Ask Joan: Traveling alone doesn’t have to be lonely
April 1, 2024

Q. I have so many fond memories of our family’s vacations, and since I’ve been on my own, I have taken some road trips with friends. While I’m no world traveler, I enjoy getting out and visiting new places. In fact, I’m thinking about taking a trip by myself. I hear it can be a great experience, but I wonder if going it alone is right for me.

A. Travel – alone or with others – is a wonderful way to make memories for a lifetime. My own family vacations remind me of how important it is to experience new people and places, and how good it can feel to just spend time having fun and relaxing.

Research says travel, regardless of age, can boost your mood, reduce stress, and even increase your creativity. It’s beneficial to take a break from the daily routine, and in your case, step out of your comfort zone by going it alone – something many older adults do find exciting.

You may find it easier to test the waters with a trip by yourself closer to home. It can be fun to explore your own town or a neighboring state like a tourist while you decide if solo travel is right for you.

However, traveling solo doesn’t have to mean solitary.

Tour groups are a terrific way for older adults to travel without being alone. There are tours for every interest and budget. If you are into hiking, biking, or activity-based travel, there is a tour for you. If a food or walking tour is more your speed, there a wealth of options to consider both here and abroad.

Before you head out on your own, here a few tips from Travel & Leisure to consider:

Do your research. Learn about the places you are visiting and what the experiences of other solo travelers have been like. Traveling alone doesn’t have to be scary, but it does mean taking some extra care. There are lots of online travel sites geared for older adults traveling alone that you may find helpful.

Don’t wing it (completely). Booking a room in advance for at least the first night or two can help get the trip off to a good start – even for experienced travelers.

Travel light. It can be easy to overpack, but you don’t want to carry around a lot of luggage. There are lots of great videos online to help you learn how to pack light — just don’t forget that portable cell phone charger!

Check with your doctor and share your travel plans in case there are any medical issues that need to be addressed before you go. Keep medication with you (and bring extra) and don’t check it in your luggage. Medication should be kept in its original packaging, according to the TSA.

Share your travel plans. Make sure a trusted friend or family member knows where you will be and check in with them. It can go a long way to helping you (and others) feel safe. Don’t broadcast your trip in advance. Instead, wait until you get home to post your vacation photos on social media.

Whether you travel by car, train, bus, boat, or plane for a weekend or weeks away, travel is good for the mind and soul. Good luck and happy traveling!

Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at You can also call 800-892-0890 or email Joan Hatem-Roy is the chief executive officer of AgeSpan.

Resize text-+=