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Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

San Francisco...
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Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

I am in my 50's and like to go any place around the world anytime. I like nature scenery, hiking, food, and making friends.

I wouldn't say never. But I think I had my share of those exposures and would like to stay away from churches, temples, museums, 'native villages & culture', and cities with way too many unsightly McDonald's & Pizza Huts ......

I've been to many countries but never traveled alone. Always thought it would be Much More Expensive and Less Fun without someone to talk to. The saddest part of my past 2 years is that I had to beg my friends going travel with me - with 1/3 success rate. They are either too concern about the money or just don't like traveling.

So I definitely need a Solo Traveler Starter Kit from this forum.

- Do you, Solo Travelers, always plan every single detail? What are the way to use existing packages from travel agencies?

- Is traveling solo mean always double the cost in comparison to double occupancy? How to keep solo traveling cost at reasonable level?

- For tour group, how to find a person (stranger) to share? Most US based agencies does not have the single-traveler sharing/matching service. Though I read the "Travel Buddy" thread, am I am wrong to assume it is "safer" to share room with a stranger since it is a packaged group tour?

- Any suggestion on group tour web sites for single traveler? (Travel only! Not those questionable ones.)

I am currently looking forward to experience Argentina's Patagonia, Iguazu Fall, etc. Found a good package that fit my interest and of course it is a double occupancy deal. Any tips on making this trip materialized?

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

- Do you, Solo Travelers, always plan every single detail? What are the way to use existing packages from travel agencies?

No, have a plan , list your must do's and your want to do's and others you might do if passing or have the time,don't stress about seeing everything, take your time, relax enjoy a beer ,a wine ,a coffee or a coke.remember the only person you need to please is yourself.

- Is traveling solo mean always double the cost in comparison to double occupancy? How to keep solo traveling cost at reasonable level?

Often is the case on package deals but if organising things yourself can be quite cheap.Look for accommodation that offers single rooms ,find places on good transport routes,might not be city center but if on a good transport route staying away from the main hub can be a lot cheaper and in my experience much more interesting.

- For tour group, how to find a person (stranger) to share? Most US based agencies does not have the single-traveler sharing/matching service. Though I read the "Travel Buddy" thread, am I am wrong to assume it is "safer" to share room with a stranger since it is a packaged group tour?

I am in the same age group as you ,i would rather pay extra than have to share,I am not that impovrished that I need to share rooms to keep costs down. Done it in the past years ago but prefer my own space these days.

- Any suggestion on group tour web sites for single traveler? (Travel only! Not those questionable ones.)

can't help with the US but I do go on Rambelers Holidays http://www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/ that cater for various groups including singles, they do some stuff in the states and the American continent, you can join up with them at their base towns/cities.

I am currently looking forward to experience Argentina's Patagonia, Iguazu Fall, etc. Found a good package that fit my interest and of course it is a double occupancy deal. Any tips on making this trip materialized?

sorry can't help you ,but you could ask if they are prepared to set you up with a room share,but se my previous answer.

I think it takes a while to get used to solo travel and it is not for everyone but i must admit I really do enjoy it,often outwith my comfort zone but thats not always a bad thing and have met some great people on my travels.

Somerset
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2. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

I love the question but would take a long time to work out & you will have a lot of different ways of doing it so instead a few ideas. I do a real mix of solo, tours and using holiday companies for my own ends.

I am on a budget. You will find that booking your own hotel and flight can bring the cost down considerably in much of the world. For instance a 'tour' of the Amalfi coast Italy is around £900 for a week. Booking it yourself with a sea front hotel around £700, go inland by 5 mins and find a family hotel (10mins from a beach cafe) transfer by bus and it comes down to £600 each including flights. Booking this direct with the hotel was half the price for a single traveller. I also get to see my chosen sights for the length of time I want to and others that aren't included like gardens, small museums etc

I looked for somewhere I could be sociable with others, checked the reviews for solo travellers (go to the reviews and click on 'solo travellers' above them.) Some really useful info on these like in a dark lane or single rooms good/bad.

