Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Travelling Alone

Whatever its joys and merits, and they are considerable, travelling alone is usually more expensive than travelling with a companion with whom you share a room. While it is possible to keep these extra costs down, it is seldom possible to eliminate them. One good way to save is to patronize only those tours and cruises that eliminate the single supplement, usually by putting you in a room with a stranger of the same gender. I have done this on several occasions and never had a really bad experience.
Staying at hostels where the charge is per bed is another possibility, but it is usually not my thing. However, I have enjoyed hostel stays at the Foyer Hottingen, a super clean and pleasant hotel and hostel for women in Zurich, a very expensive city. Older hotels in French and German-speaking countries sometimes still offer single rooms at not much more than half the price of a double.
University residences, mentioned before, are also a good choice during school holidays for the lone voyager. They provide accommodation in many different countries, but unfortunately I do not know any comprehensive Website for them.
Some cruise lines are starting to cater to lone travellers. The new mega-ship Norwegian Epic has some single cabins and a lounge for passengers travelling alone. Its freestyle dining policy, however, is not so good for singles who want to meet people. When I have taken cruises alone I usually made friends with the people who sat at my table for dinner every night.
There is a Website,, where the writer provides tips on travelling alone. Like me, she often adds a stay alone to the end or beginning of an organized tour. It provides a good combination of sociability and privacy.
One of the big hassles of travelling alone is dining out at night. I sometimes handle this by having a big breakfast, a late lunch and just a snack for dinner. With many hotels now giving you a minibar, it is easy to stock it with healthy foods like vegetables and cheese instead of the over-processed snacks usually on tap, and to buy your own drinks rather than succumbing to the over-priced drinks in the bar.
Finding a companion who wants to go where you do is another option for the adventurous. In a future pose I will give some suggestions on this.


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