Striking out on your own needn’t be lonely or expensive. We round up group trips that increasingly cater for solo travellers and waive single premiums.
Sailing and socialising in the Mediterranean
Med Sailors runs skippered sailing holidays for 20- to 35-year-olds, many of whom travel solo. Everyone shares a bunkbed cabin with someone else of the same gender; each yacht sleeps eight and travels in a flotilla of up to eight boats, so there is plenty of socialising. The yachts island-hop around Greece, Turkey, Croatia, or Italy (and the Caribbean too), making ports of call at villages and historic sights. Guests can try watersports, such as wakeboarding, join in the weekly regatta and enter a fancy dress contest on the last night. Each boat has large sunbathing decks, snorkelling gear and paddle boards.
EcoTraining runs year-long courses for professional safari guides – but it also offers week-long tasters for nature lovers who want to experience life in the bush. The Wilderness Trails Skills course for adventurous travellers is great value, offering a stripped-back safari at a fraction of the usual cost. The setting is the Makuleke Concession, a remote part of the Kruger national park in South Africa, or the Mashatu game reserve in Botswana; sightings may include lions, leopards, elephants and rhinos. Guests walk up to 10km a day, carrying their own supplies, and learn to track animals, navigate, set up camp, make fires and leave no trace. Nights are spent wild camping under the stars.
Camino de Santiago, Spain
Solo travellers planning a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain won’t be short of company – 300,000 people completed the journey in 2017, an increase of nearly 200,000 in a decade. The Camino Francés is by far the most popular path, but the oldest route, the Camino Primitivo, is also good for lone pilgrims. The full 311km over the Cantabrian mountains is challenging, but the last 100km can be walked in a self-guided week with Camino Ways. Setting off from the walled town of Lugo, the first three days are spent following quiet Roman roads through forests and farmland. At lively Melide, the path merges with the Camino Francés, so the second half of the walk is more sociable.
Canyoning and hiking in Serbia
Much Better Adventures runs sociable and affordable long weekends to wild places in Europe and north Africa (plus a few lengthier trips further afield). This is a great option for time-poor travellers, filling one or two days off work with adventure. About 55% of customers are single, and there are lots of repeat bookings by people who struck up friendships on their first trip. One recently added options is a three-day canyoning and hiking trip to Serbia’s Valjevo mountains, with monastery visit and full-board riverside accommodation.
Painting and drawing in France
GoLearnTo has a huge range of holidays with no single supplements, including cooking, wellbeing, language, sport and creative pastime breaks. Its French painting holiday, based at a farmhouse with extensive gardens and two pools, is particularly good value, with at least 30 hours of tuition, pre-dinner champagne, all meals and a day on location at Penne d’Agenais, a medieval hilltop village. After lessons, guests can borrow bikes to cycle to the River Lot for wild swimming.