Genuinely healthy hobbies for travelers, or anyone, are the kind that challenge the mind or the body, or even both at the same time, and give you the opportunity to connect with others if you want to. These hobbies are a step above crosswords or Sudoku, though those are great as well.

Healthy Hobbies for Travelers

Healthy Hobbies for Travelers

Truly healthy hobbies have the long-term potential power to age well – cognitive stimulation, an unending source of joy, something to look forward to and a community to share it with, on your terms. What follows are 31 hobbies for those of you who want to living longer, healthier, and happier.

Hobbies That Build Your Brain

1. Learn a New Language

When you learn a new language, you increase your brain’s ability to process information, multi-task and focus. It improves your attitude and outlook on life, and gives you confidence in navigating the world around you.

Traveling with even just a rudimentary ability changes the way you see the world and the way the world responds to you.

How to Start

  1. Free apps such as Duolingo are a fantastic way to begin learning a new language.
  2. Enroll in a language course online or your local community college.
  3. Immerse yourself in the culture and language you want to learn by visiting a new country and staying a while. Bring a pocket guide or language translator app, such as Google Translate, to help you as you learn.

2. Blogging

Building a blog is creativity in whatever direction you want to go, and sharing what you know to help others. It can be challenging, yet you can go at your own pace and receive as much help as you want along the way. 

And as you expand and connect with others, those others have similar values and goals and suddenly you are swimming in a community that suits you perfectly.

How to Start

  1. Think about your niche and what you would like to focus on.
  2. Read online or watch YouTube videos on the basics of blogging.
  3. Enroll in an unbelievably fantastic course to get yourself going. Here’s a free demonstration of how my favorite one works.

3. Painting

Art store in Portugal

The beauty of painting is that you don’t have to achieve excellence to achieve the benefits. It improves eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills and stimulates creative connections within your mind.

And last and possibly the most important, connects you with the place you’re in and the people you encounter along the way.

How to Start

  1. Read about the various styles online.
  2. Watch YouTube videos about how to start in the style that works for you.
  3. Purchase the basics you need and remember that it’s the joy you get from it that matters most.

4. Education

Constantly learning something new is one of the healthiest activities you can do for mental acuity, self-confidence and prevention of dementia.

Whether you’re taking a cooking class in Spain, an art history tour in France or basket weaving in Africa, you’re giving your mind a workout and connecting solidly with the community you’re in. Plus it’s a ton of fun!

How to Start

  1. Identify what you love to do.
  2. Identify aspects of your love that you would like to learn something more about.
  3. Watch videos or take a class to get yourself going in the right direction.

5. Chess

Patience, perspective, critical thinking, humility. You can acquire all of these in your efforts to learn and play chess and all of them improve your cognitive abilities.

In addition, nearly anyone of any age, everywhere in the world can play and quite often you will find yourself connecting over a chessboard in some random park thousands of miles from home, with someone twice your age. Or half your age.

How to Start

  1. Learn how to place chess online or from someone you know, preferably the latter.
  2. Play with friends and family members.
  3. Join a chess club, in person or online, at home and anywhere you travel.

6. Genealogy

Genealogy tree

Genealogy is the art and science of exploring your family history – names, relationships, marriages, births and deaths throughout the history of your family.

It can introduce and connect you to new people, events, cultures and ideas you never thought possible. It’s an adventure on its’ own, and a somewhat addictive one as well.

How to Start

  1. Read about the basics of genealogy online.
  2. Join social groups with the same interest.
  3. Share your new passion with friends and family.

7. Journaling

Travel journaling is telling a story of what you see, eat, meet, find, learn and do along your journey, in whatever detail your heart desires. You can write, draw, collect momentos to put in your journal or a combination of any of those.

All of these helps to cement the good memories and to process those little things that didn’t quite go as planned.

How to Start

  1. There are many kinds of journaling, even for travelers. Do some reading to identify the kind that speaks to you.
  2. Purchase yourself a journal that you love.
  3. Take it with you wherever you go.

8. Scrapbooking

Organizing and presenting your photos can be a creative and therapeutic stroll down memory lane. There are clubs, classes and supply stores, all overflowing with people you can celebrate this art with. What’s more, you’re creating something you’ll appreciate for decades to come.

