Healthy Aging

Travel solo? No problem!

Have you been dreaming of a trip somewhere, but have no one to go with…so you end up staying at home? Not only are you missing out, but you’re lonely besides. There’s good news:  today it’s easier than ever to travel the world as a single woman (or man) and find  friendly companions to dine with and trade stories. Cast away any worries about being isolated and alone. 

Janice Waugh, founder of the website Solo Traveler and author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook, says “I love traveling solo because of the people I meet. I think traveling alone makes me more approachable compared to people who are traveling with friends or family.”

Waugh adds that it’s never too late to start traveling solo. “Everywhere I go in the world, I meet lots of female solo travelers, and many, like me, are over the age of 60.” According to a survey she conducted for Solo Traveler, these women relish the freedom to do what they want without having to wait around for others. They also appreciate the opportunity solo travel gives them to challenge themselves and gain confidence.

Here are four fabulous vacation ideas that will give you the chance to travel on your own while engaging with others when and where you want to:

River cruise: American Cruise Lines, winner of Cruise Critic’s Best for Solo Travelers Award, offers 35 itineraries in over 25 states on ships that can carry 100-200 passengers. All of the cruises are carefully curated and focus on exploring the art, history and culture of the ports visited. Open seating for dinner, a daily cocktail hour and excursions at every stop make it easy to socialize with other guests. Single cabins are available without the dreaded single supplement charge, and there are elevators to all decks. LaWanda of Nacogdoches, TX, has gone on three cruises with American Cruise Lines and says “Traveling alone, I can always count on friendly, helpful service.” Cost: $3255 and up for a 7-day cruise.

Another option: Viking River Cruises, which specializes in European destinations. 

Wellness retreat: Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health is set on a spectacularly beautiful campus in the rolling hills of Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains. Many yoga and meditation classes run daily along with workshops on topics as diverse as healing from loss to managing anxiety – you can also book spa treatments. Three buffet-meals are offered with vegetarian, vegan and omnivore options, and breakfast is always silent. Cellphones are banned from most public areas. Rooms are no frills but comfortable. Cost: Shared rooms and baths start at $120/night; programs start at $85/day. Day passes are also available.

Dana Jacobi, author of The Power Greens Cookbook has stayed at Kripalu many times since the 1980s and enjoys the retreat as a solo traveler because “I know that I can be on my own as much as I want and also share conversation and meals when I want to be social.” The native New Yorker also feels comfortable hiking to the nearby lakeside on her own or joining group walks.

Another option: For a more luxurious wellness vacation, visit The Lodge at Woodloch, in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Scholarly vacation: Road Scholar is a not-for-profit educational organization that offers over 90 national and international programs created just for solo travelers with the option of a single or shared room.  “Solo travelers—especially solo female travelers—have a special affinity for our unique brand of learning vacations,” says James Moses, president and CEO. An added bonus: All trips are rated for physical difficulty on a scale going from “Easy Going” to “Outdoor: Challenging.” Cost: $600 for two days to $12,000 for six weeks.

Another option: Smithsonian Journeys, a similar non-profit travel group affiliated with the Smithsonian Museum. 

Artsy vacation: Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts, Ludlow, VT. On any given day in the summer you can find artists weaving baskets, needle-punching rugs, painting in watercolor, acrylic and oil, quilting and silversmithing on the bucolic grounds of this art school campus. In the fall and winter, they run weekend and evening classes. One-day classes cost $120; special deals are available for seniors in the winter months.  

Another option: The prestigious Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. 

So where are YOU going next?

For more information, visit these online sources: 

Solo Traveler: https://solotravelerworld.com/

Solo Travel Society: https://www.facebook.com/SoloTravelSociety/

Bio: Nancy Monson is a travel and wellness writer, artist and health coach. Connect with her on Instagram. 

Photo: Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

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