Picking Solo/Singles Trips: As a female solo traveler, I have journeyed through Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. I have often connected with a few days river cruise or local tour. I have frequently been the only solo traveler. Fortunately having traveled for work enough, I am comfortable eating alone in a restaurant. However, when I joined a Yangtze River cruise, I was in for a real twist. I called it the “Standup Buffet”. Just like a crowded cocktail party, there was no place to sit! There were plenty of tables so how was that possible? As I made by way to tables set for even numbers, many seats were saved. If I went to sit down, inevitably someone would say: “That’s my husband’s, wife’s, son’s or daughter’s. My guide was no help. One of the last days of the cruise, I had a great idea. I spoke privately with the hostess in the dining room. I asked if 2-3 tables in the front could have 7 or 9 places set not an even number. It worked like a charm! There was now room for a solo traveler. This is but one of the issues from traveling alone.
One alternative is to go on a solo or singles tour or cruise. They may not be 100% individual travelers but make up a group within a large tour or cruise ship. At least, it is one way to have a team when you need them for meals or sightseeing but some time alone, too.
Picking Solo/Singles Trips: How to Choose:
2. By activity level/destination? Is your goal to relax and have a spa trick? Rock-climbing or hang gliding would be your idea of fun? One challenge about joining a group is that you may not be able to get free time or opt out at will from set tours. So take a good look at the number of excursions each day. Age does not always determine how a group will divide up for more strenuous activities on the tour. On a recent tour I joined two seniors who were great fans at home of taking fifty mile bike rides. (I hesitated to mention how my daily rides were on a stationery bike in my health club.)
3. Faith-Based: Do you want to connect with singles of your own faith? This comes up especially in singles tours that have a large focus on finding a dating relationship or “significant other”. It can be of interest in tours to well-known religious sites from the Vatican to Jerusalem and Spain’s Camino de Santiago.
4. Community: Are you looking to vacation with a specific community? There are many tours offered globally ranging from LGBT travel to special interests in the arts or sports-focused from skiing to golf.
5. Singles v. Solos: Women-only tours have been popular. However, solos and singles tours are another alternative to meet like-minded travelers. Note that “singles” versus solos trips and cruises often focus on dating/making social connections. Solo tours and cruises will skip that implied pressure for “matching”. As a result, they are likely to attract a wide variety of tourists interested in a particular destination or subject rather than being social.
6. Budget-Levels/Life Styles: These are not exactly the same. Everyone might pay the same for a tour base price. However, there can be add-on’s before or after the tour, itself and special excursions that add to the daily price. If you find on “free evenings” that your travel mates want a lavish night out each time, you can feel like the odd man out. Cruises that include upgraded cabins or state rooms create another issue if activities or dining hours are by deck assignments. On one small adventure on a small boat, I was surprised to see that my solo cabin had bunk beds! I didn’t know ahead of time so I couldn’t ask that they be swapped out. I was too tall to read in the top bunk without hitting my head. Lying down in the bottom bunk was too dark to read. My only option was to sit on the floor of the cabin if I wanted to read before bed.
7. Destinations: Think about how you picked this trip. Was the destination your real interest? For example, are you planning to join a river cruise through France to see the historic sights of Normandy? Are you a “Foodie” and really looking to enjoy a special culinary and wine cruise? The challenge is that if you want to explore a set geographic area, be sure this singles’ trip gives you the time to follow your own interests so you won’t miss anything!
8. Trip Length: This is very important in case things don’t go well. Think about if everyone else “makes a match. Will you feel like the proverbial “third wheel”? If this is your first singles trip, I recommend two things. First, limit it to one week. Secondly, plan your own extra solo travel time before or afterwards. That way, you can still have a great holiday.
To connect with ninety-three different tour/cruise operators offering solo/singles trips, go to our free search tool, the Solo Travel Pricing Tracker. For other solo travel tips, see our Blogs on top destinations for the holidays and year-round.
For cruises/tours with no single supplement, see our special reviews of:
Uncruise Adventures, Small Ships, Big Adventures