Escorted coach touring is a great way to see many places on one trip; all the transport is taken care of for you, travelling is largely stress free.
But single travellers are sometimes put off this type of holiday, not wanting to share a room with someone they don't know, or not able to pay a hefty single supplement for the use of a double room. But with the number of single travellers increasing, many of the tour companies are coming up with more options for those setting off on their own.
Globus started coach tours in southern Switzerland nearly 90 years ago and it's one of the biggest companies in the world with Cosmos Tours, Avalon Waterways and the "go-it-your- own-way" group Monograms all under its umbrella.
And its line on single travellers is very much traditional; prices are based on double occupancy with single supplements and triple room reductions, that is three people sharing, listed where available.
As an indication, July departures of Globus' 15-day La France tour round trip from Paris have a single supplement of $1331 bringing the price to $5620. There are occasional single supplement waiver specials.
On the other hand, The Travel Corporation is the parent organisation of a clutch of companies which keep the single traveller very much in mind, although the specifics vary slightly between each.
Insight Vacations will suit single travellers who don't mind sharing. The company has more than 40 escorted tours throughout Europe, the Middle East, North America, India and Nepal, with group sizes of no more than 40, and pledges to pair solo travellers with another of the same sex to avoid imposing a single supplement.
If a suitable match can't be found, Insight will provide a single room at no extra cost. Insight claims this can equal savings of up to $1100 per person but it doesn't apply to packages that include a cruise, short "city breaks" and some Middle East itineraries.
Sister company Trafalgar Tours is one of the world's largest travel companies and shares this "guaranteed room share" policy on the majority of its itineraries which span the globe from Europe and North and South America to Asia. But if a suitable partner can't be found a single room will be provided.
If the traveller wishes to stay alone, there are reduced single supplements available on a limited number of rooms. The nine-day Splendours of Japan itinerary is an example.
This easy-paced journey from Tokyo to Osaka includes visits to castles, temples and Mt Fuji, most meals and all accommodation and costs from $4625 for an October departure with a single supplement that's less than 20 per cent of the price at $840.
From Alice Springs to Auckland, Hobart to Hawke's Bay, AAT Kings specialises in Australia and New Zealand itineraries and on its First Choice and Best Buys guided holidays it pairs travellers or offers single rooms for free.
Another related company, Contiki Holidays specialises in trips for 18-35s and as such is tailor-made for single travellers with more than half of all participants going solo.
From beach and resort holidays, to snorkelling, diving, skiing and cruising, Contiki has packages in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Travellers are matched with a same-sex room mate and while Contiki does not impose single supplements as such, those who would like a single room are charged "a little extra".
Perth-based Travel Directors host tours to some of the most interesting parts of the world including South America, Central Asia, Russia and North Korea. The group will pair single travellers together or, if this isn't possible, waive the single supplement.
Geckos Adventures is Peregrine Adventures' backpacking brand and in 2014-15 will have tours to Africa, the Middle East and Europe, Asia, China and Nepal, and South, Central and North America. It mainly caters for those in their 20s and 30s, many of whom are single, and pairs same-sex travelling companions or, failing that, a single room is provided at no extra cost. Geckos has a 14-day Drunk on Colour tour of Morocco from Casablanca to Marrakech with accommodation and some meals from $1030 with departures throughout the next year.
Established in Victoria in the 1920s and still owned by the McGeary family, APT has a "solo travellers club" and regularly has members-only specials on its website with offers such as supplement waivers and free air travel on selected itineraries.
G Adventures has packages that will suit the active with an accent on exploring the outdoors. There's a wide range of options from old favourites such as Britain and France to less-visited countries like Romania, Bosnia and Serbia and itineraries to Kilimanjaro, the Arctic and the Inca Trail. And with more than 60 per cent of its passengers being solo travellers, most of the company's trips have no single supplement. G Adventures instead pairs travellers together or gives the choice of paying an optional single supplement to get their own room. Mandatory single supplements are rare. A 10-day trekking holiday in Iceland in August 2015, including most meals, hostel stays and camping, costs from $2799.
