Plan a Solo Holiday Vacation and Leave the Angst Behind
Holidays are around the corner and this means emotional angst, especially to women who are single, feel single or need to travel singly. All day on email you are getting vacation deals from Jetsetter, Shermans, Lastminute, LivingSocial, and the airlines, and they look great until you click the box with number of travelers: and put in 1. The single price will jump to unaffordable. The most egregious example of this was from an ad on special single deals from Regent Cruises which I saw last week. A 7 night European cruise ‘deal for singles’ came to $1300 a day discount included.
So how are you to find a Holiday Solo Deal? And let’s use the word, solo, as many travelers on their own are not single, just solo. Holiday travel for solos is an increasing theme due to merged families, conflicting work schedules, and such. Lets come up with some parameters that work both emotionally and financially if you want to travel solo this Christmas and New Years. Since I organize women’s tours for a living, and also travel solo, I feel well suited to make this list.
Location: Obviously safe since you are alone but also unusual. Christmas in non-Christian places like Morocco, Turkey, parts of Asia, feels less like a holiday. If you are prone to loneliness, choose one of these areas and the exotic atmosphere will sweep you away from missing family. Some European cities are fun at Christmas and some in lock down. London and Paris are fun and parts of Eastern Europe are quite un-observant. Eastern Orthodox countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia celebrate Christmas in January. Madrid and Lisbon are lock down as would be traditional Italian areas.
What to Do on December 25: Search for a walking tour, or create one yourself with a good guidebook. Visit public monuments for instance The Eiffel Tower or do the parks: Hyde Park in London and don not miss The Princess Diana memorial, or the Canadian, New Zealand and Australian WWII memorials in Green Park, and around Hyde Park Corner in sequence. Church music? Most cities have services you can attend, even if you are not a member of the parish. If I were in Rome over Dec. 25, there is no way I would not go to St. Peters. Since churches are open everywhere on Dec. 25, make yourself a list of the top church art , unusual architecture or crèches you wish to see and go one by one. This information is quite available on the net.
Eating Solo Over The Holidays: Do your research and book a fabulous lunch somewhere walkable from your hotel, or in your hotel. My experience at uber fancy Claridges for Christmas lunch was that the dining room was full of magicians and other entertainment, making the meal festive for every diner. But do book ahead of time to make sure you have a confirmed meal; get your info from Tripadvisor, on line guidebooks or ask immediately when you arrive at your hotel. In urban areas, ethnic restaurants might be open on Christmas Day.
Ask staff if they can suggest comfortable places to dine alone. Have the maitre d’ call ahead and tell them that you are coming alone and they should treat you as a VIP. Get the name of the person he or she books with so you can greet them at the restaurant and thank them for the expected extra attention.
Finding a Group: Research for groups that you are involved with, and connect ahead of time. Join walking tours or interactive tours where you are engaged in something that invites conversation: cooking, walking, painting, golf etc. And a word about golf: if you play golf at a resort on Dec 25, you might likely meet other solos!!!
If you wish to join a group tour, check out what the activity is on Dec. 25 to make sure you are not left out. River cruises can help here as dining is more friendly in the confines of a smaller ship dining room/bar/library. Some river cruises do offer special solo rates if they are not full. You will need to call them directly as the deals are hidden in their websites. The basic rule of dining solo is be friendly; talk to others and to the wait staff, thank the maitre d’ and remind them you came alone (it is not a crime despite the endless couples’ ads for travel brochures).
Finally do not forget to use your hotel. I was in the Sofitel in Los Angeles recently solo. For my $$, it has a fabulous gym and locker area, swimming pool, friendly reception and common areas, shops galore outside, salon and more. Had I wanted to, I could have spent a full day just using the hotel amenities.
So friends, if you have questions about a trip or destination for the Holidays, email me and I will do my best to help you decide. And stay tuned for our site: www.thewomenstravelgroup.com