5 Summer Vacation Ideas for Solo Travellers

Summer is prime time for solo travel. The days are long, the weather is fine and there are plenty of opportunities to score a discount on a hotel or an escorted tour (without the costs of the dreaded single supplement) if you know where to look. I’ve travelled solo  to more than 25 countries–experiencing everything from riding a motorbike through Hanoi’s Old Quarter in Vietnam to taking cooking classes in Guatemala–and here are a few of my top picks for summer solo travel:

1. Green Season Savings in Mexico and Costa Rica

Study with Yoga Sofia at Arte y Espiritu Puerto Escondido

Study with Yoga Sofia at Arte y Espiritu Puerto Escondido

They don’t call summer the “Green Season” in Mexico and Costa Rica simply because of the lush landscape. It’s also a prime time for scoring a deal on a hotel, as low season means prices are slashed. This means savings for solo travellers who can  take their pick from a wide range of accommodations  and commit to a longer-than-usual stay. Options for long stay vacations include yoga retreats ( try Yoga Sofia in Puerto Escondido) or surfing classes (the Cayuga Collection’s eco-lodges in Costa Rica offer “Stay 5 nights, Get one Free” deals). It’s also prime time for watching pro international surfing competitions in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Check out the size of the giant waves in summer:

Want to learn to surf in Puerto Escondido, Mexico? Check out these posts for ideas:

7 Reasons to Love Mazunte, Mexico 

Beginner’s Guide to Puerto Escondido

2. Learning Vacations

Antigua Guatemala is a popular destination to study Spanish

Antigua Guatemala is a popular destination to study Spanish

Why not spend your summer learning a new language? With its rich colonial past and strong Mayan heritage, Guatemala is home to more language schools than any other country in Central America, so it’s easy and affordable to learn some lingo in a one-on-one Spanish class. You can study 4 or even 7 hours a day starting at just $150 USD  a week (or less) at a language school in Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site or in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. Extra curricular activities such as salsa dancing classes, market tours or archeological excursions are usually included and are a fantastic opportunity to meet students of all ages. Accommodation options include a home stay with a Guatemalan family for around $125 USD a week or a long stay in one of the city’s beautiful colonial hotels.

Another unforgettable  Learning Vacation experience is to swim with beluga whales in Hudson Bay. Summer is when 5,000 or more white beluga whales migrate to the Churchill River Estuary to feed and birth their young so it’s possible to don a wet suit and observe them in the wild.  Learn about experiences studying Spanish in Guatemala, taking a writing retreat in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia or other escapes in these posts:

Study Spanish in Antigua, Guatemala

3 Budget Hotels You’ll Love in Antigua, Guatemala

Spanish Language and Culture Classes in Oaxaca City, Mexico 

Retreat in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia 

How to Choose a Summer Writers Workshop or Retreat  

Swimming with Beluga Whales in Churchill, Manitoba  – a Beluga Adventure by Wandering Carol

3. Get Cooking

Cooking class at Arte Culinario in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Make crab cakes at a cooking class at Arte Culinario in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Another fun vacation that’s ideal for solo travellers is a hands-on cooking class with a professional chef or local expert. I’ve taken cooking classes in Paris, Mexico, Vietnam, Italy, Guatemala and many other  international destinations and not only do you get to mingle with locals and learn about new ingredients  while shopping in outdoor markets but you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour.  Read about some of the cooking classes I’ve enjoyed here:

Cooking Class in Guatemala

Arte Culinario in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4. Volunteer Vacations

Sea Turtle Arribada in Oaxaca credit WildCoast

Sea Turtle Arribada in Oaxaca credit WildCoast

A vacation that gives back to the community you’re visiting is always a worthwhile option for solo travellers. Not only do they offer a chance to help those in need but participants can connect with local people, help preserve the environment and meet fellow volunteers. Through my volunteer assignments around the world — from Honduras to Russia — I’ve experienced countries in ways I could never have imagined and made friendships that will last a lifetime.  Read more about Volunteer Vacations here:

Why I’m Volunteering in Guatemala

4 Volunteer Vacations in Mexico – my story in Experience Transat

Volunteering in Honduras 

5. Escorted Tours and Cruises

Royal Clipper sailing off St Kitt's

The Star Clipper’s fleet of sailing ship often waives Single Supplements on select sailings

In response to growing demand from solo travellers, forward-thinking tour operators are increasing their selection of tours with no single supplement (an extra charge which can cost  50% more than the cost of a double-occupancy space). Insight Vacations often offers deals where solo travellers pay no Single Supplement or 75% off certain departures of their escorted luxury tours to Italy and Turkey. Tall ship sailing cruise line, Star Clippers is offering solo travellers a deal of NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT on select Mediterranean, Caribbean and Asia sailings in 2016 and 2017 on all three ships. I travelled solo on the Royal Clipper, sailing through the Caribbean on a five-masted tall ship and found the ship’s relaxed atmosphere to be very friendly to solo travellers. I especially appreciated the open seating at dinner as it meant I could choose to join a group or dine alone.

