Wow!!! What a wonderful tribute to solo travel, vs_model! It almost made me want to get right out and GO SOMEWHERE on my own!! Great tips. I have not actually done any extensive travel alone - though I often FLY alone and rather enjoy it. For example, people-watching, etc. is easier if you aren't trying to carry on a conversation with a travel partner. And I am often a little surprised to hear friends - usually WOMEN friends, say they hate eating alone in a restaurant. I don't mind that at all. I do think a good ploy is to take along a book or magazine - and just devote your attention to it while you're waiting for your meal to arrive - and even while you're eating it.
Good luck!! li_roleodel
I was in Paris with a friend a few years ago, but the friend was attending a conference so I was on my own most every day, all day. I found it very easy to get around on the Metro, and found Parisians helpfule, gracious, and accomodating. A few french words go a very long way, so use Merci, bon jour, and learn a few greetings if you can. Then ask politely if you may speak English. They love it when you attempt the language, but they don't actually expect you to speak it all the time. Most Parisians, in this shops and hotels and restaurants at least, spoke excellent English. Be very mindful of the pick-pockets and scam artists in abundant supply around all the tourist sights, and don't go into at night alone. During the day it was fine, and I traveled far and wide around the city. Have a wonderful time in the City of Lights.
Katherine and I were in a ninth grade World History class in NC 1958-1959. She is retired (teacher). Her husband died two or three years ago. She has a friend and the two of them went to Turkey (for a week?). I think their trip worked out well.
For those of us who have lost our lifelong travel companion it is a quandary. I have found travel with groups to be very pleasant but most group travel providers attach a monetary penalty to single travel in the form of a single surcharge. The travel world seems to be couplle=oriented. On my last trip (to Southeast Asia) I was in a group of 17-eight couples and me. Cruise ships heavily penalize the single traveler. I have found it very difficult to find compatible travel companions. I tried cruising with lady friends on three occasions and, while it was agreed "up front" that we had no romantic interests, in each case they became disappointed and disagreeable when it didn't happen. I spent two weeks hiking in Mexico with a male friend and that was great but his wife has decreed that any future travel must include her and grandchildren. I took a couple of courses in gerontology once and learned that it is very difficult for older people to find compatible companions because we differentiate so much as our lives are filled with differing experiences. It is the reason why children make friends so quickly and easily. They have had essentially the same experiences and so have the same interests. Anyway, I haven't found a solution either.
As I swelter in the Texas heat, it seems to me that living in Tampa IS a vacation! Anyway, thanks for the comments. RobertG
Well, RobertG, I lived in Tampa Palms for six years, and it tends to stay hot and humid year-round, with the exception of maybe two or three months. To me, there is no place like my home town for great weather--San Diego.
Anyway, I've lived in a dozen states and have traveled coast-to-coast a few times, mainly by myself. I'm one of those who also enjoys going on the Trolley tours that some cities provide for visitors. The only time I've been out of the country was on a wonderful vacation in Bermuda, with an old friend. But, I would really like to go to Italy, France, and Spain (not on one trip), with someone who knows the areas. I guess my best bet is to check out the websites provided by others, or go on tours, which don't seem to be my cup of tea. But, some day I plan to go one way or the other.
Hi Lilybee. I spent three months in San Diego many years ago as a guest of the USMC. I don't remember it being uncomfortable but I do remember we had a flag called "the red ball" which, when raised, indicated that drill in the sun was prohibited so it must have been pretty hot since they were not interested in our comfort. Anyway, regarding single travel, today I booked an escorted trip through Mexico and they waived the single surcharge. Two tour companies which are very single-friendly are Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle Travel (same ownership). They often offer singles at no extra charge on selected trips. I traveled independently for many years in business but now I really enjoy the convenience of having everything arranged for me and find that it is generally a bit cheaper.
San Diego is a large metropolitan area, so it depends upon where you were. The hottest time of the year is when a "Santa Ana" condition hits the area and stays for maybe a week or two. Otherwise, the year-round weather average varies from 60-78, my type of climate. But, then, I lived near the ocean. Inland toward Escondido, El Centro, Chula Vista, La Mesa can get pretty warm.
Along with the RS tours that Nancy mentioned, the companies you cited might be something I'll look into, although I'm not interested in 'singles' per se. I too prefer someone else making arrangements, particularly since I haven't been to Europe and don't know the ropes out there.
Thanks again for the info.
Just so you are fully informed, OAT specializes in "small group" travel, usually limited to 16 travelers. Grand Circle offers most of the same itinerarys in larger groups for generally lower prices but both are excellent (and socially responsible) travel providers. Enyoy your retirement.
Thanks, Robert and you enjoy also ~
I have been travelling solo for the last five years with OAT, Grand Circle and the former Elderhostel since becoming a widower). If you are doing any exotic travel or going places where language is a problem (China, SE Asia, Africa, India, etc.) a good group makes the trip. I second the smaller groups of OAT their single rates are pretty fair. On their trip you will usually find people who have travelled extensively as well as less travelled individuals.
If you are travelling in western europe, scandinavia countries, or english speaking countries, a group may not be so important but I like to meet new people.
For those of us who have lost our lifelong travel companion it is a quandary. I have found travel with groups to be very pleasant but most group travel providers attach a monetary penalty to single travel in the form of a single surcharge. The travel world seems to be couplle=oriented. On my last trip (to Southeast Asia) I was in a group of 17-eight couples and me. Cruise ships heavily penalize the single traveler. I have found it very difficult to find compatible travel companions. I tried cruising with lady friends on three occasions and, while it was agreed \"up front\" that we had no romantic interests, in each case they became disappointed and disagreeable when it didn\'t happen. I spent two weeks hiking in Mexico with a male friend and that was great but his wife has decreed that any future travel must include her and grandchildren. I took a couple of courses in gerontology once and learned that it is very difficult for older people to find compatible companions because we differentiate so much as our lives are filled with differing experiences. It is the reason why children make friends so quickly and easily. They have had essentially the same experiences and so have the same interests. Anyway, I haven\'t found a solution either.
