Single travellers can feel that they are being penalised just because they decide to travel on their own. The ‘single supplement’ is regarded as unfair as the price increases during the school holidays.
This problem is basically down to the way that travel companies advertise. They obviously want to be seen as offering a bargain, so they advertise holiday prices in a format that makes them seem as low as possible. This usually means that they use £per person. This price is determined by dividing the room cost by the maximum number of adults that can be fitted into the room.
The room is the same price whether or not the maximum number of adults are sharing it. This gives rise to the ‘single supplement’ which is used to ensure that the full room price is paid for the booking. When a single supplement gets unfair is when the travel company adds extra to make up for any shortfall in what they think they would have made had two adults travelled.
It’s not just singles who have to pay more, couples and families do as well (it’s called ‘under occupancy fee’) if it’s decided that more than 2 can share the room.
So how can you pay a fair price of you are travelling alone?
- Only stay in hotels with single rooms. A single room can actually be cheaper than a per person priced double. But not all hotels offer these, and if they do there isn’t many to go around so book well in advance
- Offer to share. If you fancy a group touring trip, find out if most of your fellow travellers are travelling in pairs. If they are, see if the company is forward thinking enough to put you on a wait-list for a tour with a greater number of single travellers. Then if you feel comfortable with sharing with a same-sex stranger, offer to share a room with another single. Make sure that they’re a good match though; you don’t want an early bird if you like to spend as long as possible in bed
- Travel off peak. Any booking is better than no booking, so try for a special deal when the hotel is quiet/mainly empty
- Check which companies offer a lower supplement. Most resort hotels are offered by numerous tour operators, so shop around
- Last minute deals. As with off-peak, any booking is better than no booking at all
- Use a membership service to find a travel companion. There are Internet groups that give you the chance to get to know somebody before travelling with them as a companion. This is much better than the old published directories that used to be available.
I’m sure that you realise that travelling alone makes you more vulnerable to crime, which is mostly theft, as opposed to crimes against the person. This petty crime can happen on trains, in the airport or even in the hotel lobby; in fact you should never leave your stuff unattended, even if you need to pay a visit to the toilet. If you have a nap make sure that if anyone tried to move your stuff, you will be woken up. Always ensure that at least one person knows your movements and do keep in regular contact to update them on your itinerary.
Only use taxis from official taxi ranks, or use taxis recommend by your hotel. Yes it will cost more, but you will be safer than just calling one in the street. It would be an idea to avoid going on your own to remote areas/ruins. Seek local advice or take a recommended guide.
Single Traveller Websites
The Women’s Travel Club
This isn’t really a club, but an American based tour operator specialising in travel for women travelling solo.
TravelChums will help you find like-minded travel companions whose personalities, interests, and travel plans mesh with yours. It is not a dating website; its purpose is to help solo travellers to travel with a buddy to share costs and experiences.
Connecting Solo Travel Network
This is a not-for-profit, international organisation of individuals that are interested in sharing tips on travelling solo and news about single-friendly trips. There is a life membership fee.
Companions 2 Travel
Companions 2 Travel helps solo travellers to find travelling companions. There is a membership fee, which can be for a year or just for a month if you only have one trip in mind.
Travellers Connected is a community where you can find travel companions, or ask/share advice.
Where Are You Now
Where Are You Now (WAYN) is a travel and lifestyle social networking community website with nearly 20 million members in over 190 countries. WAYN helps you to connect to like–minded people based on your past experiences, where you would love to go and what you would love to do.