73 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2014 11:01 AM by BoBraxton

    I want to travel (solo)

    BUNDY
      I wonder where I could go alone some trips require 2 people at a moderate cost.
        • Re: I want to travel (solo)
          vs_rolemodel
          Hello, BUNDY.  Excellent topic.  Traveling solo can be very rewarding.  For one thing, there's no arguing with a travel partner
          over logistics--what local sights to see, where to eat, etc.  Some people fear that they will be lonely if they travel solo.  The
          solution to occasional bouts of loneliness is to get out to public venues where there is an opportunity to talk with people and
          share like interests--there are public lectures, support-group gatherings, one-off crafts classes, music appreciation meetings,
          etc., everywhere.

          Hotels, bed & breakfast rooms or short-stay apartments can be more expensive of course if you aren't splitting the cost with another person.  An ultra-cheap way to go, if  you have the stamina for it, is to stay in so-called 'youth' hostels [the term 'youth' is no longer accurate; all ages use these hostels], although the requirement in these typically is that you have to vacate the premises during most
          of the day [so staff can clean and prepare meals, etc].  One other disadvantage that comes to mind is that when you travel alone
          you can't leave your luggage with your travel partner while you step away to a rest room, to get something at a local shop, etc.  This,
          I have found, is a great incentive to learning to travel as lightly as possible--which in and of itself is a good thing--less stuff to worry about.  Also, when traveling solo, there is a likelihood that you will be asked to switch seats somewhere along the way to accommodate
          a couple.  This is one of my pet peeves, but that's just the way it is.  I've learned that, rather than getting irked about it and insisting on keeping my seat, it is to my advantage to feign graciously accepting the move--I have been lucky in some instances to have been 'comped' for either an upgrade or a free dessert, etc., when I go with the couples-favored flow.

          Some cultures are more accepting of solo travelers [read: solo women travelers] than others.  In some cultures it is wise to plan to have the main meal of the day as lunch in a nice restaurant as some cultures frown upon solo travelers [again, read: solo women travelers] dining alone in the evening.  A nice lunch can be a comparable good value to the dinner menu, anyway, so it's a cost-saving strategy as well.

          I have found that traveling with a backpack can bring unwanted attention in some cultures where, I suppose, they have had their
          fill of traveling students.  I always travel with a backback that can convert to a briefcase, allowing me the option to look like I'm
          traveling on business [a less stigmatized category in some cultures].  It is always a good idea to research the customs and culture of your destination.

          I would say generally that traveling in any country where your native language is spoken [English, for example] is easier and less stressful than traveling in a country where you don't speak the language or only know a few words.  So for English speakers travel in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia/New Zealand, all of these [as well as the Netherlands or the Scandinavian countries], would be good for a first-time solo trip.

          There are lots of websites out there dedicated to traveling solo.  I just did a quick Google search and came up with this one:

          http://www.solotravel.org/

          It has a good search program by country, with comments about each destination.

          Best wishes,

          vs_rolemodel


            • Re: I want to travel (solo)
              li_rolemodel

              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

                • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                  vs_rolemodel
                  Thanks, li_rolemodel.  I was surprised myself at the length of my reply.  Just goes to show
                  how much I have learned over the years as a solo traveler and how much I enjoy traveling.

                  I've been searching for more solo travel tips.  Here's another good collection:

                  http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2007/06/07/AR2007060701618.html

                  I noted and agree with one tip there about not staying at a remote hotel or B&B on the outskirts
                  of your destination city.  It's much better as a solo traveler to stay closer in to take advantage of
                  public transportation and all that the city has to offer without worrying about how you're going to
                  get back to your hotel at night, or without having to fork out a lot of money on taxi's if no other
                  means of transportation is available to get you to your hotel in the evening.

