single rooms in Western-style hotels, but will need to share a room with a roommate of the same gender during the two nights spent in a ryokan (traditional, Japanese-style lodgings). Airport transfers, baggage handling, entrance fees, public transportation costs, lunches and most dinners are not included.
It’s important to note that the tour demands a lot of walking and carrying your own bags, so good physical fitness is required.
“A great trip and we think we probably learned, heard and saw so much more and much less stressfully than we would have done left to our own devices!” —Fiona, United Kingdom
An interesting way to spend your vacation is to learn something new! We are certainly never too old to go back to the classroom seats. Oxford University offers adults from around the world the opportunity to take one-week courses at its celebrated campus in the United Kingdom. Topics vary from year to year, but typically include creative writing, Shakespeare, philosophy, British literature and poetry.
You can apply for the program in February; early application is advisable, especially for solo travelers, as single accommodations fill very quickly. If you are accepted, you will need to complete a preliminary reading assignment and write an essay before your course begins. Further assignments will be determined by your course tutor. You’ll have time to explore the local area on your own during the week.
If you book on-campus accommodation at Rewley House, your room, board and tuition are all included in your quoted rate. You also have the option to find your own lodgings in Oxford. Airfare and ground transportation are not included.
This type of vacation is perfect for you if you are academic and curious.
Chemist E. I. du Pont made his fortune manufacturing gunpowder in Delaware’s Brandywine River valley, and built his Georgian mansion, Eleutherian Mills, near his powder mill on the riverbank. Today, you can tour the famous Brandywine Valley estates that belonged to succeeding generations of du Ponts.
Begin at the Hagley Museum and Gardens, where E. I. built his powder mill. Explore riverside paths and take a guided tour of Eleutherian Mills. Then, drive north to Winterthur Museum and Gardens, the most famous of the du Pont mansions. This immense estate includes 1,000 acres of gardens as well as the elegant Winterthur mansion, a showcase of the best in American decorative arts.
Continue your journey at the Nemours Mansion and Gardens. Take a guided tour of the French-style mansion and formal gardens, which are reminiscent of those at Versailles.
Finally, head across the Pennsylvania state line to Longwood Gardens. Wander through the outdoor gardens, watch a fountain show and explore the Conservatory. For deeper insight into Longwood Gardens’ history and the vision of Pierre du Pont, who created Longwood Gardens, buy a ticket for an Insider Tour or join an educational walk.
In order to make the most of your mansion and garden tours, plan to spend a night or two in a Brandywine Valley B&B or hotel. If you visit during the summer months, plan your itinerary and make reservations well in advance of your arrival. You’ll need a car to explore the Brandywine Valley on your own. Tip: Nemours Mansion and Gardens is open May through December only, and is closed on Mondays.
Read more travel articles:
It has never been easier to find information and research the places that are on our travel lists. The internet abounds with travel websites for all interests.
Here is a short list of some websites that are specifically geared toward older women travelers. Some offer guided tours in groups that are women only and others share tips and tricks about traveling alone. Women helping women.
Women on the Road – website dedicated to solo women travelers with helpful tips and tricks.
Solo Traveler – Another helpful website for solo female wanderers.
Wanderlust and Lipstick – Scroll through this website and find organized trips off the beaten path for women.
Journey Woman –Find tips and tricks, tours, and resources for women traveling solo.Women Traveling – “Travel solo together.” Find a community of like-minded women traveling solo to share adventures and journeys with.
Also, search on Facebook and other social media platforms for groups of solo women travelers. Sometimes you can find location-specific groups where women share their experiences and tips for traveling to the location that you intend to go. These groups can help you to better prepare for your trip and can also be a useful resource when on the ground.
A single supplement is a fee or surcharge that a solo traveler must pay in order to occupy a hotel room or ship state room alone. Single supplements can range from negligible to 100% of the double-occupancy rate.
Tour operators and cruise lines normally base their prices on a per-person, double occupancy model. They do this because most hotel rooms and ship staterooms are built for two people. Solo travelers are often assessed a single supplement to cover the cost of not filling the second space in their room.
Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Epic made the news with its Studio staterooms, specifically designed for solo travelers, and the Studio Complex and Lounge, which are for Studio passengers’ exclusive use. Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, and Pride of America also feature Studio staterooms.
The Schooner Lewis R. French, whose captain is a member of the Maine Windjammer Association, offers three- to six-night coastal Maine windjammer cruises. The schooner has five single cabins, and you won’t be charged a single supplement. You can even help sail the ship. Tip: There’s only one hot water shower onboard, so you’ll have to take turns.
Tauck offers single supplement waivers on select land tour departure dates. And, for river cruise fans, Tauck River Cruises waives the single supplement on Category 1 staterooms.
Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) waives the single supplement on some of its trips, including select small ship adventures. OAT also offers roommate matching.
Are you single? Have you been on an amazing vacation of your own? Share your travel experiences in the comments below.
Tags Solo Travel