Frequently Asked Questions
(1) What is Connecting: Solo
Travel Network (CSTN) all about? | Mission Statement.
(2) When did CSTN
come into existence?
(3) Who started CSTN?
(4) Who are CSTN members?
(5) How does the network operate?
(6) Is CSTN run by a travel agency?
(7) Do travel companies pay to have their trips
mentioned on the CSTN website.
(8) Can CSTN help avoid single supplements?
(9) What is the Single-Friendly Travel Directory?
(10) Is the Single-Friendly Travel Directory available without subscription?
(11) Can CSTN help me find travel Friends?
(12) What do people say about CSTN?
(13) What does membership include and how much does it cost to join Connecting: solo travel network
(14) Why does CSTN charge a fee to join?
What is Connecting: Solo Travel
Network (CSTN) all about?
CSTN is a not-for-profit, international
organization of individuals interested in sharing going-solo tips, news
about single-friendly trips, and in promoting hospitality and good will
among solo travelers everywhere. See our Mission
How long has CSTN
been in existence?
Since January, 1990.
Who started CSTN
Veteran solo traveler and writer Diane Redfern founded Connecting: Solo Travel Network (CSTN) after a year-long, around-the-world solo journey.
Who are CSTN members?
About one-third of the adult population lives a single lifestyle these
days, so we solo travelers are as diverse in taste and lifestyle as we
are numerous. CSTN members are aged from
18 to 80, about 60% female, and 40% male. We're divorced, widowed, married
to spouses who don't care to travel, or we're just plain single.
Some of us are adventurous; some of us are not-so-adventurous. Some
like to travel in the lap of luxury; others like to rough it. Some want
to lie down on beaches; some want to climb mountains. Some like to visit
museums; some prefer casinos. The one thing we have in common is that we
are all looking for comfortable and economical ways of traveling alone.
Many members don't want to travel solo at all. They would rather share
holiday experiences and expenses with other congenial individuals. Or,
they want to join comfortable group tours without paying expensive single
Normally, we have between 1,500 and 1,800, paid-up, current members
at any given time. About 48 percent live in Canada, 48 percent live in
the USA, and a few live in other countries – our dearest wish is to have
CSTN friends all around the world.
How does the network operate?
CSTN publications and services provide all the information and contacts necessary for planning a going-solo holiday, including Reader Reports, Travel Tales, and going-solo tips for traveling independently. For those who prefer group travel, CSTN also searches the world and provides contacts for travel companies and organizations that may be deemed "single-friendly" because their pricing and general policies are attractive to people who travel on their own. Individuals who wish to do so may network personally on our secure, private message board: CSTN Friends in Travel.
Is CSTN run by a
No. CSTN neither organizes, leads, nor
sells tours. However, we do search the world for single-friendly
tour and cruise connections that avoid expensive single supplements. The
unbiased aim is to provide readers with all of the vacation options available
to single travelers, so long as the trip organizer is deemed to be reputably
associated within the travel industry at large. Contact information is always included for any single-friendly company or organization mentioned in CSTN publications.
Do travel companies pay to have their trips mentioned in CSTN publications?
Not as a rule, although certain fund-raising efforts may include paid-for,
low-key associations, such as including trip-specific, direct to website
hyperlinks for qualifying companies. Regardless of that, any tour
company, cruise line, resort, spa, lodge, travel club, or other travel-related
organization whose packaged holidays are deemed single-friendly qualifies for mention in CSTN publications and/or related web pages. Additionally, these organizations receive
a free-of-charge listing in a regularly updated Single-Friendly Travel
Directory, a supplementary publication that every subscriber receives for
use as a travel planning resource.
Can CSTN help me avoid single supplements?
Yes. Any travel company mentioned on the CSTN website must provide single-friendly vacation options. These packaged vacations could be offered by travel agencies, tour companies, single travel clubs, cruise lines, lodges, spas, resorts; any and all holidays that help single and solo travelers are newsworthy for CSTN.
What is the Single-Friendly Travel Directory?
It is a regularly updated holiday planning resource listing over 250 tour
companies, cruise lines, resorts, lodges, spas, ranches, single travel
clubs, and other travel-related organizations that have been deemed
sensitive to the needs of people who travel alone.
Is the Single-Friendly Travel Directory
available without subscription?
Can CSTN help me find travel friends?
