Think of a singles holiday and you’ll probably picture young kids getting off their faces and doing things they’ll later cringe at, or lonely middle-aged divorcees desperately looking for a new mate. But singles holidays are being reinvented for a sophisticated market, offering more thrills and glamour than ever before. And in the same way that internet dating has become normal, there is no longer a stigma attached to booking one.
Luxury breaks offering great food and smart hotels are being created by firms such as Fusion Escapes, a three-year-old specialist operator which founder, Rachel Harvey, says was launched “to fill the gaping hole in the travel market for single professionals used to the finer things in life”. The “old-fashioned” singles market, she said, seemed focused on low-budget – she wanted to add trips to hip hotels in sexy destinations that offered a “jet-set lifestyle”.
Fusion’s holidays have themes such as “gastro”, “active”,”nights”, and “R&R”, visit destinations such as Hvar, Santorini and New York, and are not, Harvey says, “hooking-up trips”. So, if you’re looking for luxury, visit their website at Fusion Escapes or phone them on 0845 519 2655.
Here’s our pick of some other great suggestions:
Leading specialist Just You offers a number of exotic options for touring holidays, with the ten-day Wonder Of China being one of its most popular. Alternatively, you could book a regular tour, but one on which single travellers do not incur a penalty on certain departure dates. For example, Voyages Jules Verne has a choice of tours which, on certain dates, have no single supplement. Destinations include Iceland and Cyprus.
Great Rail Journeys, the leading tour operator for these kinds of breaks, says about a quarter of customers on its upmarket holidays travel on their own. And the company offers five tours exclusively for solo travellers, with no single supplements to pay. The cheapest is a five-day trip to the Black Forest.
Shared physical challenges and hardships are a great way to bond and up to half of all customers with the main escorted adventure holiday companies are single. During these trips, solo travellers can usually share accommodation with members of the same sex and so avoid single supplements. This year, Explore is introducing trips to countries including Cuba, Thailand and Morocco specifically for people travelling on their own. The Adventure Company offers breaks exclusively for single travellers on two dozen tours, including a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. Exodus also has departure dates on popular tours aimed at travelling on their own.
City breaks are a great way to soak up the culture and top up on the shopping. But, being in a city without company is often not much fun in the evenings. Friendship Travel, which offers breaks for singles to Barcelona, Istanbul, Marrakech, Dublin and Dubrovnik, understands this. Guests choose what they want to do and how sociable they want to be, but at the same time there’s a trip host on hand to have dinner with if required. Solitair has more fully escorted breaks for singles to Barcelona, Istanbul and Marrakech.
Solo’s Holidays has a growing programme of golf holidays for singles, with advice clinics for beginners and options for players of all abilities. It offers breaks to courses in the UK, southern Spain, the Algarve and Turkey.
And, if you fancy a bit of apres ski and you’re a competent skier, Red Point has various ‘solo ski’ weeks. The breaks include guided skiing on most days. Single rooms and communal meals are available in a hotel in the Austrian resort of Fugen. For a choice of other ski holidays for singles, Solo’s Holidays and Ski Pals are both worth checking out.
Single parent breaks
A single mother or father travelling with children is usually hit by an under-occupancy supplement, as hotel prices are normally based on two adults sharing a room. Moreover, it can be lonely for single parents, particularly in the evening if their teenagers are out enjoying themselves. Small Families offers some tempting escorted group holidays for single-parent families including a Kenyan safari.
Friendship Travel recently started a new brand called Single Parent Holidays – its trip aboard a gulet in Turkey in August sounds fun.