The world is your oyster. That is if you’ve ever taken the time to explore it properly. For our readers here at Retirement Expert, your senior years may be the first chance you’ve had to travel freely since retiring or even cashing in any equity release.
While there are lots of ways to travel these days, travelling alone is cited as one of the best ways to cleanse the soul. It also gives you the freedom to curate a trip that factors in everything you want to see and do, rather than having to consider anyone else. For those who may be feeling lonely in their senior years, travelling also gives you the opportunity to meet new people while seeing some incredible sights.
Of course, travelling without a spouse, family or friends can feel daunting, especially for those who have never travelled alone before. However, by opting for a solo tour operator, all of these potential challenges you may experience have been considered to ensure you have the best possible trip.
For those in search of a solo escape, here are some of the UK’s best solo tour travel operators to consider booking with.
What To Consider Before Booking A Solo Holiday
Activity level – Solo tours can either involve remaining mostly seated or may require you to have a high level of physical fitness. Check the itinerary and consider any medical conditions you have before booking, to ensure the trip is suitable, and that you won’t have to miss out on anything you’ve paid for. Plus to ensure you’ll thoroughly enjoy your trip.
Budget – Typically, solo tours start at around the £600 mark for UK breaks, though they can cost upwards of £20,000 for the longer luxury breaks. Consider what you would be comfortable spending, bearing in mind you’ll also require additional spending money and other extras as part of your trip.
Company reputation – Never book a holiday without checking the reputation of the company first, including any industry accreditations the company has. Sometimes what may seem like a good deal is anything but if there are unexpected charges or hidden small print.
Covid vaccinations – Many destinations now require proof of at least two Covid-19 vaccinations. Depending on your vaccination status, this may prevent you from travelling to certain destinations so always check before you book.
Holiday type – There are endless holiday types to explore, so be sure to do your research.
Support – Ask if the solo tour operator has customer support you can contact prior to and during your trip so that you’re never left stressed or stuck.
True solo travel or the opportunity to make friends? – It’s possible to book a solo travel tour that is true to the word, or one where you can travel as a solo traveller but as part of a small group, so have a think about what you’d prefer.
Travel insurance – Ensure you have travel insurance before you head off on your adventure. Keep in mind your insurer may not cover certain types of conditions or activities.
Kicking the list off is Black Tomato, who dub themselves the ‘luxury travel experts’. Black Tomato was also voted the best travel specialist in the 2021 Condé Nast Traveller awards.
Black Tomato specialise in various holiday types, including solo tours. Though, for your peace of mind, you’ll have access to partner companies on the ground, as well as local guides and a 24/7 customer support line. Therefore, Black Tomato offers the best of both worlds, in that you can enjoy some alone time but won’t be completely isolated should you need any help, or even want to join in with any local group activities.
To book a Black Tomato solo tour you have to fill out your information and submit an enquiry. The company will then get back to you with a list of suitable options, based on your budget and travel preferences.
Speaking of budget, as a luxury travel operator holidays with Black Tomato are award-winning but do come at a premium. As part of your enquiry, you’ll be required to drag a budget slider that runs between £3,000 and £20,000.
Exodus Travels claim 50% of its travellers opt for solo tours, making them extremely experienced operators in the field.
The company is a solo travel tour operator in the traditional sense of the word, in that they curate every aspect of the experience from the destination to the hotel. Travellers can then select the type of trip they’d like, the destination, duration and price point.
When we checked, there were 580 different solo tours available. These range from a six-day walking tour of Hadrian’s Wall costing £519, up to an incredible 23-day adventure exploring Antarctica starting at £26,100. Therefore, there really is something for all budgets and indeed holiday types with Exodus Travels. In particular, they are the best option for those who crave adventure or exploration rather than a typical beach holiday.
With all Exodus Travels tours, you can opt to be placed in a room with someone of the same gender, or you can pay a little extra for a room by yourself.
Technically, Expedia isn’t a solo tour travel operator, but when it comes to booking travel online, they are one of the most trusted platforms in existence and also benefits from being ATOL-protected.
What we particularly appreciate is that Expedia has UK customer support, which is reachable through the website or the app allowing you to chat or speak with an agent directly should you need any help. This makes it far less likely you’ll encounter any issues when booking or while on your trip.
It’s possible to book holidays in every part of the globe through Expedia, with reward points available if you sign up for an account, which will give you extremely lucrative discounts on any future trips.
To access solo holidays through Expedia, simply go to the homepage, type in your destination and select one traveller, as the booking form is set to two travellers by default. Selecting ‘packages’ will combine any flights and hotels in one, which will save you considerable money versus booking each separately. Hop over to the ‘things to do’ tab to select activities to fill your itinerary in your chosen location.
Boasting an incredibly wide range of holiday types including active tours, marine tours, rail adventures and wellness retreats, G Adventures offers solo tours in the form of small group travel booked on a solo basis.
With tours including everything from Everest Base Camp to a cruise around the Maldives, there’s something to inspire all generations with G Adventures. There are even local living tours, which as the name suggests allow you to experience what it would be like to live in a different destination as guided by local residents.
So if you’re wanting to step away from your everyday life, but aren’t sure what type of tour you want to opt for, G Adventures offers plenty of inspiration. Unlike other solo tour operators, there isn’t the option to keep things completely solo. Instead, the tours are geared towards solo travellers coming together to make friends, which may suit some travellers more than remaining completely alone for the whole trip.
With holidays created with the mature solo traveller in mind, One Traveller is a great pick for any of our Retirement Expert readers. Unlike other operators on our list, they even offer a brochure so you can consider which holiday to choose over a nice cup of tea at home, just like the good old days of high street travel agents.
As for the types of holidays One Traveller offers, well the list is endless. From UK breaks to York including a visit to the famous Betty’s tea rooms, to exploring The Black Forest in Germany, your itinerary is carefully considered from start to finish.
What we particularly appreciate is that One Traveller has a section on their website for those new to solo travelling. Here you’ll find answers to any questions you may have to help alleviate any worries, and also help you choose the best trip for your needs.
Price wise, One Traveller solo tours range from around the £1,000 mark upwards including for UK breaks, which make them slightly expensive. That said, they do offer fantastic accommodation and excursions throughout meaning all you have to do is turn up.
For those who want more of a relaxing break, One Traveller perfectly aligns with your needs as all the thoughts and planning have been taken care of for you.
Retirement Expert – Travel Advice For Seniors UK
We hope that wherever you plan on traveling, our guide to solo tour travel operators has inspired you to book that trip of a lifetime.
Some of the main things to consider are the type of holiday that would best suit your needs in terms of activity types, required fitness level, or the potential to meet other people, depending on your preferences.
Luckily, whether you want to remain seated while the world passes you by on a tour bus or cruise ship, or if you want to go on a real expedition, there’s something to suit everyone with solo tours.
For any senior solo travellers, be sure to check out our travel and adventure articles, where you’ll find our top tricks and advice on staying safe while travelling, not to mention how to make the most out of your trip. As well as bookmarking our site, you can also keep up to date with us via Facebook or Twitter.