As a single traveler on a budget, I have traveled internationally by myself as well as with various single travel groups. For the novice single traveler, you may wish to consider group travel as a gentle introduction to world travel. If you want to be part of a group of other single explorers, you can consider traveling with one of the groups listed below.
Travel Websites That I Have Used
I used them for a two-week land tour of Turkey in 2010. At the time, this company offered excellent value for the money. Since I do not like sharing accommodations, I opted to pay a single traveler supplement (single supplement). (Click here to find out why travel groups often charge single supplements.)
Unfortunately, the company has since merged with another company and prices appear to have increased. As a result, I have not used them since 2010.
This website offers the single traveler the options of cruises, weekend getaways, and the land tours. I took a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Caribbean cruise with this group in 2012. I have to admit, I had a blast. I booked a studio cabin in the adults-only studio lounge. There are no single supplements for studio cabins on the NCL Breakaway, Epic and Getaway ships. You pay more for an inside studio cabin as a single traveler versus sharing a cabin with someone else in the non-studio lounge area.
Advantages of NCL’s studio cabins
The three advantages of the studio lounge are: (1) it’s an area for adults only, so you need to have a special key to access the lounge; (2) there is usually a staff member who arranges events just for the single traveler group; and (3) there is a small kitchen area for snacks/breakfast where you can meet other single travelers. I would definitely use them again.
Travel Groups That I Have Not Used (but am seriously considering!)
(3) Vacations To Go
They often list cruises without a single supplement. You need to first register at the site, then select Single Discounts on the left. It will take you to a page where cruises are listed by destination and what – if any- single supplement you would have to pay. Furthermore, if you decide that you don’t want to travel alone, the company also has hosted singles tours, where you can enjoy the company of other singletons. I am considering taking their non-hosted cruise from London in late 2018.
(4) Intrepid Travel
People on Facebook travel groups rave about this company. Intrepid Travel apparently does not charge single travelers a supplement. I have not used them, but based on all the positive reviews by other travelers, I am certainly going to check them out!
The website looks interesting, and they offer an optional $45/yr membership fee if you want to connect with other women (important if you don’t mind sharing accommodations and cutting down on expenses). However, as I mentioned before, I do not like to share accommodations and find that their single supplements are pretty steep. For example, their Australia/New Zealand tour in Feb/Mar 2019, the single supplement is almost $2,000 more than if you shared accommodations. Consequently, I am not sure that traveling with this group fits into my budget.
Another interesting travel company and some folks on Facebook have used them. The price for the Discover Thailand trip has no supplements for the single traveler supplement and you can add international airfare. Unfortunately, not all the reviews for the Thailand tour were positive (see here). However, OAT had more positive reviews for its Heart of India tour. It seems like they might be a good travel company, as long as you read prior travelers’ reviews for the specific trip.
(7) On the Go Tours
Unfortunately, this website showed a very limited number of tours for the single traveler when I looked. However, some of the destinations intrigue me and the costs are reasonable.
(8) Friendly Planet
Prices are low and the single supplements are not outrageous. They have frequent departure dates and many good reviews. I may use them for my Thailand trip.
Educational trips, with some not having a single supplement! I’m considering taking the Lisbon trip early next year.
(10) Context Travel
Context Travel states it is a private/small group travel website for the intellectually curious. What I like about this tour group is that the tours are very specific and generally a few hours long. For example, if you are traveling to Montreal, but want to get an overview of the city first, you can select a 3-hour Introduction to Montreal tour. Hence, they may be a good fit for the traveler who doesn’t want to be tied to a tour group.
Honorable mention: I just got an email from Vantage Travel stating that they had a number of trips with NO single supplement. A 14-day trip to Ireland (without air) in April 2019 costs $4,799. (With air, I would be bumping up against my $6,000 budget.)
Certainly, there are other groups that cater to the single traveler. Check out Facebook and travel blogs. I will compile a list in the future of Facebook groups and blogs geared for the over-50 crowd.
If you are considering traveling solo or wandering the earth for an extended period, click here for resources that may be helpful. For travel insurance, check out Nomadic Matt’s article on this issue. He recommends World Nomads. If you are a senior/over 65, he recommends Insure My Trip. Additionally, there are benefits to having a credit card with travel benefits. I got an email from Ashley from U.S. News & World Reports with two guides to travel credit cards. One guide lists credit cards with NO foreign transaction fees. Another guide lists cards with good travel benefits.
Finally, I will be adding future articles on my travel experiences with travel groups and as an independent traveler. If you have experience with any of the travel groups listed or have any other companies you would recommend, please add a comment to the blog. I will update this site accordingly.