ShowsBefore You GoBulletin BoardAboutSearch
Show and Features | Deal of the Week-Travel Update |
Culture Watch | Question of the Week | Letters of the Week |
Traveler's Aid | Library | Host's View

Single Travel
by Rudy Maxa for Marketplace

There's a downside to vacationing as a solo traveler -- you can't take advantage of lower rates given to people traveling in pairs. That dreaded "single supplement" always drives up the price of tours, hotels and cruises. Our Savvy Traveler, Rudy Maxa, says the scene has changed a bit since he last examined it a couple of years ago -- and he has some ideas on how you can beat the singles penalty.

The Internet has spawned a few new Web sites that bill themselves as places where single travelers can meet and get to know other single travelers. The idea is that two people get together and avoid paying that singles supplement. But I've spent some time browsing the sites, including http://www.travelchums.com, http://www.whytravelalone.com, and a site designed for gays called http://www.travelook.com. Frankly, they seem more like dating than traveling sites to me.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, if that's what you're interested in -- though I don't know if hitting the road for a first date is always the best idea in the world.

It should go without saying that before you do such a thing, you should work hard to get to know your new best friend before you find yourself literally at sea, stuck in the same stateroom on a cruise with him or her, with no exit strategy. A couple of these sites are free, some charge as little as $28 a year. Some have pictures of singles looking for travel companions. Many feature solo travelers from other countries.

My suggestion is that you try to narrow your search by finding a group that shares your interests, or might be similar in age or background. While cruisemates.com sounds like a singles meeting site, it's really a Web site that covers the cruise business from a consumer point of view, with readers supplying no-holds-barred reviews of specific ships. But there is a section for singles as well as some articles about romance on the high seas. I was interested to learn the answer to the question: Should you have a romance with a member of the ship's staff? The answer? Not unless you want to have your heart broken.

If you're a woman who'd like to share a room on the road with another woman, visit http://www.women-traveling.com. The site explains that most of its travelers are women in their 40's, 50's and 60's. A cautionary note explains this is not a site for lesbians -- in fact, 30 percent of its travelers are married and are simply looking for a congenial travel companion.

Eldertreks.com is one of my favorite sites, and it's aimed at senior citizens who love to hike. It organizes tours all around the world.

For the younger crowd, Windjammer Barefoot Cruises offers sails for singles, with an emphasis on partying. Windjammer says single cruises are by far the company's most popular, and management does its best, as it puts it, "to ensure there are equal numbers of rogues and wenches aboard." Ever feel some people are having more fun that you are?

I've placed some links below for singles who might like to go skiing with other singles. And single parents, too, have their own Web site for travel.

At the end of the day, can you ever hope to avoid a singles supplement on something as simple as a hotel room? Well, you can, but you're going to have to bargain for it. Call a hotel directly. If you know the hotel has rooms to spare, you should be able to get a reduced rate as a solo guest. When it comes to package tours, however, you will have less luck. That's when you have to get on the Web and start looking for that new best friend.

From The Savvy Traveler, I'm Rudy Maxa for Marketplace.

To Read More of The Savvy Traveler On Marketplace


http://www.travelchums.com - Heterosexual meeting site for single travelers.

http://www.whytravelalone.com - Heterosexual meeting site for single travelers.

http://www.travelook.com - Targeted at gay and lesbian travelers.

http://www.cruisemates.com - A consumer-oriented Web site on cruise ships; primarily, a site for reviews of cruise ships by passengers, but there is a singles section.

http://www.women-traveling.com - A tour company that arranges small-group tours for single women around the world.

http://www.eldertrek.com - Organized hiking tours for senior citizens.

http://www.windjammer.com - Sailing cruises targeted heavily toward singles.

http://www.singleparenttravel.net - Divorced moms and dads raising kids meet others for vacation possibilities.

http://www.skitrips.net - A tour company site that promises discounted skiing trips for singles.

You can read - and hear - more from Rudy and company at SavvyTraveler.org!

Search Savvy Traveler

| E-mail | Privacy | © Copyright 2001, Minnesota Public Radio