Be a smart solo traveler
There are myriad joys to traveling on your own—like enjoying a dance performance only you are interested in, visiting a museum you’re passionate about, or shopping while your husband would prefer to stay home. Here are some of our top tips to make the most of your time and fulfill the trip of your dreams:
Grab printed hotel materials—or take a cell picture
“Need to find your way back to your hotel? Hotel stationery, business cards, matchbooks, even napkins usually have the name and address of the hotel printed on them, so you can show them to your cab driver or anyone you’re seeking directions from. Or, you can even take a cell phone picture to cut down on what you have to carry around. It’s an especially useful way to find your way back when traveling in a country with a different alphabet.”
— Karen Keith, Vantage Telesales Agent
Get help breaking the ice
“Are you a card player? A history buff? A gardener? A golfer? When traveling solo on a group tour or cruise, be sure to let your tour director or trip leader know about any special interests or hobbies you might have. They’ll be happy to introduce you to any like-minded travelers who share your interests and may want to pursue them with you.”
— Dora Varga, Vantage Product Planning Administrator, Budapest
Get a good guidebook—or take a River Cruise
“A good guidebook with maps and suggestions about where to dine during your free time makes all the difference when you’re in your dream destination. River Cruises are also a great option for singles because there are plenty of places and ways to mingle, especially during mealtimes.”
— Dee Downers, 9-time traveler from Scottsdale, AZ
Be skeptical of taxi drivers’ tips
“Most cab drivers are genuinely friendly and helpful, but some may try to steer you towards businesses where they get a kickback. If you are a single woman, you may seem like an easy mark. So if you are feeling pressured to go to a different hotel, restaurant, or shop than the one you’ve requested, just politely decline and say, “I’m meeting my husband/father/brother” at your original choice. Also, never tell a cabbie that you’re new in town – your fare may go up. Instead say, “It’s great to be back.”
— Mary Rowe, Vantage Telesales Agent
Wear a wedding band
“If you are female, wearing a wedding band or turning another ring around on your finger to make it look like a wedding band helps ward off unwanted advances. But it also might save you a lot of breath if you just don’t want to have to explain your status over and over again. The truth is, people in many cultures (women as well as men) just cannot understand why a woman would travel without a husband. Their curiosity might not be satisfied with a simple answer, so a wedding band just might eliminate awkwardness.”
— Carol Pennini, Vantage Product Manager
Connect with other solo travelers using TravelMates
Sometimes the best travel connections can be made before you even leave your home with TravelMates. Our free service for MyPortfolio users connects you with other travelers who may be on the same departure as you so you can bond ahead of time and make plans for once you arrive.
Reserve your trip early
While we do offer single travelers the best value in the deluxe travel industry, you’ll save more the earlier you reserve. That’s because although we have single-occupancy cabins aboard our river ships—each of which includes a free single supplement—there is a limited supply and high demand. Click here for details on other free and low-cost single supplements on small ship cruises and land tours.
A bar or pub is a great place to get a feel for how the locals live. Interact with a bartender and ask them for insights on what to do and where to visit during the daytime, or offer a toast with others there socializing or watching a game on TV. Not a drinker? You can still raise a glass of sparkling water with lemon.
Many cities (including Rome and Berlin, for instance) have free smartphone applications (“apps”) that you can download ahead of time so you’re well prepared for cultural and social enrichment once you land. Downloading apps ahead of time means you won’t face delays going through local WiFi. It’s also handy to use Facebook’s Messenger app, since you don’t have to pay for an international calling or texting plan for real-time communication with loved ones back home. (Just be safe and don’t put on your public Facebook page that you’re traveling alone or won’t be home for a while.)
Bring only what you need
Packing as lightly as possible means you don’t have to ask for help and can keep up with the rest of your group when carrying luggage. Stick with earth tones that can be layered so that everything matches. For destinations with cooler climates, bringing a down jacket is a wonderful way to not only stay warm on an airplane, but pack into a bag if necessary to help protect fragile souvenirs (since feathers can expand or be put into a small suitcase). Just don’t forget to pack your best attitude for discovery!