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Updated 04/18/06

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                                  skateboarding dog, Manly Beach, Australia
Welcome to the online home of travel columnist Donald D. Groff, who has dispensed advice  and stories since 1988 in such publications as the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Newark Star-Ledger, The Kansas City Star, Newsday, Salon, Condé Nast Traveler, Consumer Reports Travel Letter, The Boston Globe, and Endless Vacation magazine.

Focus on . . .

Solo travel, Senior travel, Single parents
Women-oriented tours,  Family travel
Sports holidays
, Pilgrimage tours,
 Travel safety, Disabled travel, Biking

we like

Solo travelers

  • Connecting: Solo Travel Network,  "an international network of travelers interested in finding comfortable and economical ways of traveling alone." Connecting offers a Single-Friendly Travel Directory listing more than 240 travel companies and organizations whose services and pricing are sensitive to those traveling without a partner -- including some that do not charge a single supplement. The directory costs $7.95 or is free with an annual membership of $35 (or $25 online) for six 20-page issues of a newsletter. Credit card orders: 800-557-1757; Web site  Mailing address: Connecting, 689 Park Road, Unit 6, Gibsons, BC  V0N 1V7.

  • Travel Companion Exchange helps people find traveling partners and produces newsletter, which is full of useful information, including a steady supply of strategies for avoiding the single supplement. For a sample issue, send $6 to Box 833, Amityville, N.Y. 11701. TCE is not currently processing new subscriptions, but it offers resources online at

  • Travel Alone and Love It: A Flight Attendant's Guide to Solo Travel, by Sharon B. Wingler (Chicago Spectrum Press, 1996). Companion site at

  • Single’s Guide to Cruise Vacations, by Jacqueline Simenauer and Margaret Russell (Prima Publishing, 1997).

  •  Traveling Solo: Advice and Ideas for More Than 250 Great Vacations, by Eleanor Berman (Globe Pequot Press, 2d edition 1999).  

  • A USA Today package on solo travel


Senior travelers

  • Senior Women’s Travel caters to women over 50. phone  212-838-4740, or

  • Starr Tours of Trenton, N.J., phone 800-782-7703, Web site

  • Senior Tours of Drexel Hill, Pa., phone 800-227-1100; Web site

  • Parker Tours of Plainview, N.Y., phone 800-833-9600.

  • Elderhostel, based in  Boston, phone 1-877-426-8056; Web site  

  • CIE Tours International in Cedar Knolls, N.J., phone  1-800-243-8687;  

  • Collette Tours in  Pawtucket,  R.I., phone  1-800-832-4656;  

  • Go Ahead Vacations in  Boston, phone  1-800-242-4686;  

  • Grand Circle Travel in Boston, phone  1-800-248-3737; Web site  

  • Saga Holidays in Boston, phone  1-800-343-0273; Web site  

  • Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can’t Get Unless You’re Over 50, by Joan Rattner Heilman (Contemporary Books, 13th edition, 2001).

    The United States Tour Operators Association publishes a free “Smart Traveler’s Planning Kit” that tells you what to look for when considering a tour company. To get a copy, call  800-468-7862 or find the information at


Single parents

  • is a Web site founded by Brenda Elwell of Secaucus, N.J., that offers a wide range of information on single parent and nontraditional family travel, including monthly travel specials. Her book The Single Parent Travel Handbook  includes listings of travel agents who specialize in single-parent travel. The cover price is $17.95; a discount is available on the Web site, The book also can be ordered through bookstores or by calling 201-866-9991. 

  •  Parents Without Partners magazine and Web site,


Women-oriented tours

  • Journeywoman,, whose sections include “women’s travel tales,” “go-alone travel tips,” “women helping women travel.”   

  • Passionfruit: A Woman’s Travel Journal, a quarterly magazine,  

  • Senior Women’s Travel caters to women over 50. phone  212-838-4740,

Family travel

  • Great American Vacations: 25 Affordable Family Trips to the USA's Best-Loved Destinations (Fodor's Travel, 2003).

  • Tropical Family Vacations: In the Caribbean,  Hawaii, South Florida and Mexico, by Laura Sutherland (St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999), describes resorts to consider on 21  Caribbean islands altogether.  

