The best thing about group tours for solo travellers is that they give you much of the autonomy you crave, while still providing opportunities to share unique experiences with others - but only when and if you choose.
Solo travel is booming right now - especially with the 50s and 60s crowd. But what if you’re not keen on striking out all by your lonesome? Whether you’re newly single or a recent empty nester, the first foray into globetrotting without a companion or friend in tow can be daunting. Joining a group tour is a chance to test the solo travelling waters, hone your itinerary-planning skills, pick up some great solo travel tips and build confidence in your trip savviness.
For many solo travellers, group tours, especially those that are tailor-made around certain interests, are appealing for their bespoke quality, as well as their measured approach to social interaction — they can appeal to many introvert-prone vagabonds.
Whether you’re a seasoned lone-wolf wanderer or a novice on your maiden voyage, I've selected the best group tours for solo travellers that I think are truly worth the cost, as well as those that specifically provide solo travel for women who otherwise might not choose to visit certain destinations alone.
The best group tours for solo travellers
1. Various Destinations Worldwide: Wild Women Expeditions
It’s no secret that more women than ever are travelling solo and loving it. Having said that, there’s no escaping the harsh reality that security is an issue to be addressed.
Founded by females, Wild Women Expeditions serves up small group tours with like-minded adventurers led by skilled, local guides in exotic locations all over the world. Trek into Jordon to marvel at the ruins of Petra, bike from the countryside to the coast in Tuscany, or join a penguin safari in Antarctica. As an independent explorer, these tours provide peace of mind with their built-in safety nets.
Along with the long list of itineraries, the company is more than happy to design custom tours for existing groups (all-women and mixed genders welcome).
Prices vary, depending on the type and duration of the excursion. Rates are based on double occupancy and are exclusive of airfare and transportation to and from the trip’s rendezvous point. Visit wildwomenexpeditions.com (opens in new tab) for more information.
2. British Virgin Islands: Island Windjammers Cruise
Kick-off your shoes and chill on one of the best cruises for solo travellers. There’s nothing fussy or formal about Island Windjammers' Pirates & Palms British Virgin Island cruise (opens in new tab) experience. Book a passage on the Vela — a 156-foot sailboat in the tradition of “tall ships” with beautiful teak decks that furnish voyagers with gobs of room to spread out.
After a long day of swimming, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, or sipping umbrella-capped cocktails on a sun lounger, get a good night’s sleep below deck in snug-to-spacious, air-conditioned cabins with private bathrooms.
Prices range from $2050 (£1670) for six-night sailings (cadet cabin) to $10,950 (£8923) for 12-nights in the Owner’s Deluxe suite. Rates are per cabin (double occupancy) and include meals, beverages (water, juice, soda, beer, wine, and rum punch), cabin service, port charges and taxes, and complimentary use of snorkel gear for the week. Visit islandwindjammers.com (opens in new tab) for more information.
3. Sixty Cities Across Six Continents: Context Travel
For curious sightseers who love to learn, walk in the footsteps of historical figures and discover a destination’s art, architecture, and traditions then Context Travel provides the best group tours for solo travellers.
Employing top MA and PhD level local experts from around the globe, the company offers scholarly private or small group tours in some of the most historic and cultural capitals of the world, including the best places to visit in Europe.
Prices depend on the length of tour (anywhere between 2 to 8 hours), destination, and whether you choose a private or group tour package. Gift cards can be purchased online and are redeemable for any of their tours in the cities they operate. Visit contexttravel.com (opens in new tab) for more information.
4. Baja, Mexico: Oceanic Society
Flying under the radar for years, Baja California is one of the precious few places left unspoilt by mass tourism, where biodiverse sea life continues to thrive.
Launched in 1969, the non-profit, conservation-conscience Oceanic Society’s Whale Sharks and Snorkelling in the Sea of Cortez (opens in new tab) small group tour takes you humpback whale watching and snorkelling in the turquoise waters off of Cabo Pulmo National Park, La Paz, and Espíritu Santo Island — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the evening, you’re free to discover the spicy nightlife of the Mexican region’s capital city.
The eight-day underwater expedition goes for $3,995 (£3253) per person, double occupancy with a single supplement costing $925 (£753) per person.
5. Napa Valley, California: Culinary Institute of America
Located in the famed California wine country — home of such gastronomic heavyweights as the Michelin-starred French Laundry in Yountville (opens in new tab) and Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford (opens in new tab) — the Napa Valley is where foodies go to for the ultimate vacation and there are group tours for solo travellers to cater for this crowd too.
Enlist with other burgeoning chefs at the Culinary Institute of America (opens in new tab)’s four-day Mediterranean cookery boot camp. The gourmand holiday provides hands-on instruction in Provencal French, Southern Italian, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, and North African cooking fundamentals and techniques during each day’s 5-hour session.