                  Best wishes,
                  vs_rolemodel
                • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                  readytogo47586
                  I am a 63 yr old female and love traveling solo.  I flew to England in 2011 with a 83 yr old friend.  We split for 9 days...I went to London, she to a friend's house.  I had a fantastic time in London and never afraid.  I stayed at a lovely B&B near Victoria Station for 75#/night.  
                  I could go where and when I wanted.  If I wanted to have a cuppa I could rest in a cafe.  It was great.  Going to England/France with a group this time, however most of the time is free for me to do what I want.  Since I have not been to Paris (don't speak French) I thought a group trip would work.  Next time I may be solo again...
                    • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                      LBS
                      I have traveled solo all over the world, Europe, South America, Turkey, Libya, Ireland, etc.  I enjoyed my solo adventures, but, it would have been better to have had someone to share it with.  The memories have all but drifted away now.  If I had someone to share the experiences with, they could have kept the memories alive.  My memories are mine and mine alone.  What I remember are slowly fading away.  It's fun to wake up and run to my own tune, so to speak.  But, like a tree in the woods, when it falls and no one's around, does it make a sound as it falls?  Sure it does, but know one knows it.  The same thing with traveling alone isn't it?  It's something to think about.  I myself, wouldn't want to think about traveling the globe alone, how boring.  Of course, one must pick the right person to travel with.  I would hate to think that I was traveling around with some serial killer, or a leach, or a dud.  I don't drink or smoke, so either of these wouldn't do!  Therefore, you must know yourself first and always before picking out your traveling partner.  Good luck and happy trails to you.  But, I will say one final thing, if you must travel alone, live it up!!  You've earned it.
                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)

                        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.

                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                            BoBraxton

                            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.

                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                        PhilZ
                        Some people can travel alone more successfully than others. I believe much depends on your personality and willingness to take chances and be adventuresome. I have traveled alone and with others - in some ways I prefer the latter because I am not as likely to do some things alone as I am with another person. For example, I feel very self-conscious about dining alone - I am apt to buy food to eat in a park or hotel room. Not a great way to experience the cuisine where you are! 

                        On the other hand, I like to the freedom of my own schedule and pursuing my own interests as I travel. If I want to take an extra day here or there, I can do that. I'm more likely to reach out to strangers, too, when I'm alone.

                        Interpersonal friction can make a trip into a very unpleasant experience. But, overall, traveling with someone who is flexible and shares my interests (at least mostly) is my choice.
                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                            RobertG

                            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.

                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                glenintampa
                                I have similar situation when I want to travel.  I sure do not have any suggestions as I have tried various sources.  I have a friend in Kansas City that we get together once a year or so and go out of the country.  I have a friend in Tampa that likes to go on Cruises.  I am able to travel more than most and I just do not like to travel alone sometimes.  Sometimes it is great to get away alone.  I have a home in Tampa and I plan to work two more years.  I get 4 weeks vacation and I look forward to traveling on a monthly basis when I retire. 
                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                    RobertG

                                       As I swelter in the Texas heat, it seems to me that living in Tampa IS a vacation!  Anyway, thanks for the comments.  RobertG

                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                        Lilybee

                                        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. 

                                         

                                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                            RobertG

                                            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.

                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                Lilybee

                                                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.

                                                • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                  Caroart
                                                  Thanks for the info about traveling alone ~ I knew about Overseas Travel but not about Grand Circle Travel ~ Hope you busy traveling & enjoy ~ namaste, cz
                                                    • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                      RobertG

                                                      Hi Caroart.

                                                         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.

                                                      Robert

                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)

                                                        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.

                                                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                            RobertG
                                                            Hi Workandplay.  I couldn't agree more with you.  Robert
                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                How sad for you that the ladies wanted to be romantic and you didn't.  Insert theecstaticemoticon.  I'm sorry but that made me laugh.  I always assumed it was mostly ladies who had to travel alone because they outlived their spouses, so this surprised me a little.  But, thanks for your input....it was a welcomed different perspective.
                                                                • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                  Sharon
                                                                  RobertG said...

                                                                  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 know this is a year late in replying, but why not join a travel club? We have a ski and sport club and each year they travel to many different locations. Last year: Vietnam, Italy, Norway, plus ski trips to many destinations. Basically, we are all seniors, and most are single.  You just team up with a friend or they team you up with a roommate. Everyone knows each other well by the end of the trip and you now know who you'd like to travel with next time!
                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                kmfair

                                                                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.

                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                        kath
                                                        Boy, do I hear you! I recently got a cruise offer from Costa for an 8 day Western Medit. cruise beginning and ending in Rome, for $449. I didn't think anyone could pass that up, but I notified 7 other single friends and none of them wanted in on it. I am disappointed and decided I need to make yet more friends!!
                                                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                            RobertG

                                                            Hi Kath.

                                                                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!

                                                            Robert

                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                kath

                                                                Hi Robert,

                                                                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!

