And it's Friday, hurrah! And time for another top 5 list. This week I have been focusing on the topic of solo travel. Primarily female solo travel, but much of the content can apply to all.
For me though I often choose to set off on my own, I am not alone for long. I seem to find like-minded new friends most places. And I know this to be not just my experience. Regardless, setting off on your own can be daunting for some. And that is okay. Instead of staying home, there is the option of joining some sort of group travel experience. What can be off-putting when you begin to explore this option is the (duh duh duh) dreaded single supplement. Not only off-putting, but in many case it simply makes it unaffordable. Lucky for you all, I have put together this list! Following are my top 5 recommendations for tour operators that are a attractive option for all of us solo travelers:
Traveling with a tour company can give individual travelers the freedom to explore on their own, choosing a destination and itinerary that works for your taste, while also providing the security and kinship of a group.
5. Contiki - This one is for all you millennials! Contiki does group travel for 18 to 35 year olds, though typically ages range in early to mid twenties. You are pretty much guaranteed to make new friends. As soon as you have booked your tour you can log on to the message boards and meet fellow travelers. You have a choice of over 300 trips spanning 5 continents with a lot of flexibility and free time. Expect budget style accommodation and a lot of party action.
4. Norwegian Cruise Lines - Cruise lines have been slower to accommodate solo travelers. NCL led the way in launching the Epic in 2010 with 128 studio staterooms for singles and access to a dedicated lounge and bar to interact with other solo travelers. They have added two more ships, Breakaway and Pride of America since. The Studio cabins are priced at roughly 30 percent less than a double stateroom.
3. Wilderness Safaris - Definitely personal interest in this one as a safari is near the topic of my travel bucket list. Wilderness Safaris is billed as Africa's "foremost ecotourism operator," takeing guests to some of the continent's most remote locations while also helping to maintain its biodiversity. The company's 50 luxury camps are located in eight African countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Sign me up!
2. Classic Journeys - This company consistently wins awards including (foodies pay attention!) culinary awards from Saveur. To encourage solo travel, tours from Classic Journeys claim to have the lowest single supplements you’re likely to find anywhere. They only pass along the extra cost hotels charge them, instead of marking it up to make extra profit from you. The mark up is typically 15%. Wide range of destinations, active and local guides used. Bonus points for 5 star accommodations!
1. G Adventures - For those looking for more of an adventure travel experience, G Adventures treats single travelers to the same benefits as non-single travelers. There is no single supplement. Instead you will be partnered up with a same-sex roommate if one is available. Of course you can have your own room for a higher price. G Adventures has a multitude of choices as far as destinations and travel styles. Small groups, authentic experiences and local guides used.
The 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions study surveyed over 13,000 travelers from 25 different countries. They found that 24% of travelers traveled alone on their most recent leisure trip. That’s almost 10% more than in 2013. As the numbers continue to increase, more travel brands are paying attention. In the meantime we do have some great choices. If you have any personal solo travel experience with these or other travel companies, please share. I'm always super interested to hear other's travel experiences!
And of course get in touch if you're interested in learning more about these or other options, or are ready to book!Anywhere