After class is dismissed, peel off and head to St. Helena to take a sunset wine-tasting tour at CIA’s Greystone campus, or drive an hour south across the Golden Gate Bridge to enjoy dinner at one of San Francisco’s legendary eateries.
Tuition starts at $1,950 (£1,585) and includes all chef-led instruction, uniform, end-of-session recipe review, and meals produced by the group during class.
6. Worldwide: Flash Pack Tours
Millennial travel enthusiast, Radha Vyas, was frustrated with friends who were too busy with work and family commitments to hit the road. So, she did what any 30-something dreamer would do: she teamed up with her co-founder to create a group tour company for people like them.
From long-haul trips to short European city breaks, Flash Pack Tours curate escapes that are part adventures and part luxury. Destinations include Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and the company are adding new locations all the time.
Visit flashpack.com (opens in new tab) for information on itineraries and pricing.
7. Africa: Eagle Eye Safaris
Eagle Eye Safaris’ small-group tours are led by award-winning wildlife photographers Ernest Porter and Karen Blackwood. Working closely with local rangers, guides, and trackers to ensure the best sightings possible, get outfitted with bush gear and a trusty camera and learn how to frame, light, and capture the movement of wildlife, habitats, and landscapes.
The all-inclusive safaris include full board (meals prepared by private chefs) and all activities. Equipment rental is extra.
Prices for four-, five-, and seven-day tours range between $1,465 (£1,797) and $5,200 (£4,240). From sweeping plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the vast Kenyan Masai Mara national reserve and the volcanic Greater Kruger in South Africa — there are a total of 24 once-in-a-lifetime African photo safaris on the calendar from summer 2022 through fall 2024. Visit eagleeyesafaris.com (opens in new tab) for more information.
8. Sacred Valley, Peru: International Yoga
Build a stronger connection to your body while nurturing your soul in this magical South American country that is home to some of the most spiritual places in the world. International Yoga’s 10-day retreat, Sacred Journey of Yoga and Culture in Peru (opens in new tab), encourages you to unplug and restore by focusing on mindfulness, and the lush and mystical surroundings.
Practice daily yoga and meditations before setting out with a local guide to learn about Peru’s rich culture, visiting the Inca citadel of Manchu Picchu one day and an alpaca farm the next. A highlight of the trip: attending a despacho fire ceremony with a local shaman. The transformational trip concludes in the vibrant city of Cusco, where you’ll dine on traditional Peruvian dishes and visit the city’s many historical sites and ruins.
Single occupancy: $5295 (£4315); double occupancy: $4295 (£3500). This amount encompasses accommodations, most meals, in-tour transfers, cultural excursions, private guides and drivers, and a donation to a local school. Visit internationalyoga.com (opens in new tab) for more information and to book.
9. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia: Macs Adventures
Arranging active holidays since 2003, Macs Adventures’ Founder and Chief Adventure Operator, Neal Lapping believes in the transformative power of adventurous and independent travel. Given that their tours are predominately self-guided, you have the flexibility to take the trip on your own or form a group with friends or family.
For something completely different, consider the Nova Scotia Hiking: Cape Breton Island (opens in new tab) tour. The seven-day/six-night trekking holiday sends you along the wild coastline of Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail past quaint Acadian villages. Along the route, spot moose, whales, and wildflowers and feast on fresh lobster, crab, and mussels plucked straight from the Gulf of St Lawrence.
The rate includes six nights in charming B&Bs, hand-picked turn-by-turn hiking routes, a navigation App, and 24/7 telephone support. The best time to visit is June to September and the tour is available between these months.
You take care of everything else. Prices start at €1250 (£1075) with hike and drive options available. Visit macsadventure.com (opens in new tab) for more information.
10. Silver Coast of Portugal: Diva Destinations
UK-based Diva Destinations (opens in new tab) brings LGBTQIA and non-binary women together on hosted group solo holidays. One such offering is to the Silver Coast of Portugal — a popular area on the European beach circuit between Porto and Lisbon. By securing exclusive use of a lesbian-owned and operated garden retreat/hotel, Diva Destinations guarantees a safe and supportive environment where members of the community can feel at home.
The week-long tour presents holidaymakers with three fun excursions (with plenty of time for laying by the pool or taking long walks on the beach).
Rates go from £1,326 to £1678 and cover accommodations, airport transfers, a welcome and farewell dinner, activities, and excursions. An optional wellness package (£200) adds five yoga classes and two massages during the stay. Visit divadestinations.co.uk (opens in new tab) for more information.
An American freelance travel, lifestyle and digital content writer based in a medieval hill town in Italy, Toni’s work has been featured in publications including The Telegraph, Fodor’s, Italy Magazine, Culture Trip, and Walks of Italy. Along with contributing to a series of DK Eyewitness guide books, she also covers the DIY beat for magazines that include The Family Handyman and Hunker.
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