Tinsel, turkey and chestnuts roasting on an open fire might be the classic image of Christmas – but for more and more of us, the festive season is being spent on holiday rather than with family.
The number who took an organised break almost doubled last year, while Friendship Travel’s Christmas survey discovered that almost all 800 people they asked would rather go somewhere sunny with people their own age.
As a result, the company is just one of those offering more options for single travellers this year.
“Christmas 2016 was a sell-out,” says founder and managing director Colum McLornan, “and it’s clear that more single people aged 40-plus are saying ‘no thanks’ to invitations from family and friends and choosing to please themselves instead.”
The company has added to its English Christmas breaks with a new country house hotel in Warwickshire. Dunchurch Park Hotel dates back to 1903, with 72 acres of grounds, and the Christmas Eve to Boxing Day break costs £295 – with an option to extend it to December 27.
Saga also has two Christmas breaks for solo travellers only, all for over-50s, with four nights from 23 December at Park Inn by Radisson, Bedford or Holiday Inn Royal Victoria, Sheffield, both full board including drinks receptions, Buck’s Fizz breakfast on Christmas Day, entertainment and excursions.
If you’d prefer to venture further afield, Friendship Travel has short breaks to Barcelona and Marrakech, as well as winter sun in Cyprus, Malta, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Boa Vista in the Cape Verde islands, long-haul options and five ski holidays to choose from. Christmas ski weeks start from £895, or check out the company’s exclusive Ski Houseparty.
Heading to the mountains is a great option if you still fancy a winter wonderland experience. Inghams has a Christmas in the Alps holiday that’s currently reduced by £330 to £849 including a free sleigh ride and tour to Innsbruck’s Advent markets, as well as a Christmas gala dinner.
If you’d rather sun than snow, On The Go Tours has 15% off its Signature Christmas and New Year tours until September 29, while the Festive King Tut tour of Egypt has no single supplement for your own room, and departures including 21 and 23 December.
Cox & Kings has two solos-only tours – explore the Mughal Empire, seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise on Christmas Day on the Exotic India trip. Or enjoy Christmas in the tea capital of Sri Lanka, at Nuwara Eliya for a very traditional British drink with a difference.
Tucan Travel has its two-week Jewels of Sri Lanka tour too, plus a Magical Mexico option, combining history and sun. Both run over Christmas Day, with no single supplement if you’re happy to share a room.
Journey Latin America also has room share options for its Christmas breaks, including the 22-day Alcion: Central America Discovery departing 16 December and 19-day Jacana: Crossing the Continent which travels from the Atlantic to the Pacific, taking in five countries along the way.
If you’re staying closer to home, choosing to travel over Christmas can have its own benefits. Musuems and galleries often stay open for much of the festive period but without the crowds.
Martin Randall Travel has singles-friendly cultural city breaks over 25 December, including Florence at Christmas to see some of the city’s artistic masterpieces with an expert guide, or Modern Art on the Côte d’Azur for contemporary culture in the south of France.
Chapters Holidays has its own great festive trip, this one to Vienna and Budapest running over nine days from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day, with the chance to visit Christmas markets and enjoy traditional festivities on the Danube.
Or add some jollity to your Christmas with a week at Cortijo Romero in Spain where the personal development course includes music and singing, along with sessions on fun and laughter as well as sacred clowning. From £695 for a shared room.
And at The Grange on the Isle of Wight, an offshoot of popular solo-friendly Skyros Holidays, the Christmas break includes sessions on finding your joy, laughter yoga and other inspirational sessions to prepare you for the New Year.
For more inspiration and advice on solo travel, visit 101 Singles Holidays