ultimate guide to solo travel for women

Whether you find yourself to be well-acquainted with solo travel or are gearing up for that very first independent journey, going on a solo trip opens up a scope of unique experiences. It’s a venture that comes with its very own set of highs and lows.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.

— Mark Twain

While solo travel may not be for everyone, those who go on adventures alone often find it to be a transformative and empowering experience.

Pros of Traveling Solo

Traveling solo comes with a lot of advantages that cater to personal growth, independence, and genuinely unique experiences.

Freedom and Flexibility

You have complete control over your itinerary, allowing you to change plans spontaneously, explore hidden gems, and take detours without having to consider the preferences of a travel companion.


Solo travel offers an opportunity for introspection, self-reflection, and a deeper understanding of your own preferences, strengths, and challenges.

Personal Empowerment

Tackling challenges and navigating new environments on your own can significantly boost your self-confidence and resilience, leaving you with a lasting sense of achievement.

Customized Experiences

Tailor your trip to your interests without compromising on anyone else’s preferences, ensuring a fully personalized adventure.

Cultural Immersion

Solo travelers often find it easier to engage with locals and immerse themselves in the local culture, fostering a more authentic travel experience.

Increased Social Opportunities

Solo travelers are often more approachable, leading to more interactions with fellow travelers and locals. This can result in meaningful connections and friendships.

Greater Budget Control

You have the ability to manage your own budget without the need for compromises, allowing you to allocate resources based on your priorities.

Flexibility in Accommodation

Choosing accommodations that suit your preferences and budget becomes simpler when you’re the sole decision-maker.

Watch Margaret Manning, founder of Sixty & Me, tell us why hostels are a great option for women over 50.

Skill Development

Solo travel hones valuable life skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and adaptability, contributing to personal and professional growth.

Embracing Solitude

Solo travel provides an opportunity for solitude, allowing you to recharge, reflect, and appreciate the world at your own pace.

Increased Focus on Interests

Pursue your passions and interests without compromise, whether it’s art, history, adventure sports, or simply relaxing by the beach.

Paula Harer, a Sixty & Me contributor, shares her reasons why she enjoys traveling solo.

Traveling Alone Is Great for Shopping

For me, shopping is number one. I don’t think I need to say any more about this topic except that it is so great not to have to justify purchases.

I felt no need to ask anyone if my bottom looked big in these pants. I bought four pairs of shoes, three of which I would have left behind had I not been solo, and I did not have to go to a golf store in fairness to anyone. It was all me, me, me.

My Time Is My Own

When I travel solo, I do what I want. If I want to sleep in, I can. If I want to stay up into the wee hours of the night to finish a book or binge-watch a series, I can do that. I can even schedule something super early, come back and nap if necessary, then head out again. I am on my time.

I can’t do any of it when I have to adjust to someone else’s schedule.

I Get All the Attention

My children live across the country. I visit them often, and when I do, I get 100% of their attention. I don’t have to share them with anyone. We do what they want to do and nothing else.

If they want to see a movie or go to a play or shop for stuff for their house, we do it. I get one-on-one time while we run errands and pal around together. I can’t put a price on that. I just love being with them in their daily lives.

Not a Sport in Sight

No matter where I am, no matter what teams are in town, I do not have to go to a sporting event! If you are like me, you have had your share of sports with your children and your spouse or friends. I am as big a fan as the next girl, but I do not travel for sports any longer – and I love that.

For me, this means no rain gear unless I am going to a rainforest! While this may sound like my own pet-peeve, everyone has their thing that they have to do when vacationing with their crowd.

When I am with my children, we will often go for a run: you can bet when I am alone I don’t pack running shoes! And play tickets are easy to come by when the number is one.

Eating Alone

Some women feel very bothered when they need to eat alone. Not everyone likes the idea, and I agree that when it happens day after day, it can get a little rough.

But I went to a lovely resort where you must have a reservation well in advance for brunch. I walked up and asked the hostess if I could get a table and when I added, “for one” she brightened up and said she could accommodate me.

Both of us couldn’t believe it! Not only did I get a table, I got one on the window that was a little tight for two. How lucky was I?

This brunch was the best, and I didn’t waste one inch of my plate on protein at this beautiful buffet: bread pudding, waffle, biscuits, bananas foster, strawberry shortcake. Would I do that with others watching? The answer is “Heck no!” But let me just say that I did not eat anything else the rest of the day.

If I am having dinner by myself, I always eat at the bar. Usually, I can get a conversation going with someone, and it’s great when that person is a local. This way I can get some tips and suggestions on local attractions – dinner and a virtual tour, all in one!

Challenges of Traveling Solo

While solo travel can be incredibly rewarding, it also comes with its set of challenges. Here are some potential cons of traveling solo:


The absence of companionship can lead to feelings of loneliness, especially during meals or when exploring new places.

