Top 3 Travel Companies for Solo Travelers

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I am a huge advocate of taking the leap and traveling solo. I mean my blog’s name is Solo Travel Woman after all. I love going on a trip and being able to explore at my own pace, see everything I want to see, and not have to answer to anyone. However, there are times that although I want to go off on my own and not wait for someone else to become available, I don’t really want to be alone the whole time. It’s nice having someone to laugh with, who has the same interests as you and to just meet new people.

Over the years, I have traveled with and researched many travel companies that are typically filled with other like-minded, solo travelers. Everyone leaves for their journey alone, each with the purpose of exploring new places and learning about different cultures. Yet, we all come together and form a traveling family. Through these experiences, I have made life-long friendships all over the world. From San Diego to London, from Toronto to Melbourne I have met men and women I now consider my friends.

Here are my top three travel companies that allow you to travel solo, experience all the things you want, and have the opportunity to make new friends like I did.

First on my list is Contiki. With 350+ unique trips within 6 continents, Contiki makes traveling easier for 18 – 35-year-olds.

I am an event manager for a living and well, the last thing I want to do while on vacation is plan things. Contiki takes care of all the scheduling and organizing. I only have to worry about getting there. From hotels to transfers, to excursions, and meals there is nothing they do not think of.

For those who always want to do more, more, more; Contiki also gives you a list of optional excursions you can add on in place of free time. I have to admit, I am one of those people. It is because of these optional excursions that I was able to visit a family-owned vineyard in Crete and stomp my own grapes for wine, enjoy a traditional Greek breakfast and even get in a little dance (learn more about my time in Greece).

One of the biggest perks is their payment plan. You only need to put down a small deposit to confirm your spot on the trip and then just pay 45 days before departure and you are all set.

Another thing I want to mention is that I used Contiki tours for my trip to Peru and Machu Picchu trek. If you know anything about porters or sherpas, they are not always treated right or paid fairly by the tour companies that hire them. Contiki takes very good care of not only their paid guests but also their on-the-ground team, including porters and sherpas. Should you go forward with another company when trekking or mountain climbing, please make sure they treat their team fairly.

If this sparks your interested, Contiki is giving you $100 off your first trip with them! Just click here.

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Next up is Intrepid. Much like Contiki, Intrepid travel takes all the planning on for you so you just have to show up.

With 1,000 unique trips within 100 different countries, you are sure to find your next destination. One of the best parts about traveling with Intrepid is that there is no age max. Although most trips are open to ages 15 and up, anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Another cool thing to note about Intrepid, all of their tour leaders are born in-country. That means you are experiencing your destination and learning from the best possible resource, a local. How stellar is that?

arrowLast on my list is Expat Explore. Although I have yet to travel with this company, I know many people who have and once I can no longer travel with Contiki, I will be sure to do so.

Expat Explore has some of the best financial benefits of the 3 companies listed. Not only do they have affordable tours in the first place, but they also only require a 10% deposit to confirm your booking and if you happen to find the same tour at a cheaper price they won’t match it…they will beat it. Can’t get much better than that.

Another bonus is they are an all age tour company. They consider a positive mind and attitude more important than a number and I couldn’t agree more. They do note that some tours are not suitable for children under 10 however, they may consider younger children on certain tours if they meet certain criteria and a request is received in writing via email for consideration.

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Take some time and check out each company, see which is the best for you and let me know who you book with. Remember, if you decide to book with Contiki get $100 off your first trip by clicking here.

Happy exploring.

XoXo,

Sara

P.S. The tour companies mentioned above are just a few of the many out there. I am sure others are just as fabulous however, I have put my trust in these suggestions and wanted to share.

Always do your own research and move forward with whatever you are comfortable with. If your favorite is not listed above, let me know and I will be sure to check them out.

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My First Solo Trip Abroad to Greece and Turkey

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A dream of mine since I was a little girl was to explore ancient Greece. The land where all my favorite mythologies were born. In September 2015 as a 30th birthday gift to myself, I embarked on my first solo trip abroad to both Greece and Turkey. I wish I was blogging back then while my trip was fresh on my mind and I remembered all the great restaurants I visited but, I wasn’t. When I go back, solo, I promise to share every detail.

In the meantime, below are the many destinations visited during my two solo weeks abroad. I feel so blessed that I was able to explore so many different parts of Greece and a bit of Turkey.

  • Athens
  • Nafplion
  • Olympia
  • Mycenae
  • Delphi
  • Mykonos
  • Crete
  • Santorini
  • Patmos
  • Kusadasi, Turkey

If you want to dive deep into the history of Greece here is a list of sites I visited on my trip. I am a history nerd and these stops did not disappoint.

  • Acropolis – Athens
  • Parthenon – Athens
  • Plaka – Athens
  • Temple of Zeus – Athens
  • Theatre of Dionysus – Athens
  • Panathenaic – Athens
  • Acronafplion citadel – Nafplion
  • Treasury of Atreus (believed to be the tomb of Agamemnon) – Mycenae
  • Corinth Canal
  • Delphi Archaeological Museum – Delphi
  • Temple of Apollo – Delphi
  • Athenian Treasury – Delphi
  • Temple of Athena Pronaia – Delphi
  • Archaeological Museum of Olympia – Olympia
  • Temple of Hera – Olympia
  • UNESCO World Heritage site – Stadium at Olympia – Olympia
  • Windmills of Kato Mili – Mykonos
  • Matogianni – Mykonos
  • Paraportiani Orthodox Church – Mykonos
  • Three Bells of Fira – Santorini
  • Oia Village – Santorini
  • Ephesus – Kusadasi

Besides touring famous landmarks, I was also able to immerse myself in the culture of those who live in these beautiful countries.

Turkey:

  • Turkmen Art and Rug which is a weaving school where I learned how the silk used to make the famous Turkish Rugs is extracted from a silkworm, how manual and time consuming it is to weave a traditional Turkish rug (the scarf I purchased took 3 months) and discovered I cannot handle Raki (strong, anise-flavored spirit).

Greece:

  • Visited a family owned Cretan vineyard and enjoyed a traditional Greek breakfast of feta, olives, cucumber, and tomato while watching the family dance amongst the tables.

One of the best things to come out of my solo trip to Greece and Turkey was some of the lifelong friendships I made along the way.

It’s been four years since my trip to Greece and I am getting the urge to make another visit. Even though I was able to see so much while I was there, it wasn’t even half of what that amazing place has to offer.

Until next time, happy exploring.

XoXo,

Sara