Although it is by no means a requirement, subscribers are encouraged
to help foster friendship among solo travelers by participating in advice, hospitality, and/or lodging exchanges Guidelines.
Visit our discussion board: CSTN Friends in Travel.
What do readers say about CSTN?
- From Becky Livingston, North Vancouver, BC. "What a great service you're providing. I have always thought this is such needed information. I think you are onto a great thing. Be glad to know you are providing so much help to so many of us solo travelers. I look forward to reading and learning all about my options and making some new travel plans. Thanks!
- From Joanna Hsu, Daly City, California. "Thank you so much for doing this."
- From Angela B, Cornerbrook, Newfoundland. "The thing that convinced me to join was the concern for the less fortunate, and giving 50% to KIVA. I'm looking forward to learning from CSTN. Thanks."
- From Lair D, Costa Rica: ". . .A total of ten of us met on the CSTN Friends in Travel board and will travel together in Costa Rica for two weeks. We are all paid up and ready to go!"
From Audrey C, Montréal, Québec: "I hope you continue to
publish successfully because finding solo-friendly trips from my location
is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack."
From Linda H, West Vancouver, B C: "I contacted seven travel agencies;
each of them promised to call me back, yet by mid-August I had yet to hear
from even one of them! Feeling discouraged, ignored and desperate, I turned
Single-Friendly Travel Directory . . . What a delight!"
From Nadine A, Vancouver, BC: "I've had several inquiries from BC to Oregon
to as far away as Virginia, about my trip from Madagascar to Papua New
Guinea and Solomon Islands, the end result being I recently spent an interesting
week squiring one caller around Vancouver Island. I can now claim my new
friend to be a most reliable and stimulating travel companion."
From Bob K, Woodbury, Connecticut: "Thank you. I met Lynn H from Shorewood, Wisconsin in NYC
last weekend. Personally for me it was a marvelous weekend."
From A G, Chumble, Québec: "I am happy to say I can help somebody out. I just
returned from Moscow and forward a report."
From Naurine L, Northfield, Minnesota: "Thank you so much. I contacted
Nora in Los Angeles who kindly directed me to a hostel in the neighborhood,
accessible by bus to my conference site. It is exactly what I was looking
for. CSTN has truly lived up to its name."
From Leatrice R, Ottawa, Ontario: "With the encouragement of one of the
ladies who answered my ad, I went on my own and had a wonderful time."
From Denise B, Vancouver, B C: "Thank you Diane. I have had a very positive
response from my ad. Twenty or more senior women will meet in south Surrey."
From Pauline O, Orleans, Ontario: "Just when I lost all patience with my
single friends who give mouth service to desiring to travel but never do,
I happened along
CSTN. I just can't believe
the timing of having found the very organization I need if I am going to
travel alone. And I am! Bravo for you and CSTN."
Travel Editors' Comments
More current website-based links are posted on our home page.
TRAVEL & LEISURE, June 2000: "The Vancouver-based-not-for-profit organization
helps travelers avoid exorbitant tour supplements by polling 'single-friendly'
operators for a range of budgets and adventure levels . . . and access to a lively network
of advice and fellowship."
HOME BUSINESS REPORT, Darrell Hockey, Spring 2000: "On the other side of
the Rocky Mountains, Diane Redfern is doing it all by herself. She is publisher,
editor, writer and circulation manager . . . and brings practical information to people
traveling by themselves. . . Redfern has a strong commitment to her readers
and considers them friends."
MONTRÉAL GAZETTE, Paul Waters, March 2000: "Connecting
offers help for single travelers . . . Ms Redfern has also assembled a
three-part package she calls 'Going Solo Travel Tools'. It includes the
Single-Friendly Travel Directory, as well as 10 short advice pamphlets
covering everything from planning and researching to loneliness and a collection
of essays designed to inspire singles to get out there and travel.
DOCTOR'S REVIEW, January 1999: "To ease the frustration of single travelers
facing expensive single supplement fees, Connecting
. . . offers tips and advice for solo adventurers and information on single-friendly
tours, cruises and soft adventure holidays."
ARTHUR FROMMER'S BUDGET TRAVEL NEWSLETTER, October 1998: "Single Travelers
Alert! In our opinion, Diane Redfern, is one of the unsung heroines of
the travel world. Her organization, named Connecting:
Solo Travel Network, is a nigh well indispensable means of getting
the most out of travel when going by yourself (which includes beating the
dreaded single supplement)."
