Now that the days are getting shorter, it’s only natural that your thoughts start drifting towards tropical escapes. White sand beaches, swaying palm trees, sunsets over the ocean and colourful cocktails with the tiny umbrellas. Eventually it gets to a point where you’re convinced you need deserve a mid-winter island getaway. But if you’re a solo traveller – what are your options?
Sure you could book a resort stay on a Pacific island, but you’re probably going to be surrounded by honeymooners and families. And eating dinner on your own at the resort buffet gets pretty old when you have to do it night after night. There is another way though – group travel. It isn’t just coach tours or crazy adventures to countries that end in -stan or -ania. You can get group tours in places most people think of as ‘resort stays’. Places like Hawaii, southern Thailand, Bali and Lombok.
Intrepid’s Hawaii Discovery trip in particular has been a hit with solo travellers. “In 2015, over 80% of our travellers to Hawaii travelled on their own,” says Intrepid’s North America Destination Manager, Claire Baxter. This is well above the company average of 35%. “There’s so much to do on Hawaii, but between the inter-island flights, car hire and single accommodation in a resort, the costs can blow out really quickly. Plus activities like snorkelling, lazing on the beach or sipping cocktails just aren’t as fun on your own. I think that’s why single travellers are turning to us for their Hawaii escape.” On this trip, travellers actually get to leave the main resort strips and sail a yacht sunset, visit an active volcano, snorkel at night with manta rays, attend a traditional Hawaiian luau, and drive Maui’s spectacular Road to Hana.
Another great option for single travellers in search of a beach break is the Thailand Beaches trip. Starting in Bangkok, you take a bus and boat down to Ko Pha-Ngan, before heading to and Ko Samui. The relaxation begins with a seafood barbecue on the beach then a few hazy days filled with Thai massages, snorkelling, waterfalls, temples, sailing and cooking classes. “Doing a trip like this with a small group is a great way to experience Thailand’s islands,” says Andrea Dalton, Destination Manager for Thailand. “Not only do you have an instant group of friends to travel with, but by travelling with a local leader we can get you out of the resort and really experiencing some of Thailand’s culture – away from the tourist traps.”
If Thailand or Hawaii don’t float your boat, there’s always Bali (or its equally beautiful but less well-known neighbour ofLombok). “When most people think of Bali, they think of Kuta,” says Laura Farnell, Intrepid’s Indonesia Destination Manager. “But there is so much more to it than that. The bits many travellers never see. Of course it has the great beaches, warm weather and cheap prices, but there are also gorgeous little villages, a stunning volcanic landscape and hot springs, hidden waterfalls, and a peaceful lake temple. And we include plenty of beach time for those who want to just sit and soak up the sun.” For even more beach time, neighbouring Lombok’s Gili Islands are everything a tropical island should be – with the classic palm trees, white sand and crystal clear water filled with reefs, colourful fish and sea turtles.
Being single doesn’t have to mean putting your winter break on hold. There are still plenty of options for those needing to escape the short days and cold weather, especially if you don’t want to do it alone.