The thought of going on holiday by yourself for the first time may be a little daunting, but if you want to do something a bit different with your time off work or during your gap year, it may just be your best choice.
Adventure tours aren’t for everyone, but for people who love heading into the great outdoors and trying activities like hiking, climbing, mountain biking and white-water rafting, they offer the potential for the trip of a lifetime.
If you are keen to try America holidays like that, but don’t have anyone you want to go with, there is no need to forget about it, as the situation is not uncommon. One company operating adventure tours in the area estimates that 80 per cent of its customers are single travellers.
But why do people holidaying alone choose to travel as part of an organised tour rather than actually on their own?
One important thing to consider is safety. If you are heading off to some of the remotest parts of the beautiful national parks of the USA and Canada, you may discover that finding help is not easy if you get into difficulty. This shouldn’t be a problem if you are with a group and experienced tour guide.
Another reason adventure holidays for singles are popular is the social aspect. As the reason for your trip is quite specialised, the group is likely to be filled with like-minded people, giving you a readymade circle of friends to chat to as you trek through the wilderness or sit round the campfire with a beer after an exhausting day of activities.
Price is obviously an important factor. Booking your own flights and hunting down the best bus and rail pass deals may save you a few pounds on your transport costs, but you are unlikely to be able to arrange a whole package for the same figure as a specialist tour operator.
The company will take advantage of things like discounts on large bookings for accommodation and hire of equipment for activities like kayaking, rafting and mountain biking, enabling them to give you the best possible price. An expert will also factor in charges you may not have thought of, such as entry fees to national parks.
You may simply conclude that there are so many things to consider when arranging an adventure holiday, that it is just a better use of your time to let somebody else arrange everything.
There is also an important practical consideration, which is carrying your equipment. Taking your own camping gear and lugging it with you everywhere throughout your holiday is bound to be a bit of a hassle – particularly when you know it is one of the things you wouldn’t have to do as part of an organised tour.
Once you have decided an adventure holiday in North America as part of a group is the right choice, you can begin the process of deciding which one to book.
Uppermost in your mind is likely to be the issue of location. From Alaska and the Canadian Rockies, to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, the list of stunning locations to explore is huge. You may also be keen to visit some of the cosmopolitan and historic cities in the area, so look out for multi-destination packages that will enable you to see everything you want.
Once you have chosen your itinerary, it is a good idea to speak to the tour company to check a few things before confirming your booking.
It is well worth asking whether the operator charges a single supplement. Not only is this an unnecessary additional cost, it may also indicate the company is not used to catering for solo travellers on its adventure holidays.
You also need to know exactly what is included in the headline price on the company’s website. In order to accurately compare costs, you should check whether there are any extras you will be expected to pay for once you arrive in America.
It is sensible to ask about the people who go on the operator’s adventure tours, as you are unlikely to want to book a trip with a group in which everyone is much older than you.
And if you are hoping to spend some time doing your own thing during your holiday, enquire about the amount of free time in the tour’s itinerary to ensure that not every hour of your break is planned out.