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Singles Travel

Singles Travel
by Rudy Maxa for Marketplace

There are about 87 million single adults in North America. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, about one in five of them travels alone. If a single person wants to take a cruise or join an organized tour, he or she often pays more. That's called a "singles' supplement," and we've got some tips for avoiding that.

There are two ways to save money as a single traveler. The first is to find a tour group or company that welcomes solo travelers, one that doesn't penalize single vacationers with an extra charge. The second strategy is to hook up with another single traveler.

Let's start with finding companies sympathetic to one person traveling. A handful fit that bill. Some, like a company called Solo Flights, (see resource box below for more information) offer upscale trips for professionals over 35. You might spend a weekend in New York City, for example, attending theater and dining at upscale restaurants. Others, like Windjammer Barefoot Cruises (www.windjammer.com), target a younger, party crowd with week-long sails in the Caribbean beginning at $675 a person plus airfare. More mature travelers might like ElderTreks (www.ElderTreks.com) that arranges hikes and safaris to exotic destinations.

There's also a cottage industry that pairs singles before anyone even boards a plane. Manny Segall runs Vacation Partners, Inc. Go to his web site (www.vacationpartners.com) to fill out a questionnaire that asks about your favorite foods, best attributes, personality, and so on. For $35, Manny will match you with four other singles who seem compatible. "Isn't this," I asked Manny, "as much a dating service as a travel opportunity?" Well, said Manny, it's for a shorter period of time, only for the length of a trip. Hmmm. Manny says he's been a travel agent for 30 years, and while he's happy to arrange travel for two singles who decide they want to jet off together, he doesn't mind if they make their own arrangements.

There are loads of these sites, and the more I looked at them, the more convinced I was that matching up singles for travel is just a longer way of saying matching up singles. The Aim Higher web site (www.aim-higher.com) encourages a visitor to find a travel companion, but also suggests you "Aim Higher For Romance." Pick a geographic area and age range, and you can peruse personal ads with pictures. Want to reply? A one-month membership costs $25, a year is $100.

More focused is a group called Women Traveling Together (www.women-traveling.com), an Edgewater, Maryland-based tour company that offers escorted, all-inclusive, small-group tours for women who desire companionship. You might barge the canals of France or attend a cooking school in Tuscany.

Skiers and snowboarders can meet and greet at www.skimeet.com. The Lonely Planet web site (www.lonelyplanet.com) has a section where singles can look for travel soul mates. There's a section called "Share a Trip" on Arthur Frommer's travel web site (www.frommers.com). Obviously, the usual caveats about hooking up with someone you don't know via a web site apply. And if you're only in search of a travel companion, be clear about it because I have a feeling some folks are tired of not only paying a singles' supplement, but also of being single.

I'm Rudy Maxa, the Savvy Traveler, for Marketplace.

The Savvy Traveler on Marketplace

Other Resources for Singles Travel:

  • www.vacationpartners.com
    Fill out a questionnaire, and for $35, this web site promises to introduce
    you to four potentially compatable travelers.

  • Women Traveling Together
    This tour company offers travel services to women of all ages who want companionsihp and the security traveling with a small group provides.

  • www.aim-higher.com/singlestravel
    Aim Higher Travel-N-Save offers listings (and, in many cases, photos) of singles looking for travel partners. Or just plain partners. You'll be charged a membership fee of $25 a month ($100 a year) if you want to respond to any ads.

  • www.eldertreks.com
    This group organizes hiking tours for senior citizens all around the world.

  • Solo Flights
    10 Greenwood Lane
    Westport, CT 06880
    (203) 256 1235
    (800) 266 1566
    Aimed at single professionals 35 and over, Solo Flights organizes outings.

  • www.windjammer.com
    Want to sail the Caribbean with other singles? Here's one option.

  • skimeet.com
    Calling all skiers and snowboarders--hook up with like-minded adventurers.

  • www.lonelyplanet.com
    This extensive web site includes a section where singles can look for travel soul mates.

  • www.frommers.com
    Besides an extensive web site, budget travel guru Arthur Frommer has a "Share a Trip" section for singles.

  • www.trekkingsingles.com
    Corpus Christi, Texas-based Costal Bend Singles Travel Club plans trips all around the world for travelers aged (mostly) 25-65. Not everyone is single, and most are from the Texas area, but anyone is welcome. Recent sample trip: Seven nights in Iceland (which happens to be one wild party town), including air, hotels,and eight meals: $1,298.

  • www.singlestravelintl.com
    Singles Travel International runs trips to events such as the New Orleans Jazz Festival, wine-tasting parties in Tuscany, and the Uffizi Museum in Florence.

  • Travelin' Singles Inc.
    A tour group that runs singles' trips to beach destinations in Mexico as well as jaunts to Hawaii, Europe, and Central America. Most members are between ages 40-65, half retired, half professionals, according to the company's president.

  • Connecting: Solo Travel Network

  • Travel Companion Exchange
    P.O. Box 833
    Amityville, New York 11701
    see "Beating the Curse of the Single Traveler" for more info on this company

  • Savvy Traveler: Beating the Curse of the Single Traveler

  • Savvy Traveler: Singles Vacation on the Savvy Traveler

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