                                                                Happy travels,

                                                                Kathryn

                                                                 

                                                                 

                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                nindethana
                                                                Did you locate anyone interested in taking the trip?  I find the same problem sometime with my single friends.  It seems difficult to locate someone who wants to go to the same place at the same time.   Any suggestions ?
                                                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                    Bunster
                                                                    Speaking of not being able to find someone to travel with, my dilemma is even larger than the norm because I don't fly, but travel by train instead. I don't know anyone who wants to travel by train and I don't care to travel alone.  
                                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                        Sharon

                                                                        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.

                                                                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                            Bunster
                                                                            Thank you Sharon. I will investigate your suggestions.
                                                                            • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                              I JUST LOGGED ON TO THIS SITE AND READ YOUR DILEMMA.  THERE IS NO TRAIN THAT TRAVELS ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO ALASKA.  i AM GOING TO ALASKA MYSELF THIS SUMMER AND HAVE INVESTIGATED ALL WAYS OF GETTING THERE BELIEVE ME.  THIS IS MY SOLUTION:  i AM DRIVING TO BELLINGHAM, WA AND PICKING UP THE FERRY OF THE ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY SYSTEM.  YOU COULD TAKE THE TRAIN TO BELLINGHAM (OR CLOSE BY...SEATTLE PERHAPS), GET ON THE FERRY (IT ACCOMMODATES AUTOS) AND GET OFF WHEREVER YOU CHOOSE, SEE WHAT YOU WANT AND TAKE IT BACK AGAIN. hERE IS THEIR PHONE NUMBER: 1-800-642-0066.  THEY ARE VERY HELPFUL IN ASSISTING YOU.  I AM A SOLO TRAVELER AS WELL AND AT FIRST, TRIED TO BOOK A CRUISE; THERE  IS A SINGLE SUPPLEMENT THAT COMES TO TWICE AS MUCH AS A REGULAR FARE AND I'D RATHER SPEND MY MONEY IN OTHER WAYS SO I CAME ACROSS THE AMH TO GET ME WHERE I WANT TO GO.  YOU CAN BOOK SHORE EXCURSIONS SEPARATELY.  HOPE THIS HELPS!   CBS
                                                                            • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                              Steve_Painter
                                                                              I, for one, LOVE to travel by train, especially in Europe  I've been all over Europe, some places by auto, some by train, both with and without a companion.  I must say it's "usually" a lot more enjoyable with another person.
                                                                              I'm interested in talking with others who may want to get together and form a small group.
                                                                                • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                  Bunster

                                                                                  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.

                                                                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                    JannyBear65

                                                                                    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.....

                                                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                        Lucina_Way
                                                                                        Great discussion. I am a 72 year old widow, have lived and worked abroad since 1995, now am in the States, sometimes Pacific NW, sometimes SW. I have been to all of the continents now except for Australia for work and/or play, usually alone, but sometimes working with someone else while there. Traveling with a good traveling companion can't be beat although traveling alone can be pleasant enough too. I'm interested in exploring possibilities of finding a travel companion from time to time. True enough that getting together to discuss possibilities and to get to know other interested parties would make it easier but I don't think living far apart is an insurmountable barrier either, what with Skype especially.
                                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                Sharon

                                                                                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.

                                                                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                    RobertG

                                                                                    Hi Sharon.

                                                                                    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.

                                                                                    Regards,  Robert

                                                                                    • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                      nindethana
                                                                                      I am interested in gaining more information about "singles" single travel groups if anyone has more specific information.  Traveling as a single often becomes almost as expensive as the price for a "double".  Would love to get connected with other groups that enjoy traveling without necessarily going on a GUIDED TOUR of a particular location. 
                                                                                        • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                          adkgolfer
                                                                                          Hi - I just retired and a friend gave me the book foxy old woman's guide to traveling alone, around town and the world.  I have also looked at walking connnections website; vacations to go for seniors etc.  I just have to take the first step.  And, do it without a big expense.  N
                                                                                            • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                              lstansbury

                                                                                              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!

                                                                                               

                                                                                               

                                                                                        • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                          denne43

                                                                                          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...!

