Venice

Destination Spotlight: Italy

Situated along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, Italy has long been a popular tourist destination. Not only has the country been highly influential in food, wine, fashion, and popular culture, but it’s also home to some of the most beautiful locales, historic places, and finest art in the world.

While some travelers choose to visit only one city or location in Italy, it is actually very easy to plan a trip to multiple Italian cities. This can be accomplished via train or by driving. Among the most popular itineraries is a three-city tour of Rome, Florence, and Venice. This tour will enable you to see “the best of Italy.” Along the way, it’s easy to see the gorgeous Tuscany region and the remarkable Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Rome

Truly a city for the ages, Rome is one of the most famous places in the world. In this Eternal City, you will find ancient wonders. Start by visiting the famous Roman Colosseum, which is amazing both architecturally and historically. While at the Colosseum, you can visit the nearby Roman Forum, which was the center of Roman life, and Palentine Hill for panoramic views of the city below. (Tip: Avoid lines by purchasing tickets online that include admission to all three sites.)

The Pantheon was originally constructed in 27 B.C. If you can wrap your head around that fact, you’ll be even more amazed to see this Roman temple to the gods. Another must-do is a visit to Vatican City. Though it’s been its own country since 1929, it is surrounded by the city of Rome. Visit St. Peter’s Square and the breathtaking St. Peter’s Basilica. (Tip: Proper attire is required to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. This means covered shoulders and legs.) While in Vatican City, you can also visit the Sistine Chapel and view the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The Sistine Chapel is located within the Apostolic Palace. This is the official residence of the Pope.

No trip to Rome would be complete without visiting its lovely outdoors squares or “piazzas.”  The most famous is Piazza Navona where you can see its glorious fountains. And speaking of fountains, another must-see is the famous Trevi Fountain. Throw some coins and make some wishes! Finally, be sure to visit the Spanish Steps for another beautiful fountain and some great people watching.

Florence

From Rome, head to Florence, which is the city of the Renaissance.  This is a very walkable city, so plan on bringing a good pair of walking shoes so you can take in everything. Start by visiting the Piazza del Duomo. This square is in the center of Florence, and it is home to the Florence Cathedral (the Duomo), the Florence Baptistery (or the Baptistery of St. John), and Giotto’s Campanile (or bell tower). The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the most visited places in Europe.

Even if you are not an art lover, head to the Uffizi Gallery to view some of the most beautiful works of art in the world, including art by Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Rembrandt. Afterward, stroll the streets for shopping and take a break at an outdoor café.

From Florence, rural Tuscany is an easy side trip. Here you can see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, learn about Italian wine making, and explore Italy’s gorgeous historic towns like Siena. There are few places in the world lovelier than the Tuscan hills.

Venice

From Florence, travel to Venice, which is a fairytale “city of water” that is built on 117 tiny islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Venice has no roads, only its famous canals. The most famous of the famous canals is the Grand Canal, the city’s main thoroughfare.

Start by visiting Venice’s main square, the Piazza San Marco (aka St. Mark’s Square). Not only is this a great place for people watching, it is home to one of the most famous places of worship in the world, St. Mark’s Basilica. Climb to the top of the bell tower for amazing views of the city.

Other must-see spots in Venice include Doge’s Palace, which is the seat of the Venetian government, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection museum. Finally, no trip to Venice would be complete without a gondola ride. For the quintessential Venetian experience, be sure to spring for a ride on a gondola where you will be serenaded. Single travelers often find that romance can bloom in breathtaking Venice.

Destination Italy

At Singles Travel Service, Italy is one of our favorite countries to visit. Join us this June on our three-city singles group tour of Rome, Florence, and Venice.

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Essential Travel Tips

Here are essential travel tips for stress-free single travel. Why do you need them? Traveling is an amazing thing. It’s an escape from daily life, an adventure, and a learning experience. It can open your mind to new possibilities and your heart to new places and people.

But traveling can also be stressful.

Missed flights, choosing the wrong hotel, packing the wrong stuff, not giving yourself enough time for all you want to do, and lost luggage are just some of the things than can ruin a vacation. But there are solutions for all of these than can help you have a stress-free and completely relaxing singles vacation in any destination.

Plan Ahead

First, you’ll want choose a destination carefully. Pick a place that you’ve always wanted to visit – or a trip centered on an activity that you love. Think: skiing, camping, learning about history and culture, or simply relaxing. Base your vacation around something completely enjoyable for you. When you go into a vacation knowing this, any negative experience can be counterbalanced easily.

Next, you should sit down and map out your itinerary. What places do you want to visit in the city or country you’ve chosen? How much skiing or scuba diving do you want to get in each day? Think about your “musts” for the trip – and then go from there. Choose a hotel based its proximity to what you most want to do. And read the reviews! A bad hotel in an amazing location is still a bad hotel.

