Senior Holidays-#SoloTravelTips: As the holidays approach, it can be hard to find the right place to celebrate as a solo senior. Solo travel can be a good choice. However, travel for one can be “one for the price of two”. As a Baby Boomer, I have taken a wide variety of solo trips for the holidays. I have gone to the remote Amazon rain forest “UpRiver” in Brazil. I started my Christmas Day holiday swimming in the Amazon River. Luckily, I was able to avoid any piranhas celebrating by snacking on fellow tourists!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, another year I had a high end visit to the Old City of Quebec. My stay at the luxury Fairmont Chateau Fontainebleau featured choirs in blue velvet medieval costumes, top meals and a very snowy “White Christmas”.
Time is running short. Check out our six tips below on how to plan a really great alternative to being “Home Alone for the Holidays”.
Senior Holidays-#SoloTravelTips: Our Tips:
Tip One: What will you miss if you head out traveling alone on the holidays?
As you start to plan where to go, think about how you view the holidays. Are you looking for a traditional spot? Will you miss having home town parties and visits with friends and family?
Although I had a great adventure trip to the Amazon for a past Christmas, I had a sense that I missed the whole holiday. The next year I first celebrated on Christmas Eve with traditional carols and services. On Christmas Day, I headed to Washington’s Dulles International Airport to join a Mekong Delta Cruise. By dividing the festivities between a traditional approach and a new solo travel plan, I had the best of both worlds.
Tip Two: Try out an adventure!
For a solo traveler, I have found the best way to celebrate is to have an adventure trip of a lifetime. When you are checking off top items from your bucket list, it is hard to feel alone.There are many ways to do this. If you are an active sports fan, check out ski packages offered by hotels or local ski clubs. See for example, our free solo search tool, the Solo Travel Pricing Tracker, at the dropdown menu for Active-Sports/Adventures. (Nine options there include Seniors Skiing, The Ski Gathering and WoW Ski Tours.)
If you would rather sightsee than set new sports records, have a cultural odyssey. Museums and historic monuments abroad will be less crowded than during the summer time and a way to dodge the winter’s deep chill.
Dying to see remote regions but not really comfortable doing it alone? Take a river cruise on China’s Yangtze River. River cruises provide better security than going it alone in a large city after dark. You will find a ready-made group of new friends for meals and sightseeing but private time alone if you like. One of my top New Year memories is heralding in the New Year in the sunshine in Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh.
Tip Three: Relax, and Greet the New Year Solo!
Looking for a real break? Consider a spa where you have no set schedule and no constantly ringing cell phone. I found Santa Fe , New Mexico for Christmas was ideal. Everything was walking distance to multiple cafes and shops. I added day trips to national parks and exploring local Native American sites. For a longer trip, Eastern European spas have cheaper solo travel deals than most of the United States and Western Europe.
For two options, see our packages at our free solo search tool, the Solo Travel Pricing Tracker.
Option One: Go to the link for “Tours”. Then select “Spa-Yoga” for seventeen great deals.
Option Two: Go to the link for “Hotels”. Then choose “Spa-Hotels” for forty-seven solo-priced packages or other top value lodgings.
Senior Holidays-#SoloTravelTips: Connecting:
Tip Four: Social media is for everyone.
If you are new to solo travel, be sure to find ways to connect while you are abroad.
- Find volunteer groups online that have the need for holiday workers. Be sure to first checkout their reputations and how secure the destination is.
- Sign up for a short term class. See what is available to learn how to be a top chef for local dishes. Find out how to speak French like a native! Become a pro when it comes to knowing about the fabled art and architecture in France or Italy.
- Join a Christmas Markets or New Year’s river cruise. Check out wellness and spa sailings or wine tasting. Are you a history buff? Take a Normandy cruise starting in Paris. For a top cruise for solo travelers with no single supplement, see what award-winning Riviera River Cruises offer.
Tip Five: Saving money.
One issue for all travelers is that holiday rates tend to soar.
- One way to avoid higher costs is to go the way less traveled by. For example, if the heavy tourist demand is for sunny beaches, check out the deep chill of northern Europe and Canada where prices are lower.
- Find a suburban boutique hotel or bed and breakfasts. If you are on a major transportation line, you can save but still have easy access to all the city can offer.
- Price airport motels. What these typical high rises may not have the Old World charm of historic in-town landmark hotels, the prices and deals can help keep your budget in line. I tried this once in Paris and found a cheap deal for lodging while being free all day to explore full days in the City of Lights.
- Go online and look for house swaps and services in exchange for lodging. (If you are an animal lover, try to be a dog sitter at a top locale.)
- Offer to lead a school or community group on a holiday trip.
- Make Thanksgiving your holiday rather than higher priced Christmas and New Year’s.
- Check out hotels that offer seniors discounts.
- Beyond lodging, airlines, trains, museums and theaters often also have seniors discounts. Be sure to ask since select countries’ qualifying age may be lower than expected!
Travel in Style-Senior Holidays:
Tip Six: Keeping it chic on any budget while traveling alone.
In classic Hollywood films, elegantly dressed passengers lined up for the Pan American Clipper Ships or sailing on the Queen Mary. Fast forward to today’s travel. Serene luxury has been replaced by crowded lines to navigate. The next hurdle is juggling roller bags through really, really narrow aisles. Once settled, it is time to get comfortable (?) sandwiched in with your fellow passengers hoping there will be no endless delays. In the meantime, your “leg room” may be almost non-existent.
At any age and any budget, traveling alone and in style can take some planning. European women have this down to a science. French and Italian women, especially those of a “certain age” have iconic style. Here are some thought for single seniors on travel:
- Keep it simple. Layers add pounds to even the slimmest figures.
- Belt everything! That’s one of the reasons to bring an over-sized scarf. They take up less space than a leather belt. They can also be a pashmina substitute for evening or when air-conditioning is arctic.
- Swap out clunky sneakers for ballet flats. They are ideal for sight seeing or for transitioning from day into evening. I love the Oka-B collections like the Liona Matte at $45 now. They come from bling to basic in a rainbow hue of colors at a modest price. They are great to wear year-round and easy to keep you packing light.
- Create a travel uniform that is practical and fashionable. Year-round wear dress pants in black. Top them off with a high-fashion suit jacket geared to the season. You can find them by shopping luxury consignment shops. During my student days I discovered a New York shop rumored to be the secret spot where Jackie Kennedy consigned her fabulous fashions. Fast forward to today’s 21st-century ecommerce world online. I have found a world of luxury options at real budget prices. My top find was a vintage pink Chanel suit with black trim. When you pair a sleek, stylish jacket with black pants, you can easily go from day into night. (Special tip: Find super deals online when competing consumers are still celebrating over their Thanksgiving turkey!)
- Just remember being comfortable does not mean being dowdy!
For top solo travel deals with no single supplement, learn more here.
For more than 1,000+ travel providers with 20,000 trips, go to our easy to use free search tool, the SoloTravelPricingTracker.
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