                                                                                            • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                              keeler52
                                                                                              Hi ,
                                                                                                This is so, so encouraging. At 58, I'm a few years and many dollars from traveling with regularity, but I don't want to wait until retirement to begin. I've gone to London, Vancouver, & Santa Monica alone. Funny responses from people when I say I went by myself ..."oh, that's so good you can do that." Translation: you poor thing! Glad to hear about the resources posted here. It's hard to determine with whom you would be compatible and as a (divorced) female, safety is an important issue. Reading that there are others who share my sentiments is a motivator to start planning my next journey - however modest a trip it may be. Thank you.  Bernadette
                                                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                RobertG
                                                                                                Hi Denne43.   Sounds like you found your way around Italy pretty well without speaking Italian.  I am inclined to travel alone in countries where I speak the language but find a tour guide is a great advantage in places where I don't.  An escorted tour company I have used and found to be good is called Vantage.  They are somewhat single-friendly in that they offer one single without surcharge on most of their tours.   I went to Russia and Antarctica with them but they seem to have an emphasis on European tours so it might be worth checking their offerings.   Enjoy your travels.  Robert
                                                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                MsMusik
                                                                                                For the record, Elderhostel, now Exploritas, will book single travelers without a supplement. However, there is then no guarantee of a private room.  If there is another solo traveler of the same gender, you will be paired. I have had it both ways--single by default and paired with a stranger. I am a retired teacher, and both times, I was paired with a retired teacher. Instant friends, no problems. If you want to guarantee a single, then you have to pay a supplement
                                                                                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                    RobertG
                                                                                                    Hi Msmusik.  I have a friend who used their "roommate matching" service for awhile but then she got a bad roommate and it spoiled that trip.  I would be afraid to take that chance.  I have taken four courses with Elderhostel and three of them were great.  Met lots of nice people and the activities were interesting and fun.   However, I began to notice what I suspect to be some friction between the contractors and "Boston" and the prices have gone up a lot.  It used to be an economical way to travel but I am finding it is now more expensive than most of the for-profit companies.   Long ago I ran across a similar organization offering a course in West Texas but I can't remember the name.  (At the time I was under 50.)  I anyone knows of it please let me know.
                                                                                                    • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                      EPWA49
                                                                                                      It is nice to see all the ideas presented here.  I would love to travel with some of my friends but none of them are in very good physical condition.  I like to be able to walk around and explore areas as well as visit museums, art galleries, etc.  I had fallen into the habit of going on trips with my kids and my ex. Now the kids are out of school and I want to get out of that rut and broaden my horizons before I retire in a couple of years.  I will be checking out Exploritas.  I had heard about Elderhostel but thought it was only for couples.

                                                                                                      Ellen
                                                                                                        • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                          Tenley
                                                                                                          I am female, 64 and rather athletic.  Most of my friends are either married or have health problems. I was lucky enough to interest one of my friends in a hiking trip to Alaska this summer. I would love to go to Iceland next summer. I think that Elder Hostel might have a trip. I have to find some more single friends in New England who want to travel and love hiking, biking, etc. It sounds as if I am not alone with this problem.
                                                                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                        I think it's time to protest the surcharge for solo travelers. It just isn't fair. It is my opinion the cost should be based on the individual traveler and then if you want to bring someone along you pay the surcharge. 
                                                                                                          