Safety Concerns

Solo travelers may be perceived as more vulnerable, potentially making them targets for scams or unsafe situations.

Higher Costs

Some expenses, like accommodation and transportation, may be higher for solo travelers as they don’t benefit from sharing costs with a companion.

Decision Fatigue

Having to make all the decisions on your own, from choosing where to eat to planning the day’s activities, can lead to decision fatigue.

Limited Help in Emergencies

During emergencies or unexpected situations, having a travel companion can provide valuable assistance and support.

Solo Supplement Fees

Some accommodations and tours charge extra fees for solo travelers, further increasing the overall cost of the trip.

Security Concerns at Night

Safety can be a more significant concern when walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar or poorly lit areas.

Limited Shared Experiences

Shared experiences contribute to lasting memories. Solo travelers may miss the shared joy of discovery that comes with exploring a new place with a companion.

Responsibility Overload

Shouldering all responsibilities, including planning, navigation, and problem-solving, can lead to a sense of overwhelm and exhaustion.

Less Deterrence Against Harassment

Solo travelers, especially women, may be more susceptible to unwanted attention or harassment without the deterrence of a group.

Less Security in Isolation

In isolated or remote areas, having a travel companion can provide an additional layer of security.

Lack of Emotional Support

During challenging times or unexpected events, having a travel companion can offer emotional support and shared problem-solving.

While the cons of solo travel exist, many solo travelers find that the benefits far outweigh the challenges, and with careful planning and awareness, these drawbacks can be mitigated.

Planning Your First Solo Journey

Planning a solo trip requires careful consideration and organization to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Define Your Purpose and Preferences

Determine the purpose of your trip. Are you seeking relaxation, adventure, cultural exploration, or personal growth? Understand your preferences and interests to tailor your itinerary accordingly.

Choose Your Destination

Research potential destinations based on your interests, budget, and safety considerations. Consider factors such as weather, language, and local customs.

Stay Informed about Local Customs

Familiarize yourself with the local customs, traditions, and etiquette of your destination. This cultural awareness will benefit your experience, help you respect local norms, and also potentially keep you safe.

Ensure Safety Measures

Keep copies of important documents, such as your passport and insurance, and stay informed about the safety of the areas you plan to visit.

Research your country’s travel advisories for the regions you plan on visiting:

Stay Connected

Keep communication devices charged and consider purchasing a local SIM card or an international roaming plan for your phone. Stay connected with friends and family regularly.

Embrace Solo-Friendly Activities

Plan activities that are well-suited for solo travelers, such as walking tours, workshops, or group activities where you can meet fellow travelers.

Stay Flexible

Embrace spontaneity and stay flexible during your trip. Be open to unexpected opportunities and changes in plans.

Lynn Clare, a Sixty & Me contributor and founder of Women’s Independent Travel, shares with us her tips for successful solo traveling.

Plan, Plan, Plan

The first step is to think of something you enjoy doing. Do you like visiting gardens or parks, museums, outdoor activities, or sporting events?

Whatever you like to do at home you will enjoy even more when you are away. I love to hike in the mountains so that is what I decided to do for my first trip. Having a sense of purpose helped to calm my nerves.

I recommend staying close to home at first; this will ease the stress of feeling like you are too far away. My first trip was only an hour from home and I knew if I didn’t like it or if anything happened I could easily leave; it was very reassuring.

Next, decide where you want to go, how far away, and for how long. I began with just a weekend – drive on Saturday morning, go hiking, stay overnight, and drive home on Sunday. It seems so easy now but at the time this was a very big deal for me.

Managing Your Bookings

Whether you are driving, flying, or taking a bus, you will need to make arrangements for how you will get there and where you will stay. The Internet has made this process so much easier so you can research and book everything online.

I always check multiple sites before I make any travel arrangements. I start with Expedia and Travelocity and then check the specific hotel or airline websites for more detailed information and the best rates.

Many airlines offer vacation packages that include airfare, hotel, and car so it is easy to book all of them together. Before I book anything I check Tripadvisor.com to see the reviews from other solo travelers. I am very careful to make sure that where I am going is safe and that I will be comfortable.

Also, I make refundable arrangements. It can cost a bit more but I want to make sure that I can cancel without penalty.

Depending on where I am going and what the costs are sometimes I purchase travel insurance. Also, I always have a contingency plan, just in case.

Looking for Tours and Excursions

Depending on what you plan to do, you can either book organized tours or go independently. Many of my early trips were to visit lovely botanic gardens in various states so I would check into my hotel and then go from there.

I very often take walks in the park or gardens here at home so it did not feel uncomfortable to do this on my own in a new city. The one thing I always do is plan my transportation before I leave the hotel – directions, bus schedule, taxi, etc.

