Can a woman travel alone by car to distant places?

by Tracy
(Rye, NH.)

I'm a widow now living with a little dog. He's good company altho his conversational skills are slim. Ha!

What my husband and I were always going to do but never got around to was to take a driving trip across the northwest. I still think about doing that, sort of like a "Travels with Charley" kind of thing but wonder about doing it by myself.

My health is good so that't not a concern. The concerns I do have are safety, car problems and just plain boredom because of lack of conversation with another human.

I could try and join some group that might want to do the same thing but then you have the problem of being on a long trip and discovering that not only do you not know these people well or worse yet the longer you're with them the more you discover that your personalities don't mesh well.

I have two children but both live over 1000 mi. away. They both think traveling a long distance alone is a crazy idea.

Opinions anyone?

Wendy: I'll let others chime in with their opinions but I did want to say that IF you do this... document it!

Either write a blog and post photos and comments along the way, or start a journal and write every night. Write about who you meet along your way, when you get lost, describe the scenery, just write it all down.

You could publish as an Amazon book -- for a fee or even for free -- simply to share a seniors travels with others!

Comments for Can a woman travel alone by car to distant places?

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Go for it!
by: Anonymous

Maybe consider getting a camper van or truck and using that. There is a FB page of solo women campers who have a blast! I've done solo cruises but haven't yet struck out over land (money being the issue). I would even tackle the Appalachian Trail! I say, "go for it"!

Suggestions for Senior Traveling
by: Linda

Safety traveling alone in my opinion depends on what route you take on your northwest journey and where you stay.

I would not camp out in the desert...Staying at a B&B is a good option when traveling alone. There you meet people, the hosts for one, joining in at breakfast, gathering ideas for where to go, what to see. You can enjoy doing only what you want to do and not have to compromise if by yourself.

If you instead want to try a senior travel group trip, I understand your fears of committing to being with a group that you may not have a lot in common with.

You can try a short 3 to 5 day journey. Here's a travel link: and Can't take the pooch on these group trips though.

I second the advice to document your personal alone trip with photos and journal-writing for a real creative adventure.

Browse travel sites online for some ideas about what to include in your trip like a forest retreat, a boat trip, a spa, museums, etc.

by: Iris

I will be retiring from a career in nursing. I have the fantasy of driving cross country from NY and back again. I keep talking myself out of this, i.e. age (66), money (pretty poor), old car (2003 Honda..215,000 miles and safety..going alone. After reading your posts well, maybe need to investigate this further.

Traveling Alone
by: Cybele

Yes, if you like driving and are comfortable taking charge of the navigation, planning, etc. do it.

I don't know what your long distance tolerance is. It you have not done this before, I would suggest taking short trips - perhaps 2-3 at a time.

I traveled cross country (yes, coast to coast). Before that, the longest trip I took was 4 hrs. The coast to coast trip involved 10hr dring days because I was moving, not sight seeing.

For safety, I knew I would feel better in a "Comfort Inn" type hotel. I obtained their catalogue. About noon each day, after getting a feel for my day's pace and distance, I would call ahead to a city for a reservation with a guaranteed late arrival. That way, I knew I would have a room in a relatively secure environment.

AAA also had Trip Tix (I am not sure of the name). But they will give you a route that gives you an idea of how far you will travel before seeing a gas station. For instance, in the southwest, you may not find one for 200 miles. Know your cars gas mileage (how far will 1/2 tank get you...)

Let someone know where you are and where you are going. I had never done that before. I kept in touch with a brother who used my travels to give a little geography lesson to his kids. I knew someone knew where I was - and expected a "check-in".

I have more tips like, car emergency kit, water, bring music, look to Pilot's or other road stops for bathroom, food, gas breaks. BTW, those Rest Areas you see on the road are really (surprisingly) clean.

I did not bring my animals with me cross county. There are hotels that permit animals - you may look them up online, or maybe AAA will help.

Just some thoughts. I hope it helps.

