THE BEST DEAL FOR SINGLE TRAVELERS
Today travel editor Peter Greenberg talks about vacation planning when you have to go it alone
Except from Today show
Traditionally single travelers have had a tough time when it comes to prices, service, and overall experiences,
but now as their numbers increase, the travel industry is slowly, but surely, coming around to recognize that
they are indeed a hot commodity. “Today” Travel Editor Peter Greenberg has tips on where to find the best
Historically, it's the largest group that receives the most amount of discrimination by the travel industry -- people
who are single. For years, solo travelers have been abused by price, by service, and often, by experience.
Dreaded words like "single supplement" and "double occupancy" almost always meant a single traveler's budget
was busted. But now, as the numbers of single travelers has drastically increased (thanks to, in no small part, more
single people traveling coupled with higher divorced travelers), the travel industry is, slowly but surely recognizing
the single traveler as a potent source of revenue, and for once, there are now hotels, destinations, tour operators,
cruise lines and travel services catering to the single traveler.
Here are some good ones:
A division on Travel Services Worldwide offers two primary benefits to the solo traveler:
1) Cost savings -- no forced single supplement
2) Security and camaraderie of traveling in an escