If you're anxious about travelling alone, there's no need. Finding a solo trip to suit your interests and needs has never been easier - and you'll feel so confident afterwards! Cathy Winston, editor of 101 Singles Holidays, offers her top 10 holidays to suit singles.
Singles only travel
No-one likes the thought of playing gooseberry on holiday so to guarantee you won’t have a week with wall-to-wall couples, try a singles-only break. Several solo specialists run shared house hols, from beach breaks to skiing trips, so you’ll quickly feel more like you’re away with a group of new friends.
The Club Solos hotels are exclusive to Solos Holidays, so the whole place is only for singles, while some breaks are for specific age groups, including 30-59 and 50+ as well as ones for all ages. Then hit the beach, the tavernas and let a tour leader arrange excursions on one of the Greek islands. A week on Santorini starts from £569 including flights.
Join a group
If you’re nervous of setting off completely solo, group tours are a great way to give it a try. Not only do you get a group of like-minded travel companions, around half are often travelling alone while some are singles-only. Forget the outdated ‘lonely hearts abroad’ idea though – women make up almost 60% of solo travellers, with more and more leaving husbands or partners at home as they see the world.
There’s an option for practically every continent, budget, age range and style too. Cox & Kings’ singles-only tours are particularly popular with over-50s: the Majestic Russia tour of Moscow and St Petersburg costs from £1,145 for seven nights.
Building a holiday around an activity is a great way to guarantee you’ll be travelling with people who share your interests and a good way to break the ice – whether you love tennis, fancy walking through the world’s most stunning scenery or trying your hand at yoga (to name a few).
Walking Women has no single supplement on some of its trips, and most people in the small groups are aged in their mid 30s to late 60s and travelling solo – unsurprisingly, they’re all for women only too. UK short breaks start from £190 for a two-night easy walking break in the Peak District.
Relax on the beach
Sometimes sun, sand, sea and somewhere to relax is all you want from a holiday – and that doesn’t change just because you’re travelling solo. Fortunately travel companies are waking up to the fact that single guests don’t want a cupboard sized room for a huge supplement, just because they’re not sharing.
More and more have no single supplement, some offer communal tables if you’d rather not eat alone, and some are for singles only. Mercury Holidays has hotels with no single supplement from far-flung winter sun breaks to Europe’s coastline. A week in the Algarve costs from just £129 including flights.
Learn something new
Photography, French, flamenco – if you’ve always fancied learning something new, there’s almost certainly a holiday to help. From cookery and creative writing to surfing and skiing, jewellery-making and painting to Pilates, your fellow travellers are certain to share your interests and you’ll come home with a new skill.
Vidados is a great place to start, with a huge variety of trips including a whole selection aimed at singles. A three-night photography weekend in the Dordogne costs from £486 half board, including two days of tuition, excluding flights.
Solo in the city
City breaks are one of the easiest ways for singles to travel – busy enough that no-one will look twice at someone visiting solo, with plenty of places to entertain yourself as you do, not to mention city tours if you’re worried about having no-one to chat to.
They’re also fantastic if you’re on a budget – University Rooms are a great option if you visit outside term time, with accommodation in halls of residence in 75 countries around the world, some self-catering, some with breakfast included. You could stay in an old convent in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter or more modern rooms with prices from 17 Euros (around £15) per night.
Cruises are casting off their stuffy reputation with a much more relaxed attitude as you set sail. But they’re still great for singles with a chance to have regular table-mates at dinner or enjoy your own company, plenty to do on board and excursions or exploring solo in port too.
Norwegian Epic is one of the best ships around for solo cruisers, with a private singles complex set aside including their Studio staterooms and singles-only lounge. A week in the Western Mediterranean, sailing from Barcelona to Italy, costs from £859 including flights if you book through iglucruise.com
Follow your passion
Would you happily visit every ancient temple in the Mediterranean? Or travel Europe listening to classical music? Instead of dragging an uninterested companion along, a specialist holiday is the perfect solo solution.
Andante Travels has ancient history and archaeology tours led by expert guides, such as Professor Mary Beard, with minimal single supplements and itineraries covering England to Easter Island (via most of Europe). A three-day Wessex Weekend costs from £595, including a private visit to Stonehenge, as a perfect test before you venture further afield.
Tick off your bucket list
For many single travellers, the first solo trip is often to see that one special destination you’ve dreamed of for years – so much so that nothing will hold you back from visiting. Perhaps it’s one of the world’s great cities, its most impressive landmarks, natural wonders or a safari.
Somewhere like Machu Picchu makes many bucket lists for a good reason and a specialist like Journey Latin America proves you’re definitely never too old, with a typical age range of 35-65 on their group tours, almost half travelling solo. Throw in the Amazon, the world’s highest capital of La Paz and beautiful Lake Titicaca and the three-week Condor trip is an adventure to remember. From £2325 excluding flights.
Help someone else
If you’re still not sure about travelling solo, a trip that helps other people could be the final motivation to change your mind. There are volontourism holidays around the world, depending whether you want a short break in the UK or a longer stay using some of the skills you’ve acquired over the years.
For something completely different, Traveleyes is a truly unique experience. Running trips for blind and visually impaired travellers, sighted companions get a subsidised rate to experience a fantastic holiday and describe it to their fellow travellers. There are beach and city breaks, as well as long-haul trips. How about discovering the Italian Renaissance treasures of Tuscany from £629 for eight days, including flights.
For more solo travel inspiration, visit 101 Singles Holidays