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If you like to travel on your own, Puerto Vallarta is a great place for the solo nomad seeking some down time. Here are a few tips for those who love to travel on their own, or even for those who are considering traveling on their own for the first time and have maybe hesitated up until now.
Tip # 1 - Prepackaged trips to Puerto Vallarta will inevitably cost you more if you go it alone.
More often than not travel agencies and third party online booking services will pre-purchase blocks of "travel packages" to be resold to the consumer. In almost every case these packages are based on double occupancy, and are priced accordingly. If you find a tantalizing last minute deal in the local paper, read the fine print and do your homework...chances are high that great deal will be less so once the seller adds the dreaded 'single supplement'. A single supplement is a surcharge added to most package offers that increases the price which puts many package deals out of the budget range of the single traveler, sometimes even doubling or tripling the initial cost. Single supplements can be as small as a few basic fees, or as high as the equivalent of another entire airfare or package cost. So if you see a wonderful deal that you want to take advantage of, always get more information directly from the provider before choosing to purchase.
Tip # 2 - Book hotels or accommodation that list rates by the room, not the occupant.
In Puerto Vallarta, scattered in pockets throughout the Bay of Banderas are many small and medium sized accommodations of varying price ranges that will, and do, list their per night/per week/per month costs by the room instead of by who is occupying that space. For the solo traveler, these are your best bets to seek out for more affordable stays. More affordable can often also net you a truly relaxing and authentic experience in the area as well, as many of the properties are locally owned or managed, and offer clean and secure lodgings at exceptional prices - including discounts for long term stays in many cases. But also don't hesitate to inquire at the larger hotels too about per night costs vs. per occupant costs, as sometimes you can even net an unknown deal with a large chain resort if you are traveling outside of a high traffic season!
Tip # 3 - The airlines like you, even if nobody else does.
Airlines throughout North America have one objective - to get your bottom into a seat and flying somewhere. While many airlines now offer vacation "packages", their primary goal is to sell airfare, and get you to buy that airfare through them. As a solo traveler you will quite often be purchasing your airfare and accommodations as a separate deal, so spend some time getting to know the various carriers that fly out of your region and whether they are able to connect you or get you directly to your destination. Start by researching your hometown airport either online or by contacting their information centres, and obtain a list of carriers that are flying out to use as a cross-reference to the specific airline's websites. Most airline websites will list their flight routes and schedules (both regular and seasonal), as well as any codeshare partnerships they have with other airlines. A codeshare partnership allows airlines to book and schedule flights to regions they themselves don't normally fly to, but another "partner" airline does.
Don't forget to sign up for the mileage programs and newsletters too - most airlines will send mileage plan members "first notice" of any seat sales, and any free mileage offers. Believe it or not, the freebies do add up. While this isn't a tip only for solo travelers, it is beneficial to a single traveler in terms of earning mileage to upgrade seating on airlines...something that is often much easier to do when it is one airline ticket instead of two or more.
Tip # 4 - You're never really alone in Puerto Vallarta.
Of all the places many have traveled solo over the years, Puerto Vallarta is one place that always comes highly recommended for a solo traveler (especially female solo travelers) in terms of safety, accommodations, activities and opportunities to socialize and make friends. From the hotel staff to restaurant waiters, to tour guides and locals, PV has to be one of the friendliest places on earth and one that even if you are traveling alone, you never feel like you are. While you can easily socialize and meet people all around the bay (even if you are shy - it's easy!), the downtown and south side areas are very conducive to meeting people - especially in the stroll of beachfront restaurants and beach clubs. Even the most demure and shy person cannot help but be drawn out by the warmth of the people, which by extension can only improve the quality of your vacation.
Tip # 5 - Enjoy!
This tip goes without saying. Whether you travel with a group, with family, or on your own - Puerto Vallarta has something to offer everyone. Take the time to get out and explore. One benefit to traveling on your own is that the only schedule or itinerary you need to adhere to is your own. For the solo traveler there is a greater freedom in going where you want, when you want, and not having to check with a dozen people first. Sheer bliss! Take a tour, find a new restaurant or taco stand, walk the cobblestones and shop, laze on the beach with a cool drink under a palapa - the city is yours for the entirety of your vacation, and she makes for a wonderful silent travel partner. Buen viaje!