The Travel Centre - click for Home Page

The Travel Column 2003-1-16

Air Reservations
Air, Car and Hotel Reservations

Choose to Cruise

Leave a Message



We are pleased to bring you The Travel Column, written fortnightly for "The Trinidad Guardian"


Few of us enjoy traveling alone; one in four North Americans has taken a vacation alone during the last three years, and, on average, will spend more of their life between 15-85 single than with a partner. For those of us who do travel or vacation alone, we dread the 'single supplement' that is often imposed.

The good news is that these days, single travelers have plenty of options to make travel as pleasant (and affordable) as possible, and/or to match them up with other like minded travelers so that they can enjoy the company of a second person. With the growing number of single adults, specialized travel companies are now catering to this important market.

Single Supplements

Depending on your point of view, single supplements are unavoidable and fair, or possibly the worst act of deceit in the travel universe. To view it from the positive perspective, most hotels these days do not charge extra for two people sharing one room (calling this a double-occupancy rate). If you’re travelling with your spouse, this is great! But, from the single traveler's point of view, that $150/night hotel room, which splits to $75 each for two people traveling together, becomes, all of a sudden, twice as much for the single traveler. There is more to a single supplement calculation than just doubling the per person room costs. If that same hotel also included a free breakfast, then it should charge less for a single person (in total) than for two people, because it is only providing one breakfast. Some hotels that have various 'per person' type inclusions within their rates will recognize this fact and adjust their single supplement accordingly, but others will not. If you are on a multi-day tour that includes accommodation, then you will find these single supplements appearing in the tour price as well, because obviously the hotel passes such costs on to the tour operator. But because some of the tour inclusions are 'per person' items like event tickets, the seat on the coach, air fares, etc, the single supplement on a tour is not (or at least should not be) a doubling of the 'per person share twin' rate. However, some (very greedy!) tour operators will say 'because you have deprived me of the chance to sell a companion onto my tour, I'm going to make you (the single traveler) give me all the profit I would have made from two people traveling'! Stay well clear of operators that take this attitude to single travel. However, no matter how it is calculated, and how much it is, the cost of a single person traveling alone should always be no more than the cost of two people traveling together.

Saving on Single Supplements

Some hotels and some cruise lines have special 'single' rooms at rates substantially below twin room rates. These rooms are sometimes much smaller than a twin room, with only one single bed in them, but sometimes the 'single room' is purely a marketing concept, and single people will get exactly the same room, for much less money, than a couple would get if traveling together. These enlightened hotels and cruise operators understand that if they have a definite number of empty unsold rooms or cabins, they are better advised to sell them at a lower price to single travelers than they are to leave them empty and unsold. How do you find such hotels and cruise lines? The best approach is to use the services of your experienced travel agency, who knows of suppliers that specialize in ‘single travel’.

If you're traveling alone, you should use the 'single supplement' issue ask for a 'single discount' off hotel rates. These seem to be more prevalent in Europe than in North America, but it never hurts to ask, wherever you are, and it might encourage the hotel to give you some type of discount, even if it isn't officially a 'single' discount.

Singles Touring - Share Twin Programs on Regular Tours

Some regular tour operators have a 'twin share' program where a person that is traveling alone pays only the regular 'per person share twin' rate . The tour company then undertakes to match that person up with another person of the same gender who will share the room. If it is a guaranteed program, and the tour operator fails to find another single traveler on the same tour of the same sex, you get to have a room to yourself without having to pay the single supplement - a great deal. Some tour operators will only offer to match you with a person of the same sex. Others will also match you with a person that is either a smoker or nonsmoker, based on your own preference. But in such cases, you are still a single person on a tour that is mainly couples. Hopefully your room-mate turns out to be a good companion, so that you can enjoy both someone's company and also the lower cost of the twin share rate.

Singles Touring - Share Twin Programs on Singles Tours

Many of the specialized singles tour operators operate dedicated singles-only tours (or block a large number of cabins on cruises and maybe even have their own dining area), and in such cases, most people choose to share with another traveler, and single rooms may be available as an extra-cost option. Singles touring is sometimes offered to specified age groups (eg 18-35, or 30+) and sometimes the tour operator tends to generally get a defined demographic of attendees. You should ask about the likely type of people that you're probably going to be traveling with in terms of age and even nationality. Most companies are coy about detailing the mix between men and women on these tours, but it seems that it is more common for there to be slightly more women than men in most cases.

Singles Touring - a Romantic Opportunity?

Some of the singles tour operators concentrate on the travel experience alone. But some of them add the possibility of a romantic element, by pitching their travel more clearly to single people that are looking for partners, not just for a short vacation, but for their future life as a whole!

Melanie Waddell, Director
January 16, 2003


Previous Travel Columns

bulletThe Travel Column 2002-11-28
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-11-14
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-10-31
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-10-17
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-10-3
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-9-19
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-9-5
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-8-22
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-8-8
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-7-25
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-7-11
bulletThe Travel Column 2002-6-27

horizontal rule

The Travel Centre Limited
16 Damian Street 
Woodbrook, Trinidad, West Indies
Phone: (868) 622-0112 or (868) 622-AMEX
Fax: (868) 622 0894

Independently owned and operated by The Travel Centre Ltd.


website stats
View Stats

© 2000-2020 The Travel Centre Limited
Website designed and managed by Maraval Inc.
Page last updated November 06, 2020