Families may be busy building sandcastles and paddling in the surf, but for many people, the holiday season only really starts in September. Kids are back at school, temperatures have cooled and prices are lower, making it the ideal time for solo travellers to get away.
Google data shows that post-pandemic solo travel has risen by 761.15% – and it isn’t only for singles. According to online travel agent Opodo.com, 2023 travel trends show 41% prefer to travel alone. Benefits include being in control of decision-making, the freedom to spend longer in places and the excitement of meeting new people.
Chris Roche, CEO of tour company The Adventure People, recommends choosing a small group escorted tour for people who may be travelling solo for the first time.
“Experiences are always better shared, and escorted tours are a fun, safe and affordable way to see the world,” he says. “A high proportion of our customers are solo travellers and almost all of our holidays are made up of small groups. There are also solo tours specifically for women, led by female guides, adding an extra layer of reassurance for anyone who might be anxious about travelling alone.”
If you are keen to fly solo, try one of these specialist solo trips – many without single supplements.
Beyond the backpackers in Bali
Cheap hostels and beautiful beaches make Indonesia’s flagship destination a popular choice for backpackers, but there are also options for solo adventurers wanting to travel in style. The Adventure People offer a 10-day Bali Bucket List Boutique holiday with private hotel rooms as standard, and no solo supplements. Take a bike tour around the Gili islands, watch the sunrise from Mount Batur and observe macaques play in the lush vegetation of Ubud’s Monkey Forest.
How: From £1,240pp, with multiple departure dates available in September and October. Flights extra. Call 020 8004 8886 or visit theadventurepeople.com.
A coach tour through the Scottish isles
Sitting alone behind the wheel is both expensive and bad for the environment. Plus, it can be nerve-wracking to navigate a new place. A coach tour with shared transport is a better option all round for a more sustainable road trip. Visiting Dunoon, Oban and the Isle of Bute, Alfa Travel’s five-day trip for solos is aimed at more mature travellers. Picked up from a convenient point close to the homes – at no extra charge – guests connect to the tour in the northeast at the Bowburn Interchange.
How: From £339pp, (no single supplement). Includes half-board accommodation at the Leisureplex Selborne Hotel. Departs September 16. Call 01257 248 073 or visit alfatravel.co.uk.
Savouring solitude in Japan
Seeking solitude is central to Japanese culture – where dinner tables set for one are commonplace – so there’s no shame about visiting the land of the rising sun on your own. Striking the perfect balance between time alone and with a group, Inside Japan’s 11-night Japan Solo itinerary mixes independent stays and bullet train journeys with group activities. Participate in a cooking class in Tokyo, take a samurai sword lesson in Kyoto and join a night street food tour in Osaka. Other highlights include a hike to the top of Mount Misen on Miyajima Island.
How: From £2,750pp, including B&B accommodation and activities. Flights extra. Visit insidejapantours.com.
Sun seeking in Turkey
Fed up with feeling in a minority? Solos Exclusive block book rooms at their choice of hotel on dedicated departures, to ensure every guest is a solo traveller. The latest property on their books is the Beyaz Suite Hotel in Bodrum. During a seven-night trip, visit a carpet weaving factory, observe wild turtles, relax in a mud bath and bask in Turkey’s 30C September temperatures.
How: From £1,259pp (no single supplement), including B&B accommodation with twin room for sole use, some dinners, transfers and flights on September 19. Call 020 8951 2900 or visit solosholidays.co.uk.
Pushing the limits in Jordan
Escorted tour company Exodus estimates around 50% of their customers are single travellers. Guests are roomed with another person of the same gender, forming new friendships – but there’s also the option of having a separate room for an additional cost. A nine-day trip to Jordan, one of their most popular destinations, spends two days exploring Petra and includes a night of star-studded skies viewed from a Bedouin camp in the Wadi Rum desert.
How: From £1,299pp, including B&B accommodation, guide, transfers and activities. Flights extra. Call 0203 131 5081 or visit exodus.co.uk.
Back to basics safari in Botswana
Safari is one of the best holidays for single people: there are opportunities to mingle with others on game drives, meals are communal and stories can be shared nightly around a campfire. Even more interaction is guaranteed on a mobile camping trip. Aimed at travellers over 30 years old, Gane and Marshall offer an 18-day overland trip travelling in 4x4s from the Okavango Delta to the Central Kalahari. The price is a fraction of what it would normally cost to visit one of the most pricey safari destinations in Africa – where wildlife viewing is at it’s best in the hot September and October months – and the single supplement is only £130 extra.
How: From £3,228pp, including accommodation, all meals on safari, park fees and guide. Flights extra. Various departures in September and October. Call 01822 600 600 or visit ganeandmarshall.com.
Dancing on the high seas
Masters of elegance, luxury cruise company Crystal is ensuring their single female travellers are literally whisked off their feet with an Ambassador Dance Host Program. Gentlemen are on hand to dance the waltz, cha cha or rumba with those travelling solo, or anyone whose partner has two left feet. As part of the ship’s refurbishments, there are two new guest room categories – the Jr. Crystal Penthouse Suite and Single Guest Room with Ocean View – that serve as an option for solo travellers, without the worry of paying additional single supplements.
How: A 12-night trip from Quebec City to Miami on the Crystal Serenity costs from £5,300pp, including all meals. Flights and excursions extra. Call 0808 178 3396 or visit crystalcruises.com.