UPDATED 9/13/23

With the many questions swirling around solo travel, let me provide my answers with the pros and cons of solo travel over 50 through my lens so that you have a better idea on whether solo travel over 50 is right for you (or if you are right for it).

I’m confident you’ll come away with the confidence to at least try solo travel once. You never know where that experience may take you. How wonderful!

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What is Solo Travel?

First, let’s start with some basics.  What is a solo traveler? 

Simply put, a solo traveler is a person who travels alone. Other descriptions, however, are wanderer, wanderlust seeker, free spirit, nomad or digital nomad, single traveler, and so on.

Douro Valley river cruise and winery Portugal
Douro Valley river cruise and port tasting tour on Portugal solo travel.

Is Traveling Solo a Thing?

You betcha!  It has been for a long time.

When reading articles and other travel blogs about solo travel, I’ve asked myself, “What is the big deal about traveling solo?” I have been traveling internationally solo for 28 years (well over that domestically).

Then I’d have to take a step back and remind myself it can be a big deal for someone who’s never done it or just started. Are you in this category? 

Solo Travel Statistics

Since I’ve been traveling solo, solo travel has been progressively on the rise, year after year. It was reported that:

  • Google showed a 761% increase in ‘solo travel’ search trends between 2019 and 2021,
  • 16% of Americans alone took a solo trip in 2022, and 25% were considering doing so in 2023,
  • A survey also found that 34% of those who have taken a solo trip said they would do it again, and
  • As of 2023, Instagram associated more than 5.2 million posts to the #solotravel tag.

Why the increase in solo travel?

It was recently found that 55% of people feel traveling solo is more socially acceptable than 10 years ago. Finally. Other top reasons why people are solo traveling are the want or need to:

  • Relax with time to unwind – 61%
  • Experience the world without waiting for someone – 55%
  • Get outside their comfort zone – 54%
  • Get away from routine – 52%

Who is traveling solo?

Women have been leading the pack in traveling alone. Studies once found that over 60,000 women traveled solo between 2018 and 2019 and that women exceed men in solo travel 4 to 1. However, it has recently been updated to females comprising 84% of all solo travelers. Additionally:

  • 72% of American women are choosing to take solo trips,
  • 65% of American women have taken a vacation without their partner, and
  • 54% of British females are more likely to travel alone than they were five years ago.

Is Solo Travel Over 50 a Thing?

It sure is! Again, Condor Ferries’ 2023 articled showed:

  • The average age of solo travelers is 47 (with 84%, again, being female),
  • 40% of global Baby Boomers have taken a solo trip in the last year, and
  • In 2022, women aged 65 and older traveling alone increased to 18%, up from 4% in 2019.

With salaries trending higher with age, the single household numbers growing, and people living longer, these solo travel statistics are sure to grow as well.

So why travel solo?  Let’s dive into the pros and cons of solo travel over 50 for a comparison so you can see for yourself, shall we?

James Bond Dive site Nassau Bahamas
Scuba diving on Nassau, Bahamas solo travel.

The Pros and Cons of Solo Travel Over 50

What Solo Travel Can Teach You

Like I’ve said, solo travel is not just about going to new places, it also has many benefits. Let me count the ways…

Pros of Solo Travel

You Are In Control

The number one rule in solo travel is, “There is no shame in solo travel”. The number two rule in solo travel, “There is no shame in solo travel“. Why say this? 

Have you ever tried to book a trip with someone and they bailed on you? Repeatedly? Do you want to go somewhere but your significant other doesn’t? How about you want to go somewhere but don’t know anyone else who likes to, or can, travel?

Point is, if you wait around for others, you could wait yourself into the grave. You could find your life passing you by. 

Ask yourself how many opportunities will you have to travel? If not many, then what are you waiting for? Solo travel puts you in the driver’s seat of living your life the way you want to.

Additionally, while traveling solo, you get to come and go as you please. You don’t have to wait for others holding you up on the next attraction you want to see, or you can sleep in if you want.  You can take that well-planned itinerary and chuck it out the window and not have to answer to anyone. I cannot tell you how much I love this freedom when traveling solo.

