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Westhill Consulting, TRAVEL & TOURS, INC.
How To Travel Solo Without Paying Over The Odds
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Apr 29, 2014 11:44PM
ONE of the most common concerns of travelling solo is not safety or loneliness, but cost.
Tourism industry practices such as “single supplement’’ surcharges strike hard at solo holidaymakers, clearly indicating you will pay more on
for your desire not to share a room.
Then there are the exclusive resorts that shout “couples only’’ in their brochures. In other words: stay away, this is not for you, loser.
I have loved travelling alone ever since surviving my long-ago gap year crossing India and sleeping in railway stations and sharply honing, in the process, my ability to be self-reliant and resourceful.
Now, at a certain age and with little need to be daring, I have discovered I prefer a bit of company. Sharing is the thing — points of view, impressions, experiences and good conversation.
It is also
cheaper to travel
with my husband or to pal up with a friend and share a room.
But not everyone has a preferred holiday partner and the industry is recognising the need to cater, in particular, to older Australians, perhaps divorced or widowed, who are still eager to travel.
The special-interest holiday, aimed at people with commonly held passions, is one option that serves the market well.
There’s usually instant rapport among those with a shared interest and friendships are easily forged.
Also on the rise are operators that advance-match singles with suitable “companions’’, typically on cruises. And, of most advantage to the purse strings, many now release early-bird and last-minute “no single supplement’’ deals that can save you many hundreds of dollars.
Strictly for the birds
AUSTRALIAN companies that run women-only tours report a lot of business from single travellers.
Travelling Divas, for example, was founded by Andrea Powis out of a desire to provide tours where “like-minded women could travel, meet and enjoy the world together’’.
“I wanted a company that would look after me from start to finish, allow me to be indulged, provide me with some great dinner company, and with the option to have some ‘me’ time while still being taken care of,’’ says Powis. Her itineraries range from Audrey Hepburn’s Rome to African safaris, and she also offers a “buddy system’’ to match those who don’t want to pay for a single room.
“But there is an etiquette for sharing with someone that you don’t know,’’ Powis says. “Snoring, endless mobile phone usage during sleeping hours and untidiness’’ can be factors.
Similar Australian firms include Adventurous Women, for the active and outdoorsy, and Women’s Own Adventure, for the fit and culturally curious.
A SINGLE supplement is charged by many wholesalers and operators because the hotels and ships charge per room, not per person. Those rooms are almost always twins or doubles, so single travellers who don’t want to share with a stranger could be asked to fork out between 20 per cent to 100 per cent more for exclusive use. But cruise companies, in particular, are becoming more attuned to solo travellers.
Small-ship operator Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has scrapped single supplements on selected sailings this year and next, and has 190 dedicated single cabins across its fleet of four ships. Options include an eight-night Norwegian Rivers and Railways cruise departing Southampton on August 10 aboard Balmoral, from $1999 a person, twin-share or single.
Saga Holidays, aimed at those aged 50 and above, also has single supplement-free voyages, from Dover in May, June and July; 15 nights in the Baltic costs from $6799.
These two cruise companies come recommended by Sydney-based Cruiseco, a specialist network across 216 agencies that also picks Norwegian Cruise Lines (which offers solo-use studio cabins on some of its ships) and P&O UK as the best operators for singles.
Cruiseco’s national marketing manager Amber Wilson says: “Over the past year we have seen a significant increase in the number of solo cruisers. As more lines develop packages specifically targeted towards people travelling on their own, we expect this trend to continue.’’
Luxury train trips, offering loads of camaraderie, are popular with singles, too. Abercrombie & Kent, for example, sells various itineraries on the Royal Scotsman and solo travellers can book single cabins with no surcharge.
No couples, please
NEW Zealand small-group coach company Grand Pacific Tours has an 11-day “solo traveller’’ tour of the South Island, including the TranzAlpine train and Milford Sound cruise, departing December 30 for a maximum of 20 singles.
Also, 16-day tours in October, November and March; participants can opt for a guaranteed single room or share with another group member to bring down costs. On 16-day tours, pay about $1070 more for a single room.
Australia’s Bunnik Tours runs small-group tours for solos and single rooms are guaranteed; a 17-day Taste of Sri Lanka tour for minimum six and maximum 18 travellers costs $5176, including flights, plus $105 per person in the pot for tips.
Be a savvy single
● Sign up for alerts on deals from favourite operators or solo holiday specialists such as Encounter Travel. Abercrombie & Kent is releasing a range of solo specials this year, including lodge-based safaris in Tanzania with no single supplements (valid to June 30).
●Regularly go to blogs such as solotravelerblog.com for tips and advice.
●Check which cruise lines have companion share offers, such as Holland America Line’s Single Partners Program, which matches up interested passengers with other singles. If a partner is not available, the guest cruises solo at the agreed-upon double-occupancy fare. The cruise line also has a bulletin board for solo cruisers on its Facebook page. Companion Cruising deals in “cabin matches’’ for singles and identifies early-bird savings. This company is selling a 13-day river cruise departing Zurich for Amsterdam on July 15, with offers to match single travellers at $5613 twin-share, a saving of about $3290 on the single supplement fare.
