The Question: I'm a 60-year-old single woman and would like to go on a tour this summer that includes Barcelona. Do you have any suggestions of tours where participants might not all be coupled up; where there would be unstructured time and where the mood wasn't too jolly?
Understood. Who wants to be the third wheel as you wander La Sagrada Familia or be considered the wet blanket on a tapas tour with twentysomethings?
A good fit may be a trip offered by a company geared to women, such as the Women's Travel Club ( womenstravelclub.com), Canadian Woman Traveller ( cwtraveller.ca) or Adventure Women ( adventurewomen.com).
Such travel groups take care of the logistics, provide dinner companions and often facilitate room sharing. Plus, the destinations suit the demographic: "Walking and Cooking in Tuscany" anyone?
As for the land of Gaudi, there are some upcoming trips from these operators, but they don't fall in the summer season.
The Women's Travel Club has a six-night Barcelona and Madrid itinerary in October listed at about $1,880, departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport, with a $625 single supplement.
Canadian Woman Traveller's sister site, Travel Broker Tours ( travelbrokertours.com), is offering a 12-night tour featuring French and Spanish seaside villages as well as Barcelona that departs in May. It costs $3,285, plus a $875 single supplement.
"We are currently nine women on this tour," says Debbie Lloyd, who also founded CWT to accommodate women who didn't want to be the lone singles on board. "It includes three nights at a very central hotel in Barcelona. Along with time for personal exploring, we are including a dinner and flamenco show and a morning gourmet walking tour."
Phyllis Stoller, founder of the Women's Travel Club, shares this advice for all-purpose searching: Scour the company's photos to see if it features groups of women, ask if it offers room sharing and takes "learning" type vacations that focus on things such as art or cooking.
"Tours with an interactive activity are friendlier and tend to have more solos," she says.
E-mail your travel questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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