Traveling the world doesn’t have to be just for newlyweds or families on vacations. In fact, traveling solo can be a more enlightening experience as you aren’t restricted by planned itineraries, you are free to mingle with whomever you want and you can experience a sense of deep self-discovery. If you’re single and looking to hit the road there are plenty of resources at your disposal to make this the best trip of your life. And who knows, you may even meet that special someone who is out there doing the same thing you are.
If you are more of an organized traveler you may want to dive into flat rate trips that include everything from hotels, food and entertainment. This allows you to relax, indulge and not worry about where – or if – you’ll sleep tonight. And for you off-the-beaten path kind of travelers, the world is your oyster. There are a ton of opportunities around the globe to enjoy your singledom while exploring land to shining sea. Maybe you’re a barfly, a beach bum, an adventurer or a history buff; regardless, there are plenty of places for you to enjoy yourself and meet other singles who are like-minded.
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Most pre-planned singles packages include meet-and-greet chat rooms to get to know other travelers before you leave, roommate selection or single room accommodations, group icebreaker events, mingle cocktail parties and fun singles events to get to know your fellow travelers. They also include all accommodations, food and transportation to and from all sites. Let’s get to it.
The web is full of cruise packages, and furthermore full of cruise packages designed for single travelers. Best Single Travel has a variety of cruises that depart all times of the year. One that stuck out is the Baltic Cruise that is best suited for the older single crowd. It departs from Copenhagen and cruises through Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm. On this 11-day cruise you will get to experience the rich history and culture of Russia, Sweden, Estonia and Germany aboard the Norwegian Star. This particular package includes cocktail mingle hours, group dining opportunities and single-meet events aboard the ship and at the ports. Once you reserve your cabin you get exclusive access to a singles chat room so you can get to know other cruisers before you even board the ship!
Want to get some sun in the Caribbean? This unique sailing cruise aboard the Mandalay Charter takes you on an island adventure for 13 nights with adventure activity opportunities at each of the ports. Meet others on this Sail the Caribbean trip who enjoy traveling and want to experience all that the islands have to offer. You can zip-line, off-road and even enjoy a complimentary learn to scuba course all while socializing and meeting friends.
How about an extreme trip through Patagonia? Or an ice-climbing trip in New Zealand? Or maybe a hike from France to Switzerland? Adventure for Singles offers a plethora of exciting trips where singles can challenge themselves and meet others who want to do the same.
Best Singles Travel also offers a few great adventure packages for the single traveler. Want to visit the Southwest of the US? OARS offers fishing trips, kayaking adventures, backpacking trips through National Parks like the Canyonlands and Yellowstone and multi-sport adventure trips. They also have worldwide destinations to check out.
Maybe you’re more into being wined and dined while you meet your potential mate. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! There are a few organizations that specialize in luxury single travel packages that will make you wonder why you hadn’t done this sooner.
This luxury singles trip hosted by Solo Mate Travel will whisk you away through Japan’s diverse landscape while providing tours through Tokyo, Kyoto, Arashiyama and everything in between. See ancient volcanoes, mountains and spend time getting some R&R at the hot springs while sleeping in some of Japan’s finest lodging. Of course, you also get to see Japan’s foliage which is akin to the Cherry Blossoms that bloom every Spring in Washington D.C.
Another great company to check out is Singles Travel Company based out of California. They have a variety of luxury trips tailored to all different groups of single travelers from enjoying the coast of France with wine in hand to an African safari in Kenya.
On Your Own
You don’t always have to be part of group travel to meet others while you’re traveling. There are plenty of organizations, events and accommodations that give you the opportunity to mingle with other travels on your own time. This can be ideal for more independent travelers who want to do their own thing, create their own itinerary and not have to deal with sometimes uncomfortable single-mingle events.
Regardless of what age you are, hostels are a great place to meet people from all over the world. There are hostel organizations like Hosteling International (HI) who provide more standardized accommodations worldwide, kind of like staying at a Holiday Inn except you’re sharing a room with another traveler and joining the hostel community for meals in the cafeteria (optional). There are many more privately owned hostels than HI that each have their own unique character and offer different amenities. Some hostels have bars, reading rooms, internet cafes and even organize group tours that you can sign-up for upon arrival. I’ve stayed at hostels that house up to 30 people a room, although the standard is usually between 4-8. The rooms can be gender specific or co-ed and the rates are incredibly affordable. You can head down to the chow hall or community room for your meals and chat with other travelers. Some hostels are even converted from old homes, so you and a few other lucky hostelers can cook your own meals in a homey kitchen and share tales of the road. Chances are if you’re staying at a hostel you’re going to walk away with a new friend from somewhere faraway.
Check out www.hostels.com to see if there is a hostel where you’re going. The movie Hostel gave hostels a bad name, don’t let what you’ve heard about them deter you from trying them out. They are safe, fun and great for traveling on a budget. In the same breath, it’s always good to be cautious when you’re traveling regardless of where you’re going or staying. Here’s a quick course on Travel Safety Abroad to ensure you have a positive experience while journeying!
*Note, some hostels do not except people over a certain age. Don’t be discouraged, this usually means it’s geared towards the younger more rambunctious crowd with beer crawls and a party vibe. Some hostels in the US also do not except reservations from people holding US residency. This is to prevent people from using the hostel as a temporary home as opposed to a traveling way-point.
There are so many volunteer opportunities around the world that offer the adventurous single traveler the chance to give back. I can personally vouch for this travel option because it’s how I met my boyfriend of three years. I won’t bore you with the details of our story but I will tell you that nothing beats meeting someone who holds the same mentality of giving back that you do. We met while volunteering with a disaster relief organization called All Hands Volunteers. They are unique in that you don’t have to pay to volunteer with them (I know, right!) you only have to get to their project location. They work worldwide in the aftermath of natural disasters helping communities recover after being devastated by the elements. The work can be challenging, but it’s fun and you meet the most amazing group of people who are all driven to make a difference. All Hands covers accommodations, food, transportation to and from field sites and gives you the tools you need to get the job done. Sleeping is usually in a community room of a church or some other “base” that was given to the organization for sheltering the volunteers. Any age is welcome and I promise you’ll have the time of your life and meet life long friends.
In regards to other volunteer opportunities, you can sign-up to teach English abroad with TEFL or help dig wells for clean water treatment facilities with Water Without Borders, or you can go on backpacking trips with a twist of activism with Operation Groundswell. The options are endless! However, take note that a lot of volunteer organizations require that you pay a fee to participate. Usually this fee includes travel, insurance, food, transportation to sites, accommodations, language training (if necessary) and a full support team should you need them. Traveling on a budget? Travel Hacking will show you how to see the world without going broke.
- Group Events
You don’t always have to be part of a preplanned package trip to enjoy a day of group kayaking or remote hiking. The beauty of these options is that you can plan when you want to go, where you want to go and for how long. This can be a great way to meet others while you’re out exploring a new city. Of course not everyone on the trip is going to be single and looking – but you never know who you might meet and you certainly won’t know unless you try. Ask the hotel or hostel you are staying at if they have any recommendations for day trips or outdoor experiences in the area.
See, traveling as a single can be really rewarding and can come in many different forms. It’s all up to you to create the getaway of your dreams and maybe, just maybe, you’ll meet the person of your dreams, too. Keep a travel journal (learn more here) on the road so you can remember all the minute details of your trip. This way you can relive your dream vacation when you get back to reality and need a little escape!