I've driven up the east coast a couple of times
since that coast to coast trip. I took my dog and the Rest Areas usually have a doggy area. I did not travel in high heat on the east coast trips, so I didn't worry about leaving the dog in the car while I used the rest room - but that is a consideration.

New Friends While Traveling
by: Social Traveler

Join a fraternal organization! The Elks, Moose, etc. have lodges in most major towns and they welcome visitors! In my travels I have met many new friends this way, received great advice where to eat and what to visit in many interesting towns. Both men and women are accepted as members in these organizations.

Connection with other seniors
by: Ute

What a great idea, Wendy! I will pay attention to that as well, connecting with other seniors throughout the States in preparation for my own adventures.

Tracy, maybe it will happen that we will meet somewhere one day! I live near Richmond, VA - keep that in mind and if you wish to stop around here!

Wendy: Ute and I will travel to Atlanta in a month! See you there!

AN IDEA for Travel
by: Wendy,

Hey Tracy,

AN IDEA -- join the Retirement Community (2 smiling faces on the right), find new friends in the states you will visit, write to them for a while -- and IF they are good friends, meet them as you travel.

Just think -- you could find seniors in nearly any location you travel and they can show you the REAL life there.. instead of only tourist attraction stuff.

Might add a whole new dimension to your travels, no longer all alone!

by: Sharyn~~~CANADA

Yes, you go girl* Love that last paragraph of the thanks to all~~
Be safe, have fun ~ meet lots of fun people ~ENJOY*
l envy u sooo much. Wish l had the funds to do IT.
Take care Traci*

Look forward to your return ~ quotes from yur journal ~~
God bless~

Go for it!
by: Mary

I have taken trips alone and not had any problems.

Number one, make sure your car is in good working order. You don't want to have to rely on unknown mechanics to do right by you.

Two, make sure someone knows your route/plans. This is to ensure that if something does happen, someone will come to your aid.

Three, only stop at well lite reputable places. Look for rest stops that have security and park as close to the security office as possible.

Four, have fun!

You'll get to take your time, your route, and your pace! If you're afraid you'll get bored, make several stops along the way, go to ALL the tourist traps and look around. Don't forget national parks along the way, they are gorgeous all year long.

Happy traveling!

So encouraging
by: Traci

You guys are so encouraging I'm going to start planning now for activation in the spring.

The reason for waiting until spring is that I want to visit those states that I've not been to. I've been all over the south and southwest so I want to see the northwestern states.

I've been to Co. but was only there over a Christmas holiday. Other than Co. I've never been to the Dakota's, Minnesota, Wyoming, Washington state etc.

Also would have to arrange for someone to watch over my house while gone, mow the lawn etc.

My friends around here think it's the nuttiest idea ever. What will I do if I get sick along the way? My answer--same thing I'd do here.
See a Dr.

If anyone had a choice between living long but bored or living less but enjoying it all - wouldn't everyone take the later?

You will have a Blast traveling alone!
by: Ute Goldkuhle

Oh no, traveling alone cross country is anything but “a crazy idea.” Your children mean well and want you to be safe. And you will be. You say you are healthy, so go for it!

Three years ago I drove cross country for the first time at age 69 with my little dachshund (14 yrs.) in my 1989 Toyota Tercel – never a problem!

And I am gearing up to do it again for as long as I feel like it . . . after my little dog, now 17, will be resting in peace.

I would not take a dog along again though he was a super traveler and companion. But a dog hinders you somewhat to moving about or staying at places; e.g. you can’t take him into restaurants or many overnight places, etc.

• You will discover how wonderful it is to be free and by yourself during long travel – your own stops on your own time; your own snacking; your own snooping around at different unexpected different places. You can whistle and sing, talk aloud, be fun and crazy . . .

• Equip yourself with talking books – it’s great!

• Take along a recorder so you can quickly capture your impressions, ideas, interesting sites and people you met, etc. But also have always paper and pen besides.

