Solo travel needn’t be all about swashbuckling and struggle and strife – it is simply a willingness to embrace freedom and travel with your eyes wide open.
Some of these 8 solo holiday ideas might pique your interest, and you never know who you might meet along the way...
1. Mindfulness in St Lucia
Being more mindful was perhaps on your list of resolutions for 2018? If you're guilty of living in your head rather than in the moment, the Bodyholiday in St Lucia has a Mindfulness Retreat to combat the constant need to strive. How could you even consider doing anything or contemplate anything other than the here and now when the Cariblue beach and rainforests are right on your doorstep? Clinical studies have demonstrated the mental health benefits of mindfulness. Couple that with spa treatments, communal dining and group activities, and you’ll be a Zen master in no time.
The Healthy Holiday Company (0208 968 0501; thehealthyholidaycompany.co.uk).
2. Thai fitness break
Kick-start a new fitness regime at the famous beachfront retreat Chiva-Som in Thailand. Resistance and TRX suspension training may not exactly be what one looks forward to on holiday but Chiva-Som’s personal trainers make the experience not just fun and motivating but also sustainable. You’ll come back home with a bespoke exercise plan that you can do on your own, well after your tan has lost its golden glow. It re-opens on November 1.
Healing Holidays (020 3372 6945; healingholidays.co.uk).
3. Chile road trip
Chile’s Carretera Austral is one of the world’s most iconic road trips. Completed in the early Eighties, this 770-mile route is an impressive work of road-building that has opened up this formerly impenetrable region of fjords, glaciers and rivers. Hiring a self-drive four-by-four is possibly the finest way to explore this stretch of South American wilderness, allowing you to wind your way as you please through Chile’s stunning lake district and its ancient forests with picture-perfect volcanoes in the distance. With plenty of gravel back roads and remote settlements to investigate, you will emerge after two weeks dusty and delirious with the pioneer spirit.
Journey Latin America (020 3131 7959; journeylatinamerica.co.uk).
4. Salsa in Cuba
A dance holiday based in Santiago de Cuba, the home of traditional Cuban music and dance. The trip includes 30 hours of intensive dance tuition over two weeks, and everyone is partnered with their own professional dance tutor. There are also accompanied nights out to a wide range of music clubs and dance venues, from the world famous Casa de la Trova in the city centre to small local clubs in other neighbourhoods. Santiago, on the south-east coast of Cuba, has a unique cultural heritage and a relaxed, tropical atmosphere.
Responsible Travel (01273 823700; responsibletravel.com).
5. Learn to dive in Zanzibar
The cold, dark seas of the UK don’t have quite the allure of white-sand beaches and a tropical sun when it comes to
learning to dive. Matemwe Lodge is on the north-eastern coast of Zanzibar’s main island adjacent to the Mnemba Atoll. The latter has the reputation of offering the finest diving in Zanzibar. You’ll spend your days completing the Professional Association of Diving Instructors’ expert training modules, while in the evening there are all the attractions of Stone Town (Freddie Mercury’s birthplace) and the rest of Zanzibar to explore.
Asilia Africa (00 27 21 418 0468; asiliaafrica.com).
6. Immerse yourself in a Greek Odyssey
Mainland Greece is steeped in history and architectural wonder, but if isolated beaches, dramatic coastlines and dinner with the locals is more your kind of thing, then you must head to the islands instead. Submerge yourself in a week-long swimming journey through the Greek Cyclades. Fuelled by dolmades, fried cheese and the catch of the day, you’ll island-hop from one quaint village to the next, exploring the sea caves of the Mediterranean along the way.
Swim Trek (01273 739713; swimtrek.com).
7. Pedal through alpine paradise
The lakes of the Swiss and Italian Alps are a playground for those willing to use pedal power to explore. Enjoy sunshine and fresh mountain air as you cruise past snow-capped mountains, grass covered hillsides and alpine flowers in full bloom. You’ll want to travel slowly here, stopping as often as possible for a dip in one of the pristine lakes or to indulge in the many varieties of local ice cream and chocolate.
Exodus (020 3811 5301; exodus.co.uk).
8. Mingle with singles in Japan
Don’t want to travel solo in a mixed group? Solos have launched Solos Group tours for 2018 that comprise only singles. Brand new is their 13-night Journey through Japan tour that starts amid the bright lights of Tokyo, visits the old Samurai castle of Matsumoto, includes walking a section of the Nakasendo Way – an old trading route that featured on the ITV series Joanna Lumley’s Japan – tea with a Geisha in Kyoto, and a ride on the Bullet Train.
Best of all, your luggage is always sent ahead to the next destination, so no struggling with suitcases.
Solos (0844 815 0005; solosholidays.co.uk).
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