●It usually pays to think (and book) ahead, especially for popular products such as river cruises in Europe. But APT also offers last-minute solo deals. Among other offers, the operator is waiving single supplements on its Rhine and Moselle Discoveries departures in June and August, with prices starting at $8090; APT has also removed its solo supplement on three luxury small-ship cruises this year, including an 18-day Spice Islands and Beyond voyage from Manila to Port Moresby, departing August 19, from $12,945.
May 01, 2014 09:00PM
Nudist and naturist resorts are getting more and more popular and many is popping in every corner of the world. Here are the ten best nudist resorts in the world.
Caliente Caribe, Dominican Republic set aside several weeks in a year only for nudists. There is an overlooking view of the sparkling Caribbean added the fact that the attentive staff keep things low-key. Sometimes, it can be quiet if there is no theme or lifestyle week, therefore, visitors can choose to enjoy a nearly empty resort or go when a lifestyle week matches their own. The Caliente Caribe has a sister resort in Tampa, Florida and also offers erotic cruises
Recanto Paraiso, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on of the biggest resort in Brazil, has its promise of finding peace and has been keeping it by the surrounding lush mountains and blue skies. The resort also offers roomy chalets and camping areas. What is more, the naturist resort is a haven from urban stress. The resort is committed to customer satisfaction as well as several pools and events.
Bali Au Naturel, Bali, Indonesia, aside from the beauty of Jakarta, is a great tourist destination in Indonesia. This is a tropical paradise that visitors lie out on the black sand beach right in front of the resort, or snorkel and dive around the coral reef. There are many amenities that you can enjoy in this gay-owned resort such as canoes, massages, a sauna and a gym. A mix of traditional and 21st-century Indonesian architecture boost the avant-garde privacy and the laid-back vibe. There is no all-night ragers here, just a romantic, stylish getaway perfect for all.
Quinta de Horta, Ferragudo, Portugal. Enjoy fresh food with farm-to-table food, it is important in easing one’s carbon footprint and a sense of community. The naturist farmstead of Quinta de Horta is most definitely for only a certain kind of nudist. Those who are not interested with 5-star hotels, Quinta de Horta perfectly fits you. Part of this comes from the limited number of guests they receive at any given time and custom-built cottages. After lounging in the pool and sauna, grab a book from the library and settle under a fig or almond tree for total serenity
La Jenny, Gironde, France. Nudity is only requisite at the pool and beach of 740-acre La Jenny. This is open from spring to fall. Visitors can wear whatever they feel comfortable in while getting pampered at the spa, participating in the fitness programs or chilling out under some pine trees. Visitors can also take day trips through Bordeaux wine country or the Bay of Arcachon. From lovebirds to large families, each group can find their place here through the vast amount of things to do and the selection of chateaus, which range from studios to sprawling houses big enough for eight people.
Grab this site….
May 02, 2014 12:44AM
Southeast Asia is a great destination for a cruise, Jakarta, Indonesia, KL, Malaysia, Beijing China, Singapore and much more, but if want to wander away from the beaten path on an Asian cruise vacation, consider booking a trip that calls in beautiful and exciting Angkor Wat, Cambodia. You will experience many of Cambodia's ancient temples, incredible jungles, pristine beaches and exciting excursions at the nation's sole deepwater port at Sihanoukville.
The Ruins of Angkor, one of the most significant archeological sites in all of Asia, date back to the reign of the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries.
Protected UNESCO World Heritage location, Angkor Archaeological Park spans hundreds of square miles and is consists of a huge collection of remarkable monuments, temples and capital buildings. An example is the well-known Temple of Angkor Wat located at the center of the park as well as the other architectural marvels like Bayon, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm. You can interact with residents from the local villages that still call the ruins of Angkor home.
Psar Lu Market. There's no better place than Psar Lu Market if you want to gain an up close look at how contemporary and historic cultures merge in Cambodia. To be found outside the city of Siem Reap and is known as the gateway to the Temple of Angkor Wat, this busy marketplace is a local hub of culture and commerce. You'll see vendors selling all sorts of unique wares, ranging from handmade local crafts to tourist souvenirs perfect for remembering your Cambodian vacation as you tour the streets of Psar Lu Market.
Wat Krom and Wat Leu. Considered as the most important religious structures in the area, the two well-preserved Buddhist temples Wat Krom and Wat Leu is situated just outside of Sihanoukville.
Wat Krom translates to "lower wat," and is located on a small hill on Santipheap Street overlooking the coastline. Alternately, Wat Leu - the "upper wat" - sits on a taller mountain nearby and offers picturesque views of the town below. Both of these incredible sites feature impressive stonework and are decorated with statues of elephants and the Buddha.
Phnom Penh. Sited north of Sihanoukville, the nation's capital and largest city of Phnom Penh offers tourists with a collection of cultural attractions, commercial centers, government complexes and beautiful parks.
The city still has heavy influences from French colonization during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and you can still hear French and Cambodian spoken side by side in Phnom Penh. While the delicious combination of Asian and French foods that comprises the local cuisine in restaurants and hotels throughout the city.
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Westhill Consulting, TRAVEL & TOURS, INC.
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