Hike in Patagonia (Shutterstock)
List Words : Hazel Plush | 29 October

8 of the best Christmas trips for solo travellers

Want to get away from festive madness, make new friends and have a big adventure this Christmas? This is for you...

Homestay on the Mekong, Vietnam

Vietnam in a banana leaf, Gecko Adventures

When? 17 December
How long? 15 days
How much? £595
What's in it for solo travellers? If you're up for sharing a room with another traveller of the same sex, there's no need to stump up a single supplement.

Halong Bay (Shutterstock)
Halong Bay (Shutterstock)

Cruise the emerald waters of Halong Bay, snorkel off picture-perfect beaches, and immerse yourself in the history and culture of Hoi An – Vietnam in a Banana Leaf takes you to all of Vietnam's top spots, with a bunch of other adventurous travellers.

You'll float on the Mekong Delta on a private boat, then dock at a water-side village to meet a local family – your friendly hosts for the night. You'll feast on home-cooked Vietnamese food (bring your appetite!) and bed down in their home, ready to continue your adventure in Ho Chi Minh City the following day. Pagodas, fishing villages and gorgeous beaches await...

A whistle-stop tour of Mexico, Belize & Guatemala

Queztal Highway, Tucan Travel

When? 18 December
How long? 10 days
How much? £692
What's in it for solo travellers? Opt to share a room with another traveller, and you can share the price – no single supplement required.

Riviera Maya, Mexico (Shutterstock)
Riviera Maya, Mexico (Shutterstock)

From Mayan ruins to paradise beaches, this bite-size Queztal Highway break takes in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala's highlights. Starting in Cancun, you'll venture down Mexico's coast – snorkelling, sunbathing and spotting Mayan relics along the way. Things get even wilder in Belize, where jungle, wildlife, waterfalls, rivers and caves await... As well as Caracol Ruins, the country's most spectacular Mayan site.

Next stop is the river-side town of Rio Dulce in Guatemala, where you'll stay in a cabin and explore on boat trips – spotting howler monkeys and toucans, and feasting on tapado (seafood coconut soup). Antigua awaits at the end of the trip – with its bustling plazas, ornate churches and colourful street markets.

Encounter Pandas in China

In pursuit of pandas, Wendy Wu Tours

When? 23 December
How long? 10 days
How much? £2,590
What's in it for solo travellers? There is no single supplement on the 23 December departure – so you save £180.

Pandas in Chengdu, China (Shutterstock)
Pandas in Chengdu, China (Shutterstock)

Visit all of China's big-hitter sights (Imperial Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors, Leshan Grand Buddha and more) on Wendy Wu's In Pursuit of Pandas trip. On Christmas Day you'll be walking on the Great Wall, admiring panoramic views from the 2,000-year-old Unesco World Heritage Site. Visit the Summer Palace in the afternoon, before tucking into Peking Duck and other Chinese delicacies for Christmas dinner.

On New Year's Eve you'll visit the famous pandas of Chengdu, observing them play and feed in their natural habitat – and you can also lend a hand by volunteering at the conservation centre for the afternoon. When night falls, you'll feast on Sichuan cuisine, toasting midnight with a glass of green tea... or something a little stronger.

A BIG adventure in South America

Lima to Rio de Janeiro, Dragoman

When? 24 November 2016
How long? 98 days
How much? £4,610
What's in it for solo travellers? There's no single supplement on any Dragoman trip – you'll be camping and sharing rooms along the way, with everybody pitching in.

Perito Moreno glacier (Shutterstock)
Perito Moreno glacier (Shutterstock)

This one's for next Christmas – but there's no reason why you shouldn't get planning your Lima to Rio trip now... On this whopping 98-day trip you'll cover serious ground, travelling to Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil, with a feathery finale at Rio Carnival.

This trip visits ALL of South America's highlights (Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, Salar De Uyuni, Ushuaia, Patagonia... the list goes on!), so you'll be ticking off world wonders almost every day. A specially-designed overlanding truck will be your rough-and-ready steed, taking you to places that are simply unreachable by public transport – and it's a handy base for wild camping too.

