Here's a round up of some good articles on solo travel:
The Los Angeles Times offers travel advice to a 49-year-old man concerned about getting sick while traveling out of the country? Soothingly, "sudden death while traveling is not statistically likely." Well, I guess I can finally stop fretting about keeling over then.
But just in case, you can leave a note for the maid on what to do with your body, writes Catherine Hamm, the paper's travel editor. Funny.
As for fear of getting sick, she suggests some useful things, tips she got from calling around in the medical community. For one, register with the State Department before you leave the country. Also, keep a list of the generic names of medications you take in case you need to replace any. Yes, different countries call medicines different things.
I also like her pros and cons on traveling alone vs. joining a group. When on a group trip, there will always be one "ultra-annoying" person. (True) On the other hand, you'll never be alone. As for solo travel, there's some tension in having to keep your wits about you at all times. (Not necessarily) But then again, you make all the choices.
A travel review piece on the faxtravel.com site provides great information on how to choose the best group tour. It says to pick small group tours and local tour operators.
Look for companies that offer flexibility, including opting out of some activities, or adding on others. Choose tours that give you some free time or free days. Trips that try to pack in too much can be exhausting. (I have experienced these types of trips and totally agree.) Also look carefully for hidden costs. The post gives examples of what those would be.
A Forbes post talks about the up side of dining alone. When Jared Blank first started traveling alone, his solo sojourns to the dinner table felt odd, "like I was missing a limb." A tad dramatic, perhaps? But then, he writes, those meals felt liberating. And he began to resent it when fellow business travelers cut into his time alone by joining him at his table.
Photo: Ellen Perlman. Bird of paradise, Guadalajara, Mexico