While most people associate world travel with gap year backpackers, recent studies show that it’s women over 50 who are leading the boom for solo travel in recent years, so if you’ve not yet jumped on the trend, it’s time to start thinking about where you can go.
You can go on a short jaunt away or take a long trip that can open your eyes to other parts of the world, but whatever you do, you’ll bring with you a wealth of experience and a chance to see what all the fuss is about.
And if you don’t want to go alone, that’s okay, too. While all of these places are great for solo travellers, they are also superb destinations for groups of glam and fab girls looking for a little bit of an adventure. Whether you’re travelling solo or in a group, here are the best places to travel in your fifties.
Visiting Japan is like stepping into an adventure park. It has found the perfect balance between classical and futuristic, with high-tech cities tending to your every need and whim, but also sweeping valleys and quaint historical towns for you to explore.
It’s also a spectacular destination for foodies, with a myriad of delicious and sometimes curious cuisine for you to sample. Along with your standard sushi dishes, there is also ramen, gyozas, and many, many more whether it’s trying wagyu beef at a fine dining restaurant or picking something sweet up off the streets.
Portugal isn’t often on people’s list of must-see destinations, especially considering its proximity to the much larger Spain and France. However, sleeping on Portugal means you and your gal pals miss out on many wonders that you’ll regret missing.
What it lacks in size it makes up for in convenience, with trains between Lisbon and Porto taking just 3 hours. If you’re looking for something quieter and more relaxed, you can check out villages like Óbidos, and explore castles, cathedrals, or a little bit of both.
Portugal also boasts a nearly 2,000 kilometres of stunning coastline for you to dip your toes in the water and top up your tan, while wine lovers will enjoy the vineyards of the Douro Valley, and might even be spoiled for choice.
No longer considered the USA’s little brother to the north, Canada packs just about everything you could need into your over fifties holiday. If you want vibrant nightlife, then Toronto, capital of Ontario, can offer you a variety of bars and restaurants both affordable and not so much. The whole city is connected via the TTC, and while it’s not always reliable, it’s better than sitting in traffic.
If city life isn’t your thing, then taking a trip up to cottage country such a Muskoka or Algonquin in the summer can place you in a fully furnished cottage on the lake. Here, you can canoe, hike, or lounge on the deck. However, remember to bring your own bed sheets and pillows as these are lacking.
For adrenaline junkies refusing to grow old, the winter brings ski and snowboard opportunities. The Canadian climate means you can take day trips from Toronto, but if you’re after something longer, taking a trip to Big White or Whistler givers you the winter wonderland you can’t get in the UK.
Southeast Asia is renowned for being Gap Year central, but one country off the beaten track is Laos. it’s more relaxed than the likes of Thailand and Vietnam, and further north than the capital Vientiane, you’ll find towns that feel like an Old West frontier in the best way possible.
The more extreme activities like tubing may not be up your alley, but there’s still plenty to do, including hikes, motorbike rental, and waterfalls, it seems, wherever you go. If you have time, make sure to check out the Four Thousand Islands scattered through the Mekong Delta, and take a relaxing boat trip down if you please.
Visiting Central America gives you a nice dose of the culture of South America but also won’t cost you as much, and it’s a great mid-way point for your travels but also offers enough to do across a week-long trip.
The Panama Canal is the main attraction, and Panama City boasts the Sacred Heart Cathedral, but you can also check out Isla Taboga, which gives you the chance to take a dip or go on a hike (complete with exotic creatures), while also offering San Pedro Church, supposedly the second oldest church in the Western Hemisphere.
Considering the price of New Zealand, it’s best to go once you’ve saved up from money from over 30 years of work, but while it takes time to save up, you’ll be glad you did it. The rolling hills offer surprises at every turn and compared to the oft-associated Australia, it’s not teeming with younger tourists working to fulfil their visa requirements.
There are escorted tours around the Bay of Islands, while Tasman National Park introduces you to weird and wonderful wildlife that you’ll only find native to this part of the world. If you prefer marching to the beat of your own drum, you can rent (or purchase) a campervan and drive through the country at your leisure.
Yes, you’re already here, but just because it’s your home doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty of places to travel. A staycation can introduce you to parts of your home country that you otherwise would never see. You can enjoy the hikes in the Peak District or travel to seaside towns and live up to the stereotype by getting on the Bingo, with plenty of tips available to help you win big.
There are quaint little towns dotted throughout as you escape from the city, but if you are more of a city girl, then we don’t need to tell you how fun the many massive metropolises are for a night on the town.
A Wide and Open World
You don’t need to be a twenty-one-year-old fresh out of university to travel the world. Taking the opportunity to do it in your 50s means you step into your adventure with a lifetime of wisdom and being comfortable in yourself. This means you can go where you want, when you want, and are also financially comfortable enough to do everything you’ve always planned on doing.