The best deals for single travelers
'Today' travel editor Peter Greenberg talks about vacation planning when you have to go it alone
Traditionally single travelers have had a tough time when it comes to prices, service, and overall experiences, but now as their numbers increase. The travel industry is slowly, but surely, coming around to recognize that they are indeed a hot commodity. Today Travel Editor Peter Greenberg has tips on where to find the best deals:
Historically, it's the largest group that receives the most amount of discrimination by the travel industry -- people who are single. For years, solo travelers have been abused by price, by service, and often, by experience. Dreaded words like "single supplement" and "double occupancy" almost always meant a single traveler's budget was busted.
But now, as the numbers of single travelers has drastically increased (thanks to, in no small part, more single people traveling coupled with higher divorced travelers), the travel industry is, slowly but surely recognizing the single traveler as a potent source of revenue, and for once, there are now hotels, destinations, tour operators, cruise lines and travel services catering to the single traveler.
Here are some good ones:
All Singles Travel
A division on Travel Services Worldwide offers two primary benefits to the solo traveler: 1) Cost savings -- no forced single supplement and 2) Security and camaraderie of traveling in an escorted group of solo travelers.
TSW singles vacations has been providing singles travel offerings since 1996. Their program allows the solo traveler to enjoy travel in the security of an escorted group of other solo travelers and to avoid the expense of paying forced single supplements.
Their free roommate matching service allows all our travelers to be matched with a roommate of the same sex and smoking preference (smoking or non smoking), as well as the same age range. (the traveler's ages range primarily from ages in their 30's through 50's). Example of cost savings, below are a couple of examples:
1) A traveler on their 10 day cruise
and land package in the
2) A passenger traveling on one of their 7 day cruise offerings to the Caribbean (Nov. 20-27, 2004), the Mediterranean, (Oct. 2-9, 2004) The Hawaiian Islands (Dec. 5-12, 2004) or Alaska (July 12-19, 2004) would save, through our free roommate matching service, between $500 and $700 over the cost of booking the same cruise directly through the cruise line, whereby the traveler would have been forced to pay the cruise line's single supplement.
3) A passenger traveling on one
of our land excursions to
Keep in mind their program is not designed as a romance or dating service. It is instead designed to provide a means for the solo traveler to avoid this forced "single supplement". Another advantage and purpose of their program addresses safety issues. All of their trips are escorted by a TSW Singles Vacations representative that organizes such activities for group passengers as cocktail parties and group dinners during their vacation.
This representative stays with the group at the same hotels and of course on the same cruise sailings to assist group passengers with any questions or needs that may arise during their vacation. For reservations call 800-717-3231, or visit allsinglestravel.com. Upcoming 2004 trips calendar include: May -- Iceland (with optional 3 day pre tour visit to Paris, France), June - England, Scotland, Wales, July -- Costa Rica, July -- Cruise of Alaska (with optional post cruse land excursion of Alaska), August -- Canadian Rockies Dude Ranch Adventure Week September -- Cruise/land Odyssey of the Greek Islands and Italy (with optional pre cruise excursion to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens Greece).
Club Med focuses on all-inclusive vacations, with more than 100 villages in more than 40 countries, including the
They still have adult only travel as well. Unlike other cruises you can enjoy a variety of beverages, which includes alcohol, and food daily. Buffets and snacks are a normal find on board. Gyms and night entertainment is jus the beginning with cable television and CD players, and spa massages. With the average price of a 7 day vacation starting at $1263, ClubMed beats the competition by about $700. These packages are all-inclusive and include airfare.
For active singles:
travel company offers active travel on all levels and pair you up with
like minded travelers. They offer everything from active travel
at a relaxed pace or camping trips with fireside camaraderie for those who enjoy
being in the outdoors. Because a limited number of single rooms are available
on most trips for a supplementary fee they offer the first five guests that
sign up 100 days in advance for a solo trip, savings of $100 off the price.
But, you must mention this offer at the time of booking to receive the discount.
If you seek a comfortable environment for individual travel, Back roads (according
to their PR contact) offers more Solo trip departures and destinations than
any other travel company. Reserved exclusively for adults
traveling on their own or with friends. Here's an example itinerary for
Backroads' Wine Country bicycling trip, covering
Eighty percent of Footloose clients are single travelers. Those that are not are usually not couples, but sisters, friends, etc. 12 to 13 people maximum on their tours. There are no single supplements and typically 5-6 different nationalities are on each tour, so it is a very cultural experience too.
They have tours from
And there are no single supplements,
meaning travelers on their own
will share a tent (or room on lodging tours) with a fellow passenger and in
the event one cannot be matched up with another passenger of the same sex,
there is never a single supplement with Footloose. Also, they offer last minute discounts where you can save 20% when purchase online. Footloose supplies all necessary camping equipment including tents, cold food storage containers, camp lights, stoves and other camp accessories. Camps near major city destinations all have campgrounds with facilities such as showers, pools, shops, and laundromats.
One example is their 21 day Cross
Country South Expedition which leaves from New York and takes you from the Atlantic to the
Pacific via New Orleans, Navajo lands, canyons, deserts and the glitz of Las
Vegas -- this tour encompasses the diversity of America: you will head south
on America's busiest highway, the New Jersey Turnpike -- and your first stop
will be Philadelphia: visit Independence Hall, site of the signing of the Declaration
of Independence and the Liberty Bell. On to the nation's capital,
The Holocaust, Air and Space, National Gallery of Art and other museums included in this trip. Prices start at $1299 and the next trip depart April 10th and includes: Transportation by adventure vehicle, services of a Footloose tour leader, all camping fees & equipment, four hotel nights, tour of Carlsbad Caverns, admission to all National Parks & Monument Valley. For more information visit Footloose at footloose.com or call 1-800-221 0596.
A growing solo traveler segment -- the single parent:
Single Parent Travel Network- and Single Parent
This company is devoted to single parents and their families. All of their trips are created with the single parent, grandparent or any adult, married or single, who travels alone with kids. They have a single parent getaway weekend in Northern Vermont from May 21 - 23, 2004 for a Spring Break Weekend at the Wildflower Inn located in Northern Vermont (3 hrs north of Boston & Albany & 2 hrs south of Montreal) from May 21-23, 2004. This resort, located in the hills of
The Weekend Package Includes
Two nights accommodations at the Wildflower Inn Meals:
Dinner Friday and Saturday night (with menu choices for adults and children);
Breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning; Lunch on Saturday, Daily
Activities: All activities are included at the Wildflower Inn: Hiking, Tennis, Biking, Outdoor Heated Garden Pool, Hot Tub & Sauna, Petting Barn, Batting Cage, Bird-Watching, Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, Fishing, Game Room, Outdoor Play Area for Kids as well as a Special Indoor Playroom (Golfing and kayaking are also available at additional cost). Singleparenttravel.net.
© 2004 MSNBC Interactive