The best times of the year to travel solo

Cruise ships

To choose the best time for your solo travel ocean voyage, look at cruise lines, ships, itineraries, prices – and seasons.

There are several factors to consider if you hope to book at the best time of year for your solo cruise. First of all, as with any voyage, you should select the cruise line, ship and itinerary that have the highest interest for you. For example, would you prefer the anonymity of a mega-ship (5,000 passengers or more), where you’re unlikely to see the same person twice? Do you think a fitness cruise with long days at sea sounds like fun? What about hopping on and off at multiple ports of call?

Once you have made your selection, continue your search for the best time of year with a look at pricing.

In the Caribbean, it’s common knowledge that the ‘cheapest’ time of year to cruise is between the US Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas time. Second place goes to the September (kids heading back to school) period and the beginning of January. For the former, you may have hurricane interference, which can delay, alter, and even cancel your entire cruise. The latter month is the kick-off of ‘Wave Season’ – a period roughly between January and March when you want to escape the winter, and cruise lines have the perfect solution!

Most cruise lines no longer penalize the solo traveller with that pesky and expensive ‘single supplement’ for staying unaccompanied in a cabin. So Wave Season is the perfect time to grab some extra perks for booking early. Negotiate for on-board credits, unlimited drink packages, shore excursions, cabin upgrades, or speciality dining – all benefits of making reservations at the best time of year for travellers. (Insider tip: you can also use this negotiation for special bonuses by booking during the low seasons, and at the last minute.)

For Baltic Sea cruises, consider booking in September. If the Mediterranean is on your itinerary, you will find the most exquisite shore excursions on the globe. For the southern region, discounts abound for winter reservations. For the eastern and western areas, sail in early spring and autumn. For all options in this region of the world, the common practice for the best cruise at the best price is to book early or wait for those last-minute travel deals. In my experience, the latter can be really ‘cheap’ solo travel if you’re able (and willing) to be flexible with your schedules.

If your destinations are either Hawaii or Alaska, the first will not disappoint any time of year. Alaska, however, has its own weather temperament. My recommendation is to book your Alaskan solo travel cruise only during the period between May and September. Otherwise, you will almost certainly be cold – or the winter conditions may even cause your trip (or shore excursions) to be cancelled.

Finally, the best time of year for your solo travel might just be based on where you want to go and when – or even a flash sale. Perhaps you’ve had your eye on a particular tropical island adventure, and next month is your vacation time. Or you’ve gotten a notification from your favourite cruise line about a last-minute, heavily discounted flash sale. Either way, just book it – and go!