Professionals Offer Tips for Solo Travelers
percent of all leisure travelers in the
United States travel alone, and the number
continues to grow. So it's no surprise
that travel counselors are seeing increasing
business from single travelers who are
looking not only for advice about great
destinations, but also tips on how to
According to the Travel Industry Association,
travelers between the ages of 18 to 35
are the largest group of solo travelers,
accounting for 35 percent of all single
travel. The next largest groups of solo
travelers are 35-49-year-olds, 50-64-year-olds
and 65-and-older, at 27, 26 and 12 percent
respectively. The number of single travelers
is still growing. According to a recent
industry survey, 27 percent of travel
counselors are seeing an increase in the
number of trips they are booking for solo
According to Sandra Hughes, vice president
of travel for AAA, U.S. Census figures
show women are leading the pack when it
comes to booking solo vacations and travel
"There are nearly 90 million single
people in the US, and this is clearly
a market that the travel industry has
been focused on in the past few years.
More than half of these single Americans
are women, and the industry is seeing
the impact of this particular group due
to the increasing popularity of girlfriend
getaways and other women-only vacations,"
response to the growing trend, AAA offers
the following advice for singles traveling
the world alone.
If you are traveling internationally,
be sure to make a couple copies of your
passport and leave one at home with a
relative or friend and store the other
one in a separate area of your luggage.
If you should lose your passport, this
copy makes it much easier for the local
U.S. consulate to replace the document.
Keep Emergency Numbers. It
is also a great idea to take along the
emergency numbers of your credit card
companies, along with you card number
information. However, keep this in separate,
secure area on your person in case you
should lose your wallet.
If you are traveling alone it is important
to know the lay of the land before you
arrive. That means doing research, reading
maps and guide books and talking to certified
travel professionals who have experienced
the destination first hand. Know where
your hotels are located, how you will
get around and where you want to go. The
fewer decisions you need to make when
you first arrive, the less likely it is
you will get lost or distracted.
AAA/CAA travel agencies distribute 26
different TourBook guides for destinations
in the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Club locations also provide travel guides
and maps for North America and Europe.
Be sure to have the proper documentation
when traveling internationally including
a valid passport and visa (if required),
medical and trip cancellation/interruption
protection for unexpected emergencies
and an International Driving Permit if
traveling by car. AAA offices can provide
assistance in obtaining these services.
hotel in advance. Not all hotel
rating systems are equal. Some do not
include a full inspection, while others
are based on traveler reviews, which are
not always reliable. Many reviews do not
take into consideration hotel service,
only focusing on the hotels' physical
features. Before arriving, check out the
hotel's AAA Diamond Rating, which will
give you the most detailed information
available on the hotel's features, services
and amenities. More than 60,000 hotels
are rated by AAA, and the details are
available to all travelers at AAA.com.
Try to exude a calm, no nonsense air in
public places. You may not always feel
calm and confident, but others will pick
up on your cues. Sometimes just acting
confident does the trick.
Avoid single supplement fees by using
a travel professional. Many tour companies
and cruise lines charge extra fees for
single people who travel alone. However,
an expert travel counselor can help you
find deals for single travelers that are
not always available, or may be difficult
to find on the Internet. A travel professional
can also assist solo travelers by placing
them on the vacation cruises or tours
that best suits their respective lifestyle
include: Don't go out alone
at night, be careful to limit alcohol
consumption, carry a cell phone, arrive
during daylight hours, and wear comfortable
shoes. Prepaid Travel Money Cards, offered
through AAA, can protect travel funds
against loss or theft.
As North America's largest motoring and
leisure travel organization, AAA provides
its 50 million members with travel, insurance,
financial and automotive-related services.
Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit,
fully tax-paying organization has been
a leader and advocate for the safety and
security of all travelers. AAA clubs can
be visited on the Internet at www.AAA.com.
Also, read about RTM's editor cross-country travel safety tips.