Florentine steak dinner with wine Florence Italy
Delicious Florentine steak dinner on Florence, Italy solo travel.
Solo travel boosts self-confidence.

I completely understand if there is a certain level of fear you may have in attempting solo travel. However, travel is like all other things in life: do your research, equip yourself the best you can, and move on.

Don’t let fear hold you back.  A life lived in fear is no life at all.  I’m sure that’s a quote of someone’s somewhere (if not, I’ll claim it), but it’s true. 

If that doesn’t inspire you to try solo travel, then how about:

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m not saying traveling alone is a ‘horror’, but you get the point.

Cliff jumping at Kasjuni Beach for Split solo travel itinerary
Kayaking and cliff jumping group trip on Split, Croatia solo travel.
You will be more in tune with yourself. 

Trust me, once you find yourself in a new place with only your wits to get you from point A to point B, you will start to learn what wits you really have. 

How well do you read a map? How well did you plan your trip so you know the quickest and least expensive way to get to your hotel from the airport alone? Did you budget enough for your trip? How’s your knowledge of the local language?

When you travel alone, you will rely on yourself to answer these questions. Then you will truly know where your travel strengths and weaknesses lie, and, best yet, where to improve for the next trip.

You also get a better understanding of your comfort zone. This ranges from your personal safety to finding out your personal tastes. New locations and experiences give you an opportunity to try new things that you won’t know you’ll like until you try them. 

Traveling solo will gently push you to know your personal boundaries, which you will inevitably take with you into your daily life. It’s very empowering.

Dining signs in Portugues Buzios Brazil
Reading the Portuguese menus on Buzios, Brazil solo travel.
You learn how to be alone.

Do you spend much time alone in your daily life? Do you live with roommates or family? Are you always surrounded by people or on-the-go so there is never time for “me time”?

Traveling solo will provide you plenty of that. For some it may be quite an adjustment. Others may fall into spending time with themselves more easily. 

Whichever, being alone can bring much tranquility and time to reflect. If we are to be comfortable with anyone in our lives, it definitely should be with ourselves first, don’t you think?

Views of Paris from Eiffel Tower
Reflecting on life on the Eiffel Tower summit during Paris solo travel.
Traveling solo breaks social barriers.

How well are you at meeting people? Speaking with strangers or strangers from another country? When you travel solo, you will most likely be eating your meals alone, going to attractions alone, and riding transportation alone.

You may find yourself wanting to engage with others for fun or simply for need of assistance. This is a great time to learn how to ‘break the ice’, if you don’t know how to already. 

Additionally, you will end up finding you are not really alone when traveling solo. There are many solo wanderers out there just like you!  If you’re lucky, you could make a connection with one of them and have a friend for life. Yes, this has happened to me.

Facebook, or other social media platforms, really does make that easy. Once you start traveling solo you’ll find your fellow solo travelers more easily. Then they’ll be those you’ll really relate to, free spirit and all.

Sea turtle snorkeling Zen on Bahamas solo travel.
You’ll gain appreciation for new environments and cultures.

There is nothing like learning how much people are truly alike around the world.  Ultimately, all people want to be able work and support themselves, have families and provide for them, provide for their children’s education, and so on. 

Even better is finding out how people live their lives differently in pursuit of the same goals. 

Traveling solo provides for opportunities to put yourself out there to meet the locals, volunteer, or even extend your stay to work in a new region. It won’t take you long to realize that the world is not as scary as the media lets you believe.  

Underwater diver Belize water activity tips and tricks
Rewarding coral reef restoration volunteer diving on Belize solo travel.

Who Can Travel Solo?

Pros of Solo Travel

In short, anyone. Whether you’re female or male, a Millennial or Baby Boomer, married or single, young or older professional – if you have the will, there is a way.

Let me make a small note here on views of solo travel:  you’re going to hear differing opinions on it. You’re reading my views on it right now.  Please, however, do not take stock of those who view solo travel as the “best” or the “worst” way to travel. 

Solo travel is like anything else – it’s personal. Heck, if we were all the same, we’d buy the same things, speak the same way, do the same things, etc. But we are not all the same. 

