By: Sherman's Travel Editorial Staff
Ahh . . . the single life. Freedom to do what you want, how you want, when you want – but if all that alone time is getting a bit, well, lonely, head to one of the places we've picked as tops for vacationing singles looking to pair up, hook up, or shack up this Valentine's Day and beyond. Meet your match while dancing the tango, have a date with a power-hungry politician-in-training, or hit the high seas with similarly uncoupled shipmates – whatever you're into and whoever you're looking for, your chances of a successful love match increase with every visit to one of our ten best vacations for singles.
Singles set off to freewheeling Amsterdam in droves for the ultimate in boys-being-boys and girls-gone-wild escapades, mesmerized by the city's free-thinking, live-and-let-live mantra. With a Dutch policy structured on controlling what it can't efficiently outlaw, illegalized American no-nos like marijuana (widely available in Amsterdam's ubiquitous coffeeshops) and even prostitution (witness the notorious Red Light District) are both permitted and regulated here. Should you find a fellow single that piques your interest away from the debauchery, start your love affair with a hand-in-hand stroll along the 1,000-plus bridges that span the city's 160 canals.
While cruising has long been regarded as a couples sport, the tides are now turning, with many singles looking to meet their mate on the high seas. Carnival and Royal Caribbean boast a party atmosphere and attract lots of unattached cruisers, while cruise consolidators like VacationsToGo.com host a handful of singles-only voyages throughout the year to destinations like the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Alaska. Though most all cruise ships host singles mixers during the first day or two, special singles vacation theme cruises like these are gaining popularity and are a guarantee for meeting other travelers looking for love. What's more, Norwegian’s new Epic, setting sail in July 2010, will feature the industry’s first studios designed and priced for solo travelers. While single occupancy cabins on other lines are either nonexistent or cost significantly more than doubles, the Epic’s 128 posh staterooms (all with full-size beds) start from just $799 for 7-night itineraries.
Beautiful and bountiful characterizes the singles scene in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Argentina. ToursGoneWild.com, a guide for singles on the move, offers packages with VIP perks to the best A-list clubs, but even if you don't luck out with one of the stunning models that frequent them, there's still plenty of opportunity to meet a fellow single. The popularity of the tango means lots of willing dance partners in Buenos Aires are looking to pair up, and we can't think of a better way to forge a romance than while dancing one of the world's most seductive dances. Even if you come home alone, knowing a few tango moves will certainly be advantageous in your next love affair.
Legend has it that men outnumber women 2-to-1 in Alaska – and although actual census data doesn't give the ladies quite such odds, it's nonetheless true that more men than women do live in the 49th state. Burly outdoorsmen who can build a cozy fire (without Duraflame) and take on a grizzly abound, particularly in "bush Alaska" where miners, trappers, and fishermen live. City gals who love fur hats and lipstick equally, however, can descend on the capital at Juneau, for a singles vacation with a bit of cosmopolitan flair. Not only are political powerhouses also on the scene, but ample restaurants, galleries, and watering holes are on hand to make the setting for a great first date.
With a motto like "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," it's no surprise that Sin City is rife with opportunities to misbehave. Single guys and gals flock here from around the globe, many in town for the hedonistic tradition of the bachelor / bachelorette party and looking for love (though perhaps of the one-night variety). There's always a chance that you'll meet that special someone and cap off the night with a spontaneous walk down the aisle of a famed Vegas chapel. The nightlife is legendary – from bars and clubs to strip joints and cabarets – so whether or not you manage to hook up here, a good time is guaranteed.
With a reputation for bikinis, beaches, and beautiful bodies, a visit to Miami, Florida is sure to put you in the mood for love, or at least a fling. But it's not just sun and sand – Miami is also a diverse, cosmopolitan city with plenty of options for a singles vacation. Try salsa lessons to pick up some dance moves (as well as a date), check out the thriving gay scene, visit a bookstore with music and readings if you're literary-minded, and hit the dance clubs to rub shoulders with celebrities. The culturally inclined can also check out the newly hip galleries and art scene – perfect for chatting up artsy types.
If you're on the lookout for a lady with style, sophistication, and street smarts, New York is the obvious place to start your search. Gentlemen take note, the world's culture capital is brimming with single ladies – National Geographic claimed (in 2007) that there are 185,000 more available women than men in the New York metro area! No wonder those gals from Sex and the City had such a hard time finding guys! There's no shortage of nightlife spots where you might meet that special someone, and with a lifetime's worth of restaurants, museums, concerts, and so much more, you'll never have to go on same date twice.
Ciao bella (hello beautiful). It's easy to feel like Sylvia in Fellini's La Dolce Vita when showered with attention from Italian men in Rome. This dark and handsome breed flirts just as often and as naturally as he breathes and American women may find it hard to resist his charming swagger and poetic whispers. Compliments and stares aside, Italian men, if given the chance, will woo their ladylove over Chianti and carbonara under starry skies on the Piazza Navona. And whether or not you find eternal love in the Eternal City, you're bound to get a taste of la dolce vita while on a singles vacation here – and perhaps a fling with your very own Casanova.
Renting hotel rooms by the hour is certainly no foreign concept, but when you do it in Tokyo, it's definitely (slightly) less sleazy. In a city where privacy is at a premium, couples in search of some alone time visit one of the city's Love Hotels (also called couples' hotels), mostly found in the Shibuya district. Recognizable by their hourly and overnight rates – often posted outside – the emphasis here is on discretion: rooms are typically selected via push button, keys arrive via pneumatic tube or clerk behind dark glass, and multiple hotel exits facilitate clandestine escapes. Rooms, meanwhile, are decked out with everything from mirrored ceilings to bathtubs for two – and even karaoke on demand. If you're a singleton on the prowl in Tokyo, you shouldn't have a problem finding someone to share the experience with you.
Henry Kissinger once said "power is the greatest aphrodisiac," and if you subscribe to that theory, there's no better place for a singles vacation than Washington, D.C., where love and politics converge. Democrats and Republicans alike debate (and flirt) over drinks everywhere from intimate lounges to rowdy sports bars, while the capital's monuments and museums make for romantic backdrops when lit up at night. With a tantalizing mix of transplants from all over the U.S. and abroad, you're sure to make some interesting – and hopefully high-powered – connections.