Solo travellers - how to avoid single supplements

Posted on: 17 August 2010 by Mark O'haire

While the number of single senior travellers is increasing every year, it still seems single people end up paying more.

Travelling solo56.34%. That's how many people over the age of 50 are single in the UK.

While the number of single senior travellers is increasing every year, it still seems single people end up paying more. It's no surprise single supplements are one of the top complaints of the solo senior traveller.

What are single supplements?

Prices for most holidays are based on two people per room. If you travel alone a charge will most likely be added so you are paying for an additional person. This is known as a single supplement.

Hotels and cruise lines have justified this by suggesting the cost of providing the room - heating, lighting, cleaning etc - is the same regardless of how many people occupy it.

Even though the number of solo senior travellers is increasing the majority of hotels don't offer single rooms at all. Leaving you with very little choice. Either stay at home or pay the higher rate.

If neither of those options sit well with you why not follow our simple tips on how to avoid paying singles supplements.

  1. Travel outside peak season - Avoid the crowds and screaming children during the height of the season and you can save yourself unneeded stress. You may also find hotels and cruises reduce their single supplement, or remove them completely.
  2. Find last minute deals - There are plenty of websites which provide last minute deals at bargain prices. If hotel occupancy is low sometimes it's better to discount heavily rather than have empty rooms. Lastminute.com provides some great hotels and holiday packages at heavily discounted prices. The cheaper rates make it possible to pay for a two person room, even if you're travelling alone.
  3. Use dedicated travel companies - Saga Holidays specialises in travel for people over 50 so they are aware of the issues that affect solo senior travellers. They can assist with finding single accommodation and waived single supplements.
  4. Join singles travel group - If you're looking to meet new people travelling with a group can be ideal. Just You are the UK 's number one operator for those who choose to travel alone. Most travel groups consist of 20-30 people from 30 years to over 50 and the tour manager.
  5. Find a travel partner - There is a growing number of websites dedicated to help people over 50 meet new people and find senior travel mates. 
  6. Try to negotiate - If you never ask you will never receive. Pick up the phone and ask for the single supplement to be reduced or removed. Persistence and haggling can be very effective in cutting the price of your holiday. If the person you speak to isn't prepared to reduce the single supplement see if they will include free breakfasts or dinners. In the event you still have no luck you can always ask for a senior's discount.

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