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Older adults traveling solo

Written by Linda Abbit

Today, more older Americans are traveling solo — and that doesn’t mean they’re looking for a mate. Solo travelers say they love their own company, want to make their own itineraries and prefer to travel at their own pace. Traveling alone also makes it more likely that you’ll interact with the locals.

Still, for many women especially, the thought of venturing out all alone can be intimidating. We worry we’ll feel lonely or unsafe. We dread sitting by ourselves at a café or restaurant.

It doesn’t have to feel that way.

Here are four interesting international choices for solo travelers who want the option to connect with others — or even to be a part of something bigger. They’re not beach vacations; they are adventures.

1. Voluntourism 

“That 2-week package tour of Peru would cost far more than you are paying to spend two weeks making some toddlers’ lives happy in a Peruvian orphanage. And what you bring home from your volunteer experience is priceless.” Global volunteer Dorothy Conlon.

Merging overseas travel with volunteer service, voluntourism is a way to learn while you’re traveling, immerse yourself in another culture and give back in a tangible, significant way.

The opportunities to help are endless. You could provide care for orphaned children, teach English, build schools or assist in field research on coral reefs or among nesting sea turtles. Whichever you choose, you’ll be part of a specific project, allowing for both together time and opportunities to go it alone.

Because you’re older, you’ll probably find that the skills and patience you’ve developed will prove extremely useful all over the globe. And many voluntourists create lasting friendships with fellow project volunteers and the locals they serve.

The Basics

How long?  Trips can last anywhere from a few days to months.
How much?  As a voluntourist, you pay your own expenses, including a built-in donation to the project. If the voluntourism organization is a nonprofit, your costs — including airfare — may be deductible. Costs vary, depending on destination and trip length. Program fees in Peru or Costa Rica through the Global Volunteer Network: $250 application fee; $495 per week up to the first four weeks, then $200 per week. This includes housing, meals, airport transfers, supervision, training and coordination. Flights, travel insurance, Visa (if required) are not included.
Single supplement? Varies, but in most cases there is no single supplement. (Some organizations pair single travelers with other singles in a double room.)

We recommend picking an organization that is  a member of VolunteerInternational.org.

This post is exerpted from SeniorPlanet.org. For three other travel options, click here.

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1 Comment

  • Hello, my name is Marcel and I very interested in doing this. My issue is financial. I’d love to volunteer but I can’t afford to pay for transportation. I am wondering if there are philanthropic organizations or foundations which would sponsor people to provide aid to those in need. I am not affiliated w/any religious group. Any info would be well appreciated.

    Thank you.

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