First-Time Flying Solo: Single Parents and seniors

Vacationing alone can seem intimidating when you're planning when and where to go on your own. What happens if you get lost? Will you feel safe exploring the nightlife solo? Will it feel awkward to dine out alone?

For many solo travelers, these worries are just the tip of the iceberg. Before their first solo trip, many travelers are plagued with these anxieties, but they often evaporate once they start focusing on the benefits and excitement.

People travel solo for different reasons and have to plan for different needs.

Solo Parents
Single parents face specific challenges when it comes to travelling with their brood. While the whole reason we take family vacations is to spend quality time with our loved ones, traveling solo with children can be incredibly stressful. You can make the most of your time, while also having the best time, by:

  • Taking a vacation, like a cruise or a resort getaway, specifically for families like yours. Make friends and connect with other parents and children with similar experiences to you.
  • Choosing a kid-friendly resort that hosts activities for kids where you can get some time for yourself.
  • Recognizing your stress-triggers. Do your kids get agitated on long flights? Get pre-check qualified so you can avoid long lines at airport security, take advantage of early boarding and reach out to let the flight attendant know you're travelling alone with kids so they can provide a little extra help if things get rough.

Solo seniors
The only barriers to travelling are the ones we build ourselves. Seniors have knowledge from a lifetime of experiences and the free time to put that experience to good use. Senior female solo travelers can take the world by storm. Pick a place you've always wanted to see or experience, and immerse yourself into it. You can strike a balance between solo time and socializing by:

  • Scheduling a few activities that encourage socializing with other travellers like bicycle tours, staying at guesthouses, taking a cooking class, going on a group hike or exploring the countryside on a backpacking trip.
  • Staying at a hotel or resort focused on the needs of solo travellers.
  • Choosing off-the-beaten-path destinations that allow you to mingle with locals.
  • Going on a retreat for yoga, mindfulness or another hobby.

Solo Safety
When travelling alone its import to consider safety. Whether you're a planner or prefer to wing it, let a few folks back home know your itinerary and stay connected via phone and email. If going abroad, save photos of your travel documents to the cloud and consider travel insurance. Don't let strangers know you're traveling alone; if you're standing by yourself just say you're waiting for your friend or partner to meet you. Other ways to maximize safety are:

  • Carrying identification in more than one place.
  • Sticking to open and public places as much as possible, especially when the sun begins to set.
  • Walking confidently and with a purpose, even if you are completely and utterly lost, and seek out a qualified individual who can help you.
  • Always trusting your gut.

While you focus on staying safe during your travels, you shouldn't have to worry about home safety. Before you leave, double-check that you locked all doors and windows, shut and locked your garage, removed “hidden” keys, and let a trusted neighbor know that you will be away so they can keep an eye out. Ask a family member to stop by daily to pick up the mail so it looks like someone is home, and have them check for anything out of the ordinary. While you are enjoying the liberating feeling that inevitably comes with traveling solo, don't post about it online until after you are back home so that attention isn't drawn to your empty home.

Whether you're a single parent or a solo senior, your first solo trip can be a bit scary at times, but also exciting and rewarding. Keep safety as the top priority but remember, this vacation is about you. Your only concern should be what activity you want to do next.


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