How to Start

  1. Read about the various kinds of scrapbooking to identify the way you would like to present your photos and memories.
  2. Choose a style that speaks to you and learn more about it by watching videos online or speaking to a knowledgeable friend.
  3. Purchase your supplies and get going.

Hobbies That Build Your Body

9. Plant Appreciation

healthy hobbies for travelers

Whether you’re gardening at home, strolling through a plant store in a foreign country, ducking under an enormous leaf on the trail or stopping to smell the flowers in a field overflowing with them, plants are peaceful.

Plant appreciation improves your mood, reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.

How to Start

  1. Include plant stores in your travels. You don’t have to buy anything, just appreciate and learn.
  2. Include famous gardens in your journey to different places.
  3. Include local gardens and farmers markets in your travels.

10. Dancing

Dance is for EVERYONE and is good for the heart, head and body. You can take classes or find places to dance pretty much anywhere because people all over the world love to dance.  Even more fun is learning new styles and the cultures that go along with them. Give it a try!

How to Start

  1. Read and watch videos online to learn about the different styles of dance.
  2. Join a class in the style you most appreciate.
  3. Locate clubs or communities wherever you go that are of the same or similar style or try a new style while out and about.

11. Yoga

Regardless of your skill level, yoga will improve the quality of your life now and in your later years. It’s easy on the joints and builds even the tiny muscles that you need for better balance and coordination.

There is a stunning array of options available in most cities, and all you need to do is look. Indoor or outdoors, you’ll always find a community that welcomes you.  

How to Start

  1. Read about the several different kinds of yoga and identify which one you would like to start with.
  2. Watch and participate in the free videos available on the internet.
  3. Join a class at home or wherever you go.

12. Walking or Hiking

hiking with friends and views

The most popular form of exercise in the U.S., possibly the world. Walking is good for your whole body. Fresh air, exercise and ever-evolving scenery along the way. There are nature trails, waterfall trails, beaches or sidewalks pretty much everywhere you go.

You can find walking tours and hikes for beginners just about everywhere and meet like-minded people in the process. Explore in a group or at your own pace and you will more fully appreciate your destination wherever you go.

How to Start

  1. Get yourself some comfortable shoes.
  2. Find a friend at home or go solo and get outside.
  3. Make a point of joining walking tours wherever you go.

13. Body building

Slightly more intimidating than yoga, but equally beneficial. Building muscle builds strength and coordination, which you need for everything in life. It increases bone density, enhances weight loss, helps prevent dementia and helps to maintain function and independence later in life.

Body building, and attending gyms around the world, provides an opportunity to meet new people, learn new techniques and welcome new ideas.

How to Start

  1. Buy yourself a set of weights for home use.
  2. Join a local gym and consider a personal or group trainer.
  3. Look for gyms wherever you go that have drop-in rates.

14. Geocaching

Geo-caching is an outdoor adventure that you can do anywhere, anytime. Search for caches hidden all over the world. Take something, leave something, sign the log.

Good for logical thinking, loads of laughter, community and physical exercise.

How to Start

  1. Join
  2. Explore locally.
  3. Explore everywhere you go. It’s a fantastic way to see new and interesting aspects of a new city.

15. Stand-up Paddle or Kayaking

Paddle boarding

This has to be the most relaxing form of exercise I’ve ever tried. Especially if you’re sitting down for it.

You can usually find both group paddling tours and private rentals available, letting you choose the level of community and security. Many places even offer classes to teach you how to get started and help you figure out what to bring. It’s easy on the joints and soothing for the soul.

How to Start

  1. Take a class or go on a local event.
  2. Consider purchasing your own board.
  3. Identify trips wherever you go that offer paddle boarding. There are lots!

16. Group Fitness

Everything from yoga in the park, dancing in the dark, air kickboxing, HITT, bootcamp to pilates, there’s something for whatever interests you. All you need to do is keep an open mind and bring along workout wear. You get a workout and meet new people along the way.

How to Start

  1. Try Zoom classes you think you might enjoy.
  2. Try different kinds of classes that you think you might like locally.
  3. Try different classes when you’re away from home.

17. Running

Running is an incredible exercise. It improves your cardiovascular fitness, improves physical and mental endurance and provides the opportunity to see new things in new places. You can connect with running communities anywhere, travel for “competitive” races for the fun of it or go on your own.