My planned trip to Majorca walking was a huge price for flights. I get an email from Travelzoo with top 10 discounted hols (needing to clear rooms) and found a family AI hotel with flights and transfers for the same price as I could get flight only. So for such a cheap rate I could put up with the hotel as I only need a room and go off for the day. Eat out if I wish and just come back for bed. It was also near the ferry for Menorca so I could do both islands.

Also visiting southern Spain following flamenco and seeing more of the smaller sites in Granada, sitting, sketching and visiting an excellent art gallery. Tours do only a half day at the Alhambra but it is a fabulous place.

I look on the web for transport, entrance to sites, even use street view. Ask quesions you can't find youself on the forums, read the Top Questions too.

I will book with a group if they are going to a destination for a price less than I can do it then go and do my own thing coming back for the company in the evening.

I spent 6 weeks in Oz for less than half the price of a tour by DIYing. Been on a small boat in the Maldives sailing round lots of islands.

Looking for groups in another country that follow your hobby can be interesting way to have company without interfering with what you want to do.

There are some British companies that do room share and land only so you could just do the flights. Explore, Travelsphere, The Adventure Company.

Most of all you might like to read some of the travel articles that others have written. A few are posted in the Top Questions on the right hand side of the page but if you go to any forum and put 'Solo Trip Report' into the little search box above the threads you will see how others got on. Some are very organised others more relaxed.

Edited: 13 September 2013, 23:07
Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

First of all congrats on taking the BOLD step of considering a solo travel. The first time I did it, I was terrified but now I actually prefer it to travelling with another person or with groups. I get to dictate my own schedule, I tend to meet a lot more people since I'm not just sticking with my crowd, and I have found that I am more adventurous and bold when I am by myself. I am quite a bit younger than you but I hope my suggestions help some. Here are my responses to your questions:

- Do you, Solo Travelers, always plan every single detail? What are the way to use existing packages from travel agencies?

So far, only one of my solo trips have been planned. The others have been spontaneous and I went with whatever deals were going on Expedia. However, as soon as I buy my ticket the first thing I do is come on tripadvisor and research forums for safety advice and potential scams. I also check the "things to do" section and ask questions whenever I need to. To make the long story short, I have never used a travel agency and I never plan every single detail but just go with the flow. I usually have an idea of the things I want to do though, and then I seek the opinions of the locals/hotel staff when I get there,

- Is traveling solo mean always double the cost in comparison to double occupancy? How to keep solo traveling cost at reasonable level?

Unfortunately, travelling solo has always worked out more expensive for me except for the time I used a hostel. However, not up to double the cost. If you are not averse to hostels, they are a good deal and if you don't fancy sharing a room with people, you could get a single occupancy hostel room. If I am going on an 'active trip" where I know I will be out and about most of the time, I just use hostels because all I need is a place to rest my head. For the time I used hotels, I made sure I used bundles (hotel + flight) and I saved significantly.

- For tour group, how to find a person (stranger) to share? Most US based agencies does not have the single-traveler sharing/matching service. Though I read the "Travel Buddy" thread, am I am wrong to assume it is "safer" to share room with a stranger since it is a packaged group tour?

I have never used a tour group, I have always waited to sign up for tours when I got to my destination.

- Any suggestion on group tour web sites for single traveler? (Travel only! Not those questionable ones.) Again, I have never used them but I've come across http://www.gate1travel.com/ while I was browsing groupon and livingsocial deals. Not sure how good they are though.

I am currently looking forward to experience Argentina's Patagonia, Iguazu Fall, etc. Found a good package that fit my interest and of course it is a double occupancy deal. Any tips on making this trip materialized? Never been there but you are on the right path by using TripAdvisor. The Argentina forum is a good place to start and people can be so helpful especially when you ask direct questions.