  • 100 Best All-Inclusive Vacations of the World, by Jay Paris and Carmi Zona-Paris (Globe Pequot, 1999), has a chart with contact information that includes more than 100 all-inclusives in the Caribbean. It notes special features such as children’s programs.

  • Many Web sites feature all-inclusive family resorts, including, which can also be reached through 1-800-338-4962. Its site recently had about 50 Caribbean resorts listed under its “kids welcome” section. 

  • All-Inclusive Resort Travel has a Web site at, phone 1-888-339-3866.


Sports holidays

  • Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballparks Across America, by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel (Fodor’s Travel, 3rd edition 2002).  

  • Roadtrips, a company based in Winnipeg, Canada, arranges three-day holidays to any of 30 major league ballparks, as well as multi-city, multi-game baseball tours. Roadtrips also packages hockey, football, basketball, golf and auto racing getaways. For a brochure, call 1-800-465-1765 or visit Web site

  • Champs Sports Tours, based in Philadelphia, offers tours to Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in New York, Fenway Park in Boston, and Oriole Park at Camden Yard in Baltimore, among other sports trips. For a brochure, call1-800-382-8087 or 215-331-9700. View 2006 dates and destinations by clicking here.

Pilgrimage tours

  • 206 Tours, 325 Middle Country Rd., Smithtown, N.Y. 11787; phone1-800-345-2854;

  • Peace Center Tours, 558 Park Ave., Elmhurst, Ill. 60126; 1-800-233-0334 or 630-941-8057; Medjugorje and other destinations.

  • Fatima Network,

  • Medjugorje Web at Go to for the section called “pilgrimage facts and information.”  

  • An official Medjugorje site is at Although it is cluttered, you can find help in the “guide through the shrine” section.  

  • Travel Agency Global in Medjugorje has a Web site at and operates a bus service between the Split airport and Medjugorje. You can e-mail requests for details from that site.  

Disabled travel

  • Access-Able Travel

  • Disability World,

  • Accessible Journeys, 35 West Sellers Ave., Ridley Park, PA  19078; phone 1-800-846-4537 or 610-521-0339; Designs accessible holidays and escorts groups on accessible vacations for slow walkers, wheelchair travelers, their families and their friends.  

  • Undiscovered Britain & Ireland, Ltd., 11978 Audubon Place, Philadelphia, PA 19116;
    phone  215-969-0542; Besides typical travel agency services, this company tracks accessibility for its clients, including wheelchair accessible accommodations and transportation.

  •  Fodor's Great American Vacations for Travelers With Disabilities, edited by Donna Cornacchio (2nd edition, 1996).

  • Barrier-Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers, by Candy B. Harrington (Xlibris Corp., 2001). 

Many companies make arrangements for travelers with mobility impairments, but the number that work with developmentally disabled travelers is far fewer. Still, there are several that have been specializing in such travel arrangement for many years. Among them:   

  • People and Places, P.O. Box 184, South Wales, N.Y 14139; phone 716-937-1813; Web site Vacations since 1975 for adults with developmental disabilities throughout the United States and abroad.

  • The Guided Tour Inc., 7900 Old York Rd., Suite 114-B, Elkins Park, Pa. 19027; phone 1-800-783-5841; Web site This company has been in business since 1972 and says its clients “are persons with developmental challenges (and sometimes persons with BOTH a physical and developmental challenge), ages 17 and up, who come from all over the United States.”  

  • Sundial Special Vacations, part of Sundial Travel Service, 2609 Highway 101N  Suite 103,   Seaside, Ore.  97138.  In business about 30 years, the company says many of its “special vacationers come from group homes, recreation and park programs, independent living situations, or vocational programs.”  

  • Tulip Travel,  911 Old Liverpool Road, Liverpool, N.Y.  13088; phone 315-461-4852; Web site This company says its two principals have more than 18 years combined experience in the field of developmental disability.  

  •  Other agencies can be located by doing a Web search for “developmental disabilities” and “travel agency.”  

