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How retired singles can travel safely while saving money

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Travel is one of the great luxuries of retirement, and the pandemic has been “a real wake-up call” for single tourists, says Janice Waugh, founder of Solo Traveler. The website, which targets single travelers, found that people over 65 are especially keen to make travel a priority once the pandemic is over.

But after the pandemic, single travelers are looking to take charge. “In previous years if a friend wanted to go somewhere he could just go with them, but now he says, ‘I’m going to go where I want to go, even if that means traveling alone,’ Waugh says.

What will become increasingly popular, she predicts, are the so-called star tours, where the tour group stays in a hotel for the duration and individuals take day trips to nearby places. From a health security perspective, people will feel more comfortable after the pandemic sleeping in one place rather than jumping from one hotel or hostel to another, Waugh says. These types of tours are also particularly suitable for solo travelers who want to explore on their own during the day but dine with people in the evening.

Of course, solo travel comes at an additional cost: Premium hotels or cruises charge for a single room.

While singles supplements will continue, whenever the travel industry has had to recover from tough economic times, like after the Great Recession or now, it tends to woo the lone traveler, Waugh says. Often that meant giving up singles supplements.

If you don’t want to pay the extra, don’t be shy. Ask a hotel or cruise if they will waive the extra charge, or Google “no one-time extra” to find hotels or cruises that don’t charge extra fees. You can also sign up for alerts from websites that cater to those traveling alone. One way to avoid the supplement – cohabiting with someone else on the tour – will likely not be available for some time due to health concerns, Waugh says.

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