As a solo traveller, have you ever felt persecuted by the high price of your holiday due to operators adding a single supplement? This article looks at the dreaded single supplement charge and analyses why travel companies apply these costs and how you can avoid them.
The majority of hotels charge a premium if occupied by solos, which varies between 10 – 100 percent of the standard room rate. It is possible that prices for single occupancy equal the prices for doubles or family rooms. So why do holiday providers charge single travellers extra?
Hoteliers and cruise lines justify the single supplement, stating they compensate for losses incurred because only one person uses the room/cabin. They claim that it helps them to recover the costs of maintenance (cleaning, lighting, heating, etc.), which is the same regardless of how many people occupy the room. Some tour operators claim to lose out not only on room charges for sole occupancy but also on dining bills. Apparently, it costs more to prepare food for only one person.
Avoiding the single supplement is not easy, however there are ways to secure a room for one without paying over the odds. Some holiday providers waive their single supplement charges out of season. Therefore, you could consider going on vacation in the shoulder season to get the best deal. Unfortunately this could mean a weather compromise but it does guarantee less crowded resorts and often much better service. You might also find it easier to get to know the locals as they will have more time to chat when they’re less busy.
The other way of avoiding a single supplement is to look for shared accommodation. Some group tours offer room share option with other solo travellers but you have to to rely on the tour operator to match you with someone. Furthermore, there are travel companies that offer a roommate finding service where you can sign up to be matched with other solos of your choice. You could also sign up to solo travellers’ communities where you can get to know other singles and possibly plan a holiday together. Hostels are another great option as they normally charge per person not per room.
Shared accommodation is not ideal if you are looking forward to spending some time alone and want some privacy. Also, many people feel uncomfortable sharing a room with a total stranger. If that’s the case, then consider carrying out some more research.
Did you know that there are many travel companies specialising exclusively in holidays for solos and who offer reduced charges or no single supplement at all on their holidays? When you do find an operator who looks promising then it’s always worth an email or telephone call to negotiate the best deal. For example, there are times when a particular hotel is less busy and you could emphasis that you will be occupying a room that would otherwise be empty.
Finally, keep your eyes peeled for special offers from tour operators, hotels and cruise lines. For example Crystal cruises reduce their single supplement to 10% on some voyages – and BodyHoliday in St Lucia offer a singles month in September with no single supplement.
Do you have other suggestions for avoiding the single supplement?