Sick of Paying the Single Supplement? Six Ways to Skip the Solo Surcharge!

What is a single supplement and why do we have to pay it? It seems so mean. Some travel operators, (for example accommodation providers and cruise companies) impose an extra charge to people who travel alone. Their argument is that a single person does not spend as much as two people on additional revenue generating services such as food and drinks and therefore the lone occupant has to make up that shortfall. However, the percentage of single travellers is increasing, and the traditional industry providers are changing due to the introduction of new competition from innovative demand based start-ups. 

Here are a few top tips to use if you are unattached and itching to see the world:

Travel with friends

1. ASK a friend

You may be surprised that there are people you know who would love to come with you on a trip. So ask your friends, co-workers, fellow club and sports team members and use your personal social media sites to tout for a travel buddy. You may need to compromise a little but you can work around each other’s interests, timeframes and budgets.

I’ve been all over the world with friends, colleagues and relatives by raving about awesome package deals I’ve found. I’ve even persuaded reluctant travellers by finding interests they would enjoy in a place where I would like to go to and selling it to them.

Remember, some people are waiting to be invited, and there are plenty who just love an excuse to travel.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

Young Women Travel Together Concept
Young Women Travel Together Concept

2. FIND a friend

There are loads of places where you can find like minded people who are also wanting to get away without having to pay the solo surcharge.

  • Join social media groups about travel and post an ad for your trip, it’s that easy.
  • There are groups on the networking portals, for example, Meetup that facilitates meeting other single travellers. If there isn’t one in your area, consider starting one yourself. 
  • Single traveller apps, such as Tripr and Wandermate offer you the opportunity to either search for or post a trip and to connect with like minded people.
  • Additionally, you could pop into a local hostel and stick up an advert on their message board.

You should use your common sense and be mindful of your personal safety when contacting people through these methods, but most people are genuine.

  • Do not put too much information about yourself online under any circumstances, especially personal details such as home address, phone numbers etc.
  • Meet up with your potential travel buddy in ‘real life’ in a safe public environment before booking anything and ask for their identification.
  • Take a list of questions to ask them to make sure you agree on the kind of trip you want to take, for example, will you cook together or mainly eat out?

I haven’t used this method personally, but have definitely considered it when no-one I know is keen or available for an adventure.

Travel cheaply with group tours

3. CHOOSE tour operators that love solo travellers

There are lots of tour operators that specialise in holidays for groups of single people. I’ve been on a high-end tiger safari to India and an all inclusive break to Antigua using a company specifically tailored towards the lone adventurer. It’s a great way to experience a fully organised and managed trip so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy the tour.

I’ve also used more basic tours geared towards backpackers, where you are in a large lorry that shuttles you between places with some camping and additional activities thrown in en route.  There are oodles of companies that have their own niche, whether is is trip type, (for example cultural tours), activity (such as skiing), a particular country or a particular hobby (e.g. bird watching). There are even cruise lines that are moving with the times and offering cabins for people who want to voyage alone. (Here are some suggestions: ST Book 1)

I have met lots of lovely people whilst on these kinds of trips, ended up continuing to travel with them afterward, stayed at their places and become life long friends.

Use solo friendly travel companies

4. USE solo friendly alternatives

Avoid the single person surcharge by utilising the sharing economy, which does not penalise for under occupancy. Accommodation providers such as AirBnb and Couchsurfing have no additional charges for people wanting to travel alone.

There are also quite a few regular operators that do not impose the supplement. Booking.com is one site where you can choose from lots of different accommodation options where the rate is based on the room not the number of people. Hostels are another option as they are geared towards individual world explorers.

By customising your trip and organising it yourself you can easily avoid extra single traveller fees. There are plenty of regional ferries that take the same routes as cruise ships, local buses, and trains that substitute coaches and community led tours that beat the standard travel company excursions.

I’ve organised trips across Africa, Asia, North America and Europe, making my own itineraries and bookings. Contact me if you want help with creating your own special holiday.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

Try house or pet sitting

5. TRY House or Pet Sitting

If you are flexible, tidy and trustworthy then house sitting is a great way to beat the system. Sign up, complete a profile and search the adverts for homes that need to be sat. There’s quite a range on offer, from apartments in the heart of Seoul to remote small holdings in the Portuguese countryside. Some owners do prefer a couple, but if you can demonstrate a responsible attitude, have a respectable character reference or two and are good with animals then this is a very convenient way to travel the world. 

Don't give up your travel dreams

6. IF all else fails… Compromise

Most companies that do charge for single occupancy are willing to negotiate when they are under capacity. Consider travelling off season and talk directly to the travel operator to see if they are willing to help you. They can advise on when they usually have low occupancy, whether to book super early or leave it until the last minute to bag a bargain and avoid the solo traveller costs. You can offer to write a review for them and share their products on social media, which will help with your bargaining. If they value your custom and are understanding you should get a deal, if not then think about if you want to give them your hard earned cash with them.

Personally, I would avoid any company that wants to charge me based on their presumptions. Maybe I can spend for two and they just don’t know it. 😛

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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3 thoughts on “Sick of Paying the Single Supplement? Six Ways to Skip the Solo Surcharge!

Add yours

  1. In your “Find a Friend” section, I also have not used it myself and have thought about from time to time. I do appreciate that safety notes that are there, safety is number 1! Great post, thanks for sharing! =)

    Like

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