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December 02, 2009

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Gray

You're right, Ellen, this isn't really a new situation. People have traveled solo for many years because their friends didn't have the money or travel interests they did. But if the press chooses to make it a story, I don't mind. We ARE an untapped population for the travel industry, not because we're new, but because they've chosen not to focus efforts on us before. It remains to be seen whether they will even now. The industry has been hurting for over a year, and I've only seen a relative few cruises, tour companies, etc. waive the single supplement.

Chris Vaughan

Even though my job is safe, and I can afford to travel, workforce reductions make it harder than ever to take a few days off.

What I need is to become independently wealthy, retire and become a travel blogger. Any ideas on how to make that happen?

Ted

I'm so sorry to hear about your job loss. I know there are so many platitudes about it being "an opportunity" or a "blessing in disguise," but the unvarnished fact is that it sucks. But I still hope that after the inevitable hair-tearing you end up in a better situation than you had a week ago.

I've been fortunate in that the last time I was laid off was 23 years ago. I was out of work for just over three months. Although I wasn't suffering financially (and in fact my new job paid much better than the one I lost), travel was absolutely the last thing on my mind. It treated it as a time of penance for some unidentifiable sin. In hindsight I think that's the wrong way to look at it, just as I think it's equally inappropriate to go off on a trip or a similar spending spree (absent a generous severance benefit and some certainty of finding a new job). Unemployment is something to get through, with at least the hope of coming out of it better than you went into it. Nonetheless, it still sucks.

Getting back "on topic," I have always seen solo travel as nothing more or less than a practical alternative to sitting home awaiting the availability of a suitable travel companion who may never arrive. So the economic uncertainty makes little difference to me. However, I am disappointed that the economic uncertainty has yet to inspire the very wise executives who run travel service companies to consider reaching out to "non-traditional" customers in their quest for revenue.

This would be a perfect time to reconsider the dogma of double occupancy, and to do whatever they can to reduce the penalties they "traditionally" levy on solo travelers. But they don't seem to have done that, perhaps because their minds are too narrow to accommodate such radical notions. That's their loss. Maybe they'll get desperate enough for one executive to think of it? That's all it takes.

Ellen

Amen to your suggestion that the industry rethinks its dogma of double occupancy.

And thanks for your thoughtful words about my situation. I agree, I'm in no mood to wander off on an exotic voyage somewhere, much as I usually would love the idea. I'm going to do some short trips with family and friends--a visit to New York City and a cross country skiing weekend in New Hampshire.

But I consider those breaks from job hunting.

Miami Hotels

Great article.I reckon you that there are so many different things you can do with your time. You just need to make a list of which issue is more important/fun . All the best.

Cairns Hotels

I always love traveling, I love your quote travel first, search for a job later. Travel makes my mind relax and forget about my stressful work. Thanks for this article.

Ellen

Cairns,

You're welcome. I always enjoy hearing from other travel lovers. We are a large, adventurous crowd!

Smarty

Single supplements should be lowered if not eradicated totally. It is not friendly to travelers like me. There are times that we really need our privacy but it doesn't have to mean that we need to pay more. One should not buy privacy. It should be respected and be given fairly.

But I couldn't blame the business owners as well. There are just rude travelers like the ones experienced by the owners of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I don't know if there will be a way to punish or penalized such. The world needs a standard for it so it will be uniformed across countries.

For budget solo travelers, the Internet is our best ally. We can search for best deals that will just be fitting to our budget. Or if not, have one travel agent for all your travels. Establish rapport because it will be the start of a trusting and lasting professional relationship. This way, you will be informed with great promos and referrals for best rates during your travel season. I have tried this one and it really works for me.

And if there are changes in the prices because usually there is a disclaimer that prices or rates can change without prior notice, please negotiate. There are a lot of negotiation books that can help you in this. Have a positive attitude and graduate from deadlocks. One thing I learned from negotiation is for you to be prepared with other options. They will be your bargaining power :-)

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