BEAUTIFUL BC, May 1996: "Do you grit your teeth every time you read "based
on double occupancy" in the fine print of travel brochures? Solo travelers
often feel 'singled' out for higher costs, facing hefty single supplement
charges for the same services couples enjoy at less expense per person.
Good news . . . Connecting: Solo Travel Network
. . ."
TORONTO SUN, Jill Rigby, July 1995: "Singles Make the Connection . . .
Founder Diane Redfern has made an international success of her highly informative
and anecdotal publications . . . if such publications help to
liberate individuals to travel more and stop waiting around for someone
who wants to do the same things, then I say 'Bravo.'"
THE PLAIN DEALER, Peter Greenberg, November 1995: "Single traveler finally
gets attention . . .Connecting offers a wide
choice of single-friendly travel options, as well as tips and advice for
going-alone adventures, news items on single-friendly tours, cruises and
soft adventure holidays."
THE CANADIAN PRESS, Felicity Munn, March 1994. ". . . provides
a wide range of options for people traveling without partners."
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, August 1993: "One of the best we've seen is Connecting,
published in Canada. It's for people who travel alone but should be of
interest to all who travel."
LEISURE TIMES, October 1993: "One wonderful travel publication that we've
become hooked on lately is Connecting. This
informative, compact newsletter features local, national and international
destinations explored and enjoyed by solo travelers. It lists places to
eat, walk and stay, and is chock full of travelers tips with particular
attention paid to safety, women's concerns and the easiest ways to get
all the marvelous vacations described."
KITCHENER-WATERLOO RECORD, Jim Fox, February 1993: "For the past four years,
she has come to the rescue of single adventurers with a lively, information-packed
Access to our "Member Index," which includes the following electronic publications and services:
- Going Solo Tools: three electronic publications in a printable magazine format. Everything needed to help plan solo travel adventures:
- Access to password protected, member-only information, including calendar of "singles only" tours and cruises (over 400 trips listed at any given time).
- Access to archived travel reports.
One-Time Registration Fee
Canadian Residents: Internet E-Membership $28.00 (payable in
USA Residents: Internet E-Membership $28.00 (payable in US
- HELP! 50% of your registration fee helps individuals in third-world countries fulfill their personal dreams. CSTN members support KIVA Read more about CSTN's part.
Residents of other countries: Internet E-Membership $28.00 (payable
in US funds).
NOTE: Payments may be by money order (payable to Connecting: Solo Travel Network), MC, VISA, or American Express.
By Mail: Connecting: Solo Travel Network
689 Park Road, Unit 6
Gibsons, BC V0N 1V7
By Telephone: +1-800-557-1757 (tollfree North America), +1-604-886-9099
Or, Join online
Why does CSTN charge to join?
Because registration fees cover operation costs, CSTN doesn't have to rely on paid advertising to exist, which in turn allows completely unbiased editorial content in CSTN publications. Also, registration fees help us help inidviduals in developing countries fulfill their dreams of a better life: CSTN members support KIVA. Read more about CSTN's part.
The First purpose of Connecting: Solo Travel
Network is to encourage hospitality and networking, internationally,
among people who travel without a partner.
The Second purpose of Connecting: Solo
Travel Network is to report without bias about going solo vacation
alternatives or any holiday option that can be designated sensitive towards
the needs of people who travel alone.
The Third purpose of Connecting: Solo
Travel Network is to foster the above concepts within the ideals of
Explanation of Terms
Single Supplement: Most packaged holidays are priced so that each
of two people pays a per-person rate for shared accommodation. A single
participant who either cannot find a roommate or wants to occupy a room
alone normally must pay a "single supplement" surcharge.
Single-friendly: To qualify as "single-friendly" a trip must
avoid single supplement charges, either by offering a "guarantee share"
option, or single occupancy rooms without added single supplement surcharges,
or, at least, a low single supplement of less than $30 per day.
Guarantee Share Option: Some tour organizers and cruise lines pair-up
individuals and guarantee that a single who is willing to share accommodation
pays no more than the per-person, double occupancy rate, even if no room
mate can be found. Any travel or vacation company that offers "guarantee
share" options or otherwise avoids single surcharges is considered Single-Friendly
and qualifies to have its holidays publicized in CSTN publications.