How to Avoid Single Occupancy Supplements when Traveling Alone
Single occupancy supplements are fees charged by hotels, cruise lines, and tour companies to solo travelers. These supplements are common in the tourism industry, but you can avoid them if you keep an eye out for the right deals and discounts. You may also be able to negotiate with the company to waive or reduce the fee. If you cannot avoid the supplement directly, you might try to find another solo traveler to be your roommate so that neither of you have to pay the supplement.
Looking for Special Deals
Book early.The earlier you book your travel, the more likely you are to avoid single occupancy supplements. This will help you find a cheaper hotel room if you are planning your own travel. If you want to join a cruise or tour, you may find that some will waive the supplement for those who book a certain number of months in advance.
Travel during the off-season.You will have better luck with rates if you travel alone during the off or shoulder season. The hotels may lower or waive their single occupancy supplement. Look at your plans, and consider if you can change your dates.
- The off-season is when hotels are the least busy. For example, the summer is the off-season in the Mediterranean while winter is the off-season in Scotland.
- The shoulder season is at the end of the tourist season and the beginning of the off-season. The weather may still be nice, but the hotels have lower rates.
Set a search alert.If you’ve tried searching for deals in vain, you may want to set up a search alert for yourself. To do this, make a search term alert for the type of travel that you want to do. Sites like Google will email the top results of this search term to you daily.
- To set up a Google alert, go the of your Google account. In the form, write what search terms you are looking for and how often you want them emailed to you.
- and are good alternatives to Google Alerts.
- The words “no single supplement” or “single supplement waived” should be in your alert. You should also put the destination. For example, your Google Alert may read “Paris no single supplement.”
Consider a hostel.Hotels are more likely to charge you a single occupancy supplement as they charge by room, but hostels charge by person. While many hostels have dorms, you may still be able to find a hostel that offers private rooms at a reduced rate.
- You can search for safe, highly rated hostels at , , and .
- Some hostels will offer single-sex dorms or rooms for those who don’t mind having roommates of the same sex.
Find a company that doesn’t charge supplements.While it may be harder to find a hotel without a single supplement, you can find tour operators or cruise lines that do not charge it. Some companies waive this fee entirely while others will offer significantly reduced supplements.
- , , and all offer tours without charging a single supplement.
- , , and all waive or reduce single supplements on certain cruises.
Search for singles deals.Some travel companies may offer special deals for people traveling alone. These may be advertised as “solo travel,” “singles only,” or “singles specials.”
- When looking for such deals, read the descriptions carefully. Some may be tailored for single, unmarried travelers looking for romance while others are catered towards people traveling alone.
Negotiating the Rate
Time your call.It will be easier to negotiate if you call at least a month before you travel and if you want to book in the off-season. Hotels are not likely to negotiate on rates during peak seasons, but they may be willing to accommodate you during the off-season.
Call the hotel directly.Instead of going through a travel agent or a tour company, call the hotel directly. They will be more likely to negotiate with you one on one.
- When they pick up, you can say, “Hi, I am looking to book a room, and I have a few questions first.”
- You can also say, "Hello, I will be traveling on the 25th and will need a room for only one person. I was wondering if we could discuss the rate."
Ask for the supplement to be waived.State that you have noticed they have a single occupancy supplement, and ask them if it can be waived. Even if they are not willing to waive it entirely, they might offer to reduce the rate.
- You can say, “I see that you charge a single occupancy supplement. I want to know if that can be waived.”
- If they say no, ask, “Can we negotiate the rate then? I would be willing to pay 0 a night.”
Explain your reasons.If they are open to negotiation, you may want to advertise yourself as a valuable customer. Indicate that even though you are a single traveler, you will be a worthwhile guest at the hotel.
- You might say, “Since it’s your off-season, I was wondering if you had any special deals.”
- If you’re staying for longer than a few days, you could say, “I am staying for ten days.”
- Indicate your interest in any other deals that the hotel is offering to show that you might spend money elsewhere. For example, you could say, “I am interested in your spa package as well.”
Thank them.Always be polite when negotiating. The hotel will be more likely to work with you in this case. Even if they say no, thank them for their time and help.
- If you managed to waive the supplement, you can say, “Thank you so much. I look forward to staying with you.”
- If they said no, tell them, “Thank you for your help anyways. I will let you know when I’ve decided if I still want to book or not.”
Finding a Roommate
Ask your tour or cruise operator.If you are joining a tour or cruise, you should ask them if they can pair you with a roommate. Some operators may offer this service up front while others will be glad to help you if you ask.
Use an online matching service.Some websites will help match you to strangers who are also traveling alone. These websites will let you post a request for a travel partner or group. You can specify that you want a roommate, and they will find one who pairs well with you.
- and both offer this service to members.
- Be extremely careful when finding roommates online. You never know who the other person might be. Ask the other person if you can video chat first so that you can make sure they are who they say they are. While sharing a room, keep your possessions locked safely in your luggage or in a locker.
- Keep trying even if you don’t find a good rate right away. The more you look, the likelier you are to stumble upon a good deal.
- If you can, be flexible with your dates. You might find a fantastic deal that is only offered on specific dates.
- While you may have good luck with a stranger as a roommate, keep in mind that they may snore, make noise, or have different sleep schedules than you.
- Always research the hostel or hotel before booking to make sure that it is reputable and safe. Read reviews left by previous travelers online.
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