If you’re single, not in your twenties (or even thirties) anymore, looking for a holiday that suits your tastes, goals, and position in life, can be a frustrating thing… But it doesn’t have to be. With a little guidance, you can find yourself on an adventure or getaway that ticks all the boxes, brings all the right features, and immerses you in what you really want for your holiday – whether it’s adventure, intellectual stimulation, cultural expansion, romance, peace and quiet, or some combination of these.
Travel providers have realised the potential of this market – your market – and have developed some excellent packages and options which put the holiday of a lifetime right in front of you. And the best part is, you can take another holiday or a lifetime next year too!
Before you book your flights, or dial up your travel specialist, here are a few things to think about, a little guidance to get your imagination going, and help you begin to formulate what type of trip is right for you.
What to look for
What makes people happy on a holiday is going to vary from person to person, so the best way to ensure a great experience is to know what you want out of your time away, and make sure your chosen tour provides it.
Begin with accommodation.
When you’ve been out all day, travelling or sightseeing or having a good time with new friends, you’ll want to return to a haven. Your room should be the safest, most comfortable place on your trip. This foundation will help you to be rested, refreshed, and better able to enjoy all of the other aspects of the trip.
Look for a private room. You don’t want to share with a stranger. If you’re lucky, and you meet a friend or romantic interest and you want to spend every moment together, you can – but if you get stuck with chalk-and-cheese roommate situation, you will struggle to have a good time on the holiday, and you’ll not get your money’s worth.
Best to have a private space and choose who comes into it.
As well as privacy, you’ll want to be sure of a degree of security and comfort. Most hotels on tours will be fine, as your travel specialist will have vetted them – likely stayed in them at some point – and will know what places are good at each destination.
Find a trusted travel provider or tour company (a few good options are provided below), and you can rest easy, knowing that the quality of your room will not be in question.
That said, don’t be too shy to ask for details. This will be your home for the duration of your stay, and you need to be assured of its comfort and suitability.
People can pay as much as they want for a holiday – there really is no top limit – but there comes a point when returns diminish, and you’re paying for things you don’t need and won’t use. The key is to decide what kind of experience you want, and make that expectation clear to your travel specialist or tour operator.
For example, if you want to be pampered, have access to spas and fine dining, and the ability to retreat to a climate-controlled, elegant suite, then you will want to gravitate toward the more expensive tours.
If you are more of the rough-and-ready, salt of the earth type, then you may be more comfortable with a lower-priced tour with fewer amenities… keep that money in your pocket for more experiences along the way maybe.
In either case, expect to pay from £500 for a guided walking tour, to several thousand for all-inclusive international holidays, like luxury safaris, cruises, or cultural excursions into exotic locales.
Most tour operators will list tours with a full description of itinerary, but it is difficult to know the pace expected. A few of them rate tours as ‘intense’ or ‘relaxed,’ which is very helpful. In every case, your travel specialist or tour operator will be able to tell you, after a few questions usually, if a tour suits your particular style and ability.
Travel agents are better for advice than actual tour operators, as they don’t have as much incentive to sell you a particular tour, or to use a particular tour provider.
If you choose a type of tour that you think might challenge you, it’s always a good idea to prepare a little. Increase your exercise levels starting at least month or two before the trip. Make sure you are used to more daily activities than you might normally get. You’ll enjoy your holiday more if you have some energy left at the end of the day.
Whether you choose a solo-type tour, or travel as part of a group, depends on what you’re looking for. Travelling as part of a singles group doesn’t mean that you’ll be surrounded by people trying to find the next Mr or Mrs Right (although you might be). Singles tours, especially for more established individuals, are often attractive to people who want travel companions who are not limited by having to care for children, and who are free to act as individuals, without needed to divide attention between friends and a spouse or other partner.
Small groups can be beneficial, because you will get more direct attention from the guide, and they tend to be more flexible. Companionship, however, is more limited in these smaller groups. If you happen to meet a compatible friend or romantic partner in your small group, you’re in luck – but the smaller the group, the more chance there is that you don’t. More people, more chance of finding like-minded individuals to share experiences.
What to expect from your singles holiday
You may be a seasoned traveller, or this may be your first (of many, we hope) great adventure. You may be a long-time single, or newly on your own – and you may be good with that, or a little nervous about your new status in life.
