From dating holidays to group vacations, we round up the best trips and tips for solo travellers.
While some people revel in solitude, for others the reality of travelling solo – eating alone, paying single supplements and endless selfies – can be little more than a cruel reminder of their single status.
And as the travel industry makes a beeline for smitten couples in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, singletons could be forgiven for thinking holiday companies have forgotten all about them.
Au contraire; with a third of the UK adult population classed as single, the travel industry is tapping into the market with a range of holidays for solo travellers. Meanwhile, new websites are making it even easier for singles to find travel buddies.
Hedonistic holidays for singles
Whether you’re looking for love or fleeting fun with a stranger, there are a range of holidays catering for the more, shall we say, active singleton.
At one end of the spectrum you have suggestive resorts such as Temptation in Cancún, which provides a “hip vibe and sexy atmosphere” for its adult-only clients. Hedonism II offers much of the same in Jamaica and the resort proudly claims to enjoy a reputation for “shattering inhibitions and provoking behavior people don’t talk about in polite circles”.
If all that sounds a little risqué for you then Singles Travel International and Singles in Paradise offer less suggestive itineraries and put the emphasis on the destination rather than playing cupid. Aimed at professionals aged 25 and upwards, their itineraries include Galápagos cruises, island-hopping in the Caribbean and road trips across Australia.
Not all solo travellers are single (some couples are not able to take their holidays together) and not all single travellers are looking for romance. Cue Solos Holidays, a UK-based company that puts the emphasis on companionship and shared experiences during its discovery tours, which cover destinations in five continents.
Friendship Travel also specialises in single holidays and has won awards for its trips, which include ski holidays, yoga retreats and cruises. If you’re looking for something more adventurous with like-minded people, Exodus offers trailblazing trips on every continent of the planet.
Strangers on a train
There are few better places to meet people than in a train carriage, especially when the train in question takes several days to arrive at its destination (plenty of time to work those lines).
Add some vodka into the mix and you have all the ingredients for a great singles’ adventure. Essentially, this is what the Vodka Train is. Fusing group travel with solo adventure, it provides support and social lubrication for passengers navigating the iconic Trans-Siberian Express.
Run by Sundowners Overland, the company has been bringing like-minded travellers together since the days of the Soviet Union and also offers tours along the Silk Road.
Holidays sans single supplements
Some people prefer travelling alone, others have no choice; either way, most have to pay single supplements to go on holiday. Companies argue singletons are less profitable than couples – they take up the same amount of space and spend less – hence the extra fees.
Fortunately not all operators whack on extra charges; most adventure travel companies and single holiday specialists (Solos Holidays, Exodus) don’t add supplements for singletons, while others give you the option of sharing with same-sex strangers. Others waive charges for travel during shoulder seasons.
DIY holiday share
Many tour operators will arrange shared rooms for single passengers, although you could find a companion of your own through websites such as www.triptogether.com.
Under the tagline “travelling together is brighter”, the site allows members to post pictures and descriptions of themselves, along with details about their upcoming trip, which other users can match with their requirements.
Trip Together has a whiff of a dating site about it and some do use it to find love in foreign places. However, for others it is a matter of convenience and companionship.
Whether you’re travelling to Cornwall or Cambodia, a homestay is the perfect opportunity to live with, and like, a local.
Websites such as www.homestay.com have host families scattered around the world, who provide beds, meals and authentic travel experiences to their guests.
Great for singles and couples alike, homestays are typically cheaper and more enriching than staying in hotels.
Author: Gavin Haines