Good Housekeeping - Why a girls’ holiday is better later in life

Posted on 18 June, 2024

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

Written by Tracey Davies for Good Housekeeping

Maybe it's the absence of duty and compromise and the addition of endless cackling and chilled rosé, but holidaying with friends is always a balm for the soul. And guess what, it gets even better when you're over 50. Why? Because we have more time, more money and more of that joyous sense of freedom that only comes with age and experience.

We all know how precarious life can be, which means there's good reason why more and more 50-plus women are embarking on bigger and more adventurous trips.

Before the pandemic, I went Interrailing with my best friend, Rhonda. We spent a fabulous week bobbing between European cities – sipped coffee in pavement cafes in Copenhagen, bumbled around the art galleries of Berlin and cruised the canals of Amsterdam – living our very best lives. Although exploring six capital cities in as many days sounds hectic, it was threaded by some deliciously long and leisurely rail journeys where we could chat, read and snooze while the world swept by. It was one of my favourite holidays.

This year, we're upping the ante with a week-long trip walking part of the Camino de Santiago, the network of ancient pilgrim routes which stretch across Europe. Not only is it a way to explore some of the prettiest areas of Spain's Galicia region, but with eight-plus hours of walking each day, we'll chat, bond and reconnect.

We all remember those brilliant holidays with our girlfriends in our teens and 20s. The cheap and cheerful fly-and-flop holidays of our youth, when a week in sunny Spain or Greece resulted in stories we still recount now. As fun as they always were, there are a hundred and one reasons why travelling in our later years is better...

We have more money to spend

One of the many joys of getting older is that we often have a few more coins in the piggy bank. Thailand was a highlight of my backpacking days back in the 90s when I spent three fabulous beer-soaked months hopping around its islands, bouncing between full-moon parties, white-sand beaches and temples. This time, I want to see more than beach bars and ravers and explore the country in style.

A 12-night wellness escape to Thailand is much better for my health and wellbeing - particularly as the spa treatments are included. And this time, I'll swap the scratchy hammocks in backpacker hostels for luxury all the way.

We have more time

Now we're in our 50s or older, children are starting to flee the nest, we've earned maximum holiday days from work and there are fewer commitments to keep us at home. As we get older, we have more time to find and indulge in other interests, too; polish our language skills or learn a new craft, such as photography or painting. Or perhaps even some new cooking skills from a true expert, watching MasterChef's Monica Galetti cook up a storm onboard a luxury ship as it sails through Bordeaux on a seven-night cruise.

Cruising has always been a popular choice for couples and families, not least because you can pack in a series of new destinations in a couple of weeks. It's also a good call for groups of girlfriends looking for something a little different. A far cry from the mass market floating resorts which dominate the Caribbean, you could try an incredible cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia - how's that for an adventure with your besties?

As we get older, we can finally upgrade our Interrailing adventures and book that once-in-a-lifetime luxury rail trip through the beautiful Swiss Alps on the Glacier Express. Known as 'the slowest express train in the world', it travels through the tunnels, viaducts and snowy valleys of Switzerland's magnificent Oberalp Pass.

We're more adventurous

Older women often become much more adventurous post 50. I turned 51 last year, and my bucket list of planned adventures just keeps getting longer. I don't know what the catalyst is – perhaps it's the menopause, the easing of responsibility or a more gung-ho attitude to life – but I now say yes to all adventures from exploring Romania's Carpathian Mountains and staying in an ice hotel to an expedition to see the penguins and icebergs Antarctica.

And the more I travel, the more I want to see. Travelling as an older women is more about learning about different places and cultures. Jordan is a magnetic country which is incredibly safe for female solo travellers. You can join a women-only trip to really get under its skin of the country, meeting local women from Amman, spending the night in the Mars-like landscape of the Wadi Rum desert and being blown away by the beauty of ancient Petra.

Another place that's amazing for a girls' holiday is Marrakech. With its atmospheric souks, snake charmers and spice markets, it's perfect for a memorable holiday, particularly if you take the time to extend it and combine it with a holiday to Spain, taking the train for a natter in between. Of course, the beauty of travelling in our 50s is that we can splash out on four-star hotels.

To read the original piece written by Tracey Davies for Good Housekeeping, please visit: www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/lifestyle/travel/a43329311/girls-holiday-better-later-in-life/

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