Whatever the case, it helps to know a little about what to expect from embarking on a singles holiday.
Things will be different…
The whole point of travel is to see something different from your home. This means that food will be different, customs will be different, and you won’t be the social expert you are when on your own turf.
The best way to handle these kinds of differences is to be open to different kinds of learning. Be willing to try new foods – and maybe to find a new favourite. Be open to advice from trusted guides and locals; this can both keep you safe and open up opportunities and wonderful experiences that you otherwise would miss. Showing respect for the local culture will improve the quality of your holiday by decreasing potential risks and increasing pleasant experiences.
…But people will be people
Some of your co-travellers will be chilled out, self-sufficient, and content. For some, the destination is the point of the trip, and fellow travellers are pleasant company, nothing more. Others will be on the hunt, seeking a new partner and some romance on the trip. Still others will be somewhere between these two places.
The thing to remember is that people are people, whether on holiday or at home, and you should expect every type of motivation and intention that you might encounter in your non-holiday life.
These are people who have stepped out of the mundane. They have invested in an adventure of sorts, and done so (potentially) as part of a singles tour. In all likelihood they are open to meeting someone new and special. At the very least, they will be ‘open to being open.’
That’s a good thing to know, because it means that you get to just be a person too. Relax. Enjoy. Be you… and experience a new destination, new culture, and new people.
You are the architect of your experience
Your guide is there to make sure you are safe, that you get to your intended destinations with a minimal amount of trouble, and that you have a good time. As for potential romances and social behaviour, that is up to you.
The best way to approach it, even if you are seeking romance, is to focus on the holiday and destination, rather than on potential romance. If you catch a sparkle in someone’s eye, or they catch one in yours, things may take on different feel – but by keeping your focus and imagination primarily on the destination and culture, you don’t risk missing out on a great holiday experience because you were constantly distracted by those around you.
Adventure holidays for over 40’s
Cox & Kings
Cox & Kings are a top-tier travel company that provides both group tours and specialised individual itineraries. They specialise in adventure destinations and luxury accommodation and care.
Along with the usual packages for families and couples, they have a collection of tours designed specifically for the solo traveller, whether on your own or joining a group of other individuals.
Just You, as the name implies, specialises in the solo traveller. This doesn’t mean you’re alone, though. These are escorted holidays for singles, affording all of the safety and guidance of a group, but with the freedom for alone time, independent exploration, or interaction with other like-minded travellers.
You’ll have your own twin or double room, time to meet and greet fellow travellers, and a wide choice of destinations and experiences, across the globe, to choose from.
Exodus is an adventure travel company with over 500 itineraries in over 90 countries, so there is a very good chance they will have the adventure holiday you’re looking for.
They offer holidays specifically designed for those in their 30s and 40s, and rate them according to intensity levels of the activity involved. Exodus doesn’t designate an of these as ‘singles’ trips, though, so you may be in a group of mixed singles and couples, or even families, so it is best to check first if this is to your liking or not.
Mercury Holidays offers a variety of package deals and escorted holidays, from river cruises to walking tours or train trips. Destinations range from UK gems to more exotic locations like Sri Lanka, Laos, Russia and Botswana.
They provide a range of holidays with no ‘single supplement’ (which means you don’t have to pay extra to go as a single). These tours aren’t exclusive to singles, but as they tend to sell out rather quickly, there is a good chance there will be others singles along on the tour.
Intrepid focuses on smaller groups, and on tapping into the local flair and culture with local guides and access to lesser-known local gems. They offer a world-wide range of tours and destinations too, so you’ll have a wealth of choice in front of you.
Intrepid doesn’t currently offer exclusive singles-themed trips, but if you’re a single who isn’t necessarily looking to connect with other singles on a holiday, that won’t put you off. And who knows, if you are open to meeting another like-minded traveller, they may have the same idea as you.
Tours are a great way to experience exotic locales and new cultures, and a singles’ tour is an excellent way to meet new people in an exciting environment. Knowing what you want out of it, and what to expect from each type of tour is important.
Most of all, focus on the holiday itself – the destination and experience – and if you happen to meet a new great friend or romantic interest along the way? Well that’s just the icing on a very enjoyable cake.