Traveling alone: single and solo vacations

Here’s an interesting article on traveling alone that mentions two types of independent travel:

Solo vacations are more structured, experiential travel for people who want to go to a destination they may never get to visit with family.

Single vacations are more-mixer oriented geared towards people who want to be in the company of other single travelers.

I actually have some problems with these definitions – why are solo vacations necessarily more structured? A mixer-oriented vacation (a single vacation) could also be very structured, couldn’t it?

Well I don’t have time to explore the issue further – I’m doing my sister’s wedding ceremony tomorrow (In Massachusetts I can be ordained for a day in order to do a wedding ceremony). While I think I’m done writing my speech, I’d better make sure…

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  1. roz says:

    There comes a time in life when family and friends go into different directions,

    no one wants to get in a group that is too old or young for them but a mix of all ages and interests

    finding a reputable group is difficult. hosteling is a way but usually it is done indivually and not with a group which i think would be more fun,

    does anyone have any suggestions for me?

  2. Linzi says:

    start a travel club online and post adds for like minded people in your age rang that would have fun traveling single with a bunch of new people. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, I’m still a little nervous about actually making it happen though without knowing anyone else who’d be interested.

  3. gene says:

    I used to travel alone when I was single, short trips to the mountians for weekends, sort of a self assesment, interspective thing. I take short trips now alone because my wife always has an agenda, something about that word means non-relaxing, so I look foreward to either reading a long awaited book on the beach, eating at nice places, staying in five star hotels. these places are usually where I find my age groups, or interesting people to meet, but your right roz, it is a roll of the dice, but you might roll a winner if you pick up those dice, rather than just look at them, lol, good luck, we all seem to find each other no matter where we go, it’s when you stop looking, that you find what you want

  4. Jill says:

    James, I see where the confusion comes in. In defining solo vs. single travel, I think the author is equating structured with a narrower purpose for the solo traveler, which is a specific travel experience. The author contrasts that with single travel having multiple purposes: meeting others and saving money as well as the travel itself. The author seems to imply that multipurpose is inherently less structured than single-purpose.

  5. travelfan says:

    I’ve started traveling solo in the last fews years for many reasons: (1) it’s too much work trying to organize yours and other people’s interests and they don’t appreciate all the work anyway (2) they want to do things that I don’t and vice versa (3) our money and time situations are not the same (4) I no longer like sharing a room with anyone in my “older” age (their snoring, reading in bed, messy clutter habits, etc.)

    The upside of traveling with someone is you can go to nice restaurants and do more at night than when traveling solo. However, I find getting up and out early, eating lunch in these same nice restaurants, and getting a good night’s sleep more than make up for eating with a friend.

    I must say that I enjoy traveling much more now (by myself) than before. I spent 15 months alone in Italy, and have been to the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Australia, and New Zealand as a solo woman without ANY problems.

  6. jacqi says:

    I’ve been travelling alone for quite awhile and have never had a bad experience. Mostly tho., I have used Elderhostal and the courses they offer as well as the destinations have been great…AND the people I’ve met at the classes are people who enjoy living!

  7. Gina says:

    I have traveled alone for the last several years since my friends can’t go most of the time. I have done my traveling in the US, and have not had any problems as a woman. I do 2 personal trips a year, and have time to play tourist when I travel with my job.

  8. Debra says:

    I took my first solo trip last year – an Alaska cruise. It was Fantastic! It was a journey of self discovery, as someone mentioned in another note. I did all the excursions that I wanted, rather than to have to compromise with a companion who might not have wanted to go hiking, exploring and window shopping that I enjoyed. Dining alone was a new experience, but I found that the staff really went above to make sure I enjoyed myself. Honestly, there was one uncomfortable issue with a crew member who tried to become too friendly for the first few days, but I kept my cool and finally he took the point and left me alone. I definately plan to spend at least one of my trips each year going it alone!

  9. Bob says:

    Being a life-long bachlor it is hard to find other men to travel with. Single women are easier to travel with. Women are more willing to leave home town sports and are more adventurous. I do not like buying or shopoping so this is a problem with group travel. Roommates make it cheaper and sharing is good. Cuba, Egypt, Turkey, Sweden-Norway, all of E. & W. Europe,USSR,S. America, Australian, China, Viet Nam, India, S. Africa, Alaska, San Juan Islands,Canada, drove Pan-Am highway from US to Panama and hopefully South Pole and N.Z. to come.

  10. Melissa says:

    You go boys and girls!. I am a single 50 year old female [who feels 30] and now that the kids are on their own

    I am wanting to travel but no one I know ever wants to go,or cant go the same time I can etc.. I can go on and on. With that said, I am too chicken to go it alone. I hate that about myself.I read travel books,investigate on line etc., and have found plenty of places I would love to go. Hopefully one day before it’s too late I will get the nerve to just do it! I have spoken to a few women whom have traveled alone had a great time and plan on doing it again. I envy that. What is the secret? Or is everyone type “A” personality that travels alone?

