"Most singles seem to dread the idea of traveling alone," write Marie Edwards and Eleanor Hoover in The Challenge of Being Single -- "until they have tried it. The experience often converts the fear of the unknown into a real adventure into the unknown."
Among experts suggestions for solo travelers:
"Gear the trip around a special interest," says travel agent Larry Frommer. If you love cooking, take a course in Italy or Paris. Go scuba diving, antiquing, bird-watching, etc. "You'll meet your kind of people, and probably learn something, too."
"Have a project," says author Dena Kaye. Bring a camera, collect something, explore your roots, study local fashions.
"Try to know someone in each place you visit," Kaye adds. "Make contacts through friends, embassies -- even the waiter in your favorite foreign restaurant."
"Don't focus on meeting only eligible singles ," she says. "Most singles think meeting people means the Cosmo Girl finds Mr. Tonight.. But befriending families, couples or another single man or woman -- especially if they are natives -- can open up a whole new world."
"Plan ahead," says seasoned solo traveler Beckie Trumbo. "That way you have a better chance to get the arrangements you want, and have enough time to read up on whereever you're going."
"Take a dry run ," Trumbo adds. "Before spending the time and money to raft down the Amazon for a month, try a day's rafting at Harper's Ferry to see if you like it."
"Travel off-season," she says. "In addition to everything being cheaper and less crowded, locals have time to talk with you and help you out."
"Don't feel your trip is a failure if you don't meet Mr. or Ms. Right," says travel wholesaler Gerry Brumberg. "Just enjoy yourself and have fun. If you meet someone nice, that's great. But expecting to find someone special can be a set-up for a let-down."