The 40+ Women’s Guide to Independent Travel

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The prospect of traveling alone may seem daunting, but packing that suitcase and venturing off into the unknown as a solo traveler has a whole heap of benefits. Complete freedom over your schedule, no waiting for other people to get ready, no feeling rushed when you’d like to linger… it’s no wonder that more and more people are hitting the road alone.

Whether you’re looking to make new friends or bask in your own company, our guide will help you get the most out of your trip.

Avoid the single surcharge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany hotels and tour operators will charge you a single surcharge because most accommodations are priced for double occupancy. However, there are several tour operators who can help. G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, Road Scholar and Holland America Line offer roommate matching to pair you with another single traveler so you both save money.

If the idea of sharing a room with a stranger doesn’t appeal to you, check out single room offers from Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line and P&O Cruises.

You also have the option of using airbnb.com to rent rooms in people’s homes. Not only will this help cut accommodation costs, you’ll also benefit from the advice of a local in the place you’re visiting. Just be sure to spend time reading the feedback section before renting.

Meeting new people

If you can’t bear the thought of travel without company, don’t despair. These days there are many online resources that can help. Connecting: Solo Travel Network will help you find the perfect companion through its online forum and is a great place to get advice about traveling alone, or tips on where to go.

Meetup.com is another outstanding service that helps you hook up with people at your destination. Whether you’re looking to play board games, meet up for a drink or go with someone to a yoga class, Meetup.com has got it all.

Alternatively, take a look at Women Traveling Together, an organization that offers high-quality small group tours from the US to locations around the world. It’s the perfect way to make friends and meet like-minded people.

Dining out alone

If you’ve taken the plunge and traveled solo, one thing that might make you nervous is the idea of eating out alone. But don’t be afraid! People travel alone for all sorts of reasons these days, for both business and pleasure, and there is no shame in sitting in a restaurant on your own and digesting a good book along with your meal. Of course there’s nothing that says you have to be out every night. Sometimes it’s nice to just kick back and enjoy room service while watching TV.

Safety tips

venice_paxIt always pays to do a little research, no matter how you’re traveling. Find out the cost of a taxi from the airport in advance or ask the hotel to arrange one for you. And make sure you understand the hotel’s check-in policy so that you don’t find yourself stranded in the street in the middle of the night with nobody to let you in!

Be aware of how you dress and ensure that your outfits are appropriate to the culture you’re visiting. Remember that the ‘dress for comfort’ rule we employ in the US isn’t necessarily followed by the rest of the world. In general, try to look as little like a tourist whenever possible.

Even if you are dressed appropriately, in some countries you may experience unwanted attention from men. Wearing a ring on your wedding finger can help with this, as can pretending that you are on your way to meet your husband or a friend. You can also employ the Safe Check In service which will keep tabs on you and inform someone if you don’t contact their service at the appropriate time.

Finally, and most importantly, hold your head high, walk with confidence and don’t forget to have a great time enjoying your solo adventure!

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About Author

I’m the mother of two, wife to one, stealth shopper, discount finder, and product tester. I like to stay healthy, active, fit, and loving. Read this magazine to learn how I juggle writing, supporting my children, enjoying life, and looking fabulous. In addition to Living After 40, I’ve ghost written several best-selling books.

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