Simon Calder: Delights of freedom of choice await the intrepid solo traveller

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The traveller making a journey alone should celebrate his or her good fortune, not berate the tour operators and hoteliers who have slipped way behind the times.

Travelling alone, which is how I spend much of my life, can prove much more rewarding than going with a companion. Every trip is a journey of discovery, of encounters, and of getting to know people (possibly including oneself).

Your experience will be more intense if your attention and conversation is not diverted. Single travellers are more open to serendipity. And you can guarantee there will be no arguments about whether to spend the afternoon at the Sagrada Familia or the beach.

There are plenty of options for travellers on their own.

* Don't whinge about swingeing single supplements; youth hostelling is the answer. The YHA offers convivial locations worldwide, and single-parent membership covers children.

* If you prefer a little luxury, family-run hotels in Europe offer much better deals to single guests.

* Adventure tours are best enjoyed as an individual; operators will arrange sharing with same-gender single travellers to cut costs.

* Dining alone is one of life's pleasures: you can pay more attention to the food and wine, and eavesdrop on all manner of conversations.

* Finally, a quirk of airlines' booking systems mean that flights can be cheaper, per person, if you book for one rather than two or more. And if there's only one place left on that heavily booked flight...