Living Single: Traveling Solo

Lonely Planet travel expert discusses great travel ideas for single folks in their 30s, 40s, 50s. According to new singles stats, Washington DC has the largest population of unmarried folks in the country and residents there get married 7 years after the national marriage age.

We'll also talk about tours and other activities with Robert Reid. For more information, visit www.lonelyplanet.com.

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For those within their 30s:

1. Seattle: Go local
·         Tech companies bring in tens of thousands of educated people from around world. Microsoft has 50,000, ave age 38, 77% male
 
·         Fly Delta direct from JFK to Seattle for $310 -- about a quarter the cost of a Paris flight now.
 
·         Settle into Seattle's most fun-loving neighborhood like Fremont, with young professionals and a bit a flower power
 
·         Public art, microbrews, chocolate factory, junk shops, public discussions in bookstores, canal-side trails, outdoor film festivals, Sunday markets
 
·         Stay at Chelsea Station Inn, lovely four-suite B&B from $159, a few blocks north in low-key Green Lake with zoo, gardens and lake
 
2. Guatemala: Hit the books
·         Short-term study abroad trips are an easy win for solo travelers. Immediate network of fellow students to practice with, stay with families. Guaranteed social network around you.
 
·         Fly United direct from Newark to Guatemala City (about $660 -- Taca with change in El Salvador saves you $150) Take cab straight from airport, into hills and volcanoes around Antigua, Lat Am's prettiest colonial town Dozens of schools arrange classes/homestays/excursions. Many run community projects.

·         Antiguena Academy -- spanishacademyantiguena.com -- highly recommended, loads of activities Centro Linguistico Maya (clmaya.com) 30 years working with diplomats, $220/wk Tons of markets and bars and cafes -- bit expat scene
 
·         You WILL leave with friends, if not more.
 
For those within their 40s:
 
DC
·         Take the Acela train (from $160) because people mingle more on trains than planes or buses (try a drink or coffee in the café car)– plus you can pretend you’re in ‘North by Northwest’ with Cary Grant.

·         Stay in the colorful Adams-Morgan neighborhood, filled with cafes and restaurants, and an easy walk to nightlife on U Street. One great choice is Taft Bridge Inn, a 19th century mansion with fireplaces, a garden, and common area to mingle. www.taftbridgeinn.com. From $180.

·         A great singles-with-wine event are on summer Fridays at 5pm – jazz concerts around big garden fountain at National Sculpture Garden. June through August.
 
Other things to think about: cruises and language classes.
 
For those within their 50s:
Huge rising group: baby boomers using single status as travel pass, called 'social soloists'
 
1. Miami: Not just young celebs
·         Average age of Miami visitor: mid '50s. There's the beach, and a world of group activities to meet people.

·         Fly American to Miami direct from LaGuardia for $240 Visit South Beach, but stay in more laid-back North Beach, like cool beachside boutique hotel Circa 39 (www.circa39.com)
 
·         Everyone is in Miami for fun. Beyond the beach, there is a world of events and tours to take on: bike tours, snorkel tours, food tours. Also:
§  Art Deco walking tours at 10:30am daily from 1200 Ocean St in South Beach
§  Salsa Mia salsa dance groups 8:30pm Wed, Fri, Sun (salsamia.com), or
§  Dance lessons at the Little Haiti Cultural Center (www.miamigov.com/lhculturalcenter)
§  Street party! Big Night in Little Haiti, very fun and lively streets parties held on third Fridays
§  Coral Gables’ Biltmore Hotel – the Jay Gatsby of hotels – with opulent bar and storytelling 7pm Thursday.
§  Art walks: Miami’s ‘Midtown’ or Wynwood is gallery central, with art walks on second Saturdays. See artscircuits.com
 
·         In July, the Hemingway Days out in Key West attracts a bunch of Hemingway-esque folks not shy to a drink of rum.
 
2. Caribbean singles cruise
·         Don't take any cruise. Singlescruise.com has age-themed, week-long trips around Caribbean. Packed with social acivities, cocktail parties, including dining all day, stops at Jamaica, Mexico -- next one is April 28, from Fort Lauderdale on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, cabins starting at $1500 -- they can arrange similar-to-you roommates

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