Getting the Most from Dining Out

For some women traveling alone, this can be a big concern. It is one of the reasons that I always book a hotel with a restaurant onsite. If I am feeling uncomfortable for any reason or perhaps just don’t want to go out I can order room service and stay in.

Early on, when I went out, I took a book or my journal to occupy myself if I felt bored or uneasy. Now, with phones and tablets, most of us have something available all the time.

Try not to be too distracted. A lot of people will talk to you when they see you are on your own but won’t interrupt you if you seem too engrossed in your phone.

Honestly, it has become one of my greatest pleasures. I always plan at least one night when I dress up and treat myself to a nice dinner out. I’ve met wonderful people all over the world and always look forward to this part of any trip

Embrace a Little Self-indulgence

For me, this has become one of the best things about traveling on my own. I get to do what I want, when I want, and always do something special for myself. It doesn’t have to be expensive just anything that makes me happy.

It might be a nice meal, massage, cute pair of earrings or just a nice warm bath with a glass of wine at the end of a great day. No matter what it is, it helps me remember that I deserve to treat myself with love and kindness.

Prioritizing Security in Your Solo Travel Adventure –Tips and Techniques for a Secure Journey

Ensuring your safety is a top priority when traveling solo, especially as a woman over 50. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your solo adventures:

Research Your Destination

Before your trip, research the safety of your destination. Understand local customs, cultural norms, and any potential safety concerns specific to the area.

Share Your Itinerary

Share your travel itinerary, including accommodation details and planned activities, with a trusted friend or family member. Check in regularly and inform them of any changes to your plans.

Choose Safe Accommodations

Opt for accommodations in safe and well-traveled areas. Read reviews from other solo travelers, and consider staying in reputable accommodations.

Stay Informed

Stay updated on local news and advisories. Be aware of any travel alerts or warnings for your destination and adjust your plans accordingly.

Use Reputable Transportation

Choose reliable and reputable transportation options. Use licensed taxis, rideshare services, or public transportation recommended by trustworthy sources.

Be Mindful of Your Belongings

Keep your belongings secure at all times. Use anti-theft bags, money belts, and be cautious when handling valuables in public spaces.

PacSafe Citysafe® CX Anti-Theft Convertible Crossbody

PacSafe Citysafe® CX Anti-Theft Convertible Crossbody

Trust Your Instincts

Trust your intuition. If a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe, remove yourself from it. Be assertive in saying no if someone makes you uncomfortable.

Learn Basic Phrases

If traveling internationally, familiarize yourself with basic phrases in the local language to seek help if needed. Know how to ask for assistance and directions.

Avoid Risky Areas

Stay away from poorly lit or isolated areas, especially at night. Stick to well-traveled routes and areas with a visible presence of locals and other tourists.

Keep Emergency Contact Information

Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, the nearest embassy or consulate, and the contact information for your country’s embassy.

Use Solo-Friendly Services

Choose activities and tours that cater to solo travelers, and consider joining group activities to enhance safety and social interactions.

Stay Informed About Local Scams

Be aware of common scams in the area and educate yourself on how to avoid falling victim to them.

Enroll in STEP

If you’re a U.S. citizen, consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) with the U.S. Department of State for updated travel information and assistance.

By combining preparedness, awareness, and trust in your instincts, you can significantly enhance your safety as a solo woman traveler over 50.

Connecting with Like-Minded Solo Travelers

Ann Marie Mershon, a Sixty & Me contributor, shares her experience of traveling solo and what she learned along the way about making connections.

When Dining, Ask for Company

Tell restaurateurs that you’re alone and would appreciate being seated with another party. If that’s not an option, seat yourself near someone else who is alone or close to people who look friendly. Why not?

A number of years ago, my husband suffered a back injury. As a result, I was waved off for two weeks in Norway without him. I would have canceled the trip if it hadn’t been for a huge family reunion in the fishing village where my grandfather grew up.

Determined to make the most of things, I decided to be proactive. On my first night in Bodø, I wheedled my way into a busy seafood restaurant and was seated beside a couple from Lilljehammer.

It took me a minute to engage them, but they turned out to be charming as well as informative, giving me numerous ideas for activities in the coming weeks.

Make Connections at Breakfast Time

If breakfast is provided at your hotel, strike up a conversation as you stand in line. If the person seems friendly and talkative, ask if they’d mind if you join them at their table. Few people would refuse.

Once your day begins, you have other options for making connections, or perhaps you’d prefer to tour on your own, which is great, too. I like going to museums by myself, but I prefer company at meals.

Stay in Facilities That Offer Time for Socializing

On my last night in Lofoten, Norway, I moved from my studio apartment to a hostel-type room, where I was pleased to chat with a young Australian woman.

