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Single Women on group tours

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Jan 21st, 2012, 07:49 AM
  #1
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Single Women on group tours

I'm planning a trip to Italy in May. I'm concerned about being the only single person in the group. Can anyone comment on their experiences in this regard? Please hurry as I need to book soon. Thanks a bunch!
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Jan 21st, 2012, 08:07 AM
  #2
 
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The dynamics of every group is different - so who knows what your experience will be. But LOTS of singles take organized tours and live to tell the tale

There are singles on most tours, either paying a single supplement, or being matched up w/ another single by the tour operator.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 08:26 AM
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I haven't gone on a whole group tour, but I've taken day tours a number of times, and I always seem to hook up with a couple or a family and feel quite comfortable being with them. I am fairly outgoing, though. Perhaps that makes a difference.

I wouldn't hesitate to take a tour as a single person.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 08:27 AM
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Is the tour matching you with a roommate?
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Jan 21st, 2012, 08:37 AM
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Be brave. You are guaranteed to meet more people and much more likely to make new friends if you travel alone.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 08:38 AM
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I took a couple tours as a single person when I was younger as I had never traveled abroad before, nor had my family, so I just wasn't familiar with everything and that seemed safer and more comfortable. That was pre-internet when it wasn't that easy to find out about and plan things, either. Anyway, I had a great time and got my feet wet that way so I could travel more independently later. However, some people like it as it is built-in company (I would think there are always at least a few people you click with), and it does save time and trouble, that's for sure.

I deliberately chose a budget tour as I didn't have a lot of money, but I think you get a wider range of persons on budget tours, also. I also wanted a smaller group and free time, so I deliberately chose a tour that did not have most meals included and had optional activities. So the tour provided transportation, accommodation, a few tours I liked that were overviews, etc., but only a few meals in places that were kind of isolated, anyway, so it wouldn't have been easy to get places on my own.

The tours I took had a mix of couples (married, some just boyfriend/girlfriend or gay couples) and a few people traveling together for other reasons (a couple of sisters, some were friends, a couple times there was a single parent with a teen child). I think there were a couple other singles other than me, but I don't really remember, to be honest. Because it didn't matter. I had plenty of pleasant conversations and meals with these folks, whether they were couples or one of the other situations. And a couple times one of the women that was with someone else then made plans with me (a theater outing, horseback ridimg, etc) as the person they came with didn't want to do it. And for the single parents, it was nice in one case that they had someone to go off and do something with their daughter so they had some free time (I was in my early 30s at the time, so was closer in age to the teenager) but didn't have to worry.

In any case, I had a great time, even the people on these tours that were couples didn't have any issues about that, why would they. They were on a tour, also, some of them asked me to join them for dinner or breakfast, and some were fascinating people, actually (one was a couple on their honeymoon who had done charity work in Haiti and they it was second marriages for both). I do remember one single older woman on one of the tours who had had polio so some trouble getting around, but we all took turns helping her and making sure she had things to do and wasn't left alone, although she was very independent, of course, and that's why she was on the tour.

Anyway, I wouldn't worry about it at all, just choose a tour wisely that has things you really want to do and try to get a feel for the demographics, you can usually do that.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 08:41 AM
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oh, I always paid the single supplement, that's what I wanted. I had no interest in a roommate, I like my privacy. The tours I was on didn't have those arrangements, anyway (no matching up of people), although I know some do and some are mandatory (Rick Steves won't even allow you to have a single room, I think, even if you want one). I pay for single rooms when I travel on my own, anyway. The cost wasn't really that much more on the tours I took, just what you would expect to pay for the fact that you have your own room), but I was on budget tours. In fact, I think it might have been cheaper than if I had actually traveled on my own and had to book single rooms everywhere.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 09:46 AM
  #8
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Wow! Thanks everybody for the info. I have a tendency to over-think and over-research things, thereby creating issues where none exist! I'm a very outgoing person who always talks to people in line at the grocery store or anywhere else I happen to be. I've just never traveled alone before.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 09:48 AM
  #9
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To Kybourbon: I haven't decided about the roommate thing. Like Christina, I like my privacy but it will depend a little bit on cost. And what happens if she snores?!
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Jan 21st, 2012, 10:01 AM
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" And what happens if she snores?!"

There are these amazing things -- called ear plugs

Me personally, I'd opt for the single supplement, but on some tours they are VERY high (another reason I almost always travel independently)
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Jan 21st, 2012, 10:10 AM
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I just don't think I could sleep in a room with a stranger. That may sound odd to people, but I just don't think I could relax that much when someone was only a few feet away whom I didn't know. Anyway, I like to do what I want, when I want (re reading in bed, TV, whatever). I can see if the cost is really different, it may be a consideration if you don't want to pay the difference or don't care about rooming with others as much as I do. It depends on the level of tour, but in a budget tour, I wouldn't expect it to be more than around $25-50 a day. That's assuming a hotel double room cost would be around $150 (or $75 per person) and a single around $100-125. On a deluxe tour, I could see it being more like $100 a day in room cost difference, maybe. Nothing else is affected by being single except the room cost, generally (some independent tours might have costs for private airport transfers would would be affected).

