Uncharted territories, new friends or the ultimate sense of independence? Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve found the perfect trip for you…
According to an annual travel report published by ABTA last October, more than one in six people now holiday solo - up from 12% in 2017 and by almost one third since 2011. Whether you’re tired of making compromises with friends over your itinerary or you’re the only one in your group with holiday left to take, solo-travel is rapidly becoming the most popular choice for people looking to get away from it all.
But there’s no denying that travelling alone can be a little nerve-racking at times. That’s why we’ve put together our top ten travel tours for adventurous travellers who like the idea of going solo but aren’t quite ready to totally go it alone. Whether you’re looking to master a new skill, travel unchartered territory or simply meet a bunch of new like-minded friends, we’ve found the perfect tour for you.
Hike and bike your way through Vietnam
Trips run by G Adventures are usually made up of roughly 40% solo travellers, and they offer action-packed adventures in pretty much every corner of the globe. Their 10-day trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi offers traveller the chance to hike, bike and kayak as they move up the incredible country. From trekking in the rural Mai Chau valley to kayaking in Ha Long Bay, seize the opportunity to see the best bits of Vietnam in a convenient space of time.
Road trip through Brazil
Dragoman offer unique road trips across destinations in Africa, the Americas and Asia in one of their purpose-built overland trucks. Each truck carries around 20 people with passengers tending to be a mix of ages and nationalities, and there’s plenty of opportunity for solo travellers to get to know each other as you venture across countries. Dragoman offer tours ranging from eight to an epic 235 days, and you can combine routes together to tailor-make your own special journey. From trans-African expeditions from Cape Town to Cairo to circling the entire continent of India, there really is something for everyone. Their 17-day journey through Brazil from Salvador to Rio is a great choice: hike in the Chapada do Veadeiros national park, explore the gold mines of Ouro Preto and tour Brasilia. Accommodation is split between camping, hostels and hotels.
Cook up a storm in Cambodia
If you’re interested in becoming a culinary connoisseur or want to add another cuisine to your repertoire, Grantourismo offer a range of hands-on courses across Cambodia. Expect cookery sessions, market tours and LOTS of street food sampling. Grantourismo tours have no single supplements and are popular with solo travellers ranging from 25 to 69 years old (the majority of whom are female), and you stay in boutique hotels as you travel across the country. Run by an Australian-born, Cambodia-based food writer and photographer, these two are well-equipped to show you the best of the country. The nine-day Cambodia Travel, Food Writing and Photography Retreat is a great bet, during which you visit the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and explore the valleys of Battambang.
Sail the Mediterranean on a skippered yacht
MedSailors run skippered sailing holidays specifically aimed at 20 to 35 year olds. Everyone shares a bunkbed cabin with someone else of the same gender, and each yacht sleeps eight. The tours are perfect for solo travellers as you have a pre-made group of friends right there on your boat, so there’s always someone to go kayaking or have a drink with. If you don’t get on with anyone on your boat then no need to jump overboard - each yacht travels in a flotilla of up to eight boats so there are plenty of opportunities to socialise. Guests can try water sports such as wake boarding, join in the weekly regatta or just chill out on one of the sunbathing decks. Their seven-night cruise around Greece sounds like the perfect mixture of party and relaxation.
Scenic swimming in Slovenia
Strel Swimming Adventures welcome solo swimmers in search of scenic holidays that allow you to reconnect with nature. Their outdoor swim tours take place in Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Turkey, and 30-40% of participants are lone travellers. The Slovenia Lakes and Rivers trip gives you the chance to swim across stunning Lake Bled, take a dip in Kozjak waterfall and meander down the River Soča. After a tiring day in the water, guests have the chance to relax in a four-star hotel on the banks of Lake Bohinj.
Experience an eco-conscious Safari
EcoTraining offer week-long tasters for adventurous travellers who can’t splash out on a luxurious safari but still want to experience life in the bush. The Wilderness Trails Skills course offers a stripped-back, immersive safari at a fraction of the usual cost. The backdrop is either the Mashatu game reserve in Botswana or the Makuleke Concession (a remote part of the Kruger national park) in South Africa, and chances of seeing the big five are high in both. This tour is not for the faint hearted, though, as travellers are expected to get fully stuck in. You walk an average of 10km a day carrying your own supplies, learning how to navigate, track animals and set up camp along the way. Each night is spent wild camping under the stars.
Saddle up in Costa Rica
Health and Fitness Travel offer horse riding holidays with a wellness twist. Their seven-night trip in Costa Rica gives guests the opportunity to relax at a luxury retreat in the untouched Costa Rican jungle. After a long day in the saddle trekking through the unspoilt countryside, give yourself some much needed TLC in the spa or rejuvenate with a yoga class. Or, if you’re in search of something more active, you can hike, zip line or head down to the beach to try out the surf. The trips welcome solo travellers seeking variety in the company of like-minded individuals.
Private party on a Greek Island
Friendship Travel offer house-party holidays for single guests. For example, one of their trips takes over the Apollon hotel in Tsilivi on Zante each summer. The hotel has a bar, restaurant, pool and roof terrace, and sleeps up to 24 guests. There’s a sandy beach close by, and a water park within walking distance if you feel like an adrenaline boost might cure your hangover. The trip includes five three-course dinners (with wine), and there are lots of local restaurants nearby to try out on the other two nights.
Learn to kitesurf in Morocco
Looking to master a new skill? Kite Worldwide offer packages for total beginners looking to give kitesurfing a go, which include a guide, 12 hours of tuition and other services such as launch and landing. You’ll be rewarded with a basic VDWS qualification and the satisfaction that comes from learning a new sport. Perfectly positioned in the north-easterly trade winds, Essaouira on Morocco’s Atlantic coast has perfect conditions for kitesurfing from April to September, so this could be the place for you. Bond with fellow solo travellers as you flounder in the shallows trying to master the basics.
Kick back in Kerala
Nearly half of Explore!’s clients are solo travellers, with their small group trips perfect for adventurous individuals in search of some independence but not quite ready to go it alone. They currently have an offer where solo travellers can save up to £500 and won’t need to pay for a single room option on selected tours if you travel before 31st of December 2019, so get booking if you want to save some money! One of their tours on offer is their Kerala Backwaters trip, which introduced guests to India’s most relaxed region, also known as ‘God’s Own Country.’ Explore tea and spice plantations, learn about Kochi’s colonial history and immerse yourself in an overnight houseboat cruise and a local cooking class.
Images: Agustin Diaz, Getty, Instagram, Unsplash