Dodge the single supplements
If you go on a solo trip, a tour may charge you a supplement. So how can they be avoided?
The new year saw a flurry of bookings for cruises and tours, as people (rightly) assessed their lives and strived to travel more.
For couples or groups, the cost of travel is smoothed slightly by being able to easily divide by two or more and benefit from bulk discounts – or even just being able to share a main at a swanky dinner in Paris.
For single travellers there is no such luck. Instead, they are more often than not stung with what is known in the industry as a single supplement. This fee is passed on to tour companies or travel agents by hotels and cruise liners when a room is booked just for one traveller, but the industry pricing standard is based on two people sharing aka ‘‘twin share’’.
This added extra, thankfully, is not calculated by just doubling the price for a single traveller occupying a double room, but even the usual 30 per cent supplement can drastically dent your spending money. Even when booking a single occupancy room, these are never exactly half the rate of a double occupancy room (due to fixed costs), so opting for tour operators, hotels or cruises that scrap or reduce the single supplement can prove lucrative.
This is exactly what one reader, Ann Kidd, wrote me about recently. Ann is looking for a tour or cruise option that avoids this charge, but won’t also lump her with a ‘‘roommate who snores and ruins the holiday’’. Fair call. Who wants that?
Slowly but surely travel companies in New Zealand are following the lead of United States and European equivalents and competing on the single supplement charge – or in the case of at least one boutique travel agent, flagging it altogether.
Waikato-based agency, Travel for Solos, has tours and holidays for singles, widows or those who just can’t convince their mate to join them overseas, many without this extra charge.
Another option, if looking to join a European tour or trans-Atlantic cruise, may be to book through the growing number of United Kingdom-based solo traveller-centric operators and agencies.
Cruise companies like Cunard are aware of the growing numbers of (mainly older) solo travellers who don’t want to bunk up with a stranger or pay a single supplement and have geared fresh renovations toward more single cabins.
European river cruise company Uniworld has also come to the party in 2017 and is currently offering more than 200 cruises without this dreaded fee for solo travellers. If you feel like getting intrepid, tour companies which use hostel, camping or non-traditional hotel accommodation are more likely to ditch the single supplements as the fee is passed on by the cruise and hotel companies. Email if you have a travel issue you’d like Josh Martin, a London-based travel journalist, to write about.
There is a growing number of solo travellers who don’t want to bunk up with a stranger or get stung financially for chosing to do so.