What is a single supplement?
If you’ve ever traveled alone -- solo -- you may have encountered the single supplement. So what is the single supplement and how can you avoid it?
In the travel industry, tour operators and cruise ships create packages at wholesale prices. These per night costs assume double occupancy. Unless the tour operator has specifically built a package that includes rooms for solo travelers, there can be an increased cost for the solo traveler. This is referred to as the single suppliment.
There is a saying in the travel industry: "The most expensive room in a hotel is the empty room." The second is the one occupied by one person. It makes sense when you think about it from the hotel’s perspective. They are hoping to serve x amount of people and price it to cover staffing and other related costs.
"To sell that stateroom to only one person," said H.J. Harrison Liu, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean, "that wouldn’t necessarily make business sense for us." NY Times
That said, for many solo travelers (by choice or covenience) the single suppliment feels more like a single penalty.
Whether widowed, divorced, or just prefer to travel alone, the world is a larger place, and sometimes more expensive. Though many suggest finding a travel partner, that’s not always easy or desired. The introverted, for example, prefer downtime to enjoy the excursions of the day and reflect -- alone -- in their own room. Not to mention the freedom that comes with solo travel.
"As anybody who has done it will testify, solo travel is both liberating and invigorating. With none of the arguments that can arise when travelling with family and close friends, you’re free to relax and enjoy your surroundings at your own pace, going where you choose, and experiencing local culture as authentically as possible." Trafalgar
Seek a Travel Professional
Travel professionals are the solo traveler’s biggest ally. They are aware of sales as well as tours that specialize for single people.
GAdventures, a sustainable tour operator, offers solo travel -- usually pairingg you with a roommate. They offer the "My Own Room" fee, however, the cost of which depends upon the tour.
In their article, "17 Ways to Avoid Paying a Single Supplement," Women on the Road give great advice. Including: seek a travel professional.
"Travel agents know what’s going on in the world of travel. If there’s a special promotion or discount for solo cruises or solo vacations, they can tell you about it. It might not mean the single supplement will disappear, but a big discount can have the same effect: a cheaper trip. It’s a travel agent’s business to keep track of these things. Use that expertise."
Solo Traveler Discounts
Many reputable tour operators like Insight Vacations routinely give solo supplement discounts for last-minute tours. For example, if you book by August 31, The Wonders of Turkey tours for 21 Nov 2018 and 06 Feb and 13 Mar 2019 has no single supplement.
Tafalgar also offers single tours and Globus has Escapes where they often discount the suppliment. This is why consulting a travel agent, rather than going alone on the Internet, is the best option for solor travelers. (As a reminder, there is no cost involved.)
The single supplement can't always be avoided but it doesn't have to ruin your travel plans. Give us a call today (888-422-2026) to find out how we can best serve your solo travel needs.