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Insta Q&A: A Tuscan Birthday Trip

Christina Talcott

Time again for Insta Q&A, where we pull a travel question out of our Big Bag o' Queries, take a stab at answering it, and then turn it over to you, our readers -- or those of you who are still in town this holiday week. Today's question is from Tony Paduano of Alexandria. Tony writes:

I'm going to be celebrating my 60th birthday next year. I'm single, so I was looking to go to Tuscany and I wanted to know about organizations that might cater to singles.

Tony, first of all, cheers to you. In my opinion, there's only one way to celebrate a big birthday and that's to treat yourself to a fabulous trip in a gorgeous place. Tuscany definitely qualifies.

There are several groups that focus on travel for singles, but first, have you considered Elderhostel? True, there's that icky "elder" in their name. But they offer some nice trips with an educational/cultural bent, the prices are good, and you'd have plenty of like-minded souls to pal around with, as Sarah Palin would say. Grand Circle Travel is another company that sponsors trips for people over 50 (I refuse to call us "seniors" quite yet).

Another option, if you're feeling crunchy: Friendship Force International, a worldwide network of local clubs whose mission is to promote global understanding. The last time I wrote about solo travelers looking for partners, this group got in touch to say that they frequently sponsor trips and that they will set up compatible roommates.

If you want to focus on groups that cater specifically to seniors, here are a few I wrote about a couple of months ago in the Q&A column:

* Connecting Solo Travel Network, 604-886-9099. Half the members of this Canadian company are 50 and older, and about 60 percent are women. Annual membership fee ($35) includes a bimonthly newsletter, travel-companion advertising and access to an annual directory.

* O Solo Mio Tours, 800-959-8568. They match travelers with roommates on group tours. Travelers range in age from 35 to 60; about 75 percent are women.

* Travel Chums, based in New York, lets you troll for trip buddies with a free database and access to message boards, and notifies you when someone with similar travel criteria joins. For a $180 annual fee, you can post photos and send messages to other members.

* Europe Through the Back Door, in Washington state, matches solo travelers of the same sex in a room together on tours.

That's all I got. How about you, readers? Any other suggestions on solo travel for Tony?

By Christina Talcott |  November 26, 2008; 7:05 AM ET  | Category:  Europe , Insta-Q&A , K.C. Summers
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