Lost City in Colombia
What could be more Indiana Jones-ish than a trek to a lost city in Colombia? This seven-day trip with no single supplement includes spectacular mountains, waterfalls, beachside towns, a dip in the Pool of Youth and the Ciudad Perdida (Lost City), which took the pre-Hispanic Tayrona people 200 years to construct and is 600 years older than Machu Picchu.
Details: A week costs £1,645, including international flights in and out of Bogota, domestic flights, transfers and most meals (020 7183 6371, traveltheunknown.com). Departures are all year round
Safaris for solos
Wild About Africa runs a number of adventurous small-group safari trips for solo travellers, visiting Namibia, Botswana or Zambia, staying at lodges and camps that incur either a very small single supplement or none at all. It is the safe, economical way to experience Africa, in the company of like-minded animal enthusiasts — with a good chance of seeing the big five.
Details: A 10-day camping trip taking in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park, Namibia’s Mahango Game Reserve, and the Victoria Falls, costs £908 (including a single supplement of just £24), with most meals, accommodation, transport and the services of a guide (020 8758 4717, wildaboutafrica.com). Dial-a-Flight (0844 8114444, dialaflight.com) has flights from Heathrow to Windhoek from £817
Take a guided hike up Biokovo mountain, canoe along the Vrljika River, cycle the Dalmatian coast and bird-spot in the Krka national park on Just You’s Active Croatia holiday. The company has a wide programme of group trips, from city breaks to remote adventures but, as with this one, all offer single occupancy in en suite rooms as standard.
Details: Seven nights’ half-board costs from £1,099, including most activities, flights and transfers (0844 273 4358, justyou.co.uk). Departures run from May to September
Rockies by rail
One of the ultimate train journeys, across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver — including the spectacular traversing of the Rockies, with its switchbacks and tunnels — comes single supplement-free. Bedrooms on the trains are designed to sleep two, but passengers are charged per person — if you book solo, you pay the same as a couple would per head, and get the room to yourself. Bridge & Wickers offers the 3,000 mile, four-day journey from Lake Ontario to the Pacific, which comes with all meals and a constant supply of hot drinks, snacks and twice daily hors d’oeuvres.
Details: Four days costs £1,999, including flights to Toronto and out of Vancouver; extra days can be added on a tailor-made basis (020 3411 0711, bridgeandwickers.co.uk)
Archaeology in Pompeii
Andante Travels specialises in small group archaeological and cultural explorations, and attracts a significant proportion of individual travellers. Its policy is only to pass on single supplements that hotels impose, rather than to add any mark-up, which means in some cases the extra charge for the single traveller is less than the industry norm. Its Pompeii, Herculaneum & Classical Campania tour, for example, attracts a supplement of about ten per cent, while its Albania trips’ supplement is 8 per cent.
Details: Eight days exploring Pompeii, Herculaneum & Classical Campania trip with expert guides costs £2,080, including flights to Naples, all transfers, all meals apart from a few lunches, and entry to all sites (01722 713800, andantetravels.co.uk). The next departure is in March
Culture in Istanbul
Voyages Jules Verne has a selection of trips for which it does not charge a single supplement for a limited number of bookings. These include tours to Tunisia, Jordan, Cyprus, Kenya, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India’s golden triangle, Iceland, Austria and Turkey as well as a trip on the Orient Express.
Details: Four nights exploring the Christian and Ottoman heritage of Istanbul, with guided visits to Little Hagia Sophia, the Seyh Suleyman and Blue Mosques, the Egyptian and Grand Bazaars, costs from £645 B&B, including flights, transfers and one rooftop dinner (020 3553 3722, vjv.com). The next Turkish Delights departure is on February 11
Yoga and surfing in Kerala
The 15-room Soul & Surf hotel in Kerala is dedicated to . . . well, you can guess. On a clifftop overlooking Golden Beach in Varkala, it has a daily yoga programme and its own surf school with ISA instructors (neither of which is compulsory — reading on the beach is also popular). It doesn’t charge a single supplement and, although rooms are clean and simple rather than deluxe, it offers incredible value.
Details: Seven nights in a Quite Nice Room costs from £189pp B&B, including daily surf guiding and use of yoga mats; classes cost £4.50 (soulandsurf.com). Flights cost extra. Fly to Trivandrum with Skyscanner (skyscanner.net) from £410pp. The hotel can arrange airport pick-up/transfer for £16 each way
Wellness stay in Ibiza
The Healthy Holiday Company doesn’t cut single supplements, but it does aim to make them (like its customers) as lean as possible. It has a wide variety of trips, including six nights at Aguas de Ibiza “wellness hotel”, showing another side of the party island, with fitness classes, yoga, slimming treatments/tips, kickboxing, beach runs etc.
