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Old 04-19-2010, 09:31 PM
 
4,805 posts, read 20,270,226 times
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Personally, I travel solo because I like the solitude and the freedom it gives me. If I wanted to be in a group, I wouldn't be on the trip solo in the first place.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:18 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,697 posts, read 40,084,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
...traveling by itself is expensive, the added burden of the single supplement just takes it over the top making it unfeasible. An extra $1,000 just for touring is a big deal when you're already dropping $5k on a 3wk trip.
...

But my argument is that perhaps when people say they don't have anyone to travel with it is a valid argument as bearing the costs solo can be a huge problem.
I can see this pretty much only applicable to 'tours' or group rates / charters.

I think you need to get more adept at making connections. I solo travel internationally and don't spend $5k for 3 wks (and usually not that much for 3 months !)

Solo is really ez with hostels (those are very spendy as a family), I use 'private' international guest homes @ $10 - $20 / night. Usually free meals and often transportation is provided. Many of them can recommend local guides or will do it for free themselves if they have the time (often they are retired and will do it for petrol and tolls).

It is quite ez to make connections with private 'out-fitters' guides, that are usually unlicensed and unadvertised, thus low fixed costs. (and a bit of risk, but... it's all an adventure, and I would rather deal with a little risk than being forced into the schedule of a tour group. (I don't do the 'sheep' thing real well)

I definately don't do tours or cruises, so have never paid an 'up-charge' cost premium for 'single supplement', except occasionally for a taxi when I can't find another to share. If I think a tour group is getting an extra special presentation, I hang around the fringes and listen up.

I eat with the locals, so no 'fancy' SET dinners with ++ charges.

SR
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:53 PM
 
476 posts, read 1,016,428 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post

It is quite ez to make connections with private 'out-fitters' guides, that are usually unlicensed and unadvertised, thus low fixed costs. (and a bit of risk, but... it's all an adventure, and I would rather deal with a little risk than being forced into the schedule of a tour group. (I don't do the 'sheep' thing real well)

SR
For the OP and anyone else considering safari, there is a wiiiiiide spectrum of risk associated with hiring an unlicensed guide.
Hiring a freelancer to walk you through the streets of Tokyo or drive you through the wine regions of France is not a significant risk. Your host only needs two good legs and maybe a driver's license to be an effective tour guide. The true variable is the host: maybe they're ignorant, maybe they get lost, maybe they're boring, maybe they rob or assault you. Those risks are understood.

Hiring someone off the grid for safari entails a unique set of risks. You're trusting someone to track and show you big game, all the while protecting your safety. You're hiring someone who: is familiar with poisonous snakes and knows which lodges have anti venom, knows the safe/proper distance from which to view a seemingly calm bull elephant, can quickly get you the best care should you need medical attention (i.e., you're showing signs of malaria), what areas of the park are prone to flash flood during the rainy seasons, etc.

Even if an unlicensed person is just as knowledgeable as a licensed guide, he may not be nearly as invested in your trip going well. A licensed guide has more to lose... such as the license itself, a formal livelihood and public/professional reputation.

If you're taking a helicopter tour, you hire a guide with a pilot's license. Sure, you can tag along with a student pilot, or hire some guy off the grid because he's cheaper; but you're taking a significant risk.
I think it's only responsible to stress that if you're going on safari, it is a significant risk not to hire a reputable guide/tracker. It's NOT comparable to linking up with some enthusiastic retirees on the streets of Dublin.

That said, you can do self-safari in Krueger (since OP's headed to South Africa). You are simply required to stay on the main roads and can't venture off, as an experienced tracker would. You might see as many animals as if you went on guided safari; probably not. I've done both, so you can DM with questions.

Sometimes it's just worth paying a professional.

Not all solo travelers fly under the radar and off the beaten path. Some people travel alone out of necessity. Sounds like the OP's plans are last minute; he had some unexpected time. Solo travelers are allowed to take nice tours too. In this case, the safest way to avoid the single supplement is to find another traveller to share the cost for a few days or get a local to haggle on your behalf.

Last edited by heavyweight; 04-20-2010 at 07:07 PM..
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Georgia
897 posts, read 1,460,602 times
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Last Trip that I took Myself was Walt Disney World in September 2005
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Old 04-21-2010, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
5,721 posts, read 8,627,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callsnap View Post
Sometimes it's just worth paying a professional.
Absolutely true! Especially if one has limited time, perhaps options are more flexible if you are a backpacker with unlimited amounts of time but for MOST of us with limited vacation time we don't really have the luxury of having days on end at a place to "try out" various things to see what works and what doesn't...most of us have to make our plans in advance so that we don't show up some place and just waste time.

