Saturday, June 25, 2016

Solo Travel News - June 25, 2016

With so many solo travellers looking for affordable ways to travel, without the dreaded single supplement, I am always watching for specials. Periodically, when I have time, I summarize a few into an email to send to those who may be interested. Here is a sample:

One of amusing cruise ship related BrExit memes
Image by "Brighty", found on Bruce on Politics
Welcome to summer!

This continues to be a GREAT time to travel as a solo.

Thinking of Europe? With this yesterday's news of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, we can expect prices to drop on hotels in London, as well as throughout continental Europe. Combined with the already soft cruise market in Europe, the time to travel to Europe is now!! Fabulous deals abound. Contact me if you want me to take a look for anything.


For those of you looking for a bargain, here are a few cruise deals that I see right now (CAD):

July 2, 2016: Royal Princess - 7-Night Mediterranean Europe Cruise - Rome to Athens - inside $1298 solo +tax

July 16, 2016: Norwegian Escape: 7-Night Caribbean Cruise - roundtrip Miami - studio $1519 solo +tax

July 17, 2016: Eurodam - 12-Night Mediterranean Europe Cruise - roundtrip Venice - oceanview $1460 solo +tax (obstructed view)

July 23, 2016: Empress of the Seas - 5-Night Caribbean Cruise - roundtrip Miami - oceanview $974 solo +tax

July 23, 2016: Queen Victoria - 7-Night Eastern Mediterranean Europe Cruise - Athens to Venice - oceanview $1257 solo +tax (obstructed view)

July 24, 2016: Queen Mary 2 - 8-Night Transatlantic Cruise- New York to Southampton - balcony $1917 solo +tax **UNBELIEVABLE PRICE**

September 2, 2016: Celebrity Millennium - 16-Night Pacific Rim Cruise - Vancouver to Tokyo - inside $1978 solo +tax

October 1, 2016: Carnival Vista - 10-Night Mediterranean Europe Cruise - Barcelona to Athens - October 1, 2016 - inside $1548 solo +tax

November 14, 2016: Celebrity Constellation - 14-Night Middle East Cruise - Istanbul to Abu Dhabi - inside $1478 solo +tax


Planning a little further out, here are some great solo values for 2017:

April 29, 2017: Rhapsody of the Seas - 14-Night Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise - Tampa to Barcelona - inside $1523 solo +tax

October 15, 2017: Norwegian Getaway - 14-Night Transatlantic Cruise from Copenhagen to Miami - studio $1645 solo +tax

November 5, 2017: Rhapsody of the Seas - 14-Night Transatlantic Repositioning Cruise - Barcelona to Tampa - inside $1523 solo +tax 


There continue to be waived single supplements on many river cruises in Europe. Let me know if you have this on your bucketlist.

Looking for something else? While reduced or waived single supplements are hard to find, they do exist, and I can help you find them. A few ships also offer solo staterooms, with no single supplement. I can also assist with tours and land vacations for solos.

Wondering where to book your cruise? Aside of booking through me because you've benefited from my newsletter, I promise to get you any extras that are available, get you a lower price if one becomes available prior to when your final payment is due, and assist you with as much or as little of the rest of your trip as you wish. If you see a deal you like elsewhere, I can usually match it - I invite you to ask me for a quote. I'm a solo traveller myself, so I understand!

Remember that prices and availability are subject to change. If you see something you like, please get in touch as soon as possible. I am happy to put a cabin on hold while we check airfares (which are quite good right now).

I hope this information is of value. If you have some travel ideas, please get in touch, and I'll see what I can find - and I can keep an eye open for something that fits your budget and destination bucketlist.


Want to "SUBSCRIBE" to my periodic solo email updates? Just contact me. 

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

There is more to Mexico than all-inclusive resorts, seaside villages and Mayan ruins (not that there is anything wrong with that).

I have been curious about the village of San Miguel de Allende for some time, even more so since I began reading On Mexican Time: A New Life In San Miguel.

So, I have been researching and learning more about this charming village.

San Miguel de Allende is in central Mexico (no seaside here), in the far eastern part of Guanajuato state. They call the macroregion Bajío. Due to its remote location, San Miguel de Allende is difficult to get to, but its remoteness is part of its charm.

The well-preserved historic town centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is filled with buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. The nearby Sanctuary of Atotonilco is also a World Heritage Site.

Founded by Franciscan Monk Fray Juan de San Miguel Miguel, the town was baptized as San Miguel el Grande. In 1826, during the Mexican War of Independence, the town was the first declared independent of Spanish rule, and was renamed to honour native son Ignacio Allende y Unzaga, the first Mexican soldier and a national hero. At the beginning of the 20th century, though, the town was on the verge of becoming a ghost town.

That is, until its Baroque/Neoclassical colonial structures were "discovered" by foreign artists.

The public laundry (lavaderos publicos)
The creation of the Instituto Allende and the Escuela de Bellas Artes, among others, attracted artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros (who taught painting), writers and a large number of American WWII vets (aided by the G.I. Bill).

Ultimately, the expat-friendly town has attracted a foreign retirees, more artist types, and tourists. When combined with the wealthy Mexicans who have rediscovered San Miguel as a Malibu-like retreat from Mexico City, San Miguel today has an eclectic mix of Old World Mexican charm, American hospitality, and a relaxed party atmosphere.

Just watch your step, bring comfortable shoes, and expect a bit of workout. San Miguel was built into the side of a mountain, so it can be difficult to traverse (some inclines are 15 or 20 degrees). Many of the narrow, cobbled streets have fallen into disrepair, and curbs are often a high step away from the road.

I am intrigued by...
Another Face of Mexico Mask Museum - a private collection of 500+ Mexican ceremonial masks (by appointment only)
Public Library (Biblioteca Pública) - features 30,000 titles in English, a small gift shop, a café and free wifi (temporary memberships available)
El Charco del Ingenio Jardín Botánico (Jardín Botánico) - a unique park above the town with an enormous collection of cacti (apparently one should use beer to coax a local to use their key to let you in the back gate)
Thermal pools - just outside of town, for an afternoon of relaxation (pre-arrange return transportation or know when the last bus arrives)

Suggested resources
10 Reasons Why People Fall in Love With San Miguel de Allende - Huffington Post
San Miguel de Allende Today - Travel+Leisure
San Miguel de Allende tourist information - Visit Mexico
Country Mouse - blog post about Tony Cohan, author of On Mexican Time - David Lida
Getting there: see San Miguel de Allende on Wiki Voyage for options.