Case in point, if you were to take a basic, personality test, such as a free one like Truity’s, you can see humans possess multiple types of personalities (disclaimer:  I do not endorse any particular online tests and you take results as you will). So, why would you base a decision on what is right for you that is perhaps wrong for someone else? 

Someone who is a real extrovert may have had a horrible experience because they had a hard time meeting people, for example. Perhaps an introvert had a great time because, hey, they like being alone anyway. Me? I’m in the middle of the road. 

In fact, what is your personality type? It doesn’t hurt to do some personal introspection if you are considering traveling solo. In fact, I call this “Step 1” in planning your first solo trip.

Swimmers and boats Agios Nikolaos Beach Zakynthos Greece
Exploring beautiful beaches on Zakynthos, Greece solo travel.

Types of Solo Travel

How you travel alone is completely up to you.  Beautiful, huh?  Whether it’s going someplace new or different, going to a place within your country or to a new country, or the trip is three days or three months, only you know will know what type of solo travel is best for you.

Recall that you are in control. That’s the bonus of what type of travel you wish to embark on.

Solo Travel vs Group Travel

Here you may ask, “Gwen, I’m wanting to try solo travel, but I’m not sure I can handle doing everything myself.”  And that’s ok.  I hear you first-time solo travelers.

Like I mentioned above, you’ll learn your comfort zone, and a group tour may be the place for you to start, if need be.

You’re still budgeting the travel, booking the travel, paying for for the travel, and embarking on the travel all on your own. 

Pros of Group Travel

Depending on the group tour, you’ll either be with others daily or intermittently, all day long or only part of the day, which will allow for some type of companionship.

A group tour may also take the load off your travel planning, which can help beginner solo travelers.

Don’t forget the multitude of day excursions and activities available, like on Viator, you can use to break up time you spend alone. Will you be snorkeling in Belize? There’s a day trip for that. Want to learn Italian cooking in Florence, Italy? There’s a class for that.

boaters Turtle Island Zakynthos
Snorkeling and island touring on Zakynthos, Greece solo travel.

Cons of Group Travel

My only recommendation is to first thoroughly research if a group tour is truly right for you. They can be pricey or may not give you what you’re truly looking for on your trip.  Again, do some research on you and the group trip.

I also encourage you to try to go a little outside your comfort zone. If you continually do this, you may find the world will be your comfort zone. Not too shabby, huh?

Woman standing with New York City skyline backdrop
New York City solo? Of course!

Where to Solo Travel

Pros of Solo Travel

For the most part, you have skies-the-limit on where to travel alone. I have been to twenty-five countries at least once (and counting) and 46 of the 50 United States, including Alaska.

First-time solo travelers may be asking where are the best places to visit. I have written on how to choose your first solo trip destination and write about places to start solo traveling, like Belize. 

Keep checking the solo travel blog for more solo destination ideas – all locations I provide come solely from my travels – and the country travel guides and city travel guides for convenience. They are there to assist you.

Feel free to go beyond and see what other solo travelers also have to say about a particular country or city. 

Cons of Solo Travel

There may be areas around the world that are not safe for solo travelers or female solo travelers, in particular. This can be inevitable. However, the flip side is you can just join a group for that leg of travel.

Rio de Janeiro and Sugar Loaf Mountain in fog
Loving the views on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil solo travel.

When to Solo Travel?

Pros of Solo Travel

Again, this is mostly a personal choice so have at it! 

If anything, traveling alone only provides more options. You have more freedom to choose travel dates, when to take time off work or school, schedule your finances, etc.. Big fat bonus for solo traveling.

Cons of Solo Travel

I seriously cannot think of a solo travel con here.

Sunbathers on Praia da Ribeira de Cascais Cascais Portugal
Shoulder season beach going on Cascais, Portugal solo travel.

Is Solo Travel Expensive?

Pros of Solo Travel

I’ve done much budget-friendly solo travel. The good thing, of course, is that an airline or train ticket price is not going to be affected on whether you are traveling alone or not. In fact, you have more of a chance to grab that last single seat available, which may additionally save you money. Cha ching!

Accommodations can also be very budget friendly for the solo traveler. Hostels open up more opportunities for budget travel and meeting people. Other options such as AirBnB or house sitting can also provide budget friendly options.

