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More Fun and Really Odd Holiday Facts:

As the holiday seasons approach, it’s time for today’s fun fact about weird and wacky celebrations around the world:

Arachnophobic?  You may want to scratch a Ukrainian Christmas off your bucket list. An old, unusual tradition is to hide within the Christmas Tree an artificial spider plus web deemed to be good luck for the finder!

Fun Holiday Solo Travel Destination, Scotland, UK

Where else could you wake to bagpipes?! Not so much what you were hoping for.

Lots of shopping for authentic plaids that look a lot like pricey designer goods.

Although our 14th century listing for 4-star Scottish Airth Castle Hotel has increased for Christmas Eve at $196/night, for a UK Christmas, the price is much more affordable than London.

So do see this historic castle once the home of the family of Robert the Bruce and spend a night or two.

Fortunately, this Scottish castle hotel has been updated to even include a spa and indoor pool.

A visit to Edinburgh where you can stroll the Royal Mile and soak in more history is only a 30 minute drive.

I leave it to you to select your favorite Scottish cuisine.

See our Scottish Castle Listing!

The post Holiday Countdown-Fun Facts & Solo Destinations appeared first on Solo Trekker.

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More ways to relieve holiday stress!  Just as you are dashing to the airport with dread, here is one way to add cheer. In past years at Washington’s Dulles International Airport passengers were being greeted by Rugi, a Great Dane-Lab mix  decked out in festive holiday attire. Part canine-carnival and part therapy, these pets are helping passengers take the edge off their hectic travel.  Not to be bested by other airports, Dulles has had its own form of “petting zoo”, an indoor dog park accessible at Concourses C and D. Unlike working police dogs, these romping K-9’s are actively looking to be petted and cuddled. That dog park was a feature of United (Airlines) Paws program. This will likely catch-on more and more as adults and children alike are looking to de-stress after heavy traffic, long lines and increased security.  United, working with DC PAL’s (People Animals Love) and beyond Metro Washington, has previously had 200 dogs in 7 airports spreading holiday cheer.

Denver and LAX are among the 30+ US airports which have had comfort dogs available at varying times. To learn more, contact LAX Airport Volunteers, which is tracking these US programs.

No word yet on whether airport bar receipts are down as dogs replace daiquiris to allay pre-flight stress!

Tell us about what’s happening at your local airports.

The post #HolidayStress-More #Dogs Make Airports Friendly appeared first on Solo Trekker.

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Here are our top ten tips for those looking to spend the holidays traveling as individuals:

  •     Go Big or Stay Home: Plan an outrageous, exciting adventure that will create memories and stories that will last years. The more remote and exotic the better. The holidays are the perfect time to kick up travel to another level.
  •     Know thyself: If being away from home is a first, travelers who go solo might want to stay closer to home.
  •     Sightsee: But make sure sights are open around the holidays, some might be closed. Be sure to check first.
  •     Giveback: Volunteer vacations offer double benefits. Individual travelers can feel great about their vacation and help others while also meeting like-minded people and having some company.
  •     Try a River Cruise: They provide solo travelers private cabins for time alone as well as a ready-made group for meals and sightseeing. Also the added security is a plus.
  •     Knock something off the bucket list: Solo travel is the perfect opportunity to pursue a passion. Go to a yoga retreat, a fitness getaway or on a biking tour.
  •     Develop a skill: Go to a cooking school in Tuscany or a Dude Ranch in Montana. These types of pre-organized travel experiences tend to attract other solo travelers.
  •     Use Social Media/Technology: Find a local social dining club or use a neighborhood App to arrange a Progressive Dinner Party, a great way to meet interesting people.
  •     Take up a Sport: Take ski lessons in the mountains, or try paddle boarding in the islands.
  •     If you can’t go somewhere, become a self-appointed daily docent at home: If the local museums and galleries don’t need holiday help, offer to give free tours for foreign or out-of-town visitors through a church, synagogue or the local community center.

For more ideas, see our great solo travel packages and search engine, the Solo Travel Pricing Tracker.

The post Not Home Alone For the Holidays Top Ten Tips for Solo Travelers appeared first on Solo Trekker.

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Here are our select Single Traveler Tips for Saving. Although more tour operators and river/ocean cruise lines are offering solo travel deals with low to no single supplements, they are limited in number. There are still ways to save:

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 1:

Book as early as possible while those spaces are still available.

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 2:

Take advantage of pre- and post-season solo travel deals during off-season or shoulder seasons.  Discounts in Europe can be up to 40-50% off even two weeks before the official summer season, for example, in our 5-star Croatia listing. Attractive price reductions also occur in Europe starting as early as Sept. depending upon location.

