In order to live a rewarding retirement (single or otherwise), we need to make room for those things that are important to us. " Playing" a certain amount in retirement is surely on the list of many retirees, and travel is often a huge part of that. As a single retiree, I have to say that choosing my own travel schedule and meals has a certain appeal. It's nice in many ways to have to accommodate only myself. There are certainly tricks to traveling alone (especially road travel and train travel) that I plan to share soon-and I hope other single travelers will share their tips as well.
On the other hand,I've been looking farther afield to group travel options. I figure the occasional river cruise or tour may be a great addition to my travel repertoire. Much as I love train travel and road tripping (both my planned trips so far this year fall under that umbrella), I'd like to check out some other choices.
Cruising is certainly a possibility for group travel, although ocean cruising is not high on my list. For all you cruise lovers out there, let me put it like this: I am not a "resort" person, anytime, anywhere. To me, ocean cruising is like being at an expensive resort. Also, when I travel I want to see new things each day-in terms of geography, culture and other things. And of course, my experience says that six hours (or even ten) off ship is not enough time to truly "see" most places on earth. As an example, my daughter lived for six years on Grand Cayman- I KNOW that what you see in a six hour landing trip is only the teeniest part of what's available, and for me that would not be enough.
On the other hand, I adore river cruises. The landscape and culture change and the cruise itself is part of the environment. My only problem this and other group travel is the hefty single supplement. I simply would prefer to keep myself and my snoring in a room of their own. This option is still on the table. This Blount Atlantic waterways Florida to Rhode Island trip has certainly caught my fancy!
Among the group travel options out there are some "women only" options. Some of these trips are out of my comfort zone, energy or adventure wise. Adventure Women have domestic and international trips. Their domestic trips for the coming year include Alaska grizzly bear viewing and a Big Sky and Yellowstone hike. I'd have to pass on both of these, however, they do have a French barge vacation. Gutsy Women (gotta love the name) have trips world wide and their domestic trips include an Alaska cruise an an intriguing San Francisco and wine country cruise (with a $900 single supplement cost). There are also sites that cater specifically to women over fifty, such as Journeywoman, and even some lesbian specific sites.
Note: admittedly my concentration is on travel for single women. That doesn't mean there aren't options out there for men as well, just that those options are not what I researched here...
Beyond the women only travel options there seem to be the single travel tours. I've not rule this out, although I am looking for single travel options, not "single" travel options (and women do seem to outnumber men on these trips which is fine with me). Many of these options seem to cater to people as young as thirty five though, and the upper range seems the early sixties.
I've been considering a volunteer vacation for quite some time-actually I've been thinking beyond vacations to another level, and the Second Career website has been among my bookmarks for quite awhile. If I did this I would do it with a recognized organization or sponsor-Habitat Humanity Worldwide comes to mind. Just as an example, one can conserve Eco systems and protect birds through the Audubon society while staying with a host family for a week or so.
Finally, there are the "learn and travel options" such as presented by groups such as Road scholar. I have to admit that this is the area that I have researched the least at this point. I'm not sure why that is (my son would tell you it's because they used to be called "Elder" and I'm not ready to think that way). They have more travel options than one can name and their trips include small group options (a big plus for me) as well as river adventures such as a Mississippi paddle boat adventure. From what I can see the prices for these trips vary.
My preferred method of travel is still to jump into a car and head for my destination, enjoying the adventure along the way. However, I've been doing it long enough that my comfort level for doing this alone is probably different from that of others. I'll still do my traditional car and train travel, and look to add a tour a year here and there to expand my options.
Oh, and I'll expand more fully on how I manage to eat out and entertain myself (as well as stay safe and save money) when I'm traveling alone. I'm planning a trip through Salt Lake City and Reno to San Fransisco as we speak, so this is a perfect time to share how I plan my "single road trips". As always I love to hear about other experiences, especially how singles (retired or not) travel and explore.........