For the Independent Traveler
Maintaining intimate tour group sizes of no more than 10 people, exploring off-the-beaten path destinations and having the freedom to chase down unexpected experiences as they pop up along the road -- such is the philosophy behind Intrepid Travel tours, which attracts adventurous travelers seeking tours led by guides based out of Intrepid offices in 22 countries, as well as local travel operators in countries where Intrepid does not have offices.
Intrepid tours take travelers to far-flung destinations around the world; some of its most popular trips include Peru, Thailand, Kenya and Italy, with trips offered in a variety of tour styles, from budget-friendly "Basix" (1- to 2-star hotel accommodations) and standard "Original" tours (2- to 3-star accommodations), to "Comfort" level trips, which feature higher-end, 3- to 4-star accommodations.
Intrepid's flexible approach means solo travelers won't be forced to pay any sort of single supplement. Singles can opt to share a hotel room with another same-sex single traveler for no additional fee. Though the company warns that in some situations, like homestays, single rooms are not available, solo travelers who don't want to share a room can book a private room at an additional charge.
For the Budget-Conscious Traveler
Budget-conscious solo travelers would be wise to investigate Overseas Adventure Travel's offerings for singles, which include a number of money-saving deals to exotic destinations, including India, Botswana and Burma. Single travelers face no single supplements on any of OAT's Land Adventures (land-based tours with groups of 10 to 16 travelers) or Small Ship Adventures (boat tours of 16 to 25 travelers), all of which are led by certified guides who are residents of the region you'll be exploring.
OAT does not charge any single supplements on trip extensions of 4 to 9 nights, unlike some of its competitors. This advantage can save travelers hundreds or even thousands of dollars. OAT even offers a "Solo Traveler Challenge" -- the company is so certain it offers single travelers the lowest tour prices that it guarantees it will both meet that price and deduct $500 from the cost of your trip with OAT if you find a lower price on a comparable trip with another company.
OAT also features a Travel Companions program, which allows travelers to create a profile in a private online community: You can virtually meet fellow travelers with similar interests, allowing you to make friends with fellow travelers before you've even embarked on your adventure.
Hard-Core Trekking to Less Rigorous Journeys
For more than 20 years, G Adventures has offered all sorts of trips for solo travelers, from physically challenging tours, like a hard-core 10-day trekking adventure up Mont Blanc in Switzerland, to less physically demanding ones, such as a 22-day Mayan Adventure tour through Guatemala, Belize and Mexico, where you'll travel by bus, van and boat.
G Adventures tours are also best for solo travelers seeking the most authentic experience possible in a given destination; the company offers travelers a true local experience, from authentic accommodations (sleeping in a tented desert camp in Morocco), to using local transportation (4-by-4 vehicles in Africa) and having off-the-beaten path experiences, like touring orchards on foot in a rural agriturismo in Tuscany.
G Adventures does not charge any sort of single traveler supplement on its tours, though all accommodations in hotels are booked on a twin-share basis, where solo travelers are paired to share a room together. Meanwhile, solo travelers who wish to extend their tour by a few nights through one of the company's "independent extensions" will be charged a single supplement.
Solo Traveler-Specific Tour Dates
Exodus shows travelers some of the best ways to explore a city or region, whether it's via cycling along Croatia's Dalmatian Coast, taking small expedition ships through the world's polar regions or experiencing the northern lights from an igloo. Travelers in turn get to dive into a destination's culture, food and lifestyle in a unique way during tours led by local guides trained in Exodus's leader training program. The company designates one or 2 departure dates for a given tour as Solo Departures, which are recommended for clients traveling alone. This approach attracts a high number of solo travelers to tour together.
Dozens of itineraries are designated as Solo Departures (marked by an "S" on the company's website) and include trips such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, cycling through Vietnam, touring Peru's Inca Trail and the Amazon rainforest, and walking Italy's Amalfi Coast.
For the Well-Heeled Single Traveler
Iconic luxury travel outfitter Abercrombie & Kent offers small group travel, granting more intimate access to local culture. Solo travelers might be hesitant to book with a high-end company due to the higher costs, but Abercrombie & Kent grants generous discounts on single supplements for select departures on a variety of tours.
On more than 40 departures for trips to places such as China, Tanzania and Turkey, the company reduces a tour's single supplement by as much as 75% or waives the supplement entirely, which can save solo travelers hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Unlike some tour companies that place solo travelers with roommates, single travelers on Abercrombie & Kent tours will always be granted single accommodations at hotels throughout their itinerary.
Current itineraries with waived supplements include the popular 8-day Tanzania Wildlife Safari, where travelers view game by hot air balloon over the Serengeti and meet local Maasai villagers, and the 9-day Mount Kilimanjaro trek, where you hike up Africa's highest peak. Current tours with supplements that are reduced significantly -- up to 50% -- include the 15-day China: Yangtze Passage tour where travelers take a Yangtze River cruise, visit the Great Wall of China and Beijing; the 16-day Splendors of Egypt tour, which features a 10-night Nile cruise; and the 10-day Turkey: A Journey Through History tour, where you'll have VIP access to Hagia Sophia museum, Basilica Cistern and Topkapi Palace.