Many retirees find that the free time they have in retirement allows them to indulge in one activity that requires a lot of time – travel. Whether they want to see more of their state, their country or the world, the freedom from a work schedule or limited vacation time allows for more frequent and longer trips than ever before.
Some older active adults enjoy cruises or escorted groups because these packages take care of the details and most trip needs. There is also the opportunity to meet people in the group tour. These types of tours are ideal for those who want to see major tourist sights in any country or city. But there are travelers out there that feel confined by group tours. These travelers like to see things off the beaten path or want to linger at the museum that the group tours only allow 30 minutes to see. Some travelers that have a unique interest that they want to indulge while traveling like quilting, architectural sights, trains, sports teams, etc. – those travelers may want to look into traveling solo.
Traveling alone may sound like a lonely, dangerous affair, but it isn’t. Solo travel can be a very freeing experience with only one person to please – yourself. Does this sound like an experience you would enjoy? Here are some tips from other solo travelers to get you started.
- Plan. Just because you are going it alone does not mean you don’t have to plan. Research your destination and know the risks. Find out which areas of a city are safe and which are not. Since you are traveling alone, you no longer have that safety of numbers. Doing your research will keep you from wandering into unsavory areas alone.
- Arrival time. When traveling to an unfamiliar destination, it is best to arrive during daylight. Navigating a new town is already challenging and doing it in the dark makes it more difficult. Have your first night hotel reserved, so you are not left searching for a room. Research your options for getting from the airport/train station to the hotel. Taxis are not the only way and many times are the more expensive than other options. Check out trains, subways, buses, and driving services (think Uber, Lyft).
- Travel Insurance. Having travel insurance is of particular importance when traveling alone. This insurance is your backup to any unexpected problems that come your way. A service that you can call to assist you brings peace of mind in any situation. Be sure to get medical insurance and medical evacuation insurance since these are expensive and Medicare does not cover anything outside the USA.
- Take a map. Yes, you may have GPS on your phone to guide you, but there is nothing like a map to give you the big picture and to orient you. Knowing which way is north or south helps you navigate around an area with ease. Also, identifying major landmarks (tall buildings, bodies of water, train stations, etc.) is an excellent way to make a new place feel familiar quickly.
- Keep in Touch. Even though you are traveling alone, be sure some people know where you are and when they should hear from you. This communication is easy to do with all the electronics nowadays. So, text, post or call someone on a regular schedule, so they are alerted when they don’t hear from you. In case you run into trouble, it won’t be weeks before someone notices.
Life is too short. Don’t wait for a travel companion to see the places you have always wanted to see – just go. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll meet some great people along the way.
For more great tips on traveling alone check out SoloTraveler. Their website has all kinds advice on dos and don’ts, packing, and exciting destinations.
Also, check out the Travelling Solo information on Kathe Kline’s podcast “Rock Your Retirement” where she interviews, John Brocato. John started traveling solo several years ago because he admits that he’s difficult to travel with and he likes to go “off the beaten path.” In the podcast, he discusses how traveling solo has allowed him to indulge his passions: The Kansas City Royals and presidential libraries.
Are you looking for an active adult community? Check out The Tapestry in Garner, NC by calling 919-779-4663.