Taking a life-altering solo trip is a pop culture staple, frequently depicted as a rite of passage and step towards independence heading into adulthood or out of a relationship. In real life, people travel by themselves for a variety of reasons—including because it’s their preferred way of exploring new places and/or vacationing.
Unfortunately, solo travellers often have to pay dearly for this privilege. And given that, for the most part, the travel industry financially benefits from these outdated policies, there’s not exactly a rush to fix them. Until that happens, here are a few ways that you can avoid the dreaded single supplement fees when travelling solo.
What is a single supplement?
A common policy on cruises, at resorts, and on guided tours, a “single supplement” refers to the additional fees and surcharges a person has to pay because they’re not travelling with a partner.
For example, if a resort doesn’t offer single-occupancy rooms, it might require solo travellers to pay for an entire double-occupancy room—effectively making their trip twice as expensive as it would be for someone travelling with a partner.
How to avoid paying a single supplement
In some situations, single supplements are unavoidable. But the rest of the time, there are a number of ways to steer clear of them when travelling solo. Some examples include:
Starting with a search
Yes, this is obvious, but if you’re all caught up in the excitement of booking a trip, the strategy can be easily overlooked. Using your search engine of choice, enter some combination of “no single supplement,” “no solo supplement,” or “single supplement waived” plus your destination, and see what you find. If this isn’t a last-minute trip, consider creating an alert for these searches.
Another option is searching for “solo travel tours,” which, by definition, won’t have single supplements.
Those who are unsure of where, exactly, they want to travel, or who are more concerned about saving money than visiting a specific destination, may want to set up daily or weekly alerts for search terms like “solo travel deals,” “solo travel tours,” or “solo travel discounts.” Sometimes, only a limited number of discounted spaces on a trip are available, so acting quickly is key.
Waiting until the last minute
People with flexibility can also look for last-minute deals. Some companies will waive the single supplement in order to fill empty spaces right before departure. To find these deals, follow the company on social media, and/or check the part of their website that lists the upcoming departures. Even if waiving single supplement fees isn’t mentioned specifically, you can always get in touch and ask about the possibility.