Holiday happily as a single person

Being single doesn’t have to mean missing out on holidays. We explore some options for getting away from it all - by Catherine Francis

“One of the hardest things about being single is having no one to go on holiday with. I can’t imagine going away on my own, so I haven’t had a holiday for seven years.”

“Being single never stopped me enjoying great holidays – solo backpacking, small group adventures, tennis holidays with friends… Being single meant doing exactly what I wanted. As a bonus, I met my now-husband while travelling.”

“Going on holiday on your own can be really lonely, especially eating dinner alone. It can be a stark reminder of the partner and children you don’t have. It's usually more expensive, too.”

With summer approaching, thoughts turn to planning a much-needed break. But holidays are a sore spot for many single people – and not just because of the dreaded “single supplement”, where you end up paying almost as much for a room for one as you would for a couple.

For many of us, the prospect of going on holiday alone feels more like a punishment than a treat, so we end up not bothering. But it doesn’t have to be like that. For those of us without a partner or family, planning a break may involve some lateral thinking, but it also means we have the flexibility to do something different and enjoy the company of a wide variety of people. Here are a few options to consider…

Going solo

For some singles, going on holiday alone is nothing to be fazed by. We’ve all got at least one single friend who regularly sets off to explore far-flung corners of the globe, filling their Facebook page with exciting pictures from exotic locations. Travelling alone may seem intimidating, but if you’re the adventurous sort who enjoys your own company, don’t rule it out. Solo travellers often report making friends with other hotel guests or meeting others on the trail with whom they link up for parts of their journey. After you’ve done it once, you may realise it’s easier than you expect – but always follow safety precautions in unfamiliar places and cultures, and make sure someone knows where you are.

Married couples don’t always agree on what makes a good holiday, meaning both people end up frustrated and unsatisfied. In fact, some couples holiday separately for that reason. Singles are able to do exactly what they want, when they want. There’s freedom in being able to take off alone, explore locations you’ve always wanted to see and please no one but yourself.

“I sometimes go away with friends, but I’m also very happy travelling on my own. It means I can do exactly what I want, and there are always people willing to help you. I’ve recently been around Malaysia, and spent two weeks volunteering at a project in South Africa.” Rosa

“I love the luxury of having to suit only myself. If that means a deckchair and a good book all day with no interruptions, then I can do it without someone else saying they’re bored. I have a married friend who also enjoys going away on her own. I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t love it!” Laura

Group tours and package holidays

If heading off alone isn’t for you, there are many group holidays available. From exploring the Greek islands to trekking to Machu Picchu, there are packages to suit every taste. Some people go with friends, but there will always be other singles who are keen to make friends. So consider what adventures you’ve always dreamed of, and make them happen! Check out www.101holidays.co.uk/singles for ideas and inspiration. There are also several Christian holiday companies and social groups that offer trips for singles (see below).

“Group tours have been the best trips of my life – Australia and New Zealand; Thailand and Cambodia; and Israel, Egypt and Jordan. You’re on your own, but you’re not… there are other people to socialise with and I’ve made some great friends.” Callie

“I’m a serious cyclist, so every year I go on a group cycling trip. These have included tours across Scotland, Sweden and Cuba. The organisation is all done for me, I get some great cycling and I meet nice people.” Tom

Christian holiday companies

There are several companies that specialise in holidays for Christians. Some are designed specifically for singles; some flag up particular trips for solo travellers; and some are aimed at anyone but are often particularly attractive to singles. Trips for singles aren’t aimed at people trying to meet a partner (although you never know!), but rather those who find themselves without a travel companion. Even packages that aren’t specifically for singles are welcoming to solo travellers, and you’ll find a friendly bunch of like-minded people with whom to enjoy your trip. Check out the following companies (Single Friendly Church cannot endorse any company, so please do your research and decide what’s best for you):

Solo Trips Together: www.solotripstogether.com (aimed at solo travellers)

