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Published on Monday, July 1, 2019

Solo travel for over 50s females in Indonesia

By Julia Offenberger, Buffalo Tours

When it comes to solo travel - one of the industry's dominant trends over the past few years - the data is quite clear: women in their 50s and beyond make up the fastest growing segment. Whether it is to take time out or to meet new people, women of the baby boomer generation are now more empowered and financially independent, enabling them to venture out on their own.

Pura Lempuyang Temple is a popular solo female destination.
Pura Lempuyang Temple is a popular solo female destination.

Among the top Asian destinations for this market is Indonesia. Whilst the island of Bali has become synonymous with wellness and spiritual travel, the archipelago's diversity in landscape, culture and accommodation options, also makes the country an attractive destination.

What are solo over 50s females looking for in a holiday?

Most senior females travelling alone enjoy meeting new people and prefer a schedule that keeps them engaged. Deborah Youl, Buffalo Tours' commercial director, explains: "When travelling in organised groups, solo travellers are looking for more content; they actually don't want too much free time and prefer the company of other travellers."

She adds that welcome dinners, team bonding and evening socialising are essential to a trip's success. However, it is important that the group consists of only solo travellers as they usually 'do not want to be joined by couples'.

A walking tour in Ubud, Bali.
A walking tour in Ubud, Bali.


Also keep in mind that independent travellers who don't want to join a group are often wary of booking private tours. One of the reasons is pricing. Put off by single supplements, many solo travellers are not prepared to pay a premium for a private tour, making the waiver of such supplements an obvious attraction to this demographic.

The other reason, as Deborah Youl points out, is connected to intimacy. "Solo travellers who really want to travel solo are sometimes put off when they hear that a guide has been arranged personally for them. They perceive that as too intense."

A means of resolving this tension for solo female travellers is to employ more female guides and drivers. One such example in Indonesia is a surf lesson in Bali taught by a female instructor. Part of Buffalo Tours' Women in Travel series, this line was created to deliver experiences specifically focused on female travellers as well as the women working in the travel industry.

Two of Buffalo Tours' female guides.
Two of Buffalo Tours' female guides.

Favourite travel styles of solo females in Indonesia

One of the biggest motivators for women to venture out on their own is to take time out and relax. Indonesia caters well to this thanks to its 17,000 tropical islands. There are the obvious attractions of basking in the shade of a palm tree and listening to the rush of the waves. Wellness breaks and journeys of self-discovery, à la 'Eat Pray Love', are also popular travel styles among female solo travellers to Indonesia.

Besides beach breaks, solo women in their 50s and above are looking for experiences that offer insight into Indonesian culture. "'Street Eats' and 'Local Life' tours are our most popular tours among solo travellers," Richard Ludwig, Buffalo Tours' regional product & marketing director, points out, adding that 'travellers on their own tend to be more interested in interacting with the locals'.

What many senior females enjoy about exploring alone is the chance to connect with local women, whilst experiencing a different way of life and learning to see the world from a different perspective.

There has been a rise in adventure tours, with visitors seeking more than Indonesia's tropical island promise.
There has been a rise in adventure tours, with visitors seeking more than Indonesia's tropical island promise.


Another trend that sticks out among women over 50 exploring Indonesia alone is a rise in adventure and active trips. From climbing an active volcano and spotting orangutans in the Sumatran rainforest, to exploring the world's largest volcanic lake, solo travellers are not only more adventurous, but keen to focus more on unique experiences and accomplishing their bucket list. While younger solo travellers can be put off more expensive adventure activities, older females are not.

For many women of this generation, travelling solo is about empowerment and the freedom to do what they want. They are aware of their priorities, know what they want and are ready to (finally) focus on their needs.

Written by Julia Offenberger, junior copywriter at Buffalo Tours, one of Asia's leading destination management companies, creating tailor-made travel experiences in the region since 1994.

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