A wildlife holiday company recently launching a 24-hour trip to Antarctica for the ultimate one-day getaway has sparked a new travel trend where travellers use as little time as a single day to experience once in a lifetime holidays.
Natural World Safaris' one-day trip flies intrepid tourists from Cape Town, South Africa to the interior of Antarctica where they can explore the White Continent in just 12 hours on the ground.
While it might sound like any other holiday which allows you to add a day trip to your main break, such as visiting a nearby island on a beach escape, what sets this Antarctica adventure apart is it's a holiday in itself - and bucket list destinations such as this magnificent remote land are never added extras! Day-long holidays of a lifetime like this reflect the British traveller's desire to maximise that well-earned annual leave, even when short on time. Most travel addicts will fit a short break or two around other holidays they take in the year, but what if those mini-breaks were even shorter than usual and with a host of world-class activities packed in? Taking a 24-hour holidays creates a real sense of adventure, excitement and thrills you won't get from taking a fortnight trip.
Natural World Safaris' winter Antarctica holiday (available in December and January) is also unlike any other, flying holidaymakers by jet with an expert Antarctic pilot into 24-hour daylight before touching down on an ice runway. During the 12 hours on the ground, travellers are based at a comfortable lodge with spacious living areas and a sauna, with a selection of activities to experience the magnificent wilderness surrounding the lodge. In just a day, there are ice grottos to explore and Adelie penguins to witness, a surreal champagne lunch cooked and served on the ice by a South African chef, as well as the chance to capture lasting memories with photographs of the endless tundra before embarking back to Cape Town.
And this £7,750 per person trip isn't the only bucket list escape you can take in a day. This summer, low-cost airline Norwegian is launching twice-daily flights (from £149 each way) between London and New York, bringing a new 24-hour holiday destination to British tourists. The early morning flight will depart Gatwick at 5.50am, arriving at JFK at 9am, so holidaymakers can spend a whole day exploring the highlights of the Big Apple, including Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Museum Mile and Lower Manhattan (check out nycgo.com's guide), in just a day before catching the flight home at 11pm.
Meanwhile, cruisers can get in on the action too with one-night sailings. CruiseDeals.co.uk has an array of cruises that are perfect tasters for those who are new to cruising. A one-night cruise from Italy to Spain with MSC Cruises, for example, allows you to explore the wonders of Genoa and Barcelona in just 24 hours, with prices starting from just £66.50.
Another unforgettable holiday you can experience in 24 hours is a trip to Lapland with the family. Transun's one-day Winter Wonderland trip (from £499 per person) departs the UK early in the morning for a fun-filled day in Finnish Lapland. Thermal suits and boots are provided for the husky experience, snowmobile adventure, reindeer sleigh ride and other snow activities that include tobogganing. You'll even have a private family meeting with Santa before returning to the UK on an evening flight.
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Adventure holidays for solo travellers
Adventure holidays for solo travellers
Dive head-first into the amazing sights that Iceland has to offer with a long weekend in Reykjavik with Vidados. On a small group holiday, you will join qualified and experienced diving instructors for two days as you take an underwater journey through the clearest water you could imagine at the Silfra Ravine, exploring underwater cathedrals and lagoons. Accommodation is in a fun and vibrant downtown hostel in the city, just steps away from the best bars and restaurants. With 70% of Vidados' customers travelling solo, you won't find yourself alone with couples and families on this trip. From £621 for three nights (flights not included).
Discover the fascinating history and culture of Myanmar on an in-depth discovery of the beautiful country on a 14-day tour combining adventure, heritage and epic scenery. Explore's Burma Highlights holiday includes a boat trip across Inle Lake to the Shwe Indein pagoda complex, a hike in the rural countryside of the Shan Highlands and a horse-drawn cart tour of the ancient capital of Inwa. On the small group trip, you will visit the renowned wooden footbridge of U Bein and cruise along the Irrawaddy River before soaking up the inspiring views over the central plains of the Bagan temples. From £2,349 per person between July and December, including flights.
Explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of South Africa from the incredible wildlife of Kruger National Park to Drakensberg's mighty escarpment, the landscapes of the Garden Route and the magnificent Cape Coast on a 17-night solo holiday made for over-50s' travellers with Saga. Kruger is one of the greatest national parks on the planet and offers wildlife lovers the chance to see elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinos and hippos on a guided game drive. Relaxation is also included, with wine tasting in the Cape Winelands and a Knysna Lagoon cruise. From £2,599 on selected dates: 6 August 2016, 17 September, 18 February 2017, 18 March and 22 April 2017.