About a quarter of Captain's Choice customers are solo travellers and the group guarantees to match them with a same-sex room mate at no extra cost. Members of the tour escort team are also available for company for solo travellers who don't wish to dine alone. The group has luxury itineraries through exotic destinations such as Central Asia, South America and Africa.
Destination International specialises in solo travel for seniors and puts together trips using suppliers that keep single supplements to a minimum. A dedicated page on its website lists a range of tours including a 10-night Single Escorted Tour of Vietnam which includes return airfares, accommodation, many meals and coach travel and costs $2899 per person with weekly departures until the end of May. A 14-day Best of China escorted tour for singles includes return airfares, meals, first-class accommodation and sightseeing and costs from $4799 with departures every Thursday until November 30.
Bunnik Tours has a host of small-group itineraries for solo travellers on which single rooms are standard and with the option of twin-share matches and a price reduction. Choose from Asia, Africa, Central and South America, India and Sri Lanka, Europe, and Egypt and the Middle East. The 26-day South America Solo tour visits Peru, Argentina and Brazil with return airfares, all accommodation, coach travel and most meals included from $15,058.
Other groups specialise in tours for women, including Valentine Travel which has small group walking holidays through Tuscany, the Lake Como area, Slovenia and Sweden. The 10-day Tuscany tour begins in Florence includes daily guided walks through pretty villages and countryside, accommodation and most meals. The September 20-29 tour costs $3700 land-only for shared accommodation with a very reasonable single supplement of $400 bringing the total to $4100 for those who wish to room alone.
Travelling Divas has tours solely for women in Italy, Victoria and southern Africa. It operates a buddy system, pairing travellers who wish to take advantage of twin-share rates.
Solo travel specialist Travel with Me has a host of trips available for the single traveller from the South West of WA to South America or Tuscany. A 15-night Sri Lanka and Maldives package departing Perth on November 8 costs from $5984 per person, twin share.
Travel with Me will help participants link up with another solo passenger to avoid paying the single supplement. The fully escorted package includes return flights from Perth, 10 nights accommodation in Sri Lanka with breakfast daily, and in the Maldives, five nights accommodation with all meals and house drinks.
Villa Carlotta allows customers to register for a travel companion before booking a trip with the aim of avoiding the single supplement. Through its Villa Connect program it offers news on gatherings and events, single supplement savings and single travellers looking for a touring companion. In addition, Villa has just for singles holidays including an eight-day trip to Cairns with return airfares from Perth, transfers, seven nights accommodation, 16 meals, tours and attractions and the services of a tour director from $3395 for adults and $3195 for seniors with a single supplement of $385.
Surfing and retreats in Bali, exploring Sri Lanka, and journeys in Vietnam, are all on the Adventurous Women menu. Single supplements are available. But for those who don't want to pay them, Adventurous Women runs a room roster allowing travellers to share with someone new from the group each time a different hotel is reached.
- fact file *
·globus.com.au and 1300 230 234.
·cosmostours.com.au and 1300 230 234.
·insightvacations.com/au and 1300 237 886.
·trafalgar.com/aus and 1300 663 043.
·guidedtours.aatkings.com and 1300 228 546.
·contiki.com and 1300 266 845.
·traveldirectors.com.au and 1300 856 661.
·geckosadventures.com and 1300 854 444.
·aptouring.com.au and 1300 336 932.
·gadventures.com and 1300 796 618.
·captainschoice.com.au and 1800 622 628.
·ditravel.com.au and 1300 813391.
·bunniktours.com.au and 1800 286 645.
·valentinetravel.com and 0409 011 233.
·travellingdivas.com.au and 0408 721 569.
·travelwithme.com.au and 6555 6520.
·villa.com.au and 1800 066 272.
·adventurouswomen.com.au and 1300 388 419.