Guest Poster, Janet from San Francisco shares the joy of joining a group of like-minded solo-travelers!
As a single, professional woman who loves to travel, I often found myself wistfully looking at the Travel section of the paper and dreaming about what I would do on an island in Fiji, or where I would eat in Osaka, Japan, or what clothes would I leave home when I went on a safari.
I’ve gone on trips alone many times — there are advantages to traveling alone; the biggest one is that it’s all about me. Sometimes I really like that concept.
The thing is traveling alone can get pretty pricey. Let’s face it; the industry is all about double occupancy. Hotels, cruise cabins, tours, if you are a party of one, then you can expect to pay a hefty price for the luxury of exploration. Why would they want you to pay for a cabin when they can squeeze two people in the same space and get double? That cost filters to the solo traveler, your budget is busted before you even leave home, just for the audacity to travel alone.
Then there are the photo ops. Can you really get a great photo of you with the Irish coastline behind you by extending your arm out and taking a photo? My sad attempts still recorded on my memory card tell me the answer would be no. How many times do you look around to find someone to ask, “Can you take a photo for me”? There are always obliging people but they take random photos and smile as they walk away. You can’t ask them to take it another 4 times so your head isn’t cropped out of the picture, after all they’re on vacation too – and not with you.
Lucky for me I found groups for singles travel (www.singlesbythebaytravel.org) and photography travel (www.photoflytravel.org), two organizations I’ve recently traveled with. Neither group is a dating club but they offer me an opportunity to meet new people, provide me the option of being matched up with a roommate or paying a small fee to room solo. The single supplement is a drop in the bucket compared to the sometimes thousands more I’ve been quoted for other trips. Plus in a group I get the benefit of security instead of being a woman traveling alone and participating in tours, excursions and events for an overall significant cost savings. To complete my joy, I get all the financial, travel and companionship benefits of being part of a group while still maintaining my flexibility and time for my own explorations. It’s the best of both worlds, instead of feeling punished for being single – I’m rewarded and celebrated for it!