I have just retired and am looking forward to more traveling, and have been travelling alone for almost 20 years--sometimes on a tour, sometimes not. This year I did one trip with Exploritas (once Elderhostel and now Road Scholar) and one on my own. While it was nice to have the group to interact with, the trip by myself which was to one city in the UK was amazing. Knowing that I would be by myself, I made an effort to get to know people. I talked to museum people. I got to know people at my hotel--I deliberately stayed at a small hotel for that reason, by the time I left, I knew the owner.
I always had a book with me to read in awkward situations or at meals--but I found that often people were more willing to talk to a single traveler.
The first time I traveled by myself I went to Greece for a land tour and cruise. I paid the single suppliment which was more than I wanted, but guaranteed me some quiet time. Since I live alone (not counting the two cats), I am used to quiet and not sharing. Again, people saw that I was traveling alone and sort of swooped me up. Even at times when I wanted to just sit and enjoy the sunset by myself, I would find that people were coming to be with me, because they didn't want me to be lonely.
Hard to tell people that being alone and being lonely are not the same thing.
But my rule of thumb when traveling alone is to talk to people-- in the museums, at the restaurants, in the hotels.. get to know people.
That is a really low price for an 8-day cruise but getting to Rome would increase the cost quite a lot. If you find a way to make more friends let me know!
Jan. is an off-time for European travel, so a round trip to Rome can be had for $800-900. Since I've found there is no travel club in my CA city, I'm going to join a hiking club. (At least they like to get up and go!) But first I have to work up to their 8 mile hikes!! Oh, well, part of life is meeting challenges!
Can't you go on Facebook and put your dilema out there for everyone to see? There must be another senior retired person who would love to travel by train and doesn't fly. YOu can't be alone in that.
Many tours have matching singles so you wouldn't travel alone. Try contacting the train travel bureaus. I'm sure the train that goes through Alaska would love you to ride the rails with them.
A group sounds interesting. Which state are you from? It seems that the group would have to live in a close proximity in order to travel together. I'm up for discussing this possibility. I'm in Miami.
I lived in Italy years ago. Late 70s - military wife. I have always wanted to go back to Italy or Europe. Hope some day to make it. Right now I'm facing some surgery. I never thought my body would give out on me, but it seems to want to.....
But I will be back. Travel is fun with someone other than yourself..... I loved the markets over there and the wine. Ha. Now I'm sure I'd just have a sip.....
I don't know where you live, but you should join a seniors' travel group, primarily singles.
Here in Ventura County, Calif. we have the Conejo Ski and Sports Club and every year have lots of trips planned going from local skiing to Europe to Australia to anyplace on the planet you wish. The ski club plans the trips and go wherever there is an interest. Recently the group went to New Zealand, China, Dubhai (can't spell), South America, and Ireland.
Whomever is interested, finds a "leader" and reservations are made. Single people have no trouble as they usually stay in Condos and just divide the space by the number of people. You do have to be flexible, though. they love to drink and party but not smoke.
Not having lots of $ I stick to Mammoth to ski and the State and National Park camping trips. Every June we go to Yosemite and stay in tent cabins (4 to a cabin). You meet lots of people that way. Make friends, hike together, river raft, and just enjoy.
Of course if you don't like people...it won't work for you.
Thanks for the suggestion. I live in N. Texas (Ft Worth area). I used to belong to a singles-only RV camping club called Loners on Wheels and it was great for making friends but I sold the RV because it was old and troublesome and I couldn't afford to replace it. I don't know of any other senior-oriented travel clubs around here but will look into it.
I just got back from Europe -- Luxembourg, Florence, France, and spent most of the time traveling alone and booked the whole trip myself. Just want to second what all the others have said about staying close to the center of town -- it felt safer to me. But I'm less afraid of the pickpockets in Europe than the violent crime rate in the Sates. The only time I was panicked alone was trying to make connections on the Eurail...that was a nightmare and had more to do with missing my plane than being afraid of other people. But I survived and found it to be a fantastic learning experience, and will do it again -- probably with some sort to tour guide assistance. Thanks for the tips on Elderhostel and Road Scholar, I will definitely check into those!
Hi Robert, I have just returned from a trip to Italy where I travelled alone for the first few days, in Rome. The rest of the time, I was north of Venice with a group of painters who lived, traveled and painted together for a week, and then some. In the end, I liked being with this free-flowing group, who had no plans except to gather in the evening for a meal or to visit a museum. The last three days I spent in Venice, but stayed at a totally different (cheaper) hotel than the remaining folks.
In the end, I think I found Venice easier to explore by myself; it felt safe, even at night, and there was plenty to look and do within walking distance of wherever you stay. Rome was another issue. There I missed having a companion - preferably someone who knew Italian and who knew Rome! For a woman, safety feels like the biggest issue.
Not sure what my point is except to say - there are groups/tours and then there are groups/tours. I think it is important to find the right fit - and that might take awhile. I will check out the two single-friendly tour groups you mentioned. I know I want to go back to Italy and am looking for a way to do that. Otherwise, I will just go alone...!
Women traveling alone -
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I took a river cruise on the Danube with them and it was great. There were 22 of us on a ship carrying about 100. Depending on the trip, the single supplement is waived and the participants (some single and some attached and traveling alone) are interesting. I've signed up for another trip in the fall: Budapest to Amsterdam.
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