For the last 10 years, we've been working hard to find and deliver to you the best tours for solo travelers. Why? Well, there are many reasons. But, bottom line, because tours are great for solo travelers.
That's what we'll get into here. Why take a tour?
First, I want to briefly address the two sides of solo travel. You can travel solo independently and you can travel solo in a group.
Hmm. Alone or in a group. How can they both be solo travel?
This is how I look at it.
If you set out without a companion, you are traveling solo. Go independently and it is very obvious. But even on a tour, without a companion, you arrive without the social support that you enjoy on a daily basis. You're challenged to meet new people and you don't know what opportunities those meetings may create.
Even more important, there is no one along who has expectations of you. There is no one to define you. You can be who you are when no one is looking.
There are many reasons to take an organized tour as a solo traveler. Sometimes, a tour is the best way to go solo. In addition to the reasons below, you may also want to read How to Choose a Tour: Top Tips for Solo Travelers.
Why Take a Tour as a Solo Traveler: 10 Reasons
When I was 15 I took a cycling tour to England and Wales. It was perfect for my skill level, which was zilch. Other than road trips with my family, I had not traveled before. I had never been on a plane or stayed in a hotel. There was so much I didn't know. Youth and lack of experience are just two of the many reasons tours are great for solo travelers.
Here's when an organized tour really makes sense for solo travelers.
- When you are too young to set out independently, take a tour. The cycling trip I took at 15 is one I will never forget. Seeing London for the first time, learning how a hostel works, how to live with a dozen or so other kids my age with only some adult supervision, and how to read a map so we didn't get lost: these memories are still with me. There was so much learning on this trip but I was definitely too young to do it on my own. You can read about how my mother inspired this trip at the end of this post.
- When you have never traveled before. Yes, there are many things to learn when you take your first solo trip. This is especially true if you have not traveled with a partner before either. There is a lot that can be learned by being patient with yourself and observing carefully how things work but a tour, an organized trip with a guide, can really take the pressure off and introduce you gently to the world of travel.
- If you're going to a destination that really stretches your limits. For some people, Europe, regardless of the language, is easy. A trip or two and your confidence soars. But if you are going to a country that is not familiar, where the language does not have anything in common with your own, a solo tour will really help you go with confidence. For me, China was a destination that I was happy to take with a tour.
- When you want an introduction to a country. You may be stretching yourself but also feel quite capable. Maybe there's just a little apprehension. In this case, a tour of a few days will help you figure out how the destination works. After you get the lay of the land thanks to your guide, you'll be ready to take the rest of your trip on your own.
- When you've been traveling for a long time and really need a break. The longest trip I've taken was 10 months and, to be sure, it is a different kind of travel. You have to go more slowly. The pace of a 10 day trip cannot be maintained for 10 months. Traveling solo for a long period can be tiring. Taking a tour and turning over the reins to someone else for a while can be a relief and the rest you need.
- When you have limited time to plan. A tour company takes care of all the details for you so that you can still travel even if you can't put the trip together yourself.
- When you want to cover a lot of territory in a short amount of time. The logistics of travel can take a long time, such as figuring out the local transit system or the train schedule from one city to another. Tour leaders are experts in logistics. They move their travelers from one place to the next efficiently which means that you can see more in less time.
- When you want to go places that the general public can't access easily. Tour companies will sometimes make arrangements for early entry to some of the most popular sights. If you have a very specific wish-list for your trip, you may want to find an organized tour that can fulfil it.
- When what you really want is an interesting vacation. You want it interesting and you want it relaxing. Let an experienced guide take over and handle all the pesky details for you. Take a tour when you want to see a new country but also need a vacation.
- When you want the expertise of other travelers. There have been many situations on tours I've taken where the tour guide did not have an answer to a question but one of the people on the trip did. Whether they be a farmer or lawyer, a stay-at-home parent or an activist, people go on a trip with knowledge to be shared.
How to Find a Solo Group Tour
To help you find a great solo group tour, one without a prohibitive single supplement, Solo Traveler updates a list of 20-25 companies offering 4-5 tours every month. We believe it is the only such vetted list on the Internet.