Solo Traveling for Seniors – the Options Are Breathtaking

February 20, 2018

Image Credit: Aris Sfakianakis / unsplash.com

 

One of the great benefits of contemporary aging tendencies, with the active period extended by an average of two decades compared to just 100 years ago, is the chance to enjoy many different activities when you finally have the time. Extensive traveling is something that many people have to put off, since their social responsibilities – primarily children and work – do not usually allow sufficient time to explore the world. Now the retirees are growing more adventurous, and venture beyond regular group tours and cruises increasingly more often. What are the options for long-term stays and thorough exploration of different places? Is it possible to combine doing something useful for the world and travel? How is it possible to cut costs and have a quality time? Let’s see.

Housesitting

You are not the only one who’s been dreaming of traveling – so have many homeowners around the world! Oftentimes people planning to leave their home for a significant amount of time seek housesitting services. A house-sitter is someone whose duties may include caring for their pets or the garden, forwarding mail, or just making sure trespassers and criminals are deterred from entering the vacant property by the mere fact of their presence. All this happens in exchange for rent-free living or even a stipend from the owners of the property. This certainly takes the steep price tag off traveling, and is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with local living. Recruiting happens online, on networks such as Nomador or Trusted House Sitters that help a house-sitter build a digital reputation with reviews and ratings. Your age may actually be an advantage for some homeowners, since the likelihood of you throwing a wild party by the pool and inviting random strangers to their house is not very high.

Hosteling

No, it’s not for students only – not anymore. True, in the summers these affordable, communal hotels, especially in popular tourist destinations are filled to the brim and may not let you get the rest you need. Off-season, though, they are perfect for an inexpensive sojourn regardless of your age. A perfect way for an independent traveler to stay solo, but not feel lonely. If you are not into living in a room with ten other people, there are usually singles available. And consider the wildly ranging locations – you can find one practically anywhere – from a fishing village to a medieval castle. Noise and curfew are the main issues, but if you read up on reviews in advance, you’ll most likely be safe… well, bring earplugs just in case. Membership will usually guarantee even greater savings – try Hostelling International USA for a 55+ discounted membership.

Voluntourism

 

Image Credit: Khara Woods / unsplash.com

This mix of tourism and volunteering differs from regular volunteering (which, of course, is also an option) in that it is a paid venture – meaning that you pay for participating. It’s far less expensive than a package tour, and it allows you to choose your activity for a priceless real-life experience of the country you’re visiting. The payment you make goes towards accommodation, food and is partly donated to the cause that you’re supporting with your actions. You can find something that you find significant and contribute some time to it, connecting with others who share your interests and convictions. VolunteerForever is a great place to start exploring this option.

Hosted accommodations

Contemporary economy is leaning towards barter and sharing – at least in some segments, and this is a great benefit for the solo traveler. You must have heard or already used Couchsurfing or Airbnb. These are pure blessings for those who want a piece of real life rather than an all-inclusive resort, which have their advantages, but rarely inspire an understanding of local culture or lifestyle. Couchsurfing allows you to stay with people for free, while Airbnb offers affordable stays at the homes of real people – sans the hosts. The key here is to read reviews and descriptions carefully, so as to get a well-rounded impression of the place and the hosts. There are some true gems and some wonderful people waiting for you.

Niche cruises and tours

Group tours and regular cruises don’t need an introduction and are self-explanatory, but there are special interest cruises and tours, which seem like a great way to find people who share an interest with you – and this is the best way to create meaningful interpersonal connections, whatever age you are. There are very narrow-interest adventures, with a vast range of topics from gastronomy to bird-watching to antiques, jazz, history.

Whether you choose a unique learning experiences at Road Scholar or hiking around the globe at Walking the World, it’s almost addictive.

Besides the sheer enjoyment of these adventures, remember that the best way to avoid age-associated cognitive disorders is to keep learning and exploring the world!

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