How to Start

  1. Get yourself fitted for running shoes if you don’t already have them.
  2. Start slow, a combination of walking and running, and go at your own pace.
  3. Go outside, at home or away.

18. Star Gazing

Star gazing and Milky Way

Did you know you can find your way in the dark by using the stars for navigation? It’s fascinating and beautiful and there’s a worldwide community that loves it. There are meetups, classes and private tours that will take you away from the city, reconnect you with nature and inspire your imagination.

Some fantastic International Dark Sky Parks include Joshua Tree in California, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and Mayo Dark Sky Park in Ireland.

How to Start

  1. You can read and watch videos about the basics of star gazing online for free.
  2. Join social groups with the same interest.
  3. Go on a star gazing tour at home and while away.

19. Trekking

Trekking is different than walking or hiking because trekking involves more than one day. It’s often a test of endurance, of both physical and mental strength and can be done alone or with others.

Think Camino de Santiago in Spain, the Inca Trail in Peru, the Great Ocean Walk in Australia, or the Cotswolds Way in the United Kingdom.

How to Start

  1. Identify a trek that speaks to you by reading online or in social groups.
  2. Start training by walking longer and longer distances at home.
  3. Start saving, money for your journey and vacation time from work.

20. Bird Watching

Patience, mindfulness, time in nature, the chance to see something stunning yet random. Bird watching is a global hobby for every kind of personality. It tends to lower stress levels, improve memory, encourage physical activity and promote friendship.

How to Start

  1. Learn about the kinds of birds in your area by reading online.
  2. Learn the basics of bird watching with free videos and social groups in your area.
  3. Get outside, on your own or with a group, locally or everywhere you travel.

21. Biking

Biking in Oxford

The beauty of bikes is that it is low impact with an extremely high cardiovascular workout. Whatever you choose, bikes can take you places that just aren’t accessible any other way.

You can take a gondola up a mountainside and bike down. Take a bike tour that shows you half of Sweden. Rent an e-bike to explore Seville or even go up the Road to the Sun before vehicle traffic is allowed to.

How to Start

  1. Learn about the different kinds of biking and what most interests you.
  2. Identify social groups in your community with the same interests.
  3. Identify tours and events wherever you travel.

22. Swimming

Water sport or solo, swimming is generally low impact and offers an incredible cardio workout. Build your muscles and your community by finding a pool, pond or park that works for you.

Just remember your swimsuit, as different countries have different rules.

How to Start

  1. Find a local pool and use it, take classes if you need to learn to swim.
  2. Stay in a hotel with a swimming pool.
  3. Visit the beach and bring your swimsuit.

Hobbies That Feed Your Soul

These are a few hobbies that can relax you, inspire you or simply make you thankful.

23. Music

Whatever kind of music you like, you will find peace, happiness, childhood memories, community and a glimpse into the culture of the community you’re in. It can be soothing and calm or joyous and uplifiting.

Local bands, concerts, kids on the street, musicals on Broadway, you can never go wrong with making music part of your travels.

How to Start

  1. Find a radio station you like.
  2. Make a playlist of your favorite songs.
  3. Find musicals, shows and concerts at home and wherever you go.

24. Photography

Healthy Hobbies for Travelers
Photo courtesy of Packer Photography NW

Photography changes the way you look at the world – be it an angle, the lighting, an expression or the feeling of a photo that calls to you. And you’re not alone. There are thousands of people in this world willing to talk for weeks on this topic, people who plan events simply so that they can spend time with like-minded strangers.

How to Start

  1. Learn the basics of photography online for free.
  2. Practice at home and everywhere you travel.
  3. Join photography tours locally or abroad.
  4. Take vacations specifically for the photo opportunities!

25. Volunteering

Help others while helping yourself. Volunteering creates community and gets things done.

Whether you’re teaching English, building roads or building homes in a third world country, spending your time thinking of anyone but yourself will give you peace of mind, gratitude, perspective and a sense of accomplishment and community you’re unlikely to find any other way.

How to Start

  1. Do some online research to identify the volunteer options that interest you.
  2. Sign up for local opportunities to see how you like it.
  3. Sign up for volunteer opportunities around the world.

26. Books

Join a book club, read a book, write a book – books are the easiest and least expensive way to travel outside of your daily life.

Book clubs are everywhere and even online as well. They bring a shared sense of purpose without demanding too much from you, but let you build the community that works for you.