                                                                                                    • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                      Mindy
                                                                                                      Hi,
                                                                                                      I love travel, and love to explore the beauty of great nature and different culture.   I traveled a lot.  I have traveled to Australia 5 times, and love Tasmania.  Now I am retired and want to travel more.  I travel with my daughter and granddaughters several times every year, and like to travlel with people of my age.   Group travel sounds very nice.  If anyone would organize a group travel, I would be interested.  
                                                                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                        boston1952
                                                                                                        I would suggest you also find yourself a good travel agent. Many times, cruise and tour operators will offer promotions where single supplements are waived. If you clue in your travel agent, they can kep their eyes open for any specials.
                                                                                                        • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                          Travelscrabble
                                                                                                          Greetings -
                                                                                                          I've just started to look at postings and find them all interesting, so thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns.
                                                                                                          My situation is:  a 73 y/o widow, retired academic librarian living in Seattle and have travelled a lot on my own these past 11 years. I'm about to go to China 4/1 with Road Scholar and find there will be 5 couples and moi!  Most often I've gone with a friend but no one wanted to go this time so I'm doing it on my own. 
                                                                                                          I also went to Antarctica in 2003 on my own and it worked out fine.  Still, it's more fun with a friend.
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          I'd be glad to hear from others in this area  - perhaps we might be able to get together. 
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          I do travel to N.C. and San Diego to visit my children, and have a place on the Oregon Coast so am not limited to Seattle connections and would be glad to hear from anyone anywhere who would like to connect.
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          Do we exchange emails or only post anonymously ?
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          Thanks,
                                                                                                          Linda
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                            plantlover
                                                                                                            I am 61 and had never traveled alone before.  This spring I took a road trip up to the Smoky Mountains....with my two dogs.  I loved it!  I plan on doing more in the future.  I also love traveling by trains....feel much more safe on the ground than up in the air.  I am interested in domestic travel only.....not up for Europe, etc.  I enjoy visiting natural areas such as national parks rather than cities.
                                                                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                Lauralaura
                                                                                                                Hi,
                                                                                                                I am new to this site,and have read a number of discussions about traveling alone.  I have always found traveling alone exciting.  I know that I am not very group oriented.  When I travel, I always return home enriched.  I take a good book and I find good conversations.  I don't like to drive when I visit a place for the first time and so I always stay in the heart of the city. I also love nature and solitude.  As I approach my retirement years, I find traveling alone not as much fun and would love to share the excitment of travel with others.
                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                    Sharon
                                                                                                                    Lauralaura said...
                                                                                                                    Hi,
                                                                                                                    I am new to this site,and have read a number of discussions about traveling alone.  I have always found traveling alone exciting.  I know that I am not very group oriented.  When I travel, I always return home enriched.  I take a good book and I find good conversations.  I don\'t like to drive when I visit a place for the first time and so I always stay in the heart of the city. I also love nature and solitude.  As I approach my retirement years, I find traveling alone not as much fun and would love to share the excitment of travel with others.
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    The best way to travel alone but "not alone" is with a travel club.
                                                                                                                    Where I live, we have the Conejo Ski and Sport Club.  We travel to nearby places like Yosemite, to far away places like skiing in Europe. A club gives you lots of variety with people your own age and likes.  We hike, ski, bike, go to plays, play tennis, volleyball, have parties and dances,  etc. 
                                                                                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                        ChipHollister
                                                                                                                        Also consider Couchsurfing.org.  There are lots of people to stay with along the way if you are interested, you can host people in your home and you can participate in interest groups (birdwatching, surfing, whatever you want, there is a group somewhere forming).  You will meet lots of interesting people and can scan their profiles, and user reviews to make sure they are a good fit to visit.
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                    schaff482
                                                                                                                    I'm a 63 year old woman who retired in January.  The last few years, I've taken guided tours of Europe (England, Germany, Switzerland, France), Africa (South Africa, Victoria Falls), Canada (Halifax, Prince Edward Island).  I've just returned from a guided tour of Russia (Moscow and St. Petersberg),  I had a great time on all of them.  The tours also had other people travelling solo.
                                                                                                                    • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                      santaj
                                                                                                                      I am a 62 years old early retiree, I traveled solo two years ago to South America. I visited Peru and Rio de Janeiro and I had a terrific time. I am interested in visiting Vietnam and other countries in that part of the world and I would like to join a group if possible. I want to spend at least three weeks traveling. If there are any groups presently planning such a trip I would love to know.
                                                                                                                      Thanks!
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      Juanita.  
                                                                                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                        OllieOliver
                                                                                                                        Vermont Bicycle Tours.  Look up VBT.COM for a list of biking or walking tours in different countries or states.  I've gone on at least 6 different trips now -- to Upstate NY, Main, Nova Scotia, Tuscany, North Carolina / Georgia, and this year I'm going to Greece.
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        Great fun, you will feel like a third wheel traveling alone, and everything is first rate.  You'll love it.
                                                                                                                        • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                          lkwsc
                                                                                                                          Don't overlook the joys of traveling on your own.  The experiences of going where you want, when you want, and enjoying choosing exactly the activities that you want to do -- it can really be fun.