Goodluck with everything! :)

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

Hello Highsun;

Good for you for being willing to go it alone. It has been the exception, rather than the rule, for me to find friends willing/ able to travel with me as well, but traveling alone has its own rewards.

I am a planner by personality. Planning is most essential if you are taking a long trip with multiple destinations: you need some idea of how long its worth spending at each one (especially if you are booking flights in advance.) If you're going to one town for a week, obviously less advance planning is required. Sometimes I plan every day in some detail--with the understanding that (to paraphrase a military expression) no plan survives contact with the destination. Maybe I'll change my mind when I get there, hear about something more interesting to do, or just decide I'd rather sit in a café for a while instead of visiting another museum...

I use organized tours only when my length of time is limited and logistics is complicated. Patagonia was one place I used an organized tour (Wilderness Travel was great.) It's a long distance from Iguazu to Tierra del Fuego, I was not comfortable with the idea of driving through Patagonia alone, and I did not have the time/ patience to deal with transit arrangements to multiple sites. By using a tour operator, I stayed in comfortable lodges near or in the parks, where public transport is nonexistent. This was also the only trip where I shared a room with a stranger, because the single supplement gave me sticker shock. No problems with the roommate, but generally I'd rather have my own room. (I shared with another person who had signed up for the trip; I didn't specifically look for a travel buddy.) I also felt that arranging all the transit and hotels on my own probably would have been at least as expensive in this particular situation, since some of the hotels in / around the national parks quoted outrageous rates. I was also more comfortable doing long hikes with a group and ended up hiking to places I probably would not have done on my own.

When I have used tour operators I usually add a few days on my own at the end or beginning of the organized tour, because I need to "do my own thing." Sometimes I have slightly modified my participation in the organized tour to better reflect what I wanted to do. I hiked the Inca Trail with a group, but I stayed an extra day at Machu Picchu. I think there was a slight additional charge because return transfer arrangements had to be altered (and of course I had to pay for the extra hotel night), but I still got the last night's hotel in Cuzco as part of the package. You can usually work with them.

If you have a lot of flexibility, and you're willing to gamble, sometimes you can get the tour operator to waive the single supplement (or significantly reduce it) as the departure date approaches, if they have not filled their trip. If it's in high demand, they won't waive it.

Napa, California
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5. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

Hi. I saw your post about Patagonia, and notice you are in SF. I am in Napa and also want to go there next spring (Feb or March). I have been looking into tours, toucan travel was the one I liked the best, but I did not like the reviews they got. When I was younger I traveled alone a lot...Mexico, India, Canada. In the last 2 years I have joined tours (South Africa, Italy, Costa Rica) I had random female roommates in SA and Italy and it was great. I speak intermediate Spanish and think Patagonia would be an ok place to not have a set itinerary, but it is also the high season when I want to go, so would probably like to book accommodations in advance. I would be interested in the tour company you found. I am female, so if you are also, I would be interested in talking more about the trip.

Thanks.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

Hi, if you are uncomfortable travelling alone there are companies that offer small group tours that don't charge single suppliment.

You share with someone but you can pay the extra if you want your own room. I've always taken the chance and had no problems. If you don't get on with the person you could book a few single rooms along the way. If there is an odd number of singles you take turns sharing.

I've used Intrepid who have been wonderful.

Florida
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7. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

hi i am not sure if you are male of female - i am a female have traveled alone and would do it again basically when i did it i rented an apartment on VRBO but there are many other options getting stuck on a tour is not my idea of fun i like to explore . check out a website called journey woman (lots of solo travelers

Happy journey!

London, England
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8. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

Welcome to the Solo Forum highsun88!

I find that I prefer solo travel because I can go where I want, do what I want, see what I want and meet more people than it I travel with a friend, my husband or with a group. I think it is more fun and quite probably safer as I am responsible for my safety rather than needing to go along with with other people's choices.

I'm older than you now, but started this phases of adult solo travel around your present age. I am female.

But to address your questions:

- Do you, Solo Travelers, always plan every single detail? What are the way to use existing packages from travel agencies?

