The battle continues.
I started Solo Traveler in April of 2009 and ever since I’ve been pushing for a “no single supplement” world.
It’s not an easy battle and while we’re gaining some ground on some fronts – river cruising, some ocean cruising and some tour companies – there’s been little movement by the major culprit behind the single supplement, hotels. And this is what holds back all companies from waiving the supplement.
Last year I wrote about all the attention solo travelers were getting. Stats point to our value as a travel niche. The media, in droves, were calling for interviews. But things have settled down. We’re no longer the flavor of the month and it seems that it’s as important as ever to know how to go about finding trips with no single supplements.
Tips for Finding Trips with No Single Supplement
With the knowledge of how the travel industry is adapting to solo travelers, here are my top tips for finding your ideal trip with the single supplement waived.
- Check out the Deals page and sign up for the Solo Traveler Advisory. Shortly after I started Solo Traveler I began searching for companies that didn’t charge the single supplement and posted their offerings on our Deals page. Hundreds of people use the page every day. Check our Deals page for current offerings especially for solo travelers. And even better, sign up for our Solo Travel Advisory so that you get notified of the trips every month.
- Google. This is the most obvious tip yet many people don’t think of it. Simply Google “single supplement waived” or “no single supplement” and your destination to see what’s out there.
- Set up a Google alert for your desired trip. When you set up a Google Alert you’ll receive an email every time the phrase you’ve set one up for is published on the Internet. For example, if you want a trip to Ireland without a single supplement, this is what you’d do:
- Go to Google.com/alerts
- In the box at the top of the page set up an alert for “single supplement waived” “Ireland”.
- Set your options such as how often you want an email regarding your alert.
- Hit “Create Alert” and you’re done. How many single supplement waived opportunities this will create will depend on the nature of your request.
- Book early or last minute. Some companies will be more willing to waive the supplement when they’ve just announced the trip (for a couple of spots) and then at the end to fill the trip up. Booking very early or at the last minute can be your answer to a great deal.
- Choose the shoulder season. You’re going to have more success finding trips with no single supplement when the tours are not as busy, the resorts not as full and the ships not as booked. Try to plan your vacation at the time of year when most people are not traveling.
- Fine-tune your timing. Solo or not, flexibility is always a factor when looking for great deals. A day can make a difference on a flight, a week can make a difference on a cruise… Do your research and see just what that difference is. And, again, negotiate. Ask whether by changing your dates the company could waive the single supplement for you.
- Ask for the supplement to be waived. Your success will depend on how soon the ship sails or how empty the resort is… but it’s always worth asking to have the single supplement waived. If you’re working with a travel agent, ask them to negotiate for you – perhaps they’ll have some leverage or inside knowledge that will help them be successful. If they’re not successful go to the operator directly and try yourself.
- If you have to, accept a roommate. Many people don’t like the idea of being paired with a stranger for a trip but I’ve heard many good reports and even that great friendships that resulted from this. After all, if you’re on the same trip you likely have something in common. Companies that do this will pair you up with someone of the same sex and, if they don’t have someone for you, they will usually waive the supplement. Read: Find a Travel Partner: match-ups, meet-ups and hook-ups.
- Find an offer you can’t refuse… Find a deal so great that having the single supplement waived isn’t really an issue. You may still have to pay a supplement but if you find a screaming deal it won’t be quite so painful.
Special Mention to Companies that Really Support Solo Travelers
Over the past few years there have been a few companies that have consistently offered travel with no single supplement. I really appreciate their support of our community and would like to mention them here.
- Overseas Adventure Travel – They have a number of spots for solo travelers on every one of their trips. I went to Indonesia with them and there were five solo travelers and each of us had our own room.
- Explore Worldwide Cycling Adventures – They have fabulous cycling tours. A cycling tour just happens to have been my very first trip when I was 15.
- SoloTrekker4U.com – This is a one-stop shop (site) for tours and accommodation from a variety of companies.
- Grand Circle Cruise Lines – They offer river cruises through many countries all with a really strong educational component. Read: Solo on a River Cruise: Enjoy Both Social and Alone Time