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Single Travelers: A Compendium of Trip Planning Resources

We've compiled a cornucopia of online and offline resources for single travelers.

Apparently, this week (September 17-23) is National Unmarried and Single Americans Week (www.unmarriedamerica.org), and there are about 89 million of them, according to the 2004 U.S. Census.

Unfortunately, the travel industry is far more geared towards couples and, lately, groups and families, so singles often wind up paying a punishing "single supplement" penalty charged by many resorts, travel packagers, cruise lines for the privilege of sleeping alone. Simply put, it saves you money to travel with someone, but many people prefer to travel 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. 800/717-3231; www.allsinglestravel.com) was founded in 1996 by Eric Kravitz and caters to solo travelers interested in trips (land and cruise) that are affordable and manage to avoid the single supplement fee. With links to organizations that meet the needs of Jewish and Christian single travelers.
  • Connecting Solo Travel Network (tel. 604/608-2139; www.cstn.org) is a Canadian resource established in 1990 that publishes a bimonthly newsletter called Connecting: Solo Travel News. The site features travel tales, destination reports, trips, tours, cruises and most importantly, enables solo travelers to network with each other.
  • Contiki (tel. 866/CONTIKI; www.contiki.com) remains a leading provider of small trips for the younger traveler (ages 18-35). You may travel with them alone but chances are you won't be lonely, as Contiki resorts tend to be lively.
  • Djoser (tel. 877/356-7376; www.djoserusa.com) specializes in adventure and cultural immersion tours, mostly to non-Western destinations. Although it is not specifically geared toward the single traveler, at your request Djoser will try to match you with a roommate to remove the single supplement for their North American group trips. If they can't, you only have to pay half the single supplement. For International-Dutch trips, if they cannot match you, there is no additional charge for the single accommodation.
  • Experience Plus! Specialty Tours (tel. 800/685-4564; www.experienceplus.com) specializes in biking, hiking and walking tours and offers a varied selection of single-only trips, escorted and custom tailored, with maps, vans, drivers, and more.
  • G.A.P Adventures (tel. 800/708-7761; www.gapadventures.com) runs hundreds of trips on seven continents that are adventurous in nature and friendly to solo travelers, who for most trips are not required to pay a single supplement.
  • O Solo Mio Singles Tours (tel. 800/959-8568; www.osolomio.com) offers group travel for individuals to points across the globe. The company will find you a compatible roommate or you can opt for a private single.
  • The Single Gourmet Clubs (see a full list of chapters at www.singlegourmet.com/chapters.php) are city-based social, dining and travel clubs for singles of all ages, with sixteen chapters in the U.S. and Canada. There is a one-time, lifetime membership fee to join, followed by a lower annual maintenance fee; fees vary per chapter. Upcoming trips include Thanksgiving in Las Vegas.
  • Travel Companion Exchange Travel Companions Exchange (e-mail: tce@travelcompanions.com; www.travelcompanionsexchange.com), one of the original roommate finders for single travelers, is currently on hiatus, but the company offers single travelers age 45 and up the opportunity to find compatible travel companions. Bookmark it for future use.
  • Travel Buddies Singles Travel Club (tel. 800/998-9099; www.travelbuddiesworldwide.com) operates under the motto "strangers are friends you have not met yet." The club runs small, single-friendly group trips and cruises, for vacations and weekend getaways, and will match you with a roommate for no extra charge in order to avoid the single supplement.
  • TravelChums (tel. 212/799-6464; www.travelchums.com) is an Internet-only travel companion matching service with more than 35,000 members, owned and hosted by the New York-based Shaw Guides. Two membership levels are available: free and paid, which both enabler members to post profiles and messages, and respond to private messages. Paid members, though, can send messages to a member who has not contacted them first. Membership goes for $15 for one month; $35 for three months; $60 six months or $95 annually.
  • Travel Mates Online (www.travelmatesonline.com) brings together travel companions (and pen pals) around the world. You can sign up for a free membership, which enables you to send postcards and receive messages but not send them; a standard membership costs $44.95 annually and gives you more perks.

Publications and Websites

  • Loners on Wheels (fax. 573/651-8601; www.lonersonwheels.com) with more than 2,500 members in 50 chapters in the United States and Canada, is an organization for single people who are interested in camping, RVing and outdoor activities. A monthly newsletter keeps members up to date on events; annual dues are $45.
  • Outdoor Singles Network (P.O. Box 781, Haines, AK 99827; www.akmk.com/osn) is a resource for outdoor-loving singles and features personal ads for those looking for travel companions. You can pay $45 per year for listing your personal ad.
  • Parents Without Partners (tel. 561/391-8833; www.parentswithoutpartners.org) is an international nonprofit organization and helpful resource for the single parent struggling to put together a vacation both parents and children will enjoy. 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. She also sells a guidebook she authored, The Single Parent Travel Handbook, through the site.
  • Solo Dining Newsletter (tel. 800/299-1079; www.solodining.com) publishes information about restaurants that meet the needs of the single diner, resources for single travelers and more, including a quarterly online newsletter.
  • 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.
  • A Journey of One's Own, 3rd edition: Uncommon Advice for the Independent Woman Traveler, by Thalia Zepatos (Eighth Mountain Press) is geared toward the solo female traveler.
  • Traveling Solo: Advice and Ideas for More than 250 Great Vacations, by Eleanor Berman (Globe Pequot, Fifth Edition), gives advice on traveling alone, whether on your own or on a group tour.

Do you have a question or a comment about this resource list? Do you have your own tips for the single traveler? Tell us on our Single Travelers Message Boards today.


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