Footloose and fancy-free? If you value travel, don’t let concerns about how to get around or travelling on your own put you off. A guided holiday is the solution, and there are many destinations perfectly suited to the fancy-free solo traveller.
Teresa Richardson, Managing Director of The Travel Corporation (TTC) in South Africa, notes that there has been an increasing interest in solo travel to Europe.
“In the past five years, we’ve had a number of travellers ask us: Is it safe to travel [to] Europe? We have seen increased interest from solo travellers who want to travel independently, in a safe and satisfying manner, enjoying the peace of mind that group travel provides.”
“Costsaver offers unbeatable value by including all the essentials and providing the building blocks to tailor a dream holiday in various countries,” adds Richardson. “
All the essentials such as accommodation and in-trip transport are included, and there’s plenty of free time to explore and tailor days as you wish. It’s also a great way to budget and meet like-minded people along the way.”
Richardson lets us in on some of the trendiest destinations for the solo traveller.
Journey in the footsteps of kings in 2020. Richardson, a fan of the destination after several visits, adds: “Save by booking early and visit in one of the best months, October, when it’s not too hot.”
Navigate the hustle and bustle of Cairo and slow down with a visit to the Temple of Amun, the famous pyramids and Sphinx. A Nile cruise is another must-do offers Richardson.
“Cruising down this ancient waterway is also the best way to observe life along the banks.”
From bustling, culture-soaked Istanbul to the sunshine and crystal clear waters of the Turquoise Coast, Turkey is one of the most popular stop-over destinations for South African travellers and is perfect for the solo traveller.
Be sure to extend your stay in this delightful country in 2020, says Richardson.
“Costsaver Turkey trips sell like hotcakes, and we expect our new trips for 2020, Treasures of Turkey, which visits the Black Sea, to be just as popular.
“Travellers can expect views, cuisine and unique attractions found nowhere else. And, it’s easily accessible and offers incredible value for single passengers.”
Italy is made for solo travellers. Live your own Eat, Pray, Love moments eating gelato in Rome, wandering the museum circuit for hours in Florence and exploring Venice.
Richardson adds: “A gondola for one can be painfully expensive, so join the group for this experience. As a single or solo traveller, it pays to travel in a group as the costs of each included component included has been carefully negotiated to offer unbeatable value.”
Portugal is another country that’s trending, and one of Europe’s most sustainable destinations, based on the Global Top 100 Sustainable Destinations report. Rest assured, responsible travel is simple in Portugal!
“Rand-friendly Portugal offers great value, stretching your Rand further and with friendly locals eager to help if you’re in a pickle, Portugal has something to offer every solo traveller interest.
“Foodies can eat all day long, from pasteis de nata in Lisbon, port wine in Porto to moreish chocolate and berry cups Ginjinha in Óbidos, a teeny medieval town in the centre of the country.
“Active travellers can keep fit walking the seven hills of Lisbon and culture and beach lovers are in for a treat on the Algarve,” Richardson suggests. “Costsaver carefully handpicks quality hotels to ensure that you experience each destination to the fullest.”
“Scotland is as majestic as the centuries-old UK gets,” she adds. “Locals speak English (you might need to get used to the thick accent), it’s incredibly easy to get around, and the many cosy pubs, green landscapes, castles and legends will leave you spellbound.”
From trendy Edinburgh, see if you can spot Nessie in Loch Ness or, if you’re a fan of the television series Outlander, follow the footsteps of the cast across the Highlands.
If you’re visiting in December, ring in the New Year at one of the world’s most famous and festive New Year’s celebrations – the three-day event of Hogmanay.
Thousands of travellers, many of them solo, descend on the Scottish capital for street parties, fireworks displays, dancing and good cheer.
The Baltic’s and Russia
Journey away from Europe’s beaten tourist paths in 2020 with a visit to the Baltics and Russia. “There’s a diverse history and culture that await visitors in these slightly off-the-radar countries,” Richardson maintains.
Start with the medieval capitals of the Baltics and move on to marvel at the splendour of Russia’s imperial cities.
“Think fairytale medieval city centres, dramatic castles and churches and, outside of the towns, a glimpse into local rural life. You’re going to need a bit of time – at least two weeks,” Richardson says.
Make travel a priority in 2020. It’s easy with a guided holiday. “Many hundreds of South African travellers have cottoned onto the many benefits of this kind of travel. It’s stress-free travel for those who value flexibility,” Richardson concludes.
Words by Jenna Berndt