Sail Burma's untouched coast

Sailing Experience, Intrepid Travel

When? 22 December
How long? 9 days
How much? £1,015
What's in it for solo travellers? If you opt to share a room on an Intrepid trip, you don't have to pay a single supplement.

Myeik Archipelago (Shutterstock)
Myeik Archipelago (Shutterstock)

Burma isn't quite the undiscovered gem it once was: plenty of people are rightfully flocking to its ancient treasures and intriguing cities – but if you want to venture off-grid for a while, we've got the answer. Burma's Myeik Archipelago is thrillingly remote, and on Intrepid's Sailing Experience trip you'll explore it all on a private boat.

By day, you'll meet the ‘sea gypsies’ of Ma Kyone Galet, kayak through mangrove forests, and snorkel with tropical fish. By night, dine on the catch of the day, bobbing on the crystalline waters underneath a blanket of stars.

Immerse yourself in Morocco

Marrakech Express, Exodus 

When? 20 December
How long? 8 days
How much? £679
What's in it for solo travellers? If you're happy to share a room, there's no need to pay a single supplement. Great for making friends – and saving you money.

Koutoubia mosque, Marrakech (Shutterstock)
Koutoubia mosque, Marrakech (Shutterstock)

From the chaos and colour of Morocco's most energetic cities, to the quiet splendour of its highest mountains, Marrakech Express is a fast-paced introduction to this fascinating country – where Christmas isn't celebrated at all. If you're looking to get away from festive madness, this is the trip for you.

You'll begin in Tangier, exploring the medina before hopping on a public bus to the Rif – Morocco's northernmost mountain range. You'll stay in a beautiful walled town with marvellous valley views, before starting your rail journey south to Fes and Marrakech. Spice souks, street food and mosques await – and after travelling by public transport you'll be fully immersed in local life. Djemma El Fna is the finale of this trip, with its intoxicating circus of snake-charmers, acrobats and musicians.

Walk around Cuba

Revolutionary Trails of Cuba, Explore

When? 18 December
How long? 15 days
How much? £1,295
What's in it for solo travellers? You can opt to share a room with another traveller, to avoid the £150 single supplement – and you'll be paired with someone of the same sex.

Havana, Cuba (Shutterstock)
Havana, Cuba (Shutterstock)

Start in the cities of Havana and Trinidad for a big dose of revolutionary history, faded colonial splendour and HUGE hand-rolled cigars – and soak up as much Cuban culture as you can. Then it's time to hit the countryside trails, exploring remote villages and wild forests at a gentle pace.

On Explore's Walk Around Cuba trip you'll discover beautiful walking tracks and Fidel Castro's headquarters in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, and visit Che Guevara's mausoleum in Santa Clara. Finally, take on the three-day hike to the summit of Pico Turquino – a rewarding route, with walking trails, freshwater pools and colourful wildlife along the way.

Animal encounters in East Africa

Kigali to Arusha Safari, Absolute Africa

When? 22 December
How long? 10 days
How much? £1,265
What's in it for solo travellers? You'll be buddied up in two-man tents, with a fellow traveller of the same sex. So, no single supplement!

Ngorongoro Crater (Shutterstock)
Ngorongoro Crater (Shutterstock)

Kick off this 10-day wild Kigali to Arusha safari with an unforgettable encounter with Rwanda's mountain gorillas. Over your four days in Rwanda and Uganda you'll also trek with golden monkeys, visit Kigali's genocide museum and Dian Fossey's grave. Next up, Tanzania: home of Lake Victoria, Rusomo Falls and lots of incredible wildlife.

Tanzania is a wildlife watching paradise, and you'll seek out the Big Five on game drives galore in the Grumeti, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater – although in this neck of the woods, you'll even spy zebras and giraffes beside the road, so keep your camera ready! Travelling in an overland truck, you'll be camping (and campfire-cooking) along the way – this is a real adventure, far away from Christmas trees and shopping sprees.


Main image: Hike in Patagonia (Shutterstock)