Travel safety

Biking trails & resources



Travel newsletters & links

The Discerning Traveler devotes each issue to a town or region, mostly on the East Coast, recommending area highlights and reviewing lodgings and restaurants. The back issues are available for $8 each to nonsubscribers or three for the price of four. To order call 1-800-673-7834 or visit the site.

Las Vegas Advisor is short on bluster, long on details and perspective for planning and executing a trip to Vegas, whether you go for the shows or the rolling dice. A three-month planner provides the entertainment, events, tournament and weather lineup. The monthly Top Ten Values points visitors to the 99-cent shrimp cocktail and $4.95 steak dinners. Dining, entertainment and gambling reviews hit the spot. $50 per year, subscribe online or by calling 702-252-0655. is packed with useful information for solo travelers, but its dissection of travel strategies benefits readers of any ilk. Besides the advice, a service for matching travelers is available. For a sample issue, send $6 to Box 833, Amityville, N.Y. 11701. TCE is not currently processing new subscriptions, but it offers resources online at

Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report reviews top-end resorts and lodgings around the world, touting a subscription limit and a subscribership made largely of business executives. Subscriptions $135 per year, phone1-800-235-9622.


Outstanding links

Newspaper travel sites

USA Today -- Timely day-to-day and features travel coverage is in a class of its own. Free access to past articles very good.

The Washington Post -- More than any daily U.S. newspaper, The Post  uses its site to expand upon print coverage and supply useful info for planning and deciding on a destination. Its integration of hard-news reports from other sections, interactive features, and archive accessibility show how good a travel section can be if a newspaper chooses to apply cleverness, effort and resources.   

The New York Times -- The Gray Lady's travel section reaches far and wide, with a travel site search window where we like it, right up front. It  has expanded free access to past travel stories; its organized presentation make it easy to use -- and hard to pull away from.

The Philadelphia Inquirer -- The Sunday travel section stories range far and near, including a weekly feature contributed by readers. 

Magazine travel sites

Arthur Frommer's BudgetTravel -- The magazine that first thumbed its nose at snooty competition in 1998.  

Condé Nast Traveler -- The magazine that first shook up high-end travel coverage in 1988.

Travel & Leisure -- The magazine that rode -- and helped propel -- the modern travel era.

Travel sites by individuals

Elliott -- Christopher Elliott is all over the map, literally and figuratively, as travel critic, gadfly, provocateur. He is National Geographic Traveler magazine's ombudsman and contributes to U.S. News & World Report and MSN.

JoeSentMe -- Joe Brancatelli reigns as the business traveler's alter ego and best friend, with his Brancatelli File and Tactical Traveler columns anchoring a lineup of road-hardened contributors. 

The Practical Nomad -- Edward Hasbrouck single-handedly brings a Consumer Reports thoroughness to independent travel planning and execution.

Commentary straight from people on the road

The Thorn Tree-- Lonely Planet Publications' bulletin board dishes the latest from destinations worldwide.

Graffiti Wall -- From Rick Steves and company, a vast forum for travel and travel planning.

Virtual Tourist -- "Real travelers -- real info."

Travel Journals -- The Rough Guides' well-organized entry into the info-swap game.

Ace travel planning sites

The Independent Traveler -- One of the longest-running, most-experienced travel sites on the Web; the Bargain Box excels at current deals displayed in a way that doesn't overwhelm.

Frommer's -- Arthur Frommer, travel guru, offers deals and destinations.

Sites rich with travelogues & links

Bugbog -- Travel guide with pictures and maps.

MyTravelGuide -- "An active thriving travel community where members and guides share their travel experiences, offer each other advice and plan their next trip."

World Hum -- "Travel dispatches from a shrinking planet." 

I Go U Go -- "A community of real people sharing their travel experiences."



Sites from off the beaten path

 Regina Schrambling   Culinary commentary with a well-honed edge
Bob Sacha Photography  People, industries, destinations. Workshops in Italy, Maine, Santa Fe
Andrew Maykuth Online Up-close dispatches from Afghanistan & Africa
Eric Mencher Online A photographic gallery: Havana, America, the world
James McBride, author & musician The author, the musician. "The Process -- Volume One" CD is now out.


and other travel links

Get USTOA's Smart Traveler's Planning Kit


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          Last updated: 04/18/2006