CSTN is all about providing encouragement and advice for traveling as a single. CSTN readers are all ages, 18-80. Some of us have never been married; some are divorced, widowed, and some are happily married to spouses who don't care to travel. Some of us are more adventurous than others. Some are less agile than they once were. Some are novice travelers, and some are seasoned travelers. Some don't want to travel solo at all; they want to join single-friendly group tours or packaged holidays without having to pay expensive single supplements. Some want to find a compatible travel companion. Some want inspiration for going solo and information on safe, affordable solo vacation alternatives. The one unifying factor is that we are all looking for comfortable, economical ways of traveling alone, which is the most important thing to keep in mind if you submit an article to CSTN.
Keywords: Inspiration. Information. Readability.
For example, a story about a "singles only" tour arranged by a travel agent or singles club might be acceptable provided the trip was somehow out-of-the-ordinary AND qualified as "single-friendly." That means the tour organizer must guarantee room shares, or offer single rooms without a surcharge, or by some means avoid the much despised single supplement typical to the majority of packaged holiday arrangements.
Write imaginatively but succinctly: Give us a picture with your words. Give us a sense of atmosphere, place, ambiance without excessive use of flowery or overly effusive language. While practical, accurate, current, and complete information is essential, we also need to be excited by your description of events, places, or people you met.
Description: Choose descriptive terms carefully. Avoid using abstract words such as "beautiful," "charming," "cheap," and ambiguous catch-all phrases such as "reasonable rates," except as part of a fuller description.
Example: The Anyname Hotel is beautiful.
Better: The Anyname Hotel has beautifully appointed guest and public rooms.
Best: Formerly a Victorian mansion, the Anyname Hotel ($50 single) is flanked by lawn, rose gardens, and a terraced pool; its guest and public rooms are elegantly furnished with fine, authentic antiques.
Think: What aspects of your holiday would be of particular appeal to singles? Did you find interesting places to go, or activities to enjoy on your own? Did you find a friendly person, club, group, lodging, restaurant? What tips or cautions were of concern? Was loneliness an issue? Safety? Expense?
Accuracy is essential. Do double-check and include complete names, addresses, telephone numbers, websites of your recommended lodgings, restaurants, tour companies, sightseeing attractions.
Some sort of suitable illustrations (two or three sharp color prints, drawing, cartoon) are appreciated and returned after publication.
Presently, there are four categories for submissions:
A Reader Report is a factual account of a recent single-friendly holiday, written in a positive, lively style, with a focus on how the trip affected you as a solo traveler combined with practical information that others will find useful in planning a similar holiday. Example.
Ask yourself what you would want to know about a prospective holiday destination. Did you find cozy lodging? Restaurants? Clubs? Attractions? What about costs? How do you make reservations?
Bargain tips, things to do, shopping, dining; these are all useful details. BUT, please don't sacrifice your story in favor of mundane details. Try to give us more than just a listing of every lodging, restaurant and attraction you visited. Strive for balance. Tell us only about the best, or must-sees.
One way to avoid too many practicalities within the story is to put details in a "Notes" or "If You Go" box at the end.
Preferably, build your report around a theme or angle. Example. Dining out (playing golf, barhopping, etc) solo in Acapulco (New York, Paris, etc); Riding the rails (buses, ferries, etc) of Britain (California, Mexico, etc); On the trail of (any vacation project that would be busy and satisfying on your own: possibly of historic interest, or possibly a genealogy study, or any activity-oriented event such as a jazz, art, film, music, festival or sporting event – suitable for singles).
Every veteran solo traveler treasures the unusual, bizarre, uplifting, humorous incidents, those memorable moments so removed from the mundane activities of daily life. Your story could be about a person you met while traveling solo, or about a place or any event that had a significant influence on your travel experience. A story with a moral is fine, and it may have a negative angle so long as something positive results. Practical "how-to and how much" details are not so important in a Travel Tale but are welcome if information can be given without unduly interfering with your story. Example.
First, understand that "day trip" in this context means a full day of different activities with a variety of choices (museum, shopping, sport event, theatre, gallery, pub, winery, factory tour, picnic, nature walk, etc) to be made along the way.
Qualifying day trips can be organized and conducted on your own utilizing public transport. For example, a boat, train, or bus trip qualifies if it allows you to get on and off at different places along the way. Likewise, an organized sightseeing tour would NOT normally qualify.
Basically, this is a do-it-yourself, mini-city-guide describing different ambling excursions -- beginning early in the day, usually at breakfast point and finishing in the evening back at your lodgings. Example.
Practical information is absolutely essential, such as bus route numbers, fares, embark and disembark points. And always give a sense of where one place is in relation to another. Example.
Day trips could be based from your own home city or any gateway city in the world in which a traveler is likely to be spending time alone: Athens (or Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Toronto, Sydney, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Halifax – any major gateway city).
A Feature article allows 1,500 to 2,500 words and includes several photos or illustrations. To qualify for the two or three Features CSTN buys each year, your article must demonstrate exceptional knowledge of the solo travel experience. If you have an idea for an indepth, first-person, solo travel report and you are prepared to offer a well-researched, professionally presented article, do discuss it with the editor (see "Submissions" at the bottom of the page).
As well as personal experience, writers should include supplementary information and where applicable, use quotes from knowledgeable sources, maps, graphs, and/or statistics. Possible topics:
>> Five Train Trips I Have Known and Loved (several different trips, different countries)
>> OR, Bus-about . . . (one country, several stops). Example.
>> OR, different excursions taken from one base. Example.
Query your article idea to the editor.