London gran, 76, 'refusing to be lonely' saves £2k with own plan solo travelling the world

Molly Webster, pictured at The Taj Mahal in India, says solo travelling gives her so much to look forward to
-Credit: (Image: Molly Webster© SWNS)

A retiree is solo travelling the world in her 70s and planned a trip across India herself saving nearly £2k on a package trip – as she refuses to be "old and lonely". Widow Molly Webster, 76, decided she didn't want to stop travelling when her husband of 37 years, Eric Webster, 82, died 15 years ago.

Determined to go on trips alone, she embarked on a three week trip to India in 2020 and hasn't stopped since - going on to visit Spain, Amsterdam and South Africa on her own. Grandmother-of-three Molly plans her own itineraries and even travelled alone across India for three weeks in February 2020 - going on walking trips around Chennai, visiting an elephant sanctuary, discovering the local culture and going a boat trip through rapids.

She plans to visit Turkey later this year and still has ambitions to travel further afield - with a trip to Australia with her son and a trip around Europe on her wish list. Molly says she found package solo holidays more expensive than holidays for two – so decided to plan her own trip for India and saved £2k.

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Molly Webster at Christ Church, Shimla
Molly Webster at Christ Church, Shimla -Credit:Molly Webster© SWNS

After months of planning in 2020 she visited Chennai, Mussoorie, Goa and Kerala and caught the bug for solo travelling. Molly, a retired fashion trimmings agent, from Stratford, said: “Even at this age I’ve still got so many ambitions, I still feel that I don’t want to be restricted in any shape or form.

“I want to travel for as long as I can move about. My very first solo trip was to New York in 2002 - then I did package tours with my late husband.

“Travelling is the best experience and educator - and as you get older it is even more so. Instead of being old and lonely I’ve got so much more to look forward to. I would encourage other older or retired people to travel solo – if they feel fit and are going to a safe country I advise it.”

Molly took her first solo trip to southern India in 2020 – leaving the UK before travel restrictions were in place and having to think on her feet when the country went into lockdown. Inspired by her time there, she published her first book, The Large Leafy Tree in Mussoorie, in 2021 aged 73 - and has gone on to publish four more.

Molly Webster at the India Gate in India
Molly Webster at the India Gate in India -Credit:Molly Webster© SWNS

After safely making it home in March 2020, she made a few more solo trips visiting Spain, Amsterdam and Cape Town in 2021 and 2022. She decided to travel across north India in 2023, visiting eight states in five weeks, spending time near the Himalayas and staying with families in their homes.

"A lot of things happened there that I experienced for the first time," said Molly. "Of all the trips I've been on, going to the foothills of the Himalayas were fascinating. I was on a rickety old bus I thought was going to go over a cliff.

"There were times I thought the bus was going to go over the side of the road into the valley. There were experiences I had which were frightening and exhilarating as well to know you'd be in a frightening situation and come out the other side."

Now Molly is currently planning a trip to Turkey later this year – hoping to go on a 14-day cultural tour of Cappadocia. She says, compared to travelling with a companion, she finds solo travel freeing and says it allows her to tailor the trip to her own interests.

Molly Webster at Shri Mahakal Mahalok in India
Molly Webster at Shri Mahakal Mahalok in India -Credit:Molly Webster© SWNS

And she encourages other older people and retirees to solo travel if they’re fit and able. “I find travelling with somebody restrictive on where to go and what to do,” Molly said.

“Travelling alone is such a pleasure – when I would travel with my husband we always had arguments. I’ve got an adventurous mind anyway, so I thought I'd give it a try - I wanted to try and do something new.

“Being a widow, every time I looked at going on a package holiday it was for two people. For one person it was so much more expensive - I kept thinking ‘how do I go on holiday as a single person without having to pay extra?’

“So I thought ‘why don’t I put something together for myself’ and started looking at accommodation, forms of travel and places I might be safe to travel alone. I started working on an itinerary and as time went on I contacted Airbnb and home stays, then I started booking internal flights across India.

"I worked out had I done that trip through a tour company, the package would have cost in excess of £3.5k but I did it for £1.8k for the same holiday. My advice is that home stays and host families are the best way to travel and get accommodation.

“Look up all the places that are good and the travel you’re going to take – do you want to travel by train, bus or internal flights? You need to check all that out, I spent months doing that and started to slowly build an itinerary of where I'm going to. It’s a lot of work on the internet, not a lot of people my age are computer savvy, but for those that are fit and active it’s an inspiration.”

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