• If you have not yet, join AAA and visit a AAA place to talk to a travel expert. Get the program that covers larger radius; they also have wonderful travel guides & maps (free for members).

• Pack up a box of healthy snacks (not much available in isolated areas).

• Of course, take GPS, iPhone, iPad . . . whatever communication and camera gadgets you feel most comfortable with.

• And, have your car checked well before your leave!

You will be amazed that you are not a bit lonely, meet people on your way, talk with people at places, get tips, ideas where to stop at special places, etc. When alone, we make an effort to meet others and talk with others. You will have a WONDERFUL free-spirited time! Do it before you can’t anymore!!

You can see HOW much I loved it traveling alone and NEVER felt lonely or unsafe.

Bon Voyage! Keep us posted here.


by: Tracy

All the comments are really very encouraging. I have lived in Ct., NH, Az and Ca. I've also visited Fl. a number of times when my parents moved there after their retirement.

My husband and I traveled cross country by car on two different occasions. We were both in our 20's so everything was fun, even the car break downs became an adventure caused by waiting in some VERY little town for parts to arrive. People in those little towns in the central part of the country were and probably still are very friendly and helpful.

But whether we like to admit it or not some of the folks out there now are not quite as trustworthy as they once were. Plus being with a strong young man presents a totally different picture than a single older woman with a VERY friendly dog. It's not that I think there are nothing but bad guys out there but it is a different world.

This is sort of like going to eat at a nice restaurant by yourself. The food seems to tastes much better when you enjoy it with another person.

As is obvious I can't make up my mind whether I can do this or not. I have all winter to make up my mind. I just need to make myself put away the 'what if this happened" scenarios.

to joanie
by: Traci

Here's part of my thinking about traveling cross country by myself.

Clearly I would see things that I haven't seen before or just something that to me looks rather interesting. Normally when with someone else you would call attention to that thing or view or whatever.

Because I would travel with my little dog I can talk to him but he shows little interest in things viewed out the window unless it's another dog. Ha! I always have thought that was a good part of traveling with someone. The experience of enjoying new things together.

Even when the day's journey ends there's no one to talk to about what you saw or how far you traveled. In addition I've always thought eating with someone seems to make the food much more enjoyable than eating alone. So that's another part of the problem I'm having. It's always nice to be able to switch drivers too but my little dog is too short to drive.

Wish it was as easy to met people now as it was when I was young. I guess I've lost that skill somewhere along the way.

Wendy: Here are a few places for travel with other seniors (click USA)... not by car, but still could be a fun trip! Pick somewhere closer to home, visit that trip with others to see how it goes.

Traveling Solo
by: Nina from London


What I've enjoyed about traveling on my own is being able to choose where I want to go and when. There are times when you want to share an experience visiting a museum or a very historic site. But then you can join a bus group and go around the city you visit.

Traveling cross country is an adventure and that requires some planning. For instance making sure the car is serviced, having special car insurance, getting in touch with AA for suggestions of what to see (or travel agent). Do you have a Sat Nav (tells you how to get anywhere). If you feel hesitant than maybe ask someone who also wants to have an adventure of a lifetime.

Happy trails! Nina

Off You Go!
by: Sharyn~~~CANADA

Dear Tracy,

l am female 66 yrs old, if l had the money & l do have the time ~ a cell phone ~ and my own car, l would definitely go on a road trip! The only thing preventing me from taking off on an adventure is CASH!

Do it, if u have the funds. One does not know how long one has on this planet.

Why can't a woman travel alone by car to distant places? She just has to be PREPARED ! eg. cell phone ~ GPS ~ maps ~ current phone # of loved ones.

Have fun & enjoy & keep a journal~

Women Traveling, Alone
by: joani

I have a lady friend who lives here on the the east coast....she's around alone & has travelled by herself for yrs...& plans to up till she feels necessary to stop. She has never had any problems & has enjoyed the whole well as Canada. I, too have travelled's exciting.

Go for will meet many nice people...see lovely places.

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