You love to travel, but your wife has a fear of flying. You saved all year for a weeklong getaway with your best friend, but an unexpected burst pipe sucked her savings dry. Or maybe you're single and looking for an exciting way to meet new people. Whatever the case may be, singles travel could be the anecdote you need to quell your travel bug—and maybe even find love.
While solo travel sometimes can be intimidating, the rush of independence you'll feel when traveling on your own is so exhilarating that you'll wonder why you didn't go it alone sooner. You decide when to go, where to go and what sights to see. For today's time-strapped and overworked population, there is a sense of relief in not having to worry about anyone else's time schedule.
Still, when traveling alone, safety is paramount, so joining a group of other single travelers will not only make you more at ease, but will also make the experience more enriching by introducing you to new people.
One is never the loneliest number when you take part in a group tour with like-minded people. In fact, about one in 10 leisure travelers hit the road alone, according to a 2006 study by the Travel Industry Association. That's nearly one-quarter, or 34.8 million adults in the United States, who have taken a vacation by themselves in the past three years.
If it's your first time taking a leisure trip on your own, it's OK to start out small, perhaps with a quick weekend getaway to a domestic destination. Specifically for women, Gutsy Women Travel offers a "4 Day Discover New York" tour, which provides accommodations, takes you through some of New York's most famous locales, like Greenwich Village and Central Park, and embarks on a twilight cruise. You might arrive alone, but Gutsy Women Travel says its guests often leave with lasting friendships—and a newfound love for New York City.
If you're female and feeling more adventurous, why not try a trip that will challenge you physically and mentally? Canadian Mountain Holidays offers "Bodacious in the Bugaboos," a three-day trip geared toward women that was recently featured in the new National Geographic book 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America. On this trip, every morning begins with yoga and meditation, followed by hiking through the mountains.
When it comes to choosing a mixed singles tour, be sure to inquire how the company defines "singles travel." Some companies operate as a dating service, while others simply are options for travelers who just happen to be traveling solo.
O Solo Mio Tours is not a dating service, just a gathering of people who like to travel. You'll do your touring with a group, but the company allots unscheduled time to spend as you wish. O Solo Mio's tour of Tuscany and the Italian Riviera is popular.
If the idea of meeting new people excites you just as much as exploring a new destination does, Singles Travel International may be the perfect match for you. The company specializes in matching guests on tours, cruises and weekend vacations to such exotic places as Kenya.
Tours are easy to do solo, but what about cruising? Whether you're a new or experienced cruiser, the thought of boarding a ship with people you don't know may at first seem daunting, but companies like SinglesCruise.com exist to make sure you have a great vacation while also meeting fun new people. SinglesCruise.com works with such cruise lines as Carnival and MSC Cruises, traveling to destinations like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. The aim of trips hosted by SinglesCruise.com is to meet people—romance is optional. They host activities onboard to get you mingling and also can provide a roommate matching service so you aren't charged a single supplement fee.
Now that you realize the options available for single travelers, all that's left to do is pick a departure by interest, time frame and budget. The lesson learned: Even though you might be flying solo, you won't be traveling alone.