Times have changed.
For the better!
So I think it's time to once again address the issue that's most pressing to solo travelers who book tours, cruises or all-inclusives:
how to get the single supplement waived.
I'll give you a variety of tips here but I have actually split this post into three parts.
- Why the travel industry now wants the solo travel market.
- Strategies the travel industry is using to waive the single supplement.
- How solo travelers can find deals with the single supplement waived.
It's been a slow process but in the last six months we've burst on the scene. It feels like solo travel is the flavor of the year. In January alone I did over 20 interviews with the media about solo travel. Suddenly there's a lot of interest in those of us who travel solo. In hopes of reaching the industry people who are yet to be convinced, I'm going to give you a few of the reasons why.
- Solo travelers were found to be the most frequent travelers taking on average 6+ trips every year, compared to others who typically travel 2-3 times a year. Read more.
- 74% of women have traveled solo or are planning to in 2015. Read more...
- Solo Travel is for all, regardless of relationship status. Of the 37% who have traveled solo, 53% of travelers are married and 39% are single/divorced. Read more…
- 66% of US women polled by Booking.com have vacationed without her partner. Read more…
Study after study is showing that people are traveling solo, that the number of those who travel solo is growing and that solo travelers travel often.
That's the good news. We have growing into a market that wants our business.
It's been exciting to see the travel industry response to the solo travel market. The last two years has seen a significant uptick in single supplement waived travel opportunities. Hence the growth of our Solo Travel Deals page and the Solo Traveler Advisory of Deals email that you can receive in your inbox once a month.
Here are some of the strategies the travel industry is using to waive the supplement and go after the solo market.
- Leveraging their purchasing power with hotels to get at least a few rooms for singles at a lower price than the traditional two-person-to-a-room rate.
- Restructuring their business model so that doubles absorb some of the additional cost of a single's room.
- Waiving the supplement on the shoulder seasons as a matter of policy. This way solo travelers (who tend to be more flexible in terms of when they travel) know that the brand always waives the supplement during certain months.
- Rather than operating at less than capacity, waiving the single supplement on unsold space on tours, rooms in resorts and cabins on ships as last-minute deals.
- Offering a matching service so that women can bunk with women and men with men thus getting around the 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. Perhaps the companies advertising with us have exactly what you're looking for. Perhaps, you use them more for inspiration. Whichever, no company gets on the Deals page or Advisory unless they have options for solo travelers that don't include a single supplement.
- Google. This is the most obvious tip yet many people don't think of it. Simply Google “solo travel” 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 Hong Kong 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” “Hong Kong”.
- Set your options such as how often you want an email regarding your alert, your geographic reach…
- Hit “Create Alert” and you're done. How many single supplement waived opportunities this will create will depend on the nature of your request.
- Negotiate. 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.
- Adjust 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.
- Play roommate roulette. Many people don't like the idea of being paired with a stranger for a trip but I've heard many good reports and that great friendships that have even 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 gender and, if they don't have someone for you, they will waive the supplement.
- 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.
PS. If you’re traveling independently, check out The Solo Traveler Accommodation Guide for places to stay as recommended by other solo travelers. It’s free to download here.
Wondering About Travel Insurance?
- “I just couldn't leave my mother to travel when she got sick. Fortunately, my travel insurance reimbursed me for my flights which was all I had spent to date”
- “I lost my prescription glasses on a hike in the UK. When I got home I was surprised to learn that my travel insurance would pay out up to $300 for them.”
- “I was in Sydney, Australia when a crown popped off a tooth. I had it fixed by a local dentist and recovered the cost from my travel insurance.”
It takes just minutes to buy travel insurance. You could be thankful you did for the rest of your life. Here are two companies to check out.
You can read my full report on travel insurance here: Going Alone? Travel Insurance is a Must