|Subject: Re: Single Travelers: supplements and tips|
I am adding my 2 cents worth on solo travel. I do it often and enjoy it. Granted I do not like the single supplement imposed on solo travelers by tour companies, but I have paid it for tours of places I have never been or haven't been for ages. I found that with the tour company I chose for Spain and Portugal as well as for France, the single supplement did give me my own double seat on the bus--very nice on long stretches--with room to spread out my camera equipment and journal stuff. After the France tour, I spent 11 days on my own in Paris and thoroughly enjoyed.
I have been to Italy 8 times, 5 of them on my own. Only once did this cause me any problem, and it wasn't much of a one. Hopefully no problem like this will arise for anyone. In 1996 I was in Italy when the TWA plane crashed. I happened to be flying TWA. When I arrived at the Rome airport, I had trouble finding TWA, but did finally. In front of the door was an Italian policeman complete with some big type of gun.
After showing my documents, I went into the room. All of the passengers were being questioned beyond the documents. For example why are you in Italy, how long, where in the country, etc. After I answered these questions, I was asked to wait a moment. Of course, I wondered what would happen. Finally I was again questioned by a supervisor who asked more probing questions such as where I worked, who had planned my trip, did I know anyone in Italy, why was I alone, etc. Luckily I could prove where I worked (part time at a travel agency) because I had my ticket envelope. The whole reason for the extra questions boiled down to my age. Women my age either traveled with husbands, friends, or a tour so being alone caused the security check. I was traveling alone having given myself the trip for my 60th birthday.
Though I found the reasoning rather humorous given my age and very gray hair, I did not mind the extra security since I could understand why.
Anyway I heartily recommend solo travel for all the good reasons other posters have given.
Ciao, Joan from Rockford