Who's Friendly to Solo Travelers?
Find the answer in our sampling of companies, travel clubs, and social networking sites that benefit those going solo.
TOUR OPERATORS WITH A FOCUS ON SOLO TRAVEL
• All Singles Travel, 800/717-3231, allsinglestravel.com.
Cruises, escorted tours, and outdoorsy vacations geared towards solo travelers in their 30s through 50s, who are matched with roommates.
• Contiki Holidays, 866/CONTIKI, contiki.com.
Travelers on these trips skew younger (mostly ages 18 to 35) and a significant portion travel alone; they can choose to pay a single supplement for a private room or to avoid the surcharge by being matched with a roommate.
• G.A.P Adventures, 800/708-7761, gapadventures.com.
While the company doesn't cater specifically to solo travelers, it has a friendly, no-single-supplement policy.
• GOGO Worldwide Tours, 800/229-4999, gogowwv.com/singles.
In August 2007, the wholesaler launched a series of packages tailored to solo travelers. Wine tastings, dance lessons, and other activities meant to encourage mingling are included, and you can opt for a private room at a 30 percent discount off the typical solo rate, or request to be paired with a roommate. Note that you'll need to book through a travel agent.
• Intrepid Travel, 866/847-8192, intrepidtravel.com.
Like G.A.P, Intrepid does not charge a single supplement.
• Majestic Sun Tours, 800/995-7245, majesticsun.com.
Cruises for solo travelers, who benefit from a guaranteed share program: If you make a reservation 65 days or more in advance, you won't pay a single supplement, whether or not the company succeeds in matching you with a roommate.
• O Solo Mio Tours, 800/959-8568, osolomio.com.
Group tours aimed at solo travelers upwards of 35, who are matched with roommates.
• Travel Buddies, 800/998-9099, travelbuddiesworldwide.com.
The Canada-based company hooks up solo travelers with roommates.
• Windjammer Barefoot Cruise, 800/327-2601, windjammer.com.
The tall-ship cruise company sets aside three or so Caribbean cruises each year specifically for single travelers, who are matched with a roommate and who pay the regular cruise rates.
• The World Outdoors, 800/488-8483, theworldoutdoors.com
Nearly a quarter of the adventure packages are devoted to solo travelers. If you want a private room, you'll pay a single supplement; if you book less than 90 days before departure and want a roommate, you'll be charged the supplement and will receive a refund if they find you a roommate; if you book at least 90 days before departure, you won't pay a supplement whether or not you're matched with a roommate.
• Connecting Solo Travel Network, 604/886-9099, cstn.org.
• Going Solo Travel Club, 800/475-3755, goingsolotravel.com.
SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
• Gusto.com Members create profiles with photos, recommendations, and even blog postings from their trips. The site also lists travel discounts, mostly supplied by Expedia.
• Mango-Tree.com Launched in April 2007, this London-based newcomer allows members to create profiles with details of a trip they hope to take and photos. Participants can search the site by the age and gender of their ideal partner. Note that it's free for the first three months, but afterwards members pay $8 to $20 per month depending on their length of membership.
• TripConnect.com Search members' profiles for recommendations, create your own profile with a wish list of destinations and hope that another member responds with advice, post questions to special-interest groups, and send messages directly to members.
• TripUp.com Operates like Facebook or MySpace for travelers, with detailed profiles and networks of friends around the world who exchange info. The site can hook you up with a "Trip Guru" who supposedly will share insider tips--and sometimes even guide visitors in person--and it offers a travel compatibility test and a locate-a-mate search.
• VirtualTourist.com Members can build a travel map to track places they've visited and can do many of the other things you'd expect, from contacting other members for advice to posting photos.
• Wayn.com The Wayn (Where Are You Now?) worldwide community counts more than 8 million members, who can reach out to each other for travel advice, write and read user-generated reviews, and more.