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7 trips to take after your divorce

 

Divorce rates in England and Wales increased for the first time this decade in 2016 but it was another interesting fact from the Office for National Statistics latest Divorces bulletin that caught my eye: the greatest increase was among the over-50s.

Perhaps that goes some way towards explaining the post-divorce travel trend noted by some travel agents. "Lately, we have been hearing more and more people tell us the reason for the trip is to mark the finalisation of a divorce," said Christina Pedroni, senior vice president at US agency Liberty Travel. Liberty Travel’s typical post-divorce travellers are primarily women and in their 40s and 50s. The agency has even deemed the phenomenon worthy of its own nickname: the ‘start-anew-moon.’
 
It’s comforting to know there are plenty of other women like us going through the same thing. Divorce is one of the most traumatic life events you’re likely to experience, up there with bereavement. We’ve already written about how travel can help with bereavement, so is it any wonder that more and more of us are turning to travel to help heal the wounds of divorce?
 
Travelling disconnects you from the place of heartache, puts some solid distance between you and your ex, and can be a much-needed marker between married life and life post divorce. Done well, it’s a chance to hit refresh, get back in touch with the woman you were before your marriage woes took over your life, and return home stronger than ever.
 
With that in mind, we’ve come up with some post-divorce trip ideas to help you move on, whether your divorce experience has left you feeling angry, scared and lonely or free as a bird and whooping with joy.
 
  1. Best for divorcees feeling angry
    If your divorce has left you angry – it’s one of the most common emotions reported by divorcees – book a trip to somewhere packed with ancient sites to help you realise how fleeting your time on earth really is. Try Rome in Italy, Ankor Wat in Cambodia or the pyramids of Egypt. Now, doesn’t all that anger seem like a waste of precious time?
  2. Best for divorcees feeling vulnerable
    Head to Thailand. It’s far enough off the beaten track to make you feel like you’re doing something different and brave, but visited enough to have a well-developed tourism industry. It’s not known as The Land of Smiles for nothing. The locals are well known for their hospitality. Plus, it’s relatively cheap, meaning you can have an affordable massage on each beautiful Thai island you visit, to help slough off those niggling anxieties.
  3. Best for divorcees feeling scared
    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the massive changes ripping through your life, book a divorce package – yes, it’s a thing! – and let someone else do the hard work. In the Bahamas, Kamalame Cay’s Le Divorce package welcomes newly single guests with the Le Divorce Activities Menu of spa treatments and water-based adventures. Everything is taken care of; all you have to do is nurse your soul.
  4. Best for divorcees feeling sorry for themselves
    Put a stop to the pity party by helping someone else. Witnessing the very real plight of others will help you put your divorce in perspective. Responsible Travel runs regular small group volunteering trips to Nepal to help rebuild after the devastating earthquake of 2015. If volunteer holidays make you uncomfortable, join Triple Creek Ranch’s Klicks for Chicks. The ranch, in Montana, USA, donates US$1 to Summit for Parkinson’s for every mile ridden on the all-women western riding adventure.
  5. Best for divorcees feeling lonely
    This is the perfect time for a group holiday. If you’re lucky enough to have a bunch of girl friends to help you through, gather the troops and go on holiday together. You could stay in a holiday home by the sea and fill your days with walking, reading and long chats over bottles of wine. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want to shake it off in spas, beaches and nightclubs, try Breathless Resort’s ‘Untying the knot’ upgrade package (US$599 for up to 6 people).
    Alternatively, join a ready-made group of pals on one of Surf Diva’s empowering women’s retreats and learn a new skill at the same time.
    Of course, you can also find like-minded women to travel with right here on Thelma & Louise.
  6. Best for divorcees feeling joyously free
    Finally, you have the time to do what you want, when you want – with no need to explain yourself! If that means strapping on a backpack and hiking through the wilderness for hours or even days on end, then do it. Or book a city break to the biggest, busiest cities in the world, where no-one will notice you eating, shopping and sightseeing by yourself and you can merge with the crowds. USA’s New York City fits the bill perfectly.
  7. Best for divorcees feeling frazzled
    If you fill every minute of every day with busy-ness to avoid having to think about the divorce earthquake that just ripped through your life, it’s time to slow down. Cut through the noise on a silent retreat. Being quiet allows the parts of your inner life that you don’t usually experience to come to the fore, teaching you to acknowledge and process uncomfortable emotions. Advocates say that it can provide you with an entirely new perspective on major life changes and allow you to figure out what truly brings you joy and meaning in life. Sounds like just the tonic!
    One more word of advice – wherever you go, you’d be wise to avoid honeymoon hotspots and places you visited with your ex.
     
    *In the USA, 40% to 50% of married couples in America eventually divorce, according to estimates by the American Psychological Association, although the divorce rate is at a 40-year low.
     
    Did travel help you navigate the emotional fallout of your divorce? Tell us what worked for you, in the comments below.
     
    If you liked this, read:
    1. 9 life skills I’ve learnt from travelling
    2. My journey from 5m to 5km open water swim
    3. How travel can help with bereavement
    4. A letter to my younger travel self
    5. How to make friends as an adul