Single Travelers: A Compendium of Trip Planning Resources
By The Frommer’s Staff http://www.frommers.com/articles/2590.html
(info has not been update recently)
Unfortunately for the 85 million or so single Americans, the travel industry is far more geared towards couples, so singles often wind up paying the penalty. It pays to travel with someone. Many people prefer to travel alone. Unfortunately, the solo traveler is forced to pay a punishing “single supplement” charged by many resorts, cruise lines, and tours for the privilege of sleeping alone.
One way around this predicament is to travel with companies that make an effort to match single travelers with roommates to avoid the supplement or to seek out a travel companion on your own.
For those who are steadfast in their resolve to travel alone, there are still plenty of resources out there.
Operators and Roommate Finders
All Singles Travel (tel. 770/645-3241; www.allsinglestravel.com) Founded by Eric Kravitz in 1996, this full service agency caters specifically to solo travelers and sells only those trips, many of which are cruises, that are both affordable and manage to avoid the single supplement. The site also links out to organizations meeting the needs of Jewish and Christian single travelers.
Connecting Solo Travel Network (tel. 604/886-9099; www.cstn.org) This Canada-based club serves as a jumping off point for single travelers who are interested in hosting fellow travelers, for sharing information about available opportunities and more. Features include a 20 + page newsletter published twice monthly.
Contiki (tel. 866/CONTIKI; www.contiki.com) Even though it’s over 40, Contiki remains a leading provider of small travel trips for the younger traveler (ages 18-35).
Djoser (tel. 877/356-7376; www.djoserusa.com). This travel provider specializes in adventure and cultural immersion tours, loosely escorted to many non-Western destinations. While not geared specifically at the single traveler, at your request Djoser will attempt to match you with a roommate to remove the single supplement — if they can’t, you pay just half the normal supplement.
ExperiencePlus! Specialty Tours (tel. 800/685-4564; www.experienceplus.com) has a varied selection of single-only trips, escorted and custom-tailored.
G.A.P Adventures (tel. 800/465-5600; www.gapadventures.com). This solo voyager-friendly adventure provider offers the “freedom of independent travel with the security of a group” that provides culturally and environmentally sensitive trips.
O Solo Mio Singles Tours (tel. 800/959-8568; www.osolomio.com) offers escorted and group tours for single travelers to points across the globe.
The Single Gourmet Clubs (see a full list of chapters at www.singlegourmet.com/chapters.php) are American and Canadian city-based social, dining and travel clubs for singles of all ages, with 21 offices in the U.S. and Canada. There is a one-time membership fee to join, followed by a lower annual maintenance fee; fees vary per chapter.
Travel Companion Exchange (TCE) (tel. 800/392-1256 or 631/454-0880; www.travelcompanions.com). One of the original roommate finders for single travelers. It’s headed up by Jens Jurgen, who charges $159 for an annual listing in his well-publicized records. People seeking travel companions fill out forms stating their preferences and needs and receive a listing of potential travel partners. Companions of the same or opposite sex can be requested. For $48 you can also receive a bimonthly newsletter, averaging 70 large pages, that gives numerous money-saving travel tips to solo travelers. A sample copy is available for $6. According to TCE’s website, the outfit is not accepting new members until “at least the second quarter of 2005.”
Travel Buddies Singles Travel Club (tel. 800/998-9099; www.travelbuddiesworldwide.com) runs small, intimate, single-friendly group trips and will match you with a roommate for no extra charge.
TravelChums (tel. 212/799-6464; www.travelchums.com) is an Internet-only travel companion matching service hosted by the respected New York-based Shaw Guides travel service. Two membership levels are available: free and paid, the latter allowing you to post images and send private messages with fellow members for $15.
Publications and Websites
Outdoor Singles Network (P.O. Box 781, Haines, AK 99827; http://kcd.com/ci/osn) is a quarterly newsletter for outdoor-loving singles. Subscriptions are $55 per year; single issues are $15.
Parents Without Partners (www.parentswithoutpartners.org) is another helpful resource for the single parent struggling to put together a vacation both you and your children will enjoy. This non-profit organization is dedicated to supporting single parents and their children. It occasionally has links to travel resources aimed at single parents.
Single Parent Travel Network (www.singleparenttravel.net) is run by Brenda Elwell, who also writes a monthly newsletter for the site. A single parent for more than 20 years, Elwell has traveled around the world leading tours, often bringing her two children along with her. The monthly newsletter is filled with advice for single parents, such as how to teach a child to read a map (so you can drive), how to plan activities that everyone will enjoy and how to budget day-by-day expenses on your trip.
Solo Dining Newsletter (tel. 800/299-1079; www.solodining.com) publishes information covering restaurants that meet the needs of the single diner, resources for single travelers and more.
Travel Alone and Love It (www.travelaloneandloveit.com) is a website designed by former flight attendant Sharon Wingler, the author of the book of same name. Her site is full of useful tips for single travelers.
Traveling Solo: Advice and Ideas for More than 250 Great Vacations, by Eleanor Berman (Globe Pequot), gives advice on traveling alone, whether on your own or on a group tour.
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Single Travelers: A Compendium of Trip Planning Resources