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Bucket list for single travellers

By Cathy Winston

For many single travellers, the first solo trip is often to see that one special destination you’ve dreamed of for years. And as well as discovering how fantastic travelling alone is, it’s usually the start of a lifelong adventure seeing the world solo. So if you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip, I’ve rounded up some of the best holiday ideas for singles to put on your solo bucket list.

The Taj MahalMachu PicchuAngkor Wat at sunrise

World wonders

There can be few travellers who don’t have one of the world’s great wonders on their bucket list – whether it’s the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the trek to Machu Picchu in Peru, the astonishing Great Wall of China or the eternally beautiful Taj Mahal.

With some great small group trips from travel specialists, they’re a great start if you’re new to solo travel as well – guaranteed company and you get to see something truly unforgettable.

Of course there are plenty of world wonders which aren’t man made. No trip to Australia would be complete without visiting Uluru – Intrepid Travel has various tours of the country, so you can stop off at Sydney Opera House as well.

Or to discover the destination in style, travel with an expert. Andante Travels has trips visiting everywhere from Stonehenge to Easter Island, plus the Mayan temples of South America, plus guides to help you discover the destination in depth.

Temple of AthenaSchwedagon Pagoda - Burma

Great cities

If it’s the world’s great cities you’d rather tick off your list, this is something which doesn’t need a vast budget. Bargain accommodation such as Hostelbookers and Trustedhousesitters.com means you could see some of Europe’s capitals on the cheap as well as venturing further afield.

You’re spoiled for choice within Europe alone – tick off Moscow and St Petersburg on a solos-only Majestic Russia tour from Cox & Kings, or if you’re over 50, Saga Holidays Magic of Andalucia tour explores cities from Granada to Seville, with its Moorish history and stunning architecture.

The same goes for America. Along with New York, how about heading to the West Coast to see both San Francisco and Los Angeles in a single holiday, such as the Western Discovery trip from American Sky.

Off the beaten track

Once the travel bug has bitten, it’s tempting to travel further and further off the beaten track – who can resist having a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to boast about or being among the first to visit a fascinating destination.

Burma has only been open to tourists for a few years, and this fascinating country remains very undiscovered – Insider Journeys Burma Revealed trip is a great starting point. Meanwhile, Cuba can’t remain in its unique bubble of frozen time forever: change is coming to the island, so sooner is better to see Havana, the colonial towns and experience that unmatchable atmosphere. Explore has a string of small group tours in Cuba.

If North and South America are hardly unexplored, Central America is still far less well-known with Journey Latin America offering trips to Nicaragua as well as a tour through six different Central American countries on the Alcion itinerary.

But you can head off the beaten track without heading half-way around the world. On the borders of Europe and Asia, Georgia and Armenia are still little explored – just one of the solos-only trips from Solo Travellers, along with fascinating Ethiopia.

Or saddle up with a riding holiday from Wild Frontiers, where you could gallop through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan or across the Mongolian steppe, as well as the world’s deserts and mountains.

Tropical paradise

There’s no reason a bucket list has to be even remotely active though. The thought of lying on a tropical beach, clear water washing against the shore is just as tempting – white sand, palm trees and turquoise waves might be a cliché, but it’s one we can’t get enough of.

The trick is deciding which beach takes your fancy. The scenery and snorkelling of the Maldives aren’t just for couples, or indulge in five-star style at the Coral Reef Club in Barbados.

The BodyHoliday in St Lucia is particularly good for solos as well, with all-inclusive pampering and activities to go with the beach. Or the wide range of facilities and low single supplement make the Breathless Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic very tempting.

If you’d prefer to mix your tropical paradise with a bit of exploring, Thailand has some stunning beaches to combine with temples, city and culture, not to mention wellness retreats such as Kamalaya on Koh Samui. The same goes for nearby Vietnam with its gorgeous coastline as well as fascinating Hanoi and beautiful Halong Bay.

Or Sri Lanka mixes stunning beaches, ancient cities and temples too: explore either as part of a tour, or from a beachfront hotel. Mercury has a string of hotels with no single supplement in Sri Lanka as well as winter sun breaks in Bali and Mauritius.

Safari

Whether you’re looking for the big five, the small five, or the sheer enjoyment of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat, a safari is an unforgettable holiday.

Often thought of as a trip that’s not for singles, there’s no reason solo travellers should miss out. Tucan Travel has a string of holidays in Africa including Kenya’s Masai Mara and the Serengeti.

Or go gorilla trekking in Uganda, venturing into the rainforest as part of a small group to search for these great apes.

For animal lovers, the classic safari isn’t the only way to complete your bucket list. Whale and dolphin watching holidays take place from countries on the doorstep in Europe to the oceans worldwide for an awe-inspiring and mesmerising sight of these creatures.

Naturetrek also has some great land-based animal spotting trips, including wolf tracking in Sweden.

Emperor Penguin

Natural wonders

It’s not only the wildlife which features among the world’s natural wonders. From the lowest points to the highest, the globe’s marvels are unmissable.

The USA adventure tours from Adventure Travel feature the Grand Canyon and Death Valley. And at the opposite end of the scale, there are mountains galore to climb: go walking in the Alps with mountain holidays for solos from Inghams.

Or Costa Rica has both rainforest and cloudforest plus a volcano, among other natural temptations.

Which only leaves the wonders of space: watching them from below, at least. The Northern Lights may not be guaranteed but if you’re lucky enough to spot those magical green swirls, it’s enthralling. Explore has a Northern Lights adventure, as well as options to discover Iceland’s dramatic landscape, while you could also head to Norway to search for the Northern Lights there with a singles-only trip from Solo Travellers.

With so much choice, the only difficulty is where to start.

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