No matter how old you are, you might be wondering what the best age is for solo travel. If you’re too young, you might not have enough life experience to safely go on a trip alone. If you’re too old, you might worry that won’t be able to keep up with a faster paced trip. In this article, I’m going to explain that nearly every age group can travel on their own, so long as they are fit, independent, and mature.
What Age Should You Start Solo Traveling?
The minimum age for embarking on a solo trip should be 18 years old. Before you turn 18, you don’t have the maturity or independence necessary to be completely alone for an extended period of time. Also, many hotels and hostels will require that their guests are at least 18 years of age.
If you’re young and are aching to go on a solo trip, you might be wondering if you are mature enough to embark on a solo journey. Whether you’re backpacking Europe, or taking a solo road trip through the U.S, you will need a certain degree of common sense and independence to spend a long period of time on your own.
I went on my first solo trip to Europe at the age of 18, and I have no regrets about going at such a young age. Even though I was younger than anyone I met during my trip, I had no problem meeting new people and enjoying the new cities I was traveling through. It was an extremely unique experience for someone who had just graduated from high school, and it helped me grow into the person I am today.
And honestly, going at such a young age gave my trip a certain thrill that I just don’t get now that I’m in my mid twenties.
I will say, it takes a certain type of person to be able to travel alone at that age. There may be 18 year old’s who have the required characteristics for a solo trip, and 50 year old’s who do not. I grew up as a very independent and care free kid, so I didn’t have too many issues adjusting to being alone. But some younger travelers (and their parents) might be worried about the potential safety hazards for a person who is still a teenager.
I was gone for nearly a month, and never had any issues with safety. But it’s still important to use common sense and remain vigilant during your trip. Read about it here.
I think any age between 18 and 22 is a great time to start thinking about solo travel; right before you enter the workforce and start bearing the responsibilities of the real world.
However, there is never a bad time to start solo traveling, so long as you are healthy and mature enough to do it.
The type of trip you take will vary depending on your age group. Below, I’ll explain what to expect from solo travel at each age group.
Late Teens – Late 20s
This is the age group that will probably have the most fun. Traveling when you’re younger means you will have more energy and less responsibility. This combination mean you can be a lot more adventurous with your travel plans.
You probably won’t be tied down by a family or a highly demanding job, so you could travel farther and longer than most older travelers. A person in their 40s will have far more responsibilities than someone who just graduated college, and these responsibilities might prevent them from going on an ambitious solo trip.
But by far the biggest plus to traveling in your twenties is that you can stay in hostels without worrying about your age. Most travelers who stay in hostels are in their twenties, and some hostels might even require that their guests are below the age of 30. This is a big plus for younger travelers, as it means they will be surrounded by people with similar interests from similar age demographics. If you’re planning on staying in hostels during your solo trip, then make sure you are under the age of 30.
Hostels are the best place to meet new people on a solo trip, and they are usually where the most fun happens. They are also the cheapest places to stay, so they are automatically the best lodging option for a young solo traveler.
With all of this being said, traveling when you’re younger simply means you will have a vastly different experience than someone who is much older than you. You will probably spend more time in hostels, clubs, and bars than older travelers. Your trip will feel more like an adventure than a vacation.
If this is the type of trip you’re looking for, then it’s wise to travel as young as you can. You just won’t get that same experience when you’re 30+.
This age group will get a great mix of both the classic backpacking experience, and the relaxing vacations that older travelers tend to take.
If you’re in this age group, then you likely have more disposable income than your younger counterparts. This means you can take more luxurious vacations. Cheap hostels are no longer a requirement, and you can afford to visit some more expensive attractions and taste some more pricey food.
Travelers in this age group will also still have the energy to have an adventurous trip. If you want to visit multiple cities, then you won’t have to worry about exhausting yourself when traveling between each locale.
The only downside to traveling in this age group is that this is the age when you start to take on a lot more personal responsibilities. You may have just started a family or gotten a big promotion. Any of these bigger accomplishments will require your attention, and might prevent you from going on a longer trip.
If this sounds like you, then you should consider going on a shorter solo trip. Anywhere between 1 and two weeks is a great length of time for someone in this age group.
But, if you are aching to go on a longer solo trip then there is always a way to make that happen.
Check out this article to see what the best length of time is for a solo trip.
While traveling when you’re younger might be more exciting, traveling when you’re older than 50 is a more practical experience.
If you’re retired, then you will have all the time in the world to embark on a solo trip. You could go for as long as your budget allows you, and see the world at your own pace.
This is also the age when your kids will start to leave the house and pave their own paths, which will open up a lot of opportunities for you to travel on your own.
You are more likely to have a larger budget, and you certainly won’t have a need to stay in any noisy hostels.
But this is also the age where your energy levels start to decline. Unless you’re in shape, a month long backpacking trip might not be an option anymore.
Instead, consider taking trips that don’t require you to be constantly moving. Tropical islands, small villages, or even a quaint area of a big city are all places where you can have a fun and relaxing solo trip.
Your age will have a massive effect on the type of solo trip you take. Younger travelers will get to take more risks but will also have less money to work with. Older travelers might not be able to get as adventurous but they won’t be limited by money.
All in all, any age is a good age to travel alone and I highly suggest you start thinking about planning a solo trip.