  11. KAREN ROSE says:

    JUST READ SEVERAL REVIEWS AND I ALSO LOVE TO TRAVEL, ALONE OR WITH SOMEONE…..THE PART I HATE IS HAVING TO PAY FOR TRAVELING ALONE, I DONT SEE WHY I HAVE TO PAY EXTRA FOR BEING WITHOUT SOMEONE…YEARS AGO CRUISES ETC. EITHER MATCHED YOU WITH SOMEONE OR GIVE SOME KIND OF BREAK…I HAVE NO ONE TO TRAVEL WITH AND I CANT AFFORD THE LUXURY OF THE PER PERSON…..THANKS FOR READING THIS AND MAYBE YOU KNOW SOMEWAY TO TRAVEL ALONE, THERE HAS GOT TO BE SOMEONE OUT THERE IS THIS BIG WORLD THAT HAS THE ANSWER…..

  12. donavan says:

    I sooooo recommend traveling alone at least once in your life. It’s absolutely liberating! I’m a 43 year old woman who’s been to Alaska, Mexico, Scotland, England and Paris solo. I’ve never had a bad experience & have met lots of wonderful people along the way. I’m now planning a trip to New England in October to see the beautiful Fall foliage.

  13. Becky says:

    Melissa (8/13)states:

    I am wanting to travel

    I hate that about myself

    I am too chicken to go it alone

    Hopefully one day before it’s too late I will get the nerve to just do it!

    I envy that.

    What is the secret?

    FACING YOUR FEARS…YOU ARE PARALIZED IN YOUR MIND WITH WHAT YOU THINK. GO SKY DIVING AND FACE IT HEAD ON THEN YOU’LL BECOMCE THE ADVENTUROUS PERSON YOU DESIRE..WORKED FOR ME 🙂

  14. Barbara says:

    I have always traveled independently, planning my own trips and thoroughly enjoyed traveling by myself. I have also enjoyed the occasion or two when I had a travel companion since it reduced my expenses and gave me someone to share the adventure with at the end of the day. I now desire to go on a cruise and need someone to go with me since the single supplement of up to 100% of the fare makes the cruise price out of my reach. I do not want to be joined at the hip with this companion, just be able to share the experience and the cruise expense. Any ideas, anyone?

  15. Barbara says:

    I have been traveling both single or with a companion for the past 35 years. Both are great. I have always been an independent traveler but now find myself desiring a cruise. This is where the problem of traveling single comes in. The single supplement for a cruise of often 100% of the fare which makes taking a cruise as a single out of the reach of my pocketbook.

    Any ideas out there for solving my problem?

  16. travelfan says:

    Barbara,

    Like you and probably millions of others, I would also enjoy cruising, but I refuse to pay single supplements. Until some cruise line gets smart enough to create 1-person rooms and reduce their fees for that smaller room, I will keep on spending my money for other types of travel. One day they will wise up…hopefully.

    Melissa,

    I convinced a woman that I worked with to finally travel alone. Now she’s sold her house and is living in Mexico and studying Spanish. Her next adventure is to live in Spain. Once you do it and see that it’s possible, the world is open to you. You do have to enjoy your own company and be able to plan your own activities. Truthfully, most people don’t notice you, whether you are single or traveling with someone else.

  17. skbnwinters says:

    Oh, yes….skydiving will definitely make you face your worst fears. You might soil yourself but who cares? You won’t care about THAT either afterwards. Solo travel is, indeed, very liberating but I totally understand your feelings. Don’t let yourself feel beat up about that. IT IS AN INCREASINGLY DANGEROUS WORLD OUT THERE.

    Start small. Like I did. I went to “hostels” locally on google or yahoo, whatever and spent several years going to hostels up and down the CA coast and feel at home there now.

    Now the next step is an international hostel or teaching English abroad. (I had a truly hideous nightmare about Russia, take it as a sign from God that I am not to go solo there THIS TIME to teach….you get the idea. Use all of your senses to discern where you will/would be COMFORTABLE. Cheers! It is a great big world out there!)

  18. Melissa says:

    Thanks so much for all the comments and encouragement! Starting small is an excellent idea. I went to NYC with a friend several years ago and just loved it! I have been wanting to go back and cant find anyone to go ,so I think I will start there. As travelfan stated I dont think I would even be noticed as a single traveler there as the city is bustling with people on the street, on the subway, on the ferry etc.. Oh and ironically my dream has been to go skydiving and again no one wants to go with me!! You know I think I am now convinced to JUST DO IT!! Thanks everyone. By the way this is also my first time blogging,glad I got the nerve to do it. I have a chance to go to Jamaica and I just found out it will cost me $220 more to go single as opposed to the other traveler that has a roommate! Who knew it would cost MORE to go single. That surely needs to be changed.

  19. James Trotta says:

    There were a lot of great comments here. I agree with the commenter who mentioned hostels. In a dorm situation there is no single supplement and people in hostels tend to be friendly and talkative. When I was traveling alone and wanted someone to talk with, there was always someone willing if I was in a hostel.

    Certainly cruiselines and hotels should do more to encourage solo travelers.

    Teaching English abroad is certainly an option. I went to Korea alone to teach English many years ago. I ended up getting married there and still teach in Korea today. Plus any traveler will tell you that you need to live in a place to really understand it and expereince its culture. A week in Korea would have been a nice vacation but several years in Korea has been a life changing experience.

  20. Sue says:

    I find that researching a destination, and finding an adventure tour company that has something exciting planned for everyday is an excellent vacation for single people. You get to know the other people in your group, and doing adventurous things helps you to bond with others in your group. You end up making lots of friends. I usually save a couple days at the end to lounge on the beach to help me get the rest to prepare for my return to work..

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