I hate Valentine's Day -- it's a Hallmark holiday, artificial and particularly unromantic -- especially when it comes to succumbing to a fixed price menu at a crowded restaurant or receiving red roses that I know my loved one paid triple the normal price for. I prefer to celebrate romance throughout the year and even though I am not single, I always think about single people (especially women -- men don't seem to care) at this time of the year and empathize with them on what can be an excruciating day. But rather than commiserate about not being in a relationship, celebrate life and the fact that you are a strong, passionate and independent person. This year, VD falls on a Thursday, so you could just work late, then go home, watch TV, order take out and forget about the whole thing or, instead, treat yourself to a vacation or getaway -- where the words "single supplement" can be accepted as a badge of honor if you choose to bunk alone.
There is still some availability on Club Getaway's (tel. 877/GO-PLAY; www.singles-cruise.com) 2008 Sports and Adventure Singles cruise which departs from Ft. Lauderdale on February 10, 2008 for a week in the Eastern Caribbean. Sailing on the luxurious Costa Fortuna, the cruise boasts a special crew who run classes, sports and adventures throughout the day and host cocktail, dinner and dance parties each night. The Sports and Adventure Singles cruise will visit Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Dominican Republic and Nassau and offers complimentary roommate matching service. Yes there is a Valentine's party, but it is just one of the themed nights that include a toga party, '70s disco and Reggae splash. There's also speed dating, gambling classes, Olympics and cooking classes among other activities. Inside deluxe cabins are priced from $729 per person, Ocean view cabins are $829 and Ocean view cabins with balcony are $1,029. Port charges and fees of $159, plus government taxes of $71 and a $35 fuel surcharge are additional.
TrekAmerika (tel. 800/TREKUSA; www.trekamerica.com) and Footloose Tours (www.footloose.com) are actually a single British tour operator that runs a series of adventure trips across the U.S. and around the world catering to the 18 to 38-year-old market. There is no single supplement plus they offer ten to 20% discounts on late bookings for upcoming trips. Their ten-day Wild West adventure departs from Los Angeles on February 14, 2008 and visits San Diego, the Sonoran Desert, the Wild West Cowboy Camp, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Death Valley National Park. The trip is currently priced at $899 and includes transportation by adventure vehicle, the services of a TrekAmerica tour leader, all camping fees and equipment, two-nights hotel accommodations in Las Vegas, a stay at the Wild West Cowboy Camp including an authentic chuckwagon dinner and breakfast, Montezuma's Castle National Monument and admission fees.
Their 21-day Costa Rica Panama Trail adventure trek departs from San Jose on February 10, 2008. This unique tour of Costa Rica and Panama includes visiting the Manuel Antonio National Park, zip lining in the cloud forest of Monteverde, listening to the rumble of Arenal Volcano, walking among the bubbling mud pots of the surreal Rincón de la Vieja, and enjoying Sámara, Bocas del Toro and Corcovado National Parks. Transportation is by adventure vehicle and the tour features the services of an English/Spanish speaking tour leader, all camping fees and equipment, nine-nights hotel accommodation, seven breakfasts, two lunches, admission to Arenal Hot Springs, a scenic boat ride to Bocas del Toro, wildlife viewing and guided walks plus admission to all National Parks. This combination hotel and camping trip is currently 10% off, priced at $1647. International airfare to San Jose is additional (from Miami, starting from $260 round-trip including all taxes flying on American Airlines).
Singles Travel Service (tel. 212/752-2429; www.singlestravelservice.com) is a national tour operator specializing in singles vacations. It is offering a Winter Park Singles Ski week from February 10 to February 16, 2008 at Colorado's Winter Park, a 3,000 skiable acre resort located less than 70 miles from Denver. The trip is priced at $1,195 per person based on double occupancy (free roommate matching based on sex and age) or if you want your own room, an additional $401. The price includes six-nights lodging at The Alpenglo in the center of Winter Park, breakfast daily, four-day lift ticket, an on-site host, a welcome reception, two group dinners, two Après-ski happy hour parties, a farewell party, full travel and medical insurance, taxes and gratuities.
If warm weather is more your thing, then their seven-day Ecuador Explorer: Singles in Paradise trip from February 9 to 16, 2008 may be more to your liking. This Ecuador journey is a multi-sport/multi-cultural adventure taking in ancient ruins, caves, petroglyphs, volcanoes, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, jungle hiking and gourmet meals. Stay in a beautiful Mountain Inn with a Gourmet Chef catering to your every culinary need. Included in the $1,965 price ($600 single supplement) are seven-nights lodging, airport transfers, all meals at the Inn and Jungle Lodge (except two lunches), a tour to the Papallacta Natural Thermal Springs, a trek or horseback ride along Papallacta, bathing in Thermal Spring pools, tours of Quito, Equatorial monument and ruins, mountain biking and horseback riding in Chiche Canyon, hiking through the jungle, horseback ride to El Arca, a visit to the Sacred Valley of Cotundo to See Petroglyphs, rafting along the Jatunyacu River or exploring the Lagarto Caves, an Ecuadorian folklore group performance, a tour host, full travel insurance, all taxes and gratuities. International airfare to Quito is additional. Lan Ecuador Aero (www.lan.com) has round-trip fares to Quito from Miami in February from $447 including taxes. Delta (www.delta.com) has flights from New York to Quito from $548 including taxes.
If you are interested in a European spa getaway with a brief sojourn in London, British company Expression Holidays (tel. +44/20-7433-2615; www.expressionsholidays.co.uk) has an indulgent selection of "no single supplement" spa getaways to various European hot spots. Visit Austria's Badgastein with a package that includes round-trip airfare from London to Munich on British Airways; three nights at the Gruner Baum; five treatments including Maria Galland Cocoon Facial, Relaxing Back and Aromatherapy Massages, Underwater Massage and Solarium; car rental for four days and breakfast daily. This trip is priced at $1,228. A three-night spa vacation at Le Mas Candille on France's Cote d'Azur, including round-trip airfare from London to Nice on British Airways; one facial and one body treatment; private return taxi transfers from airport to hotel, accommodation and breakfast daily is priced at $1,402. A three-night spa break at Tuscany's Grotta Giusti Terme Hotel is priced at $1,353 and includes round-trip airfare from London to Pisa on British Airways; two one-hour spa treatments from a wide range of facial and body treatments, massage or oriental disciplines; private return taxi transfers from airport to hotel and half board daily. Airfare to London is additional, starting from $499 including taxes on American Airlines (www.aa.com) from New York.
Bedand breakfast.com (www.bedandbreakfast.com) has a special section for singles on Valentine's Day on its website. With over a dozen different options, from Vermont to Washington state, you're sure to find a destination and a deal to suit. BedandBreakfasts.com's suggestion for the best place to forget about him/her is the Avenue Inn B&B, New Orleans, with its "Breaking Up is Hard to Do, But I'll Get Over Him" package. This package includes three nights' accommodations for you and a platonic friend in two beds, along with two pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and a voodoo doll and pins. A copy of the best-seller, He's Just Not That Into You, is also included, along with shopping coupons, massages, and the New Orleans Original Cocktail Tour, making this the perfect way to forget about your "ex" for only $369 per person.
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