The idea of exploring the world alone may be intimidating to some, but research shows that travelling solo is about to become increasingly popular.
According to an analysis of 100,000 holiday bookings by travel inspiration website 101 Holidays, holiday companies that run group tours in the UK and abroad are reporting that 35 per cent of their clients are single travellers. That figure is expected to increase to 38 per cent based on advance bookings in 2015.
101 Holidays has launched a new website, 101 Singles Holidays, as a result of the predicted surge. The 101 suggestions were picked by award winning travel writer Cathy Winston.
Solo travelling is most popular with women, the research has also revealed, as 58.3 per cent of single travellers were reported to be female. Broken down by holiday, those figures rise for more active trips including walking holidays (64 per cent) and African safaris (60 per cent).
“Travelling solo has lost much of the lonely hearts stigma it once carried,” says Winston. "Not everyone holidaying alone is single, with more women leaving husbands and partners at home as they tick items off their bucket lists.”
To meet the demand for solo holidays, holiday companies are now offering incentives to attract single travellers, including dedicated solo travel holidays and the scrapping of the single supplement, a premium charged to people who take a room alone.
The best places to travel alone
The best places to travel alone
Frui offers photography courses for small groups of singles only in Abruzzo - there are painting and gastronomy weeks too. http://www.frui.co.uk
Join a singles-only house party with your own room with Friendship Travel. There are no age limits but guests tend to be between 35 and 65 years. http://www.friendshiptravel.com/era.html
A group tour is the best way to see India if you're travelling solo. Cox & Kings has introduced a range of tours for singles only with an average age of 55+. http://www.coxandkings.co.uk
Cortijo Romero, a converted farmhouse in Andalucia, offers personal development courses year-round with the majority of guests travelling solo - including Pilates, Yoga, creative writing, mindfulness and dance. http://www.cortijo-romero.co.uk
5/10 St Lucia
The BodyHoliday in St Lucia has a wing of rooms for solo travellers each with a Queen sized four poster bed. There's a 50-minute spa treatment each day, included in the price. http://www.caribtours.co.uk
6/10 Sri Lanka
Mercury Holidays has negotiated no single supplement year-round at a wide range of three and four hotels worldwide, including 13 in Sri Lanka. https://www.mercuryholidays.co.uk
Dip your toe in the solo travel waters on a short break in the UK - great options include cycling with Saddle Skedaddle, wildlife weekends with NatureTrek and walking with Ramblers Countrywide Holidays. http://www.naturetrek.co.uk
Head to Peru with Journey Latin America on this comprehensive small group tour which includes time in Bolivia as well as Peru's hotspots. There's a free twin-share service or you can opt to pay a single supplement. https://www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk
Get under the skin of Vietnam with Travel Indochina - it's one of the most popular choices for solo travellers. Over 30% of people on their small group tours travel solo and there's a free twin-share service. http://www.travelindochina.co.uk
Head to Crete or Santorini where Solos Holidays has exclusive use of charming 'ClubSolos' hotels for singles only. One week costs from £575 including some meals with departures for all ages, 45 years and over and 30-59 years. http://www.solosholidays.co.uk
Caribtours is offering single rooms at the five-star Coral Reef Club hotel in Barbados, and are supporters of the BodyHoliday experience in St Lucia that has a number of single rooms with no single supplement.
Ellen Simpson, marketing manager of Caribtours, said: “Single travellers are encouraged and there are group tables where singles can join other singles for lunch and dinner.”
Janice Waugh, travel blogger and writer of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook, set up the Solo Traveler blog.
“When my husband died in 2006, a couple of years later I realised that I was definitely travelling on my own now,” she said.
“I looked at travelling options online and found it was very commercial - it seemed to be mostly trying to hook people up! I saw a need for a personal voice and personal experience, so I started my blog in 2009."
Here are her top tips for female solo travellers:
- Be patient - it takes a day or so to settle in to any new destination solo.
- Pack light so that you can manage all your things easily.
- Carry a day pack or a purse that crosses in front of your body. Hold both securely in front of you in crowded places like subways.
- Book your first night's accommodation at minimum and arrive well before dark so that you can make a change if you wish.
- Dress according to your destination. Go with at least two pairs of shoes that you know are comfortable for walking.
- Leave a note of where you're going in your room each day or evening and carry the card of your hotel with you so that you always find your way home easily - even if you can't tell the driver where it is in their own language.
Read our Traveller's Guide to Solo Adventures here.
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