While more and more millennials are hitting the road equipped with a lust to see the world, helpful travel apps, and the knowledge of frugal travel tips, there are also an older demographic that’s becoming more curious about seeing the world: solo women travelers over the age of 60.
If you’re part of the group, we understand there could be a number of different reasons for your travels. It could be because your partner’s more of the stay-at-home type, you’re getting over a difficult challenge and need a breath of fresh air, or you just always had the travel bug and enjoy traveling alone. Whatever reason has encouraged you to travel, there are still a few things you need to keep in mind when on the road.
Do your research
Before heading to a foreign place you’ve never been before, it’s important to do some research on the local laws and customs. In many countries, hand gestures that you’re accustomed to may be considered offensive. For example, something as simple as giving the ‘thumbs up’ sign may be interpreted as an obscene gesture in the Middle East, as will be the case if you make the ‘OK’ sign when you’re in Brazil. Besides that, research cultural, religious, and political events that may occur during your trip. It’d be good to attend large events so that you can meet with locals and get a better understanding of their culture.
Talk to a travel agent
Sometimes with all the online technology, you may not be able to get the exact trip you desire. For example, you may want a trip or even a suggestion on the best route to take before you get to your final destination. This back and forth with a travel professional can help you squeeze two or three fruitful and fun stopovers out of just one long trip. Plus, some travel sites have special phone-only deals that could save you a pretty penny. Talking to a travel professional might sound old-fashioned to most millennials, but there’s nothing wrong in having a human being on the other end of the line, making sure you get the exact trip you want.
Know what your body can handle
Want to hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, ride a camel in the arid Sahara, or jump into a freezing cold pool in Finland? Whatever’s on your travel bucket list, it’s important to take into consideration your health and well being. Make sure to know your limitations in order to avoid any unwanted injuries that could ruin your trip. Even when on the plane, make sure to keep yourself well-hydrated and to do simple stretching exercises for your legs, arms, neck, and shoulders. On long flights, make sure you take the time to walk around and get that circulation going in your legs — this can help avoid stiffness, pain, and even the odd case of travel-related deep-vein thrombosis.
Start using Uber or if not available arrange for airport pickup
When you land in a new country, you often want to get out of the airport as quickly as possible and get on with your adventure. While many of you might get on your Uber app, you may also need to understand that the app may not be widely used in the country you’re visiting. Instead, there’ll be a wave of taxi cab drives bargaining hard for your business – something that they can totally take advantage of if you’re not familiar with routes and distances in a new city. Make sure to arrange an airport pickup after doing some research and comparing prices.
Inform friends of your plans
Don’t keep your itinerary private. Tell your family and friends where you’re going and when you’ll return home. Before smartphones existed, this would have been a no-brainer but due to cellular issues, it’s important to keep this in mind. In case of an emergency, it’s crucial for family and friends to know how to reach you, so be sure to keep emergency contact information on you at all times.
Use technology to your advantage
If you’re one whose constantly losing track of your belongings, take precaution by using helpful tools like Find My iPhone as well as location sharing. Also, for more important materials that you can’t afford to lose — like your passport and insurance card — keep a copy of them along with any other important information in a safe place so you can access that information if the physical copies do get lost.
Prepare for your trip by studying maps and travel guides on the places you plan to visit. Be aware of the cities and neighborhoods to avoid certain unsafe areas. While you’re strolling around being a tourist, look up from your phone or map and pay attention! Always remember that pickpocketing is very common in areas that are packed with tourists, so make sure to always try to look like you know where you’re going.
Have any other tips for a retired solo female traveler? Tell us in the comments below!