Heading off on an adventure as a young single person is certainly a bold step but for the more mature traveller it can seem totally daunting – especially if you are recently widowed, divorced or separated.
But once you summon up the courage to book a holiday – taking the first step into a brave new world can help you to fulfil life-long dreams and ambitions, restore your confidence and build new friendships.
The movie Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel certainly whetted the appetite of those mature travellers who wanted a mixture of excitement and some time for contemplation. Many may relate to the anxieties of Dame Judi Dench’s character Evelyn – who felt life had become a bit mundane and was in search of new adventures!
It is no coincidence that Hollywood movies are increasingly focussing on the lives of those of a more mature age in recognition of the increase in their spending power.
There are around 24 million over 50s in the UK and they are the fastest growing and highest earning segment of the population – accounting for £320bn of annual household spending and three-quarters of the nation’s financial wealth and recent pension reforms have increased this disposable income.
Travel companies are now pushing out the boat to respond to the over 50s demand for a wide variety of cruises, UK and European cities breaks as well as long haul trips to exotic destinations, to tempt those in their retirement years to experience the sights, sounds and colours of other cultures.
Hotels and tour operators tend to add a fee of between 25% and 100% of the trip to make up for the loss of a second fare. The good news is that an increasing number of tour operators are now recognising the need to be competitive by removing hefty single room supplements so it is important to shop around for those companies which don’t charge or hide those fees.
Travel insurance companies are also moving towards providing competitive insurance packages which don’t charge extortionate fees for pre-existing medical conditions. Look at competitive providers at www.moneysupermaket.com which includes travel insurance offered by AgeUK.
For over 50s who have recently become single, it can seem a long road to building up the confidence to venture out without the security of a loved one alongside. For those who have chosen to remain single or not to travel with their partner being surrounded by couples or being placed in a matchmaking situation can be stressful.
It is important to book the right holiday where you can meet people with shared interests and a similar outlook on life. You don’t need to be the life and soul of the party as sharing travel experiences can be an excellent way to start a conversation, make new acquaintances and create long term friendships.
“We know that travelling alone for the first time takes a leap of faith,” says Ian Darkin, Director of singles holiday specialist for the over 50s, One Traveller. “We wanted to ensure that we created a supportive and safe environment so that our guests could relax and fully enjoy their holiday – whether a UK mini break in Yorkshire or a 16-day tour of Burma.”
What sets One Traveller apart from most of the competition is their attention to detail and how they cater for those who are rediscovering their travel cofidence. The company arranges pre-holiday meet ups, offers an online forum so guests can get to know each other and employs the experienced tour managers to help build togetherness among the small groups.
So if you are a mature singleton who is feeling the fear of travelling – decide to do it anyway. The world is certainly your oyster!
To help you find your perfect holiday, we’ve picked out our top single traveller destinations for 2016:
Best for: First time solo travellers
For first-time single travellers, Budapest is the ideal holiday for dipping your toes in the water and you are accompanied by two tour managers. Straddling the River Danube, the Hungarian capital is rich in architecture, riverside promenades and coffee houses.
Departing: October and throughout 2017 for £1220
For more information visit One Traveller
Overview: An elegant villa style hotel of understated luxury where you can relax amidst magical views across the winding river and tropical landscape.
Hotel:3 Star Casa Colvale Hotel
Date4th January 2017 Duration:7 Nights Board: B&B
Prices from (hotel only): £520.51 Per Room (£520.51pp)
Flight Prices from: Depart Gatwick with Thomas Cook from £501.61pp. Overall Cost Per Person:£1022.12pp
For more information visit Sunshine.co.uk
Best for: Experience new cultures
Enjoy some autumn sun and travel to a land of spice-scented mystery and medieval kasbahs. A short flight away with no time difference, witness a magnificent sunset over the rolling golden red dunes, drive into the Middle Atlas Mountains and enjoy a trip to Casablanca.
Departing: September and November 2016 and throughout 2017 from £1990
For more information visit One Traveller
Best for: Exploring Italian architecture
Explore Tuscany’s rolling countryside, which is dotted with olive groves, vineyards and medieval hilltop towns. This tour also takes you to Pisa, home of the famous Leaning Tower, Siena, San Gimignano and Florence, Italy’s mesmerising ‘Art City’.
Departing October 2016 and throughout 2017 between April and October from £829 (All Just You holidays include scheduled flights and transfers, accommodation in your own room and the services of a Just You Tour Manager and local guides. We never charge a single supplement)
For further information visit JustYou.co.uk
Best for: A taste of East Asian culture
Single travellers seeking the holiday of a lifetime need look no further than South Korea, which joins Solos’ escorted tours programme for the first time this year. South Korea, or ‘Land of the Morning Calm’, is a beautiful peninsula dotted with palaces, temples, pagodas, modern cities, forests, mountains and rivers, as well as thousands of years of history. Visiting the vibrant city of Seoul, the Bamboo City of Damyang and the ‘museum without walls’, Gyeongju, this ten-night trip also travels to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and much more.
Photo by ©Ishika Mohan; Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2010, Twentieth Century Fox Film CorporationLast modified: June 10, 2021