Can Solo Travel Help Make The Most Of Later Life?

Travelling the world is often thought of as something that millennials embark on in between jobs.

However, recent trends suggest that people globetrotting later in life is on the rise. According to a survey by the Post Office, there’s been a rise of 25% among people aged 55-plus taking an extended break to travel the world.

Mature solo travel company One Traveller has seen first-hand the benefits that taking extended trips abroad can have for the older generation – colloquially coined as a ‘grey gap year’ – and the life-changing effect it can have.

Pic: Shutterstock

A way to overcome loss

“We find that when people choose to take the plunge and travel solo, often they have done so because they have unfortunately suffered a loss,” says Ian Darkin, director of One Traveller Holidays.

“Booking a trip on their own with a group of individuals they’ve never met before is initially daunting but they soon form friendships with people who are going through a similar situation.”

A One Traveller group in Austria

Sid Cole (84) is a seasoned solo traveller and is about to embark on his 17th holiday with One Traveller.

“Nine years ago my world fell apart when I lost my lovely wife,” he says. “For well over two years I didn’t go on holiday as I couldn’t face going on my own. One evening I Googled solo holidays and made the decision to book a trip to Austria with One Traveller.

“I have on occasions reassured other travellers taking their first solo holiday and at the end of it, they wondered why they even worried in the first place.”

That fellow traveller bond…

In addition to being a way to navigate loss, One Traveller has seen the other benefits of travel in those who have chosen to broaden their horizons in later life.

2 mature women eating street food pizza, pulling funny faces, guilty pleasure

Oooh… street food! Pic: Shutterstock

“We’ve seen travellers make friendships for life with people travelling solo on the same trip,” Ian says. “Travelling bonds people together from a new experience as you share unique memories together. There is a common misconception that you can’t make new friends in later life but travelling dispels this myth.

“For many, the thought of travelling solo can be daunting so to be able to share this with people feeling the same is important. Before long, all worries have disappeared and are replaced by the excitement of exploring the food, culture and local attractions of a new destination.”

Pic: Shutterstock

Tempting choices

One Traveller provides holidays across four continents and is a specialist travel company catering for solo travellers over 50. Destinations include 18 days in the USA touring California, Las Vegas and The National Parks, a cruise up the Norwegian coastline seeking out the Northern Lights and 16 days in China including a Panda keeper experience.

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