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          I'll be heading off on my third 'self-guided garden tour' this fall -- for a little over two weeks in Germany and the Netherlands. My previous two solo garden tour trips were to England, also on my own.  (I've also spent plenty of time before and after travel to conferences, etc. to explore more destinations, usually on my own, too).
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          I'm an experienced traveler and travel planner -- my husband and I have traveled to many international destinations over the years -- so perhaps this intimidates me less than for some, but it's remarkably fun.
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          The fun of spending time doing regular blog posts (I'm a keen garden blogger), downloading photos, and writing daily reflections were a great way to spend evenings, after delightful days of garden visiting and sightseeing.  (I thoroughly plan possibilities in advance, but keep my schedule flexible, with a well-paced schedule with plenty of time for unexpected discoveries).  
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          Did I wish my husband were along while I was traveling on my own?  Well, certainly I would have enjoyed his company, but I also had a blast on my own.
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          I found that travel like this was quite reasonable in cost, even in Europe -- being able to stay in simple B&B's, have a flexible schedule with a rental car, eating picnic lunches, and simply going out for a nice dinner on my own, was much more affordable that going with a tour group.
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          If you're somewhat outgoing, there's always the chance to chat, and it's easy to keep in touch with folks back home, too, in today's digital world.
                                                                                                                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                            gilpearl
                                                                                                                            Check out Grand Circle Travel too.  They are especially good at solo travelers.  Just google it and it'll come right up.
                                                                                                                              • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                                patriciabc
                                                                                                                                I have travelled with Overseas Adventure Travel-- a part of Grand Circle but the groups are smaller (maximum 16) and a bit younger (still in 60's) and more physically fit so the trips can be a little more active but never really strenuous.
                                                                                                                                A great organization with in- depth trips. Educated and interesting travelers.
                                                                                                                                Decent pricing. I have gone to Macchu Pichu, Galapagos Islands, Myanmar-Burma and southeast Asia. Fabulous.
                                                                                                                                And... I have also traveled alone: three weeks around Australia in my 60's, many visits to London and Paris, Rome. Don't be afraid-- and you can
                                                                                                                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                                    gilpearl
                                                                                                                                    Yes, OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel), part of Grand Circle Travel, was the group when I went to Greece.  It was fabulous.  Half the time on land, half cruising in the Greek Islands.  I highly recommend that trip!
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    Grand Circle Travel and OAT are also very cost-effective.  All their prices include round trip airfare and include most meals and many tours.
                                                                                                                                    • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                                      Marhub
                                                                                                                                      I have also taken a number of great trips with Grand Circle and Overseas Adventure Travel.  I love the free single rooms, even when traveling with friends! OAT's small groups of no more than 16 are wonderful. These companies provide a fantastic experience and eliminate all the concerns, work and worries associated with individual travel.  
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      I traveled independently with friends when I was younger (traveling now for 41 years), but as I grow older I find having my luggage handled by someone else and not spending precious travel time locating hotels, restaurants, and the sights I want to see is the way to go for me.  Also the concerns about air and train schedules, obtaining tickets, and transfers are taken care of.  
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                  • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                                    To save money and to meet people, I recommend Airbnb (http://www.airbnb.com) for solo travelers. I just joined and will be staying in Airbnb accommodations this December. I also rent out an unused space in my home and have had several bookings by single older people, many of them from Europe, where this kind of networking is more common.  And that adds to my income! 
                                                                                                                                    • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                                      Aries327
                                                                                                                                      My husband & I have recently travelled overseas with Great European Tours an AARP friendly organization.  On that tour we met a retired school teacher travelling alone from Vienna, Austria to Budapest, Hungary and all stops in-between.  Our tour guide was great, and took her under her wing.
                                                                                                                                      I highly recommend GET as a viable options for solo travel.  Bon Voyage 
                                                                                                                                      • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                                        ldecola
                                                                                                                                        tho i'm happily married, my wife and i frequently take separate vacations...for my own accounts, see:
                                                                                                                                        and click on some of the JOURNALS.
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                        Lee De  Cola.
                                                                                                                                        • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                                          beachbirder
                                                                                                                                          Many pros and cons most mentioned already. Being female my biggest concern is safety. I have found that the penalty charged for a solo traveler with tour groups like  Road Scholar are objectionable to me but I pay up anyway because I want to get out and see and do and it gives me a sense of safety being with a group. By the end of the group tour I'm pretty happy that I did not have a travel buddy.  I have also found that places that I go to for a week of learning, etc, is a wonderful way to solo "travel", places like John C. Campbell folk school or Kirpaula Center.
                                                                                                                                          • Re: I want to travel (solo)
                                                                                                                                            carmill

                                                                                                                                            Women traveling alone -

                                                                                                                                            Check out Gutsy Women (Home | Gutsy Women Travel – It's Your Life...Live It!™)

                                                                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                                                            Carol M