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Going Alone? You’re Not The Only One

Naedine Joy Hazell The Hartford Courant

It’s not always easy to travel alone. Even if you don’t mind sightseeing and dining alone, solo travel is usually more expensive and can be more dangerous depending on your destination.

Well, here’s some good news. As the travel industry expands, so have the options for single travelers and resources on the subject, including two new books.

Both books are written by women - one a flight attendant and the other a writer, both of whom learned to love traveling alone after divorce.

The books complement one another, only overlapping in a few areas. Sharon Wingler’s book “Travel Alone & Love It: A Flight Attendant’s Guide to Solo Travel” has tips on how to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally for a trip alone.

“Traveling Solo: Advice and Ideas for More than 250 Great Vacations,” by Eleanor Berman, focuses more on the options available for single travelers and also offers some hints. The 320-page book, published this month by The Globe Pequot Press ($16.95), lists dozens and dozens of options ranging from baseball camps to culinary schools and from windjammer cruises to wilderness vacations.

Read alone, or together, the books are valuable tools for the single person who wants to build a satisfying vacation.

Planning is the key word. And first on the list is overcoming the fear of traveling alone, both authors agree.

“Fears come up throughout our lives when we have the courage to try new things, set new challenges, expand our comfort-zone. We must do the things we want to do in spite of the fear if we want to conquer that fear,” Wingler writes in Chapter 2 of “Travel Alone & Love It” (Chicago Spectrum Press, $14.95).

Wingler isn’t just a theorist. She has traveled alone in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Greece, Singapore, Malayasia, Yugoslavia and around the United States.

Wingler’s 18-chapter book includes advice on personal safety, travel insurance, safeguarding your health, whether tours are for you, how and what to pack, how to deal with jet lag, how to close the culture gap and how to explore, have fun and meet people.

In her book “Traveling Solo,” Berman presents a wide range of activities, sticking with those that have proven reliability records.

Each entry describes a particular experience: the activities offered, comments from former participants, the settings, the accommodations and food, the average age of the participants, percentage of those who are alone and the male/ female ratio. Estimated costs are included and the options range from budget to extravagant.

Also, Berman’s book describes the pros and cons of various kinds of vacations, from learning weekends to adventure trips and includes several chapters on how to travel safely alone.

“Solo travel … can be the ultimate self-indulgence, the chance to tailor a vacation strictly to your own tastes, energies and timetable, to go where you please, do exactly what you want when you want and meet interesting new people of all ages and both sexes, married and single, in the process,” Berman writes.

Here is a list of other resources for single travelers:

“Women Traveling Alone” a new monthly newsletter intends to focus on the problems faced by traveling business women. Its first edition, published this month, was eight pages of advice, a book review, a real case of a woman traveling alone and a caution about drinking while traveling alone. For information or to subscribe, call (800) 279-7775.

The “Single Traveler” newsletter just celebrated its fifth anniversary. Published bimonthly, the eight-page newsletter includes how-to information on traveling alone, lists of upcoming festivals favored by singles, tips on how to read a tour brochure, reviews of trips (the April/May edition reviewed a windjammer cruise) and a question-and-answer column. For information or to subscribe, write to Single Traveler, PO Box 682, Ross, CA 94957. The cost is $29 a year.

For eight years, “Connecting Solo Travel” has published a bimonthly 20-page newsletter that offers advice, first-person accounts of traveling alone and information on how to avoid single supplements, the trip surcharge that single travelers often have to pay. For a sample copy ($5), call (800) 557-1757.

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