Holidays For Single TravellersPosted on: 26 February 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves
Fed up with paying single supplements and eating alone? Today's solo traveller is spoilt for choice.
Ten years ago dedicated singles holidays were taken mainly by women who were content to spend a week on the beach. Now activity-based, adventure holidays attract more men.
The holidays also draw a mix of ages, from thirties to seventies. Most singles specialists offer half-board packages, while social activities such as welcome cocktail parties and farewell parties are often built into the itinerary.
This year Kindred Spirits is offering short breaks to Marrakesh and Barcelona and long-haul trips, such as an 11-night tour of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Leaving on 4th April, the trip costs £2,965pp, including flights, accommodation and most excursions. The company guarantees sole use of a double room on all its tours, which feature four and five-star hotels and include a welcome cocktail party and dinner on the first night.
Just You has added a 12-day tour of Eastern Europe visiting Warsaw, Zakopane in the Tatra mountains, Budapest, Vienna and Prague.
The escorted tour costs from £1,159pp. Groups flying from Gatwick or Heathrow meet fellow travellers for a hosted dinner on the eve of the trip.
Solitair Holidays offers one of the broadest ranges of singles holidays - from worldwide beach breaks, skiing in France in a luxury catered chalet, walking breaks, and health and rejuvenation holidays to India, Thailand and Italy.
A week-long spa break in April on the Italian island of Ischia, famous for its thermal hot springs, costs £659pp, including half-board stays in a three-star spa hotel and return flights from Manchester or Gatwick, but not treatments. Solitair also organises get-togethers in the UK.
House parties in small hotels are a great way of creating an informal, relaxed atmosphere. The singles holiday specialist Friendship Travel has two established house party hotels in Turkey and has added its first one in Greece, on the island of Rhodes.
The family-run, three-star Caesar's Gardens has 16 twin rooms - all offered for sole occupancy - set around a pool in landscaped gardens with a Friendship Travel host on hand. Prices start from £499pp, including return flights from Gatwick, transfers and half-board stays.
Travel companies with a loyal band of single travellers offer exclusive use of hotels. The over-fifties specialist Saga Holidays has refurbished the Bel Jou hotel in St Lucia.
The 52-room property has a pool, sea views and the services of a Saga host.
Excursions include a catamaran cruise to Les Pitons, a rum distillery and sugar plantation. A 15-night holiday leaving on 24th June or 2nd September costs £1,599, including return flights, full board and a free bar for 12 hours daily.
If you're prepared to abseil down a cliff or hike up a mountain, you probably won't mind sharing a room with someone you don't know (thus avoiding a single room supplement). This type of challenge is also a great icebreaker when meeting new people.
Go hiking in the canyons and Indian lands of southwest US on a new 10-day trip with the Adventure Company. Trek through the red sandstone Canyon de Chelly, with a Navajo guide pointing out the ancient cliff dwellings along the way, Zion National Park with its monolithic sculptures, and the Grand Canyon (where you can take an optional helicopter ride) before ending the holiday with some gambling and shopping in Las Vegas.
The trip costs £1,279pp, including return flights, transport, eight nights' room-only accommodation and a group leader. About half of the small-group trips are single travellers, most of whom are female.
This year The National Trust has some conservation holidays with a difference. Help repair coastal footpaths on the trust's Morte Coastal Estate in Devon and then be rewarded with two days of surf lessons with instructors at Woolacombe beach.
The week-long trip from 17th May costs £200 including instruction, stays in two eight-bed dormitories and hire of wetsuits and boards. Other options include five days of woodland management in Slindon, West Sussex, followed by two days of dinghy sail tuition in Chichester harbour (£185pp from 12th July). The Trust's outdoor-based working holidays attract a good mix of sexes in their mid-thirties to forties.
The adventure holiday specialist Exodus has introduced an eight-day gulet activity cruise in Turkey combining mountain biking near Kalkan, canyoning in mountain gorges and sea kayaking with a cruise along the coast. From £659pp, including flights.
An eight-day cycling holiday in Extremadura, Spain with Explore, is from £669pp, including flights, B&B, bike hire and the services of a tour leader.
Trips involving a lot of travel or several different hotels are more demanding and likely to cost more if you are travelling on your own, so an escorted tour makes sense.
The Independent Traveller specialises in small group tours of Southern Africa, Nepal, India and Morocco with no single supplements on selected holidays, including a new astronomy tour combining star gazing with sightseeing in Cape Town, whale watching and walking in the Cedarberg Mountains (ten days leaving on 17th September from £2875pp, including return flights and guest house or luxury hotel accommodation - maximum group size is ten) and some women-only tours such as a 13-day trip to Nepal and Tibet from £2,439pp leaving in July and September.
Voyages Jules Verne has a dedicated brochure, No Single Supplement, with tours to Jordan, Macchu Pichu and Sri Lanka; weekend breaks in Lisbon and Sicily; stays onboard vessels in Venice, Amsterdam and Paris; and Nile cruises.
No single supplements are charged on selected cruises on the recently restored five-star steamship the El Misr, formerly owned by the King of Egypt. Featuring 24 cabins and suites, the boat has elaborately decorated public rooms, period-style restaurants and sundecks. A week's holiday costs from £795pp, including return flights, excursions, transfers, all meals and guides.
Have you been on a single traveller break before? Do you have any tips to pass on?
If so, let us know by leaving a comment in the box below or share your thoughts with other readers in the 50connect forums.
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