For a holiday like no other, Antarctica offers intrepid travellers the chance to experience a remote corner of the world - and travelling with a small, exclusive group is the way to see it. With just 54 passengers on board, Polar Pioneer leaves from the most southern point of South America between November and April, taking budding explorers to ice-clad peaks towering over a maze of protected channels, fossil-rich islands and to a world of adventures where penguins, leopard seals and humpback whales roam. Aurora Expeditions offers a cabin sharing service and will find a same-sex cabin partner for those travelling alone. From £4,220 per person based on a same-sex triple share cabin or £5,205 per person for a same-sex twin share cabin for a 10-day cruise, including one night’s accommodation in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Isolated from the rest of the Western Highlands by a notorious strip of mountainous terrain, Scotland’s Knoydart Peninsula is often described as Britain’s last wilderness - and is perfect for exploring with like-minded walkers and a guide on a solo holiday. Reached by boat, the Peninsula offers access to some of the best walking routes in Scotland. Spend a week discovering the remarkable mountains and plethora of wildlife that make for an unforgettable trip with Wilderness Scotland. You'll stay at a remote alpine-style lodge set right by the beach and feast on fresh, locally-sourced produce. From £1,295 per person between May and September.
Hop aboard a riverboat and experience the Amazon in style on a small group adventure with like-minded travellers on a solo holiday with G Adventures. Led by an Amazon Reserve naturalist guide, the cruise includes daily excursions by motorized skiff designed to reveal the exotic wildlife that calls the rainforest home – with any luck you’ll spot sloths, toucans and pink dolphins. With two full days for exploration in Pacaya–Samiria National Reserve, you'll have the chance to experience the jungle up close. From £1,599 per person for a nine-night trip from Lima (flights not included) and sharing a same-sex cabin.
India is an excellent destination for small groups of solo travellers who can enter the cultural heart of Northern India on a seven-day journey. Discover the winding streets of Old Delhi by rickshaw, explore the incredible Amber Fort in Jaipur and travel to Agra to experience the wonder of the Taj Mahal at sunset. Explore's Golden Triangle holiday is one of the company's most popular tours among single travellers. It offers the opportunity to learn about the mighty Moghul Empire and stroll through the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. From £1,099 per person between July and December 2016, including flights.
With solo holidays being a top travel trend for 2016, luxury hotels are getting in on the action by inviting their guests to experience the 'single life'. At Shanti Maurice on the island of Mauritius, you can book a Me Myself & I package made for nomadic travellers. The four-night holiday offers an array of activities such as sunrise yoga, kite surfing lessons and a hiking excursion to the top of Le Morne Brabant, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Adrenaline junkies can experience a 10,000ft Tandem skydive, or opt for a speed zip line excursion leading you through the breathtaking Riviere des Galetes, its forests, waterfalls and sugar cane fields. Rooms from €374 (approx. £265) for a double Junior Suite Ocean View.
Seek adventure in Croatia with Intrepid Travel’s eight-day Active in Croatia holiday which takes you hiking, biking, rafting and kayaking within the country's outstanding national parks. Solo travellers can share a room with a member of the same sex on the trip which explores the deep gorges, lush forests and lost villages of Paklenica National Park. There is the chance to ride the rapids of Zrmanja River and sea kayak out on the blue waters of the Adriatic, past dramatic mountains along the coast to the fishing hamlet of Vinjerac. You will also take in the views on a hike through the enchanting forests, grottos and steep cliffs of the World Heritage-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park. From £776 per person (flights not included).
Africa is a great place to travel solo, meet interesting people and get close to extraordinary wildlife. Visiting the continent's primates is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences and a face-to-face encounter with a mountain gorilla is an unforgettable event. On a small group trip to Rwanda with Aardvark Safaris, the main focus of the action-packed four-day tour is to track the gorillas but you will also have the chance to visit Dian Fossey’s grave, hike the volcanoes and track the endangered golden monkey. The scenery in the Parc National des Volcans is stunning and the culture and history is rich. From £3,897 per person in a single room including gorilla permits.