Keeping the fun in traveling as a single by Tom Blake
When singles take trips, they need to plan, be travel-savvy and make many decisions. One of the first decisions is whether to go alone or with a group.
"I'm more open to meeting others when I travel solo," said Jane, Irvine.
People traveling alone pay almost twice as much as those sharing a room. Gail, Westminster, said, "I went on a two-week cruise from Venice to Barcelona. I booked a single room and paid through the nose." Still, Gail felt her trip was worth the money.
Traveling with a group usually means having a roommate, which can be good or bad. Joanne, Los Angeles, said, "The person I was teamed up with was a nut who wanted to borrow money. After a few days, I paid the upgrade and had my own space.
Much better, albeit lonely." And speaking of roommates, what if they snore?
Gayla, Capitola, says, "Travel with a tour group for safety, comfort and lots of fun. Pick a tour that interests you, and you'll meet people with similar interests. Plus, your itinerary is planned."
To avoid loneliness and enrich their trip, singles traveling solo must take the initiative to meet people. While cruising, Gail, Rosemead, meets others by taking late dinner seating and requesting singles at her table. "I attend the dances and other activities geared toward singles."
When Fran Blake, Sonoma, was widowed, she went to Paris alone. She met the librarian of the Philadelphia orchestra and his wife at her hotel. "We had many meals together, and their friendship and kind gestures made my time in Paris beyond anything I'd dreamed possible."
Staying at a B&B is more intimate than at a larger hotel and is a good way to meet people. Most singles don't enjoy eating alone. At B&Bs, you're seated with others.
Janet, San Clemente, said, "Strike up a conversation with the person seated next to you on the plane, train, bus or barstool, and you'll meet people who know places to visit and things to do."
Ivory, Mableton, Ga., e-mailed, "Single men don't travel alone. The cruise lines hire dance partners for single women. Sometimes, a single guy will bring a woman to avoid being alone. This is no help as no one knows she's a stand-in. Why bring sand to the beach?"
"More single women travel than single men," said Burl, Mission Viejo. Burl recommends single guys go on cruises or to Cancun, "where single women go with the hope of meeting someone."
Terry, Fountain Valley, says he always travels with a woman: "I'm 62, going on 25. Still, I don't like to travel alone."
Singles need to be careful and avoid dangerous situations. Be aware of local conditions. When I visited Belize City, the hotel warned everybody – not just singles – about the danger of walking more than a few yards from the hotel at night. Linda, San Clemente, said, "Leave good jewelry at home, use ATMs, only take a couple of credit cards, make two copies of your passport, license, credit cards, etc. Leave one at home and put one in a suitcase."
Don't walk around reading a map; it's a dead giveaway that you're a naïve tourist. "I take a backpack. It's easier to keep all of your stuff together and lighter than a purse. In London, there are a lot of pickpockets at night, so I carry it in front," said Sandi, Tustin.
Will singles find love? Chances are they won't.
"I met a nice man on a trip who was an excellent dancer, and we danced the cruise away. I saw him a couple of months later, but it faded away," said Sally Montgomery, Irvine.
"Travel is a great way to enrich one's life but not the best way to meet single people," said Jim of Laguna Beach.
"I went by myself on a 21- day river cruise through Germany and established a friendship with a widower from Oregon, however, a romantic relationship has not blossomed yet," said Susan, Placentia.
June, Rancho Santa Margarita: said, "Shipboard romances don't last. Don't have high hopes after docking."
And if you meet someone, then what? Chances are, you'll live in different cities. If you want to be together, who moves?
If you're shy about travel, start with day trips. Marge, Mission Viejo, who operates Marge's Tours, has trips planned to the Hollywood Bowl for "A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee" on July 14 and a salute to Disney on Aug. 21. For information: (949) 830- 7791 or .