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Publisher’s Roundup, 23 February

Every week, our publisher draws on his globetrotting experience to pick his favourite deals from the Top 20.  This week he’s got his eye on some “penalty-free” singles offers, an unbeatable city break in Nottingham and a trip to an unspoilt corner of the Med

Best Singles Travel Deals
Here’s a paradox: Solo travel can be the most rewarding way of all to see the world, yet it’s also often prohibitively expensive. What’s so great about it? Well, for a start, it’s distraction-free. There’s no companion constantly demanding, “Let’s go to the Museum of Skittles, not the Vlad the Impaler monument,” or, “I want lunch – now!”, so you’re free to follow the path your own interest carves through a new place. Second, travellers in pairs or groups tend to form a bubble that keeps other people out. Travel solo, by contrast, and you’re more like a magnet, attracting locals and other wanderers alike. But long getting in the way of more people pursuing such adventures has been the dreaded single supplement: the “penalty” surcharge, as many perceive it, for having hotel rooms and so on to yourself. Hence our inclusion in this week’s Top 20 of a page of some of the best deals on the internet that positively welcome intrepid single travellers, most with no (or substantially reduced) supplement. Try, for example, this week-long Caribbean jaunt, where solos can enjoy the same enormous £1000 discount as anyone else on certain dates; or you could find strength in numbers on this group singles trip to the Indian beach hotspot of Goa.

£349 -- North Cyprus Beach Week inc Meals, Save £260+
The sheer good value of this deal could easily distract you from where you’re, you know, going. Let me summarise the bargain: For £349 -- considerably less than the average weekly wage* -- you’re flown to Cyprus for seven days, put up in a 4-star hotel and fed breakfast and dinner every day. And if that doesn't have you wallowing in contentment, there are also the three swimming pools  and a private beach. You clearly needn’t move an inch beyond the hotel gates, in other words, but Northern Cyprus is such an appealing place we certainly suggest you do. First, a word of caution. No doubt some readers will object to us referring to “Northern Cyprus” at all: Turkey is the sole country that even recognises this part of the island, which hived off from the south following a Turkish invasion in 1974 as an independent state, at all. But that isolation is precisely what gives the north its USP, if you will. The beaches, for example, have been spared much of the development that has scarred large swathes of the Med, and then there are the ancient ruins and crusader castles where you can easily be transported back in time without the interruption of hordes of other tourists. Add nesting turtles on the beaches in the summer and you have a place for which we at Travelzoo are tentatively prepared to wheel out that old cliché “hidden gem”.

£45 -- City Centre Nottingham Hotel w/Meals & Wine
“Are there still men with longbows striding around?” I once asked a young lady from Nottingham by way of opening repartee. It didn’t last much longer than that, and neither shall we linger except to remark that the legend of the caring-and-sharing mugger, Robin Hood, remains part of what draws visitors to this lively Midlands city. And now there is more, namely a hotel deal that surely would have queues of those bowmen stretching halfway down the street, if they did still exist and needed somewhere to stay. The overnight price alone, £45, can barely be beaten, but with it you get breakfast, a bottle of wine and a 3-course carvery dinner -- cue images of Mr Hood’s men becoming increasingly merry as they rip into sides of beef, washed down with mugs of robust vino. No doubt afterwards they would head out into the night to enjoy some of Nottingham’s equally legendary nightlife.

*Office for National Statistics average 2010: £451

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Tips by

Deal Expert, London
Thursday, 23 February 2012
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Simon Busch