Road Scholar, an educational travel provider for older adults, has dug into the trends around its solo travelers. Interestingly, according to the study, at least 60 percent of Road Scholar’s solo travelers in 2022 were married but traveling without their spouse. Further, 27 percent of married women surveyed have never traveled with a spouse on a Road Scholar program. When asked why they travel without their spouses, 42 percent of women surveyed said their spouse isn’t interested in traveling and 40 percent said they have different interests when it comes to travel.
“I cherish my time to explore and do what I want on my timetable,” says Road Scholar solo traveler Marcia Henderson, 66. “I like to walk, hike, etc. He has knee issues and doesn’t share my passion for nature, culture and history. It would be an atrocity to not travel just because my spouse doesn’t like it. This is my passion, and he is supportive as I support his golfing.”
Road Scholar compiled data for this study from the community of 80,000 to 100,000 adults over 50 who travel with it each year, including a survey conducted earlier this year. The tour company reports that nearly 70 percent of all its travelers are women. Compare this to the overall population breakdown in the U.S.— 58 percent of Americans 65 and older are women—and this suggests that women are generally more likely to travel in their later years.
There are also far more female solo travelers than male solo travelers among older adults: Road Scholar reports that 85 percent of their solo travelers are women. It gathered data from outside sources to suggest some reasons why so many more women are traveling solo than men, pointing out that nearly half of women over 65 in the U.S. are unpartnered, that there are far more widowed women than widowed men and that the divorce rate is highest among older Americans and on the rise. But the finding that so many of Road Scholar's solo female travelers are married tells an intriguing story about the behaviors of Baby Boomer women versus men.
Perhaps because of the increase in independence among Boomer women, Road Scholar has been seeing a steady increase in solo travel over the past 10 years. As a response to this increasing demand, they shared the exclusive news that they are developing a collection of programs for solo travelers, which they plan to debut in 2024, with departures starting in 2025.
For more information, visit www.roadscholar.org.