For example, I just checked one of the tours on gate1travel.com (a good budget tour company), and their 8 day Sicily tour in Spring costs $127 more in total for single accommodation, this tour has 6 nights in a hotel (all 4*, actually) so that is only about $20 a night. Worth it to me.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 10:23 AM
  #12
 
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I have gone on 5 or 6 tours as a single. I always pay the single supplement. What if your roommate wants to talk constantly, smoke or has different sleeping habits. It is important to me to have some time alone. I have found the others to be very inclusive and have never felt lonely. I'm sure you will have a great time.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 10:34 AM
  #13
 
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Gate1 has its business model - But most tours charge from about 35% to nearly 100% more for a single.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 10:58 AM
  #14
 
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I did do one tour as a single - to Russia when that was the only way to go.

'First, I would never share with a stranger - seeing the same people all day for days at a time is bad enough without also seeing them at night. And a stranger can do much worse than snore.

Second, do you KNOW you are the only single - or are just afraid of it? If you don;t know call and ask the company.

My tour had 6 singles - both men and women. Unfortunately I ended up with a couple of them attaching themselves to me - since they were timid and I had traveled a lot. I eventually figured out how to get rid of several of them - except for one of the guys who was decent company. (The others kept complaining that 1) things were different than at home, 2) things were more expensive than at home, and 3) no one told them what to do on their "free" time.

Actually the guide gave several options and offered to arrange them - for a fee. The hangers on only wanted what was free, nearby and had signs only in English. (Some people should not travel.)

I would just get your own room, do the necesary research to figure out what you want to se and be normally friendly. I'm sure there will be lots of invitations for free time activities and meals.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 11:25 AM
  #15
 
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I have only done two tours , when I was very young, last time about 25 yrs ago. This was before the internet made it so easy to plan trips. Although I had a good time, there's no way that now I would consider going in one. You never know what kind of group you're going to have and the dynamics of the group. It could be good, it could be bad. Also typically you do most things in group, including meals, very programmed. As I ahve gotten older I value more my independence and would feel trapped having to go everywhere with a group.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 01:34 PM
  #16
 
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I have done several tours solo. I have been on tours where roomies who were paired up had a great time together, others where they were respectful but interacted very little, and still others where they couldn't stand each other and complained the whole time. I always paid the single supplement, so never had roommate issues.

I am the most private person I know, and not particularly outgoing. However, I once did a two-week stint with Habitat for Humanity, sharing a house with 14 other people, all strangers. There were 10 women in one bedroom. I dreaded the thought of sharing such close quarters, but it turned out to be one of the best travel experiences I have ever had. So if there is a great disparity in cost, and you can't afford to go otherwise, then I would go ahead and take my chances with a roomie.

There were always at least a few other singles on every tour I took, and I never felt out of place, even when I was the youngest person in the group. Sometimes I did things with the group, and sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I paired up with another single or did things with one of the other couples. A lot of people disparage tours, but I always had a good time. I say go for it. Chances are, you will have a good time , too.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 01:47 PM
  #17
 
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journeywoman.com good tips I go solo a fair amount find it quite enjoyable.Last fall did a Galapagos Ecuador Colombia
Peru tour and had a blast.generally on tours folks pair up
on interests likes and dislikes sort of seems to happen
naturally over time. Not a fan of bedding down with strangers
with all sorts of unusual smells and habits.Odds are you will
be fine but not worth the risk as long as you are not forced to by budget.Did this once in the past got a big fella with sleep apmea who snored like Old Griz operating a chain saw
blew away my ear plugs.So not worth it for me.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 01:54 PM
  #18
 
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Factors that lowered Gate One Travel's rating include: Failure to respond to one complaint filed against business. ... please contact [email protected] ...
http://www.bbb.org/.../gate-one-trav...ts-il-47000363 You can do LOTS better than Gate 1
Globus good personal experience smartours.com bbb.org A rated good prices
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Jan 21st, 2012, 03:04 PM
  #19
 
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MarthaTX, I have taken many tours in Europe solo in the past ten years. Really enjoy it. I would NOT, however, share a room with a stranger. Love my privacy, especially after being with the group all day.

My best experiences have been on INSIGHT TOURS, along with TRAFALGAR and GLOBUS. Would love to do TAUCK or SMITHSONIAN, but they are outside my budget. I have not used Gate 1. In looking over their offerings, some things did not sound right to me. From my observation, the single supplement is less in Europe than in the States. I would avoid “economy” or “cost saver” tours if possible. Their hotels are not centrally located and the amenities are inferior.

Regarding the group – I have never felt socially uneasy on these junkets. Although I had a situation in Spain similar to that of NYTRAVELER above when one single gal became somewhat possessive of my time. That had to be resolved. Most folks are friendly and open when travelling. Although I may not recall their names, I often think back fondly to conversations I had with these fellow-travelers from all over the world.

On the tour I took last summer to Cornwall and Devon, there were four single males and six single women. If you click on my name you will find my TR to London which includes a sketch of that tour at the end.

Italy? Delicious – by all means GO! And please let us know how you make out…
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Jan 21st, 2012, 03:48 PM
  #20
 
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I haven't been checking too many tours in the last few years, but I have never seen one that charged twice as much for a single as one person in a pair, or even close to it. That wouldn't even make sense as all costs could not double. I didn't take gate1travel, either, I took a pretty mainstream tour company, that was just an example which would pretty low of a difference.

I just checked Tauck which is a very high end company and they do charge about $100 extra a day for a single supplement, which is about what I'd expect for a deluxe company. But it isn't double the cost by any means, more like raises it 25 pct. I can't imagine how any company could stay in business charging double to a single person or who would book such a thing, I think they'd be out of business pretty quick (or just no singles would take it, but that kind of pricing doesn't make sense as costs cannot double).
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