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 3:

Before you leave home, research and plan an inexpensive way from the airport, especially abroad. If going to a familiar city, try to arrive in daytime. Getting to and from the airport: Every major capital seems to have expensive options for getting into the city center. Combined with the fact that airports often are 45 minutes outside the city, the best alternative for daylight arrivals may be a local train, subway or airport bus/van. In the south of France, I paid $2.00 for a commuter train ticket from the Nice airport to arrive within walking distance of my 5-star hotel. (The hotel pickup would have been $200!)

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 4:

Meals are one of the biggest costs after airfare and lodging. Especially in remote locations, a resort meal plan may be cheaper than having to take additional transportation to find better prices.

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 5:

On arrival, find the local mini-mart or better yet a full-service grocery and plan a series of picnics. (If you have a kitchen or refrigerator to store your purchases, that is the best savings.)

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 6:

Interested in wine tasting or just a cocktail before dinner? Visit the local liquor store and make your own selections to save significantly every day.

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 7:

Have your major meal at lunchtime at cafes and restaurants that have a lunch special.

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 8:

Find restaurants that have an early set price for dinner.

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 9:

Shopping:

Shopping for souvenirs or gifts to take home? Avoid gift shops and take a public bus to places where local residents shop. (I tried this in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The only challenge? The return bus apparently had a different route than the outbound bus.  I found myself excitedly shouting out for directions as the bus continued  further in the wrong direction.

Single Traveler Tips for Saving:

Tip 10:

Watch out for credit card and ATM fees for international transactions. (Check out the rates before you leave home.)   Use a calculator to understand what you are paying in foreign currency. When traveling in exotic locations, it can be tempting to go clothes shopping to have something special popular at your destination.  Before spending the money, consider whether once home you will never have any place to wear something perfect in Hawaii but maybe not in Manhattan. (Think of all the comedy skits featuring men wearing outrageous “Hawaiian” shirts not strolling along Waikiki.

One extra tip:  One of the ways to avoid a huge bill on return home? If you use your smartphone as a camera or receive an incoming call, check that your data plan has not jumped back on. Keep it in airplane mode absent an unlimited data plan. (I took only one quick snapshot in the Dominican Republican. The next thing I knew the data plan had switched on sending me best wishes from Santo Domingo for a good trip.)

Use our Single Traveler Tips for Saving. Don’t overlook these savings now even if you next trip is not coming up shortly.

The post Single Traveler Tips for Saving appeared first on Solo Trekker.

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Every summer I start making plans to avoid being “Home Alone for the Holidays”. I’ve had some real adventures, going upriver on the Amazon and welcoming the New Year in Cambodia.

I think the best vacations for singles are river cruises because they allow for time alone in a private state room but with a ready-made group for meals and travel. Having finished the visa applications, booked all the hotels and airplane tickets and purchased my solo travel package, I now am able to sit back and enjoy reading about the Mekong Delta. I was surprised to see in the background packet some very unique aspects of the region as described by our tour operator’s background piece included below:

  •  “…(T)he Mekong is only river that changes direction twice a year.
  • The Mekong is a major trading route linking China’s southwestern province of Yunnan to Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
  •  Glowing spheres of light are observable from time to time rising from the water’s surface in certain parts of the river. These are sometimes referred to as “Naga fireballs” or “Mekong lights.” The locals attribute the phenomenon to Phaya Naga, or “Mekong Dragons.”
  • The Mekong is the world’s 12th-longest river at 2,600 miles. It is the largest river in Southeast Asia.
  • The river forms the border between Laos and Burma (Myanmar) and most of the border between Laos and Thailand.
  • The earliest known civilization along the Mekong dates to the 1st century A.D. The first European to explore the river was Portugal’s Antonio de Faria, in 1540.
  • The name Mekong derives from Mae Nam in the Thai language, meaning “Mother of Water.”
  •  In 2009, 145 new species were identified in the Mekong region, including 2 new bird species, 5 mammals, 96 plants, 6 new amphibians, and 29 fish species previously unknown to science.
  •  The Mekong has more large fish than any other river, including the Mekong giant catfish, which can weigh up to 660 lbs. and grows to be almost 10 feet.”

For more top solo travel deals for the holidays or year round, see our “River Cruises” offerings for one of the best vacations for singles whether you are looking for solo travel Asia or other traveling alone specials.

The post Solo Travel Packages for the Holidays, the Best Vacations for Singles: Traveling Asia Alone appeared first on Solo Trekker.

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