Travel for Single Women
You can travel safely and enjoyably alone
The giant Kripalu Institute in Lenox, Massachusetts (800/741-7353, kripalu.org/), a foremost yoga center, offers rooms and dorms with multiple beds (six to 22 bunks, hallway baths) for singles at $100 per night, including three vegetarian meals daily, and is also primarily visited by singles. (For other residential yoga retreats, simply subject "yoga" to a Google search.
...Or on A Sierra Club Outing
Also heavily booked by singles of all ages are the nationwide out-of-doors hiking or work trips ("outings") of that important defender of the American environment, the Sierra Club, headquartered in San Francisco (415/977-5500, sierraclub.org/outings). Since most of their programs employ sleeping bags, tents, or hostel-type lodges and huts, there is rarely a single supplement, and prices often average well under $100 a day for everything-accommodations, guides, and three meals daily.
Groups that help the single traveler
Finally, as the number of single travelers grows, so does the number of companies that aid the single traveler. More and more singles specialists emerge each year. But it's important to acknowledge what they cannot do. No singles travel organization can normally obtain a waiver of the single-room supplement from hotels, cruise lines, and resorts that charge a single-room supplement. That would be asking a travel miracle. Instead, they specialize in pairing you with another single traveler of the same sex (or, if you're a mature traveler and indicate your willingness, with a single traveler of the opposite sex but on a purely platonic basis).
The longest established of the companies that pair up single travelers for the purpose of enabling them to avoid (a) loneliness and (b) a single-room supplement, and to share and thus divide other costs (like the rental of a car) as well, is the 21-year-old Travel Companion Exchange of Amityville, New York (travelcompanions.com/), headed by a distinguished travel professional, Jens Jurgen, and his wife, Eul. They assist in matching up hundreds of would-be travelers each year-and, from all reports, quite successfully-but their clientele is almost always middle-aged or older, despite the Jurgens' willingness to perform that service for singles of any age. If you go to TCE's Web site (see above), you'll find an impressive statement of its principles and goals, which it achieves through circulation of an equally impressive bimonthly newsletter ("Travel Companions"); attached are several pages of classifieds placed by members seeking other members to share travel costs. Responses are initially passed on by the organization, thus protecting the identity of members until they have fully determined the bona fides of an offer.
Recently, the publisher of Shaw Guideshas created a somewhat similar match-up service that is apparently intended for younger travelers who utilize the Internet. Known as TravelChums (212/787-2621; travelchums.com/), it is an entirely free-of-charge service whose effectiveness we cannot yet gauge. The fact that it does not charge for the match-up will probably result in much less of the remarkable personal service provided by Travel Companion Exchange; but according to TravelChums, over 29,884 persons have already registered. A great many other travel organizations schedule periodic trips for singles and then match up the participants for double rooms, permitting them to avoid the dreaded single-room supplement.
Among the most active of these nationwide firms are as follows: O Solo Mio (800/959-8568, osolomio.com/) of Los Altos, California, is an especially active nationwide firm in business since 1991 that operates tours for singles of a broad age range (mostly between 40-60); it arranges roommates for all participants desiring to share. Recent trips have included long weekends in Las Vegas; Alaskan cruises; the lowlands of Holland; the high living of Paris, London, and Rome; and a number of South American packages.
Aim Higher Travel (877/752-1858, aim-higher.com/singlestravel) of Winfield, Illinois, is a cruise specialist with a "guaranteed share program": It will try to find a roommate for you, but if that fails, it will absorb the single-cabin supplement. Travel Buddies (800/998-9099, travelbuddiesworldwide.com/) of Cloverdale, British Columbia, Canada, operates active, interesting tours (wine-tasting in Italy, a golf tournament in Costa Rica, Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises) on which it will match up participants with roommates free of charge, enabling them to avoid the single supplement.