Details: Six nights’ half-board costs from £1,655 for singles, just £75 more than the price for two sharing, including all fitness classes and one lesson/activity each day (020 8968 0501,thehealthyholidaycompany.co.uk). Transfers are included, but not flights. This is available from April to the end of September
Cookery in Greece
Go Learn To specialises in activity holidays with an element of tuition — for example, photography, cookery and painting courses. It isn’t for solos-only, but some of its trips are dedicated to singles departures, which means no single supplement for a private room (apart from July to August). In cookery, you can choose from lessons in Italy, France, Spain or Greece.
Details: A seven-night Greek Cooking Holiday on Poros costs from £1,046 in April/May, including most meals, four sessions of tuition in Greek cookery, visits to an olive farm and fish market, and airport transfers (0845 6250445, golearnto.com). Flights cost extra
One Traveller specialises in the “mature single traveller”, generally the over-fifties, and has group holidays spanning the globe, from Krakow to the River Kwai. It uses hotels that do not charge extra for single occupancy of a double room. One of its most popular options is Tuscany, which concentrates on the region’s food and wine, with tastings of both wine and chocolate, a cookery demonstration in Lucca, as well as visiting Pisa, Florence and Siena.
Details: The nine-day “Tuscany — Tastes & Scenes” tour costs from £1,840pp in April including most meals, excursions/visits, flights and transfers (01760 722011, onetraveller.co.uk)
Cruise the Caribbean
Cruises often attract massive single-occupancy supplements for the best cabins, but often these are waived as the sailing date approaches if the ship isn’t full. It really does pay to wait, because dedicated single cabins are often located in the poorest part of the ship. However, Solitair, a singles company, does offer a guaranteed no-supplement for its Caribbean sailings on the MSC Divina out of Miami, calling at St Maarten, Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Details: 16 days’ full board costs from £2,549 (drinks are extra), for a departure on March 12 including flights to Miami from Heathrow (0844 4144010, solitairhols.co.uk). This must be booked 12 weeks in advance
Gulet cruise in Turkey
Let someone else take care of the cooking (and the shopping and the sailing) and concentrate on eating and drinking on solo specialist Friendship Travel’s gulet cruising holidays from Fethiye, Marmaris and Bodrum. It’s a bit of a floating house-party atmosphere, where the crew do all the food prep, cooking and serving, and the passengers indulge themselves — each gulet has a sunbed area in the bow, shaded seating and an indoor lounge/bar. All guests have sole occupancy of an en suite cabin.
Details: A week costs from £865 full board, including flights from Gatwick, transfers (0844 8002770, friendshiptravel.com). The next departure is May 23
Solos taster weekends
Solos Holidays, as the name suggests, specialises in trips for single travellers, from short-break city tours to 11-day adventures in Burma. However, it also has “taster” weekends for those who aren’t sure that travelling alone is for them, allowing clients to get the feel of the company before they lay out, say, £5,000 on that trip to Alaska. These “Discover Solos” weekends run in March and April.
Details: Three days, two nights at the four-star Meon Valley Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Hampshire beginning on March 18 costs £319, half-board, with a half bottle of wine with dinner each evening, various social activities and tours (0844 3718860,solosholidays.co.uk)
Sri Lanka highlights
Exodus’s Solo Departures is a selection of its trips specifically recommended for those travelling alone who wish to avoid being surrounded by couples. There’s a supplement for single rooms, but you can choose to pair up with a same-sex, same-age fellow traveller to keep costs down. Trips range from walking, cycling, skiing, adventure and cultural — its Sri Lanka trip takes in all aspects of this amazingly varied island — ancient Buddhist temples, the fortress of Sigiriya, the towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya in the hill country, the wildlife of Yala National Park, and spectacular Indian Ocean beaches of the south coast.
Details: Sixteen days’ B&B is from £2,049 sharing, including flights from Heathrow departing on January 30 and all transfers (0845 2873647, exodus.co.uk)
Nature lovers’ Scotland
Head off to the Outer Hebrides on a week-long trip organised by The Travelling Naturalist, which offers some breaks without single supplements. Stephen Duffield, an experienced wildlife guide, will take small groups of about eight people to see golden eagles, corn crake and breeding waders, taking in lochs, crofts and grassy plains covered in red and white clover along the way.
Details: Six nights’ full-board at a two-star hotel with guided tours and transfers, starting and finishing at Oban, costs from £1,255 in June (01305 267994, thetravellingnaturalist.com)