How to Start

  1. Start reading, keep reading.
  2. Join a book club, in person or online.
  3. Visit bookstores and libraries everywhere you travel.
  4. Read about your destination before you leave.
  5. Read books set in whatever destination you plan to travel.

27. Textile Therapy

Yarn store shelves

Learn to knit, crochet or pick up embroidery. This is a peaceful process, even when you don’t know what you’re doing. Once you learn the basics, it’s easy to let your mind wander and relax while knitting, to reflect or to plan or to dream.

The world is full of people who enjoy this hobby and events you can attend. Find one as you travel and you will find friendship, peace and possibly even learn something new about style, techniques and materials.

How to Start

  1. Identify the type of textile therapy that most interests you.
  2. Read about it and watch videos online.
  3. Join a local club or event for it and then search for the same in new places.

28. Eco-preservation

A specific kind of volunteering, this one involves protecting, rebuilding or preserving some part of the natural world. Whether you’re cleaning beaches, protecting sea turtle nests, tagging birds or planting trees and repairing trails, you’re doing something you can be proud of.

And most likely, building meaningful and lasting relationships as well.

How to Start

  1. Ask yourself what interests you most, where do you want to see a positive change in the environment.
  2. Explore options for volunteering in that area, at home and away.
  3. Sign up.

29. Meditation

There are so many kinds of meditation, and all of them reduce stress, lower your blood pressure and provide perspective in this crazy world. The practice of meditation is sometimes slightly different depending on where you go, even though the end result is the same.

Give this kind of self-care a try, as part of a private class or a group instruction and open your mind to new possibilities and people.

How to Start

  1. Make use of free videos and apps to identify what speaks to you.
  2. Identify local classes to help you get started and progress.
  3. Identify classes, workshops or retreats around the world.

30. Martial Arts

Karate class

Whatever your age, you work towards small and big goals, develop a community, improve physical fitness, and enhance your sense of well-being and purpose.

When you travel and temporarily join a dojo, you are accepted as part of their community and goals. You learn new ways of doing the same thing and form lasting friendships where distance doesn’t matter.

How to Start

  1. This hobby takes a long time to be proficient, but only a day to get started. Learn about the different kinds of martial arts online and what might be the best one for you.
  2. Join a free beginner class locally.
  3. Sign up for a commitment, then look for classes and events wherever you travel.

31. Food

Food connects us, all over the world. It’s central to our well-being and embracing it brings joy and community, as well as incentive to work out.

Whether it’s a cooking class, a farmer’s market, dining together or my personal favorite, food tours, a sincere appreciation of food will bring you a solid understanding of the culture and community you’re in.

How to Start

  1. Take a food tour, first thing, when you arrive at a new destination.
  2. Sign up for a cooking class wherever you go.
  3. Ask all about the food you’ve been given until you are satisfied with knowing as much as you would like to.

Bonus Hobby

Travel in New Ways

Traveling cultivates your curiosity, forces you to step slightly out of your comfort zone and gives you something to look forward to. Lastly, and possibly the most important, it cultivates friendships and community, with the people you meet on your travels and the ones you bring your stories home to. 

Do you always travel with the same people and in the same style? Challenge yourself to experience something new – solo, group travel, indie, girls only, or adventure.  Your imagination is the only limit.

How to Start

  1. Try something new at home, a local tour you’ve always thought about.
  2. Take a solo trip or join a group travel experience if you never have.
  3. Take a themed vacation, exploring all of the bookstores, museums, beaches, parks OR best restaurants in the area.

Which hobbies make you a better traveler?

Here are some cool travel hobbies that can help you make the most of your journey.

  • Photography – If you enjoy taking pictures, photography as a travel hobby can help you capture the essence of the places you visit and create lasting memories. You can also use your photos to create a travel diary or share your experiences with others.
  • Learning a new language – Learning the local language can help you communicate with locals, make new friends, and immerse yourself in the culture. It also shows respect for the local culture and can help you understand it better.
  • Reading – Reading books and articles about travel can help you learn about different destinations, cultures, and customs. This can give you a better understanding of what to expect and how to behave in different situations.
  • Hiking – Hiking is a great way to explore nature and get some exercise while traveling. It can also help you discover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations.
  • Cooking – Cooking classes or food tours can help you learn about the local cuisine and culture. You can also try new foods and bring back recipes to share with friends and family.
  • Writing – Keeping a travel journal or blog can help you reflect on your experiences and document your adventures. It can also help you remember the details of your trip and share your insights with others.
  • Visit Museums – Many people enjoy exploring museums to learn about different cultures, historical events, art, and science. Museums provide a great opportunity to expand your knowledge, discover new interests, and appreciate the creativity and innovation of others. Some people even travel the world specifically to see certain museums, collect souvenirs or take photos of their favorite exhibits to remember their experiences.