I remember when I was in Rome at the Colosseum, I paid like $25-30 for a guide, not only did I skip the entire 2 hr queue (valuable time saved) I got a detailed explanations of the specific things I was seeing! Later I met some people who had chosen to do it alone, they waited 2 hrs in the queue and not only did they not know what they were seeing, they also missed out on some of the great sites within the complex which is a shame! It seems rather bizzare to me that someone would spend so much money and time to go some place and then not hire someone who can guide them... as I said it doesn't apply to people who have unlimited amounts of time to learn about a place but for those with limited time a professional guide is a must.
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:25 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,953,225 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post

Solo is really ez with hostels (those are very spendy as a family),
Not true; it depends where you are, we've gotten good hostel family deals in both France and Germany.
Quote:
I would rather deal with a little risk than being forced into the schedule of a tour group. (I don't do the 'sheep' thing real well)
I definately don't do tours or cruises, so have never paid an 'up-charge' cost premium for 'single supplement', except occasionally for a taxi when I can't find another to share. If I think a tour group is getting an extra special presentation, I hang around the fringes and listen up.
lol
"Independent" travelers (who don't want to be a sheep stuck in a schedule) furtively hanging around the fringes of a guided tour are a constant thorn (or perhaps a leech is a better description) in the side of tour operators.
I've done it myself.
However, I've also paid good money for some superb guided tours.
Quote:
Originally Posted by callsnap View Post

Sometimes it's just worth paying a professional.
Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
.most of us have to make our plans in advance so that we don't show up some place and just waste time.
.
Yes.
Time *is* money.
Honing one's ability to recognize a good value can be just as satisfying a challenge as the adventure of trying something dodgy.
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Home of the best seafood
645 posts, read 1,290,477 times
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I'm thinking about going to Hawaii solo, because I know not too many people will want to pay that much for a plane ticket. I just need to save save save.
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,272,080 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
I see a lot of people posting about traveling solo and how it's no big deal etc. However I have noticed that during my travels when I signed up for tours I have never seen any other solo traveler besides myself. Infact there is only 1 time I saw this girl in Tokyo on a Sumida river cruise, she was by herself but other than that I have never seen it...all the other parties were in groups of 2 or more.

I am also seeing how solo travel is downright difficult and frustrating. I am currently trying to see if I can book a solo safari with a guide for Kruger National Park in South Africa. All the tours require a minimum of 2 people and if you sign up by yourself it's double the cost which becomes really expensive to do anything at all!

I know there are destinations that lend themselves more easily to solo travelers but that is quite limiting!
You'd think the travel industry would find ways to accommodate single travelers better than overcharging them because they don't travel in couples.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:50 AM
 
2,024 posts, read 2,991,470 times
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My only big trip travelling solo was 2 weeks in Ireland. I rented a car and went on my own. It did cost more for single supplement but not that much.

I've been on safaris in Uganda (I was living there). When my family came to visit we booked one of the big safari companies. Don't know what they would charge for one person, but for 6 of us for 2 weeks it was $2,300 each for adults and less for the child. The driver/guide knew his stuff, knew how to track wildlife, how to drive the rough roads. Most of our accommodation was good - excellent. All meals, park fees included as well. Airfare separate for the family.
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Texas
209 posts, read 493,714 times
Reputation: 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
I see a lot of people posting about traveling solo and how it's no big deal etc. However I have noticed that during my travels when I signed up for tours I have never seen any other solo traveler besides myself. Infact there is only 1 time I saw this girl in Tokyo on a Sumida river cruise, she was by herself but other than that I have never seen it...all the other parties were in groups of 2 or more.

I am also seeing how solo travel is downright difficult and frustrating. I am currently trying to see if I can book a solo safari with a guide for Kruger National Park in South Africa. All the tours require a minimum of 2 people and if you sign up by yourself it's double the cost which becomes really expensive to do anything at all!

I know there are destinations that lend themselves more easily to solo travelers but that is quite limiting!
You want to have a private tour of Kruger Nat'l Park?
OR
You want to be a solo traveler as part of a larger, already organized tour group?

The second will probably be less expensive and quite easily booked. Do you need the name of a reputable tour company? I can send you one that many of my colleagues have used when they've done safaris in Africa. Either way, this is one of those trips that you simply can't do totally alone. Even we die hard independent travelers have to hire guides and join groups sometimes.

Scott
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