This is our Moment: Celebrating Women Over 50 in Travel

by | Jan 12, 2023

Happy senior woman enjoying sea holiday in winter. Positive, optimistic active retiree smiling with arms up

Last updated on January 21st, 2023

Featured image: Women over 50 are making waves in the travel industry | Photo by AveCalvar on Envato

Adventurous women over 50 are blazing a new trail

by Carolyn Ray, Editor, JourneyWoman

Since taking over JourneyWoman four years ago, I’ve met hundreds of women over 50 passionate about travel. Executives, bloggers, writers, tour operators, filmmakers, guides — and of course travellers.

We’ve connected, developed friendships, and truly become a community of like-minded women who care deeply for each other. Nothing brings me more joy than meeting a passionate woman traveller in person on my travels, and watching JourneyWoman readers connect as they travel around the world.

What I’ve learned from these women is that travel isn’t just about going somewhere. It’s really about life. As women, we all share an unquenchable curiosity, a thirst for hands-on learning, and a desire to make a difference.

This year is Journeywoman’s 29th anniversary, making us the oldest website for solo women in the world. Arguably, we are the largest and only website that caters to women over 50. Many of our readers have been with us for decades, since Evelyn published her printed newsletter in the 1990s. You are the wisdom-keepers, the trailblazers, our fearless role models, the ones who took the first step. Because of you, women are recognized as the world’s most influential travellers.

Every day, I hear amazing stories of courageous women over 50 want to travel solo. Curious women who want to live with purpose, embrace new perspectives and challenge their comfort zones. Strong women who grieve the loss of a partner, child or parent, and feel an overwhelming urge to move forward with their lives. Resilient women who have overcome massive life changes and want to set a new course for themselves. Adventurous women who climb mountains, run marathons, go on safaris and walk Caminos, showing us that age ain’t nothing but a number. All of these women make us wonder ‘why can’t I do that too?’

Women over 50, it’s our time

Women over 50 represent trillions in purchasing power and are the fastest-growing demographic. We are recognized as the most important audience in travel, making 85% of all travel decisions.  

But there’s a problem. In our last survey, 70% of women over 50 said they felt undervalued and ignored by the travel industry. Whether it’s the premium we pay to travel alone, the stereotypical terminology or the shortage of photography that shows mature, adventurous women as we truly are — it’s time for change.  

women over 50 study
“We worked most of our lives, living with a purpose, and worked with all ages, keeping us young at heart. We exercised and continue to think and feel young, whereas my parents felt and sounded old at 50. A combination of our youthful thinking and exercising allows us to continue to travel and enjoy life. I may not be able to walk or hike as far as I used to, but I’m still doing both on expeditions around the globe and hope to continue far into my 80s.”— Marillee Carroll, 72, USA 
“The world really has not kept up with us. We take good care of ourselves, look and feel vibrant and adventurous and attempt things just because. So why not use us to demonstrate how great life is. JourneyWoman does this — so could others.” — Joy Fox, 87, Canada

As I look at 2023, I am more committed than ever to bringing the voices of women over 50 into the spotlight. This year, I’m expanding our editorial contributors to include diverse, experienced women over 50 from various regions of the world. To better portray how women over 50 are represented, I’m leading discussions about mature travellers at major women’s travel events; and working with the travel industry and media to ensure your needs are understood.

As an entrepreneur, I am also boosting my efforts to build our Women’s Travel Directory, which supports small businesses that cater to women, by adding accommodations and guides. Women are the backbone of tourism, and when we support a woman, we are supporting a community. There are many ways to empower women through travel – and we have the purchasing power to do it. 

None of this excludes women under 50, men or non-solo travellers — I believe that wisdom is best shared among all of us, and that we all rise together. 

This is our moment, and women over 50 have never been more prepared. Women are at the forefront of travel, and we are ready to take our place as decision-makers, influencers and change-makers. Our world needs us to lead the way.

An invitation to women over 50

As we look at 2023, I have four pieces of advice for you – these come hard-earned, from a 55-year old woman who gave up all her worldly possessions to travel full-tme.

We can’t let time pass us by, we have to take the first step to make our dreams happen. 

1. Follow your heart 

Don’t dismiss your dreams. Write them down in whatever format works. A journal. Sticky notes. A video. A vision board. Make it tangible that you can see it.  

When you follow your heart, others see it for what it is – leading with your heart always wins. 

2. Manage your fear and channel it to your benefit

Trust your intuition. Check in with the universe for signs.  

Look for the little things that say ‘you can do it’. It might be the glow of a sunset. Or a ladybug landing on your arm. 

I am not fearless but I do believe the universe wants to support me. 

3. Make your own rules  

The older I get, the less interested I am in rules. I believe rules were made to be bent. 

Now, I do things because they feel right. 

Blaze your own trail, and don’t apologize for it.  

4. Know that the world is waiting for you – SAY YES 

Be open to all your potential.  

Even when I don’t know how to do something I say yes.

woman over 50

Carolyn in Paris in November 2022, celebrating life and travel.

When I was invited to Alberta for a backcountry horseback riding trip in July, I had never gone horseback riding and was afraid of horses. I said yes. 

When Marilyn invited me to Prince Edward Island for the Island Walk in September, I had no idea if I could walk 20 km a day and very little hiking gear. I said yes. A month later, I walked the Camino de Santiago

Last fall, I lived in Mexico for three months, putting my mental health first.  I said yes to every opportunity and went to 17 countries in 2022, astounding even to me. Embracing slow travel has been one of my greatest joys, as I welcome my third month in Europe. 

As I look at the start of a new year, I’m inspired and motivated by the experienced, adventurous women I see around me as I shape my purpose and consider my own legacy. 

I can’t imagine a better time for women, as we step into 2023 boldly, with the knowledge that our moment, at long last, has arrived. Giddy up!

The Power of Women Over 50

women over 50

More on Women Over 50 Solo Travel

A passionate traveller, Carolyn believes anything is possible when we follow our heart and trust our intuition. Raised in Florida, Carolyn loves all things Latin, margaritas, the ocean and music. She's a board member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA).

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