One of the easiest ways to plan ahead is to let someone else do it for you! When you join a hosted singles vacation for groups, the tour operator will have done all of the research and planning for you. Hotels will be vetted, itineraries will be carefully curated, and flights will be thoughtfully chosen to provide optimal time in each location. At Singles Travel Service, we offer a range of hosted tours for single travelers. There is something for everyone.

Pack Right

And pack as lightly as possible. No matter where you are going – a beach, a mountain, or a city – you will want to put some thought into how you can only pack the essential clothing and gear that you need for the trip. You do not want to lug around more than you need. I made this mistake once years ago by taking 8 pairs of shoes to a Caribbean island. Sure each sundress had matching sandals, but this was completely unnecessary. I could have been fine with good flip flops, one pair of go-with-everything sandals, and a pair of sneakers for my morning run.

Also: do not forget that layers work. Temperatures can change quickly, air conditioned rooms can get really cold even if the destination is warm, and some locales are more conservative than others and vice versa.

Arrive Early

One of our favorite quotes here at Singles Travel Service is “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” William Shakespeare was a wise man. Never be late. Lateness can be so stressful for a traveler and your traveling companions. It can cause you to miss flights at worst, dinner reservations at best – and everything in between from guided tour departures to tee times to happy hour cocktails. And when you are part of a hosted trip on a singles vacation, it is simply poor travel etiquette to make the group wait.

Embrace Being Away

In this modern age, it is nearly impossible to disconnect completely. We are tied to our devices – smart phones, tablets, and lap tops. In many ways, this modern technology makes traveling so much smoother. You can receive up-to-the-minute flight updates, quickly get directions, find exactly the type of restaurant you want in the neighborhood you find yourself in after a day of exploring, and more.

It also enables you to check in back home or at work – for better or worse. But this can cause stress so give yourself a break. Turn off the news, forget work email for a few days, and take time to look up from your phone to see the new place that surrounds you.

Purchase Travel Insurance

We actually wrote an entire blog about how travel insurance can create peace of mind on a trip. Check it out. You might not need it on every vacation, but travel insurance is often a very good idea.

Did these essential travel tips help? At Singles Travel Service, we are known for hosting expertly planned and stress-free singles group vacations.  Contact us to learn more.

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Winter Sports for Single Travelers

We love winter. And these five winter sports keep us happy, active, and outdoors even when it’s cold outside. These five winter sports are great for single travelers, too. They are all individual sports, but taking part in them as a group activity can add to the fun. On our hosted winter sports vacations for singles, our guests enjoy many of these winter sports and activities.

Skiing

Though this list is in no particular order, we really love to ski. Of course, the great ski versus snowboard debate inevitably comes up among our staff and guests each time we hit the slopes. And snowboarding is amazing (see below). But there is just something about classic, downhill skiing. There is elegance to the sport. And because it’s relatively easy to learn, skiing is very accessible. Resorts of all sizes have ski schools, “bunny hills” for novices, and more advanced courses for experts. Skiing is a great sport for single travelers because it’s an individual sport. Singles ski vacations are a great way to meet people – on the chair lifts or in the lodge during a post-slope cocktail.

Snowboarding

Unlike skiing, snowboarding is harder to learn. But as slope veterans know, snowboarding is easier to master once you’ve learned the right techniques. And it’s simply addictive, especially once you can snowboard through a terrain park. For single travelers, it’s also a great way to make connections with fun-loving people. Snowboarding culture is at once both relaxed and adrenaline filled. It’s also an amazing workout for your core. And who doesn’t want a great core workout?

Ice Skating

Whether you are on figure skates or hockey skates, ice skating is a great winter sport. Once you find your balance, ice skating provides many benefits. It’s a great cardio workout that builds endurance. Ice skating improves joint flexibility. It builds awesome leg muscles. Ice skating is a great way to relieve stress. And, of course, it is so much fun. Once you’ve mastered it, skating as fast as you can across a rink (or a frozen lake!) is exhilarating. Ice skating is easy to practice because most towns and cities have a rink – so when you get to a resort with a professional grade rink, it’s easy to look like a pro. Ice skating is a great individual sport that single travelers love.

Snowmobiling

If you ever have the chance to go snowmobiling, GO. It’s a great winter outdoor adventure, and not something everyone gets to do. Racing across snowy trails can be thrilling. When the forecast calls for serious snow, we head to closest place to rent a snowmobile. Single travelers love snowmobiling on winter vacations. One of the best places in the world to snowmobile is in the Montana section of Yellowstone Park (one of our favorite places to visit any time of the year!).

Snow Tubing

If you grew up around hills, you definitely spent snowy winter days sled-riding all afternoon. Snow tubing takes you back to that childhood experience, only at a much higher and more exciting level. Imagine spinning or swooshing down the side of a mountain on a wide, snow-covered trail. Many resorts know that adults love snow tubing as much as kids, so they offer nighttime tubing for the older set. Singe travelers often connect over the sheer whimsy of snow tubing.

Winter Sports Vacations

Each winter, Singles Travel Service hosts winter sports vacations. Check out our upcoming winter sports vacations for singles.