No Date For New Year’s Eve? Get Outta Town!

Singles, especially boomers, have more opportunities to travel than most. So why not make the most of New Year’s Eve this year and get out of town instead?

By Jane Ganahl

econd only to Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve is the holiday that fills single people with the most joy — or the most dread, depending on your dating status.

If you’ve got someone in your life that you’re excited about, New Year’s Eve can fill a single person with the anticipation of not only dazzling
The pressure to be part of the couples-heavy action is always intense.
kisses, but also breakthrough relationship moments. Picture Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, who surprised Meg Ryan with his declaration of love as the confetti started to fall. Or Bridget Jones, who opened the door on New Year’s Eve to find the yummy Mark Darcy there to sweep her off her feet… in her underwear.

Back on planet Earth, though, many, many single people are not seeing someone special — or special enough to share a kiss with on New Year’s Eve. This is especially true of boomers, who tend to get pickier with age. When you’re in your 20s, pretty much any old date for New Year’s Eve will do. (Extra points if that person is hot.) But most of the women and men my age would rather fly solo on that particular holiday, especially if they feel lukewarm or unsure about someone. (The end of the year is not a good time to test-drive the new guy at your workplace who has photos of five kids on his desk and asked you for coffee last week.)

And even though as we age we get more comfortable with date-free periods, the pressure to be part of the couples-heavy action is always intense. So intense that you might instead be tempted to just forget the whole thing and stay home. Alone.

In fact, that might be the worst thing you could do. The only thing worse would be to accompany your pity party with Jack Daniels, a quart of Ben & Jerry’s and some ill-timed videos (i.e. Sunset Boulevard, during which the bitter, insane spinster Norma Desmond jumps out of a window on New Year’s Eve).

To those people tempted to let inertia or loathing weld them to the couch, I say: Don’t do it. Get out of town!

“I’ve seen over the years how anxious singles get around New Year’s Eve,” says Eric Kravitz, one of the co-founders of All Singles Travel. “They really feel pressured if they’re not dating someone, and many find it easier — and more fun — to leave town. New Year’s Eve is one of the most popular times for singles to take a trip.”

A trip can mean many things to different people. Some opt for exotic excursions to foreign lands; others stick
New Year’s Eve is one of the most popular times for singles to take a trip.
closer to home. I personally never had a more enjoyable New Year’s than the one I took with three date-free friends a few years ago. We looked up vacation rentals online and booked a waterfront cottage at Lake Tahoe — just three hours northeast of my home. We opted out of the cheesy party scene at the casinos and instead had a prolonged slumber party with great movies, popcorn — and a little (OK, a lot of) tequila. We celebrated friendship and a New Year’s Day made all the more momentous by a gorgeously snowy walk along the shore and a self-indulgent brunch. It was all a woman could ask for! (Unless you require some lip-smacking at midnight.)

“It’s just more fun to be with a group,” says Kravitz. “When you’re with a group of like-minded people, you hardly care that you’re not dating anyone right now.”

Kravitz started All Singles Travel in 1996 with that rationale in mind. Since then, it has ballooned from two trips a year to dozens. Despite the recession, he says business is excellent.

“When you’re single, you’re more inclined to keep travel in the budget no matter what.”

Especially 40- and 50-somethings, who flock to the trips because they have greater job flexibility and more disposable income than their younger counterparts.

Does Kravitz think that singles take these trips with the intention of meeting other singles and possibly finding love? He laughs. “I think it’s in the back of people’s minds that they might meet someone, but mostly I think people go to meet other single people and just have fun. A couple of years ago, this guy from Denver met a woman from San Diego and I just received word that they fell in love and got married! Even though it probably wasn’t their stated goal, it’s nice when that happens.”

Resources for those who might fancy getting lost for New Year’s Eve: So if you’re stuck wondering what to do this New Year’s and don’t relish the idea of spending it alone, why not take a trip? It’s never too late for adventure.

Jane Ganahl is author of Naked on the Page: The Misadventures of My Unmarried Midlife, editor of the anthology Single Woman of a Certain Age, journalist of two decades, and codirector of San Francisco’s Litquake literary festival.
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