What are some hobbies that allow you to travel the world?

The best travel hobby is the kind that finances your adventures and trips. Being paid to do something you enjoy makes life more enjoyable on every level. Here are a few ideas to think about.

  • Travel blogging – Blogging about your travels can allow you to earn an income while seeing the world. By sharing your experiences and tips with your readers, you can build a following and potentially earn money through advertising, sponsorships, or affiliate marketing.
  • Photography – If you have a talent for photography, you can sell your photos to stock photography websites or offer your services as a freelance photographer. This can allow you to travel the world while earning an income.
  • Scuba diving, snorkeling or surfing – If you enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling or surfing, you can travel to destinations around the world to pursue these hobbies. You can also become a scuba diving or surfing instructor and teach others while traveling.
  • Volunteering – Volunteering for non-profit organizations can allow you to travel the world while doing good. You can find opportunities to volunteer in fields such as conservation, education, healthcare, or community development. While this doesn’t tend to pay in cash, you often receive free food and lodging in exchange.

What are some fun hobbies for women over 50?

There are countless fun hobbies that women over 50 can enjoy!

  • Painting or drawing – Many women find great joy in exploring their creative side through painting or drawing. Whether it’s watercolors, acrylics, or charcoal, there are endless possibilities for artistic expression.
  • Photography – Photography is a great hobby that allows you to capture the beauty of the world around you. You can experiment with different types of cameras and lenses, or even try your hand at editing and post-processing.
  • Gardening – Gardening is a wonderful way to get outside, get your hands dirty, and grow your own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. You can also create a beautiful outdoor space to relax and enjoy.
  • Yoga or Pilates – Yoga and Pilates are great low-impact exercises that can improve flexibility, strength, and balance. Plus, they can be done in the comfort of your own home or in a class setting.
  • Traveling – Traveling is a wonderful way to explore new cultures, try new foods, and see new sights. The hobby of traveling is a fantastic way to spend your life, whether you travel full time or once a year. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a trip around the world, there’s always something new to discover.
  • Reading – Reading is a great way to relax and escape into a good book. You can join a book club or start your own, or even write your own book if you’re feeling creative.

These are just a few ideas of healthy hobbies for older women, for any person actually, but there are countless hobbies out there to enjoy.

The best travel hobbies will be the ones that you enjoy, the ones that give you something to look forward to. The key is to find something that you’re passionate about and that brings you joy!


Frequently asked questions about traveling hobbies.

What is a travel hobby?

A travel hobby is an activity that involves exploring new destinations, experiencing different cultures, and discovering unique attractions. It often includes planning trips, visiting various locations, and immersing yourself in the joy of discovering new places, meeting new people and creating memories.

What are the hobbies of traveling alone?

The hobbies of traveling alone are those of solo exploration, self-discovery, and independent adventure. They may involve activities such as solo hiking, photography, journaling, meeting locals, trying local cuisine, embracing solitude, and immersing yourself in the freedom of navigating new places at your own pace.

Is traveling a passion or a hobby?

Traveling can be both a passion and a hobby. For some, it’s a deep-rooted passion that fuels their desire to explore and discover the world. For others, it’s a leisure activity that brings joy and fulfillment through the act of traveling itself.

Final Thoughts: Healthy Lifelong Pursuits

Faneuil Hall Square, Boston

In summary, all of these are truly healthy pursuits and contribute to overall well-being and happiness. It takes time to build the basic skills and a little confidence to get started without them. 

It’s entirely okay not to be good at something and still love it. It makes you a more interesting person and it leads to better health, whatever your skill level.  Spending time with any of these traveling hobbies will build stability and community in your life, and challenge your mind on a regular basis.

Having an interest that can travel with you gives you a fantastic perspective on new places and peoples. Try one or all, but make sure to enjoy yourself along the way.