Domain over the remote control – an enjoyable perk of the single life. Another: controlling the when, where, why and how of travel. When it’s time to get away for a few days, go where lots of other single people go…or skip the “scene” altogether. Just don’t let your single status prevent you from going!
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Guide to Singles Getaways:
WHERE TO GO: Admit it; you’re a social animal, and you travel to meet other singles. Great friendships (and more!) can be easily fostered in a relaxed getaway destination.
Ski resorts offer ideal conditions to meet and mingle, whether you’re at the bar, in the hot tub, or just crammed next to someone on the ski lift. Killington, VT has a reputation for great nightlife, with nearly five miles of bars, restaurant and clubs along Killington Road. New York’s Hunter Mountain Ski Resort is popular with twenty-somethings, who crowd the clubs in Tannersville.
The beach scene is also a logical choice for singles. Hot spots include Dewey Beach, DE and Wildwood, NJ and various spots on Fire Island, NY.
Maybe a little solitude is really what you seek. When your spiritual side needs some alignment, head to a spa or wellness center. The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY is the nation’s largest holistic wellness facility, offering summer workshops and retreats in a peaceful, rural setting. Sol Sessions offers an innovative mind/body/surf experience for women on Block Island, Rl. Spend your weekend at a “Just-for-One Spa Retreat” hosted by the Center for Personal Reflection in a private wooded cottage on the Tohickon Creek in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County or renew your spirit at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
WHERE TO STAY: Seek and ye shall find accommodations that are open only to singles. The ultimate summer camp environment, Club Getaway in Kent, CT is a sports resort that offers all-inclusive weekend vacations for adults. Many guests travel there by themselves, pleased to find a 50:50 ratio of men to women while sitting around the campfire, swinging through a trapeze class, or bluffing their hand at the Texas Hold ‘em table.
Ladies, if you’re lodging at a hotel or resort, remember these two words: “Girlfriends’ Getaway.” These days, most hotels have caught on to the trend of women traveling together, and offer them specially-priced packages which can include meals and pampering amenities like spa services.
One of the biggest deterrents to singles travel is the “single supplement” charged by many hotels, resorts, tour companies, and cruise lines, which expect you to pay nearly the same price of two adults when staying in a private room. You can find a travel companion on a number of single travel web sites, so you can avoid the supplements altogether.
Solo Travel Network, a subscription-based site, offers a matching service. It also publishes the Single-Friendly Travel Directory, a comprehensive resource that includes over 250 travel suppliers.
WHAT TO DO: When you want your trip to be something more than just R&R, consider going someplace where you can pick up a new skill, or soak in knowledge on a specific topic. Major metropolitan areas are saturated with cultural institutions which offer a great variety of one-day programs. Join a book discussion at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, participate in a ballroom dancing workshop at Harvard University, or learn how to brew your own beer at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC.
Smithsonian Journeys offers educational tours that cater to a wide range of interests, including a week in the Chautauqua Institute and learning community in upstate New York. You may even want to venture a little more off the beaten track. At the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, ME, you can create your own boat in a week. Each summer they offer a truly hands-on experience to over 600 students from around the world. Womanship runs learn-to-sail programs for women on Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis, MD; Long Island Sound from Greenport, NY; and on the Atlantic Ocean from Camden, ME.
You can also spend your time away to give back to others and for many social causes. Wilderness Volunteers offers people of any age a chance to maintain national parks, forests and wilderness areas across the United States. Recently, a group backpacked to a base camp in the Pemigewasset wilderness area of New Hampshire, and another constructed a raised trail in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Virginia. Habitat for Humanity is always on the lookout for volunteers for its projects in all 50 states.
DID YOU KNOW: There are travel resources out there for single parents, too! Check out www.singleparenttravel.net for listings of group tours for single parents traveling with their children to worldwide destinations. Recently, they went to the Rocking Horse Ranch Resort in Highland, NY.
TIPS: Breaking the ice -- First step: just jump in with a simple “hello.” Tell them your name, then ask them theirs. Offer your hand to shake. Look around and note aloud anything worthy of conversation. Talking about the weather may be cliché, but it works when there’s something unusual about it. Offer a (sincere) compliment, but nothing too personal. Okay: their clothing or jewelry. Not okay: their looks or body.
Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves? Ask friendly, non-invasive questions that evoke lengthy answers, and be prepared to truly listen to their answers. Keep up on current events so you have plenty to talk about. Your opinions on popular books, movies, and reality TV shows can get enliven a conversation. Do a little advance research to find interesting or humorous facts about your destination to share.
Respond to what they say with interest. Agree, disagree, ask a question about it, or offer an opinion in order to keep the conversation going. Don’t worry about what you say; it will make you more nervous. Small talk won’t stick out in anyone's mind for long so make a big impression!
Safety -- A little preparation and awareness can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip!
Request a room one near the elevators and away from any renovation work. Insist that the front desk staff protect your privacy when checking in, and write down your room number rather than say it aloud.
Consider using the bell service to bring your luggage to your room so you have an escort, and aren’t made vulnerable carrying several bags. Have your key out when you leave the elevator. Use covered luggage tags, and fill in your office address or just a cell phone number instead of your home address. Bring a small, heavy flashlight. Leave it out on the bedside table at night, and take it with you when you’re out exploring. Obviously, take a cell phone. Upon arrival at your destination, consider programming the numbers of your hotel and the local police station.
Carry as little cash as possible, and don’t bother with traveler's checks. Use a credit, charge or debit card whenever possible, and bring an ATM card to get more cash when and if you need it. If you have a secondary credit card, leave it with someone at home who can mail it to you quickly if you need it.
In the car, store items like maps and guidebooks out of view. If you rent, get a car with a trunk rather than a hatchback, so your luggage is concealed. A GPS system is worth spending a little extra on, too. Before hitting the road, make sure the gas tank is full, the tires are properly inflated and all doors are locked. Study a map and know how to reach your destination before going out; using it out on the street makes you look like a vulnerable tourist. Ask the hotel front desk employees or concierge if there are any local areas you should avoid while out on foot.
If you have to ask for directions, approach families or women with children. Try this line: "Where is the _____? I'm meeting my husband there."
The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA): www.ustoa.com
Travel Safety: www.usa.gov/Topics/Usgresponse/Travel_Safely.shtml