Solo travelling tips for women over 50

biker Solo travelling tips for women over 50 Laura Wallwork
Approx read: 6 mins

Though I may not be quite 50 yet, I am in the ballpark.

So, what is it like solo travelling as an older woman?

I have always had a passion for travel. Some may even describe it as an obsession. I always wanted to go off in search of discovery and adventure but was too afraid when I was a teenager. Yet, as I have gotten older, those fears and doubts have faded and I find I have the confidence to go anywhere and do anything.

According to our peers and the media, youth is where it’s at and getting older is no fun. It’s a very toxic and negative message and one that is particularly aimed at women. I have always thought that if you feel negative about yourself, it’s likely to manifest itself in your health. You feel old, you’ll become old. In fact, you have a higher chance of a heart attack or mental decline if you have a negative view of your own ageing. But the opposite is also true. If you get outdoors, walk, run, exercise, learn new skills and explore, you will feel happier and healthier, thereby living a longer life.

Stay positive

A Harvard study of 14,000 adults aged 50+ found that those with the highest satisfaction with ageing had a 43% lower risk of dying from any cause over four years compared to those who were least satisfied. The study also revealed that individuals more content with the ageing process had a reduced risk of conditions like diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart disease; exhibited better cognitive functioning; were more active; experienced fewer sleep troubles; felt less lonely and depressed; and demonstrated greater optimism and a stronger sense of purpose.

But how do we get into this positive mindset, in the face of the bombardment of negative messaging? My answer is travel and outdoor adventure.

view Solo travelling tips for women over 50 Laura Wallwork

Get outside

Some people like group activities and some like to do things alone. Whatever your vibe, you have no excuse for getting outside and trying something new. How about cold water or wild swimming? There are groups all across the UK and lots of online resources. Take the plunge and give it a go. If you are a bit of a water baby, why not learn to surf or bodyboard? There are surf schools in North Yorkshire, Pembrokeshire, the Inner Hebrides, Cornwall, County Antrim and Devon.

Being outside doesn’t mean you have to skydive, surf or do anything too adrenalin-fuelled. Adventure is all relative to you. Birdwatching can also be your adventure. The quest to find the elusive bird. The anticipation of hearing birdsong and catching a glimpse of something beautiful and rare. You can bird watch locally or go hiking and camping for the weekend at a particular location. Adventure is not always about the activity but about how you do it.

swim Solo travelling tips for women over 50 Laura Wallwork

Nature as medicine

Spending time outdoors is crucial for your biological well-being, and there’s plenty of science to support this. Research indicates that trees emit chemicals called phytoncides, which are beneficial for our immune system, while birdsong has a calming effect on our brainwaves. Additionally, there’s evidence that looking at fractals patterns found in coastlines, clouds, and ocean waves—can relax our brains.

Scientists have also shown that we perform much better after taking a walk outside. We have all felt that at one time or another. Being under stress, and unable to make decisions when too much is going on. If we step outside and “walk it off”, it is always easier to approach the issue feeling refreshed. The prognosis? Spending 15-45 minutes in a natural setting helps to maintain emotional and physical well-being. Ultimately, the more time you spend in remote, wild, green spaces, the better it is for you. A sense of awe and wonder in the presence of something grand is a great way for you to press that reset button in your brain.

Where to go?

Well now that all depends on you and your comfort level. Take baby steps and find places of interest near where you live. A weekend in Edinburgh taking in the history, literature and whiskey? Or go sightseeing in London, even if you live there. Perhaps you haven’t been to the London Eye or visited the Tower of London.

If you’re a little more adventurous, how about a city break to Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville or Lisbon? These are all easy to get to places. Often many people speak some English, in case you are worried about your lack of language skills. They are also bustling cities that you can easily navigate alone without feeling lonely.

If you want something completely exciting and different, how about hiring a camper and going off into the wilderness? Camping in Canada, a European road trip, driving through the Australian outback or around Kangaroo Island?

If hiking is your thing, how about Everest base camp, hiking the Himalayas, or camel trekking to Timbuktu?

But won’t I feel lonely?

In a nutshell, yes…. sometimes. I’ve travelled with partners, friends, and alone. But for the past 16 years, mainly solo. Today’s media applauds my ability to go it alone but the truth is I do still on occasion feel a little lonely. It’s those amazing sunsets, breathtaking views or the moment you come across something exhilarating when you want to turn to somebody and talk about it. Indeed, some things are best shared. But, I have learned to be in those moments and enjoy being in them alone, because I AM alone. The trick is enjoying that aloneness but also knowing when to reach out for company when you need it.

snow Solo travelling tips for women over 50 Laura Wallwork

New tricks

We all know the old adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Well, it turns out that you can, that is if we are in fact “old dogs”. Some of us have even said “Oh, I’m too old to do that”, well no you are not. Our brains have plasticity even as we get older. If our cognition does begin to fail us, our brain creates new neural paths to figure out a problem. So our older brain is actually far more innovative than our younger one. As we get older we also care less about what others think and so our inhibitions are less likely to hold us back too. WIN WIN!!


If you are no longer a spring chicken (whatever they are) and are reaching the tender age of 50, you may have experienced that superpower: invisibility. Picture this: you are sitting at a bar waiting. You wave and try to catch the eye of the bartender, but he ignores you. Two minutes later a couple of young attractive women walk in and hey presto… there is the bartender all smiles and tending… to THEM! Yes, it happens even to the best of us.

All joking aside, this can have you feeling like rock bottom, especially if you are travelling solo. There isn’t much you can do, aside from complain and I doubt much would come of that. Feelings of invisibility and loneliness often go hand and hand and each feeds the other. To counteract this, stay positive and live your own interesting and fulfilling life. Surround yourself with like-minded people and they will help you feel connected.

Top tips for solo travel

  1. If you’re worried about arriving at your destination alone (airport, train station, ferry port), book a taxi or meet and greet so somebody is there waiting for you.
  2. If you feel awkward eating alone in a restaurant, cafe or bar, befriend the staff. Ask about the menu and interact with them. They may then start to chat with you as they pass, making you feel less alone.
  3. Book single rooms rather than doubles in hotels and B&Bs as they are often less expensive.
  4. Family-run hotels are often friendlier than big hotel chains and a place to make connections and sometimes friends.
  5. Try workaways, pet sitting or house exchanges while you travel. There are lots of websites and Facebook groups that are tailored to women. Search for “Women solo travelers” or “House/flat swap for women” on Facebook.
  6. Keep a travel diary. Believe it or not, this helps you put your trip into perspective. Once you are back home, it helps you remember how you felt and what you did. This can inspire you to take more trips and even longer ones.
  7. Have some sort of focus on your trip. It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be visiting a museum, a vineyard, a mountain, an architectural building or a place of historical interest. If you have a focus, it helps you to complete a goal and gives you a sense of achievement.
  8. Read some inspiring literature or check out some of the Facebook groups and online resources

Facebook groups

Solo in style: women over 50 travelling solo & loving it!

Women solo travellers

House/flat swap for women


Journey Woman

Dreamer at Heart

Did you know that two out of three women over 50 have experienced age discrimination? So isn’t it time we shifted stereotypes of age for women? It starts with the words. Use the words solo or independent rather than single. Use empowering adjectives: hiking, exploring, climbing, trekking, ballooning, skydiving. The most important thing is to be the change. Go out and do all the things you wanted to do when you were younger but didn’t have the time or money.

Don’t let a couple of extra years on your calendar of life make you believe you can’t do that skydive, that base jump, that round-the-world trip. Come on ladies, LET’S GO!!!!

Embrace your solo adventure: Debunking myths and finding inspiration