Last, with the rise of solo travel popularity, some hotels and booking chains are starting to decrease or remove single supplemental fees.  Ultimately, the more you can plan ahead the more you can reduce your travel budget.

Cons of Solo Travel

Of course, there are still those hotels and booking services that do tack on the single supplement fee, so this may not always be avoidable.  Even if you wish to stay in a hostel private room, these rooms can cost as much as a hotel room. 

You do have flexibility being solo, but depending on your tastes and preferences, it’s possible a higher price may come with it, but it’s not a given.  

View of Copacabana Beach Rio de Janeiro from hotel room
More amazing views on budget Brazil solo travel.

What is Solo Travel Like?

Pros of Solo Travel

Depending on your personality type, where you stay (hostel vs hotel), where you go, what you can afford, and how you go (solo vs group) will affect this. Again, it’s you alone so you get to dictate this.

There are an abundance of travel apps out there to assist in travel planning and fit your travel style, including finding things to do and meeting people.

Personally, I don’t find that I am ever really alone, so I don’t get lonely. I not only enjoy having my “me time”, but since I’m also an outgoing person who can talk to anyone, including in the grocery line, I’ve never experienced a problem ‘breaking the ice’ to meet new people while I travel.

In fact, one of the things I enjoy about traveling alone is so I can meet new people. Sometimes the people we travel with are not as extraverted, or even friendly, so they may not want to engage with strangers. Not me. I love it. It’s how I learn more about the world – through the people I meet.

Cons of Solo Travel

Yes, it’s possible you could get lonely. Do you have a medical condition that may predispose you to feeling loneliness, or would your doctor not recommend you travel solo? It’s really a matter of you knowing you.

This is why I advocate doing your ‘self research’ first in order to test the solo travel waters in a manner that is right for you

Monte Carlo Casino at dusk Monaco
Roulette and champagne in Monaco during south of France solo travel.

Is Solo Travel Safe?

First, my note on safety:  this is the most important thing in travel, solo or not. I consider safety more important than price or convenience. 

Pros of Solo Travel

I’m firmly putting this in the “Pros” column, because I have never, not once, felt unsafe traveling solo. That said, I consider myself street-wise and try not to put myself into situations where I will feel unsafe.

Always be safe and do research on each location before you book your travel.  Safety tips are always included in each of the country travel guides and city travel guides.

Tattinger employee pouring champagne for tasting
More champagne… tasting in Reims, France solo.

Cons of Solo Travel

Of course, there are some places around the world that may not be advised for traveling alone. Again, these locations group travel may be best. 

How to Plan Solo Travel

Pros of Solo Travel

Boy, are you lucky.  Living in today’s world with the internet and smartphones, how much easier can it be to travel alone?  I remember the days of traveling domestically and internationally with actual, bulky guide books and no internet, let alone any mobile device.  Ok, now I sound like someone’s grandpa who had to walk to school. Barefoot. In the snow. Both ways. Yikes.

My point is, with CORR Travel at your fingertips, your solo travel planning just became a whole lot easier. CORR Travel is here to help you. 

With frequent updates, you get great travel tips and hacks, global travel ideas, comprehensive city guides, amazing tried and true travel itineraries, budget tips, and eco-travel and volunteer ideas. I also provide great travel resources – from travel gear to booking resources – to help make your solo travel planning easier.  

Join my the CORR Travel Crew so you frequently get the best in solo travel ideas and assistance.

With CORR Travel on your side, how do you feel about solo travel now?

Cons of Solo Travel

Zip. None. Zilch.

Is Solo Travel Over 50 Worth It?

By now you can see the benefits of solo travel over 50 greatly outweigh the negatives. Yes, solo travel is completely worth it.

Personally, the places I have gone to, the people I have met, and the experiences I have had through solo travel have enriched my life more than I can say.

If you’re new to traveling alone, I highly recommend try. If you’ve done it before, keep doing it.  After all, that’s why CORR Travel is here: to inspire and empower you to travel solo and reap all of the benefits that come with it.

When it comes down to it, if you decide to take your first solo trip and don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again. At least you can always say you tried something new. How wonderful! 

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