Richmond Holidays: www.richmond-holidays.com (several trips a year for solo travellers)

The Christian Holiday People: www.christianholidays.co.uk (UK holiday centres, with several breaks each year designed for singles)

Oak Hall: www.oakhall.co.uk

Gold Hill Holidays: www.goldhillholidays.co.uk

Christian Guild: www.christianguild.co.uk (mainly UK)

The following Christian social groups arrange occasional holidays for members:

Special Events: specialevents@live.co.uk

Harvesters Together: harvesters@blueyonder.co.uk

“I go skiing with Oak Hall every year. It saves on costs and organisation, and I’ve made quite a few friends – we now arrange to be on the same trips so we can catch up and ski together.” Russ

“A single friend and I went on several Oak Hall holidays in Europe. We had lots of fun and, on one trip, I met my now-husband.” Ruth

Palling up

If you have single friends, you could consider planning a holiday together. Whether it’s a short spa break, island hopping or a Christian festival, you can enjoy quality time together while reducing costs (for instance, by sharing a room). You can also do this with a married friend, with their spouse’s blessing.

Talking of married friends, couples and families are sometimes happy to include single friends when planning holidays, so don’t be afraid to float the idea with close friends. Meals and days out can be spent together, and when they head off for couple or family time, you can sink into a good book in peace. At Single Friendly Church, we’d like to see churches encouraging couples and families to think of their single friends when planning holidays.

“My friend and I recently spent a week in Finland. We had a fabulous time exploring, and even fitted in a day trip to Estonia. Very memorable!” Francesca

“I went on a cruise with my best friend and her husband, son and parents. I’ve known them all for over 20 years – they’re like family. It was lovely.” Sarah

Visiting friends and family

Most of us have friends or family around the UK and/or overseas who we don’t see as often as we’d like. Facebook, phone calls and Skype are all very well, but it’s not the same as seeing someone in person. Many singles use their holidays to visit those loved ones. It’s often a cheap break, too.

Most people have busy lives and responsibilities, so visits may have to be planned well in advance. If you’re concerned about taking up too much of your host’s time, you could take a “tour” of friends within reasonable distance of each other, staying a couple of days with each. If there isn’t room to stay in their home or you don’t want to impose, websites such as www.booking.com or www.trivago.co.uk are good for finding cheap deals at local hotels. This also allows you to retreat if they’re busy or you want time alone.

“My dad and his wife live in Germany, so I visit them at least one a year. I also have friends from university and church scattered around the UK, and I love visiting them.” Cathy

“My oldest mate lives 180 miles away. I’d rather visit him and his family than spend a week in Spain on my own. His wife indulges us having ‘bloke time’ at the pub or playing pool, and she gets a spa break with friends in return.” Ian

Church holidays

Churches are perfectly placed for a group getaway or annual holiday. Many churches take over a conference centre, holiday park or budget hotel for a week or weekend during an off-peak season to keep costs low. Others arrange group trips to events such as Spring Harvest or Greenbelt. This gives the congregation a chance to build deeper relationships. Perhaps you could suggest this to your church leaders?

If there’s no official church holiday, a group of members could still get together to hire a big villa or farmhouse, and couples, families and singles invited to book in. However, it’s important this doesn’t become an “exclusive club”, leading to people feeling left out, and try to be mindful of those on a low budget too.

“My church hires a Christian conference centre for a long weekend every autumn, and most of us attend. As a single mum on a low budget, this has become our annual family holiday. My kids and I love spending time with our church friends, and we’re closer to them as a result.” Maria

“About half my church goes to Greenbelt every year. We don’t spend the whole weekend together but we camp near each other and there’s lots of socialising and late-night chats in the beer tent. It’s like a church holiday with great music, stimulating debates and good ale!” Ken

 

With thanks to: Callie, Cathy, Francesca, Ian, Ken, Laura, Maria, Rosa, Russ, Ruth, Sarah and Tom.

Catherine Francis, 20 May 2017