Millions of people today travel with neither families nor mates, but alone — as unattached singles. This segment makes up about one-fourth of the travel market. When traveling as a single, the destination and atmosphere of the destination makes all the difference to your vacation. Here are a few top picks for places that are especially friendly for single travelers.
Go on a Cruise
For a multitude of reasons, cruises are perhaps the number one choice for single travelers — at least those going solo for the first time. On a cruise, there is so much going on and so many organized activities that one can be as social — or as alone — as desired.
The mainstream cruise on a large ship generally offers the most options. Major cruise lines such as Carnival, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have jam-packed itineraries for guests that include shows, games, contests, and activities such as rock wall climbing and driving ranges. Many cruises also operate “themed” sailings such as music, cooking, history or sports.
The ships themselves also typically have top-notch pools and lounge areas, casinos and social areas such as libraries or game rooms. For those times when you do want some along time, or perhaps some pampering, world-class spas are found on all large cruise lines. Dining at large tables as part of a group is something that many solo travelers enjoy, as it gives them a chance to meet other travelers and get to know them.
If the idea of a huge floating resort isn’t for you, there are plenty of other smaller cruise options. Canadian Sailing Expeditions in particular is excellent for single travelers. These smaller masted sailing vessels take small groups of thirty or fewer on casual, laid-back trips all over the world. 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 rate (instead of a single supplement fee). Other small ship cruise lines include SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent.
Let’s face it — one of the main reasons anyone travels is to relax and get away from work and the normal pressures and to-do lists of everyday life. What better way to unplug than by taking a solo spa vacation — one where you are focusing on nothing but yourself. Spas can be among the greatest places for single travelers — and men, don’t think that spa vacations are only for women. Approximately 25 percent of spa clients are men, and there are numerous spas that cater to men.
The Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, Calif., is perched on a hilltop with astonishing views of San Francisco. The spa offers weekday wellness packages from $99, with treatments such as the Ginseng Herbal Facial and Moor Than Mud Body Wrap. Other packages are available, which the Claremont calls “Journeys,” that include therapeutic massage, scrubs, baths and manicures. For example, the Brazilian Rainforest Journey begins with a soak in a lush botanical bath, followed by the healing properties of noni gel, a natural antioxidant, in a lavish body wrap with healing aloe vera. Complete your journey as warm coconut milk is massaged into your body, feet and scalp. A full menu of men’s services are available. The Claremont also has swimming pools, tennis courts and a fully equipped fitness club. Room rates start at $129, and many packages are available.
In Austin, Texas check out the Lakeway Resort & Spa on Lake Travis in beautiful Hill Country. Lakeway Resort and Spa captures the elegance of a world-class destination with contemporary resort amenities. Nestled in the heart of Texas, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin’s attractions (but close enough for nightlife or sightseeing if you feel like it), guests of Lakeway Resort and Spa are enjoying the rebirth of a legend. The resort’s San Saba Spa has unique treatments such as the warm Colorado River Rock as well as classic Swedish massage, wraps, facials, manicures, pedicures, and more. The beautifully appointed Spa has his and her dry saunas and quiet rooms with mesmerizing views of Lake Travis. In addition, the attached fitness center offers the latest training equipment and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the garden and infinity edge pool. Rooms start at around $150, but right now they’re running a special: stay two nights and get the third night free!
If you’re looking for more adventure, whether it’s honing a sport or learning a new skill, there are dozens of websites catering to a growing number of single adventure-lovers.
Costa Rica has been an increasingly popular destination for U.S. travelers and transplants for more than a decade. The peaceful nation’s 34 parks and reserves make it a nature-lover’s dream. The landscape from one side of the small country to the other is diverse, with volcanic mountain ranges, rain forests, fertile valleys dotted with coffee plantations; and of course the warm waters of both the Pacific and the Caribbean.
The School of the World in Playa Jaco combines its photography courses with your choice of surfing, yoga or Spanish lessons — its motto is “Educating Travelers in Inspirational Environments.” It opened in 1997 with the goal of taking a creative approach to learning by combining aspects of a language school, surf school, photography workshop and adventure travel, to create an unforgettable travel experience.
About a thousand miles north of Costa Rica lies Veracruz, a port city living the traditional life of old Mexico. The tourists are Mexicans from around the country, and it’s possible not to see another American during your stay. Here, The Language Immersion School prides itself on an accomplished track record of helping its students become conversational in days — while supporting the local culture and giving students the taste of life in Veracruz. Additional learning available includes cooking, ecotourism, folk dancing and guitar making.
Want a little more down time? Check out the annual Women’s Yoga and Journaling Vacation offered by River Soul Journeys. River Soul Journeys are river-based spiritual retreats that combine guided meditation, yoga and river rafting in secluded portions of the American West. Trips are customized to your white-water skill level. Each River Soul Journey offers different levels of whitewater challenge, outdoor activities and spiritual growth paths. No matter which River Soul Journey you choose, one thing is guaranteed — a noticeable shift in your consciousness.