I read guidebooks, novels and non-fiction histories about most of the places I want to go. I plan travel and transfers. I book accommodation, buy a map and I buy a guidebook for my Kindle to carry with me (usually a lonely planet guide).

IME, every traveller, solo or otherwise, is differenet.

I check opening hours and suggestions for the best times to visit the sights that made me chose the destination in the first place but otherwise tend to chose and improvise when I get there depending on how I feel that day and the weather.

I look at suggested itineraries in guidebooks for ideas as well as sometimes, itineraries of tours for ideas on how some destinations may fit together, but my final itinerary is rarely identical to anyone else's.

- Is traveling solo mean always double the cost in comparison to double occupancy? How to keep solo traveling cost at reasonable level?

With the exception of a solo transAtlantic crossing on the Queen Mary II, which does charge double for a solo traveller, I certainly don't stay at places where the solo cost is double. That is partly because I rarely stay at all-inclusive resorts where the problem is most prevalent.

While single hotel rooms are rarely 1/2 of a double room, IME most places do have a reduction for solo travellers staying in a double room, often a substantial discount.

Staying in places that charge by the person rather than by the room helps, but as for me having a room to myself is such a pleasure, I would rather scrimp in other areas than share.

- For tour group, how to find a person (stranger) to share? Most US based agencies does not have the single-traveler sharing/matching service. Though I read the "Travel Buddy" thread, am I am wrong to assume it is "safer" to share room with a stranger since it is a packaged group tour?

When I went to the Galapagos Island with the company that is now called GAdventures, I shared a cabin on the boat with a stranger and came up lucky (helped, I suspect, by how little time we all spent in our cabins). I agree that if you are going to share, doing so on a tour reduces the risk to your safety as the person will have paid "up-front" for the tour and their passport details will be on file with the company.

It won't protect you from the roommate who snores, stinks of cigarettes, wants to stick with you every minute or who just is miserable to be around but, if you are lucky, the tour leader can help sort out difficulties.

You don't even have this protection with a "travel buddy" found on-line. You could find yourself stuck with hotel bills, a missing passport, missing credit cards etc. or trying to explain to a customs officer that you did not know your travel buddy was carrying drugs in a place where the penalty for drugs is very long imprisonment in very insalubrious prisons or even worse the travel buddy who slips the drugs into your bag.

You may think that is a problem only for the young, but recent cases show that not to be necessarily true.

(If you wanted to transport drugs without getting caught would you chose a 25 year old or a respectable 50 something?)

Even travelling with a friend can reveal things about each other that you never knew.

Coming up with a written agreement about how certain issues should be handled might help, but one that covered all contingencies would resemble the agreements that Dr. Sheldon Cooper of the Big Bang Theory draws up.

- Any suggestion on group tour web sites for single traveler? (Travel only! Not those questionable ones.)

I have to say that a singles tour would have been my idea of hell at the times I have been single, and most have an imbalance of genders which can make them particularly competitive, but if you put "singles tours" into the search box here, you will get a range of other's experiences. (Do be careful of rave reviews or particularly hostile comments from those who post once and disappear. They are often posted by owners of the groups or people with an axe to grind)

Taking local day tours can be a great way to meet fellow travellers without the commitment of travelling for more than a day.

I am currently looking forward to experience Argentina's Patagonia, Iguazu Fall, etc. Found a good package that fit my interest and of course it is a double occupancy deal. Any tips on making this trip materialized?

Speak to the organisers and see what they would do for a solo traveller.

Or put together such an itinerary yourself and work out what it would cost.

I would rather travel a bit less and do it my way than run the risks of travelling with a stranger (or possibly with an untried friend) and as much as I enjoy my husband's company I really prefer travelling solo to most places.

I have a different experience when we are together. Travelling together may enrich the relationship, but my experience of the destinations is richer solo.

Edited: 30 November 2013, 12:57
9. Re: Solo Traveler Starter Kit Needed

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