Travel & Leisure

Travelling Solo as a Senior

Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely

By Katrina Caruso

More and more retirees are travelling on their own. When you’re alone, you can go where you want when you want and do exactly what you want to do.

The idea can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before, have mobility issues, or are a woman—we don’t want to feel unsafe while on vacation. Plus, the prospect of travelling alone may seem a lonely one. But there are some ways to make it work for you.


  • Okay, I know what you’re thinking: only students and young backpackers stay in hostels. However, in the off season, the students are back in school, and most hostels are even less expensive than usual; many says they enjoy the sense of community iin a hostel.
  • Hostels are often the most affordable place to stay.
  • Typically, a hostel will include breakfast—but not always.
  • Most hostels offer dorm-style rooms, with eight to 10 travellers sharing quarters, though many do offer single rooms. Some hostels offer women-only accommodations.
  • Communal kitchens, ground-level bars, and other common spaces are typical, making it easy to strike up a conversation with other travellers.
  • Some hostels also host activities, such as tours or special themed nights.

Hosted Accommodations

  • Over the last few years, a boom in alternatives to hotels have popped up, the most popular being Airbnb followed by Couchsurfing: a host offers his or her apartment or living space to someone else—the latter could be a couch, a bed, or a room.
  • According to Airbnb, seniors are one of the fastest growing group of hosts, so you may find other retirees keen to host you.
  • Through Airbnb, hosts will receive ratings from past travellers.
  • While Couchsurfing doesn’t require a minimum or maximum stay, Airbnb requires a minimum of two or three days.
  • Couchsurfing is free, and Airbnb is likely a bit more expensive than a hostel, but less than a hotel.

Special Interest Tours and Cruises

  • If you’re thinking of traveling solo, another good option may be to go on a cruise or tour focused on an interest or hobby of yours, such as motorcycles, history, theatre, or literature. You’re travelling alone but within a group of like-minded people. Many tours and cruises cater especially to seniors.

Photo: iStock/arianarama.