She happily joined me on a trip to a glassblower’s shop the next day. The drive was spectacular, and I enjoyed her company immensely, especially after five days by myself.

Plan at Least One Interesting Activity Each Day

Jerry and I had planned a kayak trip in the Lofotens for our second week in Norway. The Lofotens are spectacularly beautiful, with mountains jutting from the sea between adjacent fjords.

At the beginning of my solo week, I perused the tourist information books and chose one or two activities for each day. I booked a studio apartment in Å (pronounced “Oh”), a town of about 50-60 residents.

Å featured two fishing museums, and I visited them on separate days, making sure I was included in guided English tours. It was fascinating to learn about the life my grandfather must have lived as a fisherman.

One day, I arranged a kayak trip to the Reine Fjord, and my young guide Kaspar was an absolute delight. The two of us spent a fascinating four hours chatting and paddling some of the most breathtaking water on the planet.

Join Group Tours at Museums and Tourist Sites

It’s always a good idea to tour museums and other sites with a group. This also gives you the opportunity to engage others in conversation throughout each tour.

It might cost a little more for a spot with a tour guide, but you’ll learn a lot more and have the opportunity to connect with other English speakers. Of course, most Norwegians speak English, but they don’t tend to reach out to strangers. That was my job.

Another option is traveling on a tour, which offers you automatic companionship. I’ve given a few tours of Turkey myself and was amazed each time at how close members of the group became after spending a few weeks touring and eating together.

Engage Shop Owners or Assistants in Conversation

When I traveled to Turkey and occasionally felt lonesome, I’d find a carpet shop to wander into. Carpet dealers always offer a cup of tea or bottle of cold water as well as friendly conversation.

Of course, I always looked at carpets, too, but I only bought one occasionally. I still treasure my relationships with Hussein Palyoğlu and Musa Başaran, who always seemed pleased to see me.

Western cultures might not be quite as welcoming, but most shop owners are eager to engage customers, and they can offer a wealth of information about the local area. Who knows? You might even find the perfect souvenir or gift to bring home.

Choose a Safe Bar/Pub and Enjoy a Chat Over a Glass of Wine or a Beer

Should you dare, you might also consider a stop into the hotel bar or a nearby pub, making sure you use good judgment and hang on to your purse. Though I’ve always found it difficult to step into a bar alone, it can be a good way to meet other solo travelers.

It’s important to keep your wits about you though and avoid being pulled into uncomfortable situations. But it’s also great fun to chat with other travelers or locals about activities they’ve enjoyed or recommend.

Take a Tour That Matches Your Age, Interest, and Activity Level

There’s a wide variety of tour organizations geared toward people of different interests and activity levels. Some arrange cruises, others do bus tours, and some offer high-energy active options.

The first time I took a group to Turkey, I arranged it through Go Ahead Tours, an adult affiliate of EF Tours (an international student tour organization). We were a group of 24, and everyone fell in love with our intelligent, fun, and informative guide, Mehmet.

There wasn’t enough physical activity on that tour for some of us, though that was the only complaint. The next year I organized an independent tour through Sojourn Turkey Tours. It was a similar tour, with fewer people and more activity. I also scored Mehmet as a guide again – lucky us!

Sixty & Me’s founder, Margaret Manning, wrote this amusing ex-rated guide to solo travel.


We are excited to be alive!

This perspective is like putting on glasses that immediately give 20/20 vision. The world is a multi-faceted crystal offering many dimensions of visual delight.

We are excited about experiencing new food, meeting local people, and learning about their culture and history.

This excitement is enchanting and dynamic. Excitement is the secret sauce we add to our travel adventures in making a new town, city or country glow with vibrant color.


After decades on the planet, older women have stories to tell.

They may be mothers, caregivers, grandmothers, and professional women, but they have adventure in their hearts.

Wanting to try new things, these extreme travelers are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone. They are ready to push the boundaries and experiment with their own endurance and sense of adventure!


Travel for most people of all ages is about exploration. Every time I arrive in a new city and sit down in a small local café with my map and guidebook in hand, I feel like a modern-day explorer full of curiosity and wonder.

There is a sense of possibility and potential. I wonder how the trip will unfold, what will I discover – about myself and about the place?


Life is not to be lived in the middle lane anymore. Most solo travelers I know are extraordinary women who have faced challenges, lived through loss, pain, and sadness.

They really are the most beautiful people who have confronted their fears and not allowed disappointment to hold them back. I have had so many conversations with fellow travelers that have brought tears to my eyes. The strength and resilience of older solo travelers is remarkable.


Older women are taking advantage of a little more free time to explore their passions for writing, painting, and crafts when they travel solo.



Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you travel solo? What do you like best about traveling solo? What do you find challenging? Share your solo travel stories with the community in the comments below.