Let's say you're 52 years old. You've been itching to go to a new place for a while, to have an adventure, maybe try something new, but your spouse or partner doesn't fancy it. It's just not their cup of tea.
If so, you might be tempted to book a solo holiday – and you're not alone.
Singles holidays are incredibly popular among over 50s. In fact, according to Condor Ferries, the average age for a solo traveller is 47. So if you're thinking of joining the ranks of solo travellers over 50, you're in the right place. This is our guide to the best singles holidays for people aged 50 plus.
The benefits of solo holidays at 50+
Our 50s are an ideal time to try new things and explore the world. We've still got plenty of energy and are usually in good health. In our 50s, most of us are still in our pre-retirement years, but we tend to have a little more cash in our back pockets to spend on luxuries like travel. Also, for many of us, the kids have flown the nest by now, so we've got a bit more time on our hands, too.
Put all this together, and you're in an ideal position to have some new adventures. Travelling solo in your 50s is a great way to do this.
That's not to say the adventures stop once we get older! Take a look at our guide to the best singles holidays for over 60s to learn more about solo travel through your retirement years and beyond.
Why travel solo?
There are so many benefits to solo travel after 50. For one thing, it's an easy way to see the world on your terms. Maybe you're single and don't want to be held back from experiencing new things. Or perhaps you and your partner struggle to agree on what makes a perfect holiday.
Whether you're an early riser or a late sleeper, a beach bum or a city explorer, solo travel means that you can enjoy precisely the type of trip you want without thinking about anyone else. You can be selfish without any guilt!
Singles holidays are also a fantastic way to meet new people. If you're single and looking for love, you just might find it on a singles holiday. Dating after 50 can be hard, but it can be easier to meet someone special when you're on a singles getaway.
Best types of singles holidays
Many people think of singles holidays as being organised tours or trips with other single people, specifically designed to encourage romance. But really, that's only the tip of the iceberg.
Whatever type of trip you like to take with friends or family, you can also take by yourself. Touring holidays and organised small group holidays are one example, and these are an excellent option if you're worried about meeting new people. An organised group tour made up of fellow solo travellers means that everyone will be in the same boat, so it's easy to make new friends.
It's also easy to meet people on trips that aren't specifically designed for singles. River cruises and walking holidays are two great examples. Special interest holidays like this mean it's easy to strike up a conversation with your fellow travellers – you already know you have a shared interest!
Love relaxing in the sun? Beach holidays aren't off-limits when travelling solo, either. A sun-soaked beach holiday is an ideal choice for solo trips. Order a few cocktails, open up a good book and chill out with your toes in the sand. There's no need for company when you're in paradise!
It's easy to think that city breaks are out of the question when solo, but they're well suited to single travellers. It's great fun exploring a new city by yourself. You can eat out at any place that takes your fancy rather than waiting for the rest of your group to agree on where to go. You can also spend your days doing whatever you find the most fun – if you like museums and galleries, knock yourself out. If you prefer bar-hopping and food tours, you're free to do that, too.
Skiing can also be an excellent option for solo travellers. You're sure to meet like-minded people at après-ski, and you can get up and hit the slopes as early as you like.
One of the best things about travelling alone is that you can take any kind of trip you want. Relaxed or action-packed, city or country, mountain or beach. Book a trip that suits you and you alone.
We spoke to Jenni Fielding from Cruise Mummy, who recommended cruise holidays for singles over 50. Jenni told Age Times: "A cruise is one of the best types of holiday for single travellers over 50. While there are several organised group cruises for singles, you don't need to book one of these as most cruise ships cater for singles.
"On board, you can enjoy scheduled solo traveller meet-ups and the opportunity to make new friends while sharing tables at dinner. Whether you fancy a relaxing and luxurious break, the chance to explore exotic destinations or just a cheap weekend away, when it comes to cruises, there's something for everyone. Including singles over 50, of course."
Where to go as a single traveller
As you might expect, with so much variety of the type of trip you can take, there are also plenty of choices for where you can go.
In Europe, popular destinations for singles or solo travellers include:
- Italy – particularly Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast
- Spain and Portugal
- Greece and the Mediterranean basin
Outside of European destinations, the world is your oyster. From safari tours in South Africa to relaxing beach stays in the Caribbean or Costa Rica, the possibilities are endless.
Book a trip to go trekking to Machu Picchu in Peru, or head to Morocco to explore the world-famous markets. Vietnam and Southeast Asia are great for backpackers looking to discover a new culture, while UK holidays are perfect for anyone who wants adventure a little closer to home.
Dig out your old atlas or look online for travel inspiration, then book a trip to a destination you've been dreaming about.
Companies specialising in over 50s solo travel
Several companies specialise in solo travel for over 50s. Booking directly through one of these companies can be a great way to ease yourself into solo travel, especially if it's your first time taking such a trip.
Do your research and figure out the best option for you. Choose a holiday company offering ATOL-protected holidays to ensure your money is safe when you make your reservation.
Safety tips for solo travel after 50
Whether travelling alone or not, your safety should always be a top priority. It can feel more dangerous to travel by yourself, so you must take the proper precautions and keep yourself safe on your trip.
If you're planning a solo holiday, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the UK government's safety advice before you go. ABTA, the UK's largest travel association, is also a fantastic resource.
One of the most important things to do before heading on your solo trip is to make sure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy. This will give you and your family peace of mind should the worst happen.
Depending on what you're doing, you may need a specific type of policy. Always be as thorough as possible when searching for insurance. In addition, if you don't declare that you'll be doing a particular activity, you might not be covered. For example, if you're trekking, you'll need to say that before you buy the policy to ensure you're covered should you get injured during that particular activity.
Packing the right gear is another easy way to keep safe on your trip. Travel accessories like an anti-theft backpack or a money belt can be a good investment if you're worried about pickpockets. You can also buy a portable door lock to increase the security of your hotel room. It's also a good idea to have a torch and a portable phone charger with you in case of emergency.
Update your friends and family
While you're on the road, it's a good idea to let friends and family back home know where you're staying. Give them the address and phone number of your hotel so they can get in touch with them if they haven't heard from you. You could also use your phone to set up a location tracking system if they're worried about you being by yourself.
Note down allergies or medications
If you have any allergies or take medications, it's a good idea to write down their names in the native language of your destination. This could be crucial if you need to see a doctor while you're away – you don't want any mishaps!
Consider a local guide
If you're taking a trip and aren't completely sure of yourself, hiring a local guide for a day or two is a great way to safely get to know an area. As well as allowing you to explore the area safely, you'll also get to know some local tips and tricks for the best places to go. You might discover a hidden gem or find the best restaurant in town. It's a win-win.
Solo holidays for over 50s
Travelling alone has so many benefits, and your 50s are the ideal time to take the leap. You'll be able to explore the world on your terms, meet new people, and experience new things as you go.
So what are you waiting for? Book your singles holiday today and put yourself out there!