Solo travel is on the rise.
And for good reason — it allows you much more freedom and a greater opportunity to connect with locals.
According to the 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions study, which surveyed over 13,000 travellers from 25 different countries, 24% of travellers travelled alone on their most recent leisure trip. That’s almost 10% more than in 2013.
But for some, venturing out into the world completely solo can be intimidating.
The good news is there are a number of travel companies that cater to solo travellers and can help you book a guided trip with other travellers who are on their own.
Take a look at our list below and start planning your next trip.
Solos, Britain’s number one “singles holiday company,” has been around since 1982, and they have been catering specifically to solo travellers from the start. The company offers all kinds of vacations — from walks and treks to cities, ski or beach vacations. They also just recently launched an American branch, Solos Vacations, which only offers trips to the UK and Italy as of right now.
Classic Journeys provides a solution to an issue that solo travellers have long had to deal with: supplements. Most travel companies raise prices up to 50% for those travelling alone. Classic Journeys, on the other hand, keeps its mark up to around 15%, because they only charge customers the extra fee that hotels charge for single travellers.
This isn’t a “singles vacation” company; Classic Journeys specialises in walking tours with knowledgeable local guides. They’re happy to book you a double room just for yourself, and they have received top ratings from both National Geographic and Travel + Leisure. About a third of their guests book solo trips.
Contiki is geared towards younger travellers, specifically those aged 18-35. The company uses forums and social media to connect vacationers with each other before they embark on their journey. Since most of their pricing is for doubles, Contiki’s goal is to match travellers up with someone of the same sex and then book a double room for them. So if you’re looking to make friends on your trip, this is the company for you.
Abercrombie and Kent
Best known as a luxury travel company, Abercrombie and Kent accepts solo travellers on all of its trips — to all seven continents. They also offer Solo Savings escorted group tours, where single travellers enjoy their own private accommodations during every stop of the trip, but don’t have to pay the usual single supplements. A&K either completely waives the supplement, or reduces it by up to 75%.
Exodus is unique in that it designates one or two departure dates per tour as Solo Departures, which the company suggests solo travellers use. Therefore, most of the people who leave on those dates and end up on those trips are people vacationing alone.
Exodus’ tour guides are local and have gone through leader training. Guests can choose trips like cycling Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast or exploring Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands in South America.
Overseas Adventure Travel
Ideal for budget travellers, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) takes single travellers to exotic destinations such as Botswana and Patagonia. They have both land adventures, which are tours on land with groups of 10-16 other travellers, or small ship adventures, which are boat tours with anywhere from 16 to 25 other travellers.
OAT does not charge supplements, even if you extend your trip 4-9 nights, and they offer the “Solo Traveller Challenge:” a guarantee that if you find another travel company offering a better price on a comparable trip, OAT will meet that price, plus lower it by $US500.
If you’re looking for an authentic experience, G Adventures is your answer. You can sleep in tents in a desert camp in Morocco or sleep under the stars in Antarctica. Active travellers will also like G Adventures; they have multiple trekking and hiking tours, such as a 10-day journey up Mont Blanc in Switzerland.
There are no single supplements, but G Adventures does book shared hotel rooms, so your accommodations won’t be private. However, if you choose to extend your trip by using the company’s independent extensions option, you will be charged a singles supplement.
Singita has luxury safari lodges in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. One is located in the well known Kruger National Park, and the others are in lesser known parks. They have completely abandoned the single supplement, and they offer reduced pricing if you’re looking to travel in the off season.
Billed as Africa’s “foremost ecotourism operator,” Wilderness Safaris takes guests to some of the continent’s most remote locations while also helping to maintain its biodiversity. The company’s 50 luxury camps are located in eight African countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
If you travel through southern Africa during November to April 15th, Wilderness Safaris will waive not only your flight but also your accommodation charges. It’s a great deal, considering you still have a good chance of seeing just as much wildlife — but for a fraction of the price.
Norwegian Cruise Line
On three of its ships — the Epic, Breakaway, and Pride of America — Norwegian Cruise Line has cabins made exclusively for solo travellers that cost about 30% less than a double stateroom. They offers cruises all over including Alaska, Florida and the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada and New England, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe, and Panama just to name a few.
Like Norwegian, Lindblad Expeditions is another cruise company that offers solo cabins for a third less than the price of regular rooms. These single rooms can be found on their National Geographic Explorer, Endeavour, and Orion ships. Their destinations include the Amazon, Peru, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Caribbean.
Grand Circle Cruise Line
Grand Circle Cruise Line is one of the few cruise companies that does not offer a single supplement on their small ship cruises. Its small ship cruises go to the British Isles, Greece, France, Turkey, Bosnia, Spain, Burma, Iberia, and many others.
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