Walking tours such as Culinary Backstreets Istanbul are fantastic options for solo travellers

Walking tours such as Culinary Backstreets Istanbul are fantastic options for solo travellers

Looking ahead to fall, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises  is offering reduced single supplements on their luxury all-inclusive cruise The Splendors of Italy as well as waiving the single supplement on cruises in France and along the Danube.

Venice Italy

Experience Venice’s canals in all their beauty on a Uniworld Cruise

Walking tours are another excellent way for solo travellers to explore a city.  Eating Europe Food Tours offers fantastic culinary walking tours in Rome, London, Amsterdam and Prague. Not only will enjoy an insider’s look (and taste) of a city but you’ll  meet other travellers along the way. I participated in the tour, Culinary Backstreets of the Bazaar Quarter in Istanbul and not only was it was an incredible culinary experience — we began with breakfast in the Old Quarter, sampled wedding soup from Konya, shared platters of mezes, explored street food like kebab and pide —  but at $125 USD for six hours of touring, it was fantastic value.

3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in Rome

Sailing the Secret Caribbean on the Royal Clipper  – print feature in Fifty-five Plus magazine.

 GO VIP in Italy with Luxury Gold by Insight Vacations  – my review in TravelAge West

Feast for the Senses: A Uniworld Cruise of Venice 

 

Subscribe and Get 10% off Eating Europe Tours in 2016

Subscribe and Get 10% off Eating Europe Tours in 2016

 

Begin exploring! Subscribe to our FREE A Taste for Travel Newsletter and you’ll save 10% off Eating Europe culinary walking tours in 2016 (extended to 2017)

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Take a cooking class, learn some lingo or swim with beluga whales, check out these top ideas for summer vacations for solo travel. Photo Credit Frontiers North

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Showing 16 comments
  • Sue Reddel
    Reply

    Great ideas for the solo traveler and really any travelers. I love the cooking classes and learning adventures. It’s always fun to learn and experience something different when you travel to take you just a bit outside your comfort zone.

  • Janice Chung
    Reply

    I think those surfers make it look so easy (and I’m sure it’s not). Super ideas worth considering, particularly the ones where they reduce or don’t charge the single supplement. My only hesitation would be some of the Caribbean places in the summer…HOT! (granted, many people love the hot, hot, hot weather. Just not me!)

  • noel
    Reply

    Yeah those single supplements are not a fun thing to tack on, but these solo trips look amazing!

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply

    What great ideas! I would love to do them all in “green season.”

  • The GypsyNesters
    Reply

    These all look like fantastic ideas… for any traveler!

  • Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    Reply

    What great suggestions for going it alone! I would like to try that Yoga Sofia in Puerto Escondido one day. A place I can suggest that you and your readers might enjoy, is the Red Mountain Resort in Utah, http://travelswithcarole.blogspot.com/2012/08/where-to-stay-ivins-utah.html

  • Billie Frank
    Reply

    While I don’t travel solo- there are some great ideas here that we can apply to our own summer travel. Thanks!

  • Nancie
    Reply

    Hi Michelle! Great ideas. I love cooking classes and food tours.

    • Nancie
      Reply

      Apologies Michele! I spelled your name wrong.

  • Divya Mulanjur
    Reply

    Great ideas! I think some of these are great for romantic getaways too – like the cooking classes and cruises!

  • alison abbott
    Reply

    Great ideas Michele, I would love to take some cooking classes this summer and always feel like they are a great way to get to know a destination.

  • Voyager
    Reply

    All of these are great ideas for a really fulfilling vacation. Personally we would go for the Green Seasons Mexico or take a leisurely cruise and indulge ourselves a bit. Thanks for all these fab ideas.

  • Global Brunch
    Reply

    Love the idea of joining on a cooking class, especially when travelling solo. Seems like a great way to immerse yourself in local culture and meet like-minded people.

  • Brain - EatWorkTravel
    Reply

    Love taking cooking lessons while traveling! It’s one of our favorite ways to connect with the local culture and learn something to take home~

  • Anita
    Reply

    I love taking cooking lessons, but I would like to take a cruise someday! Great ideas, thanks for sharing!

  • Kim
    Reply

    I love solo travel! I haven’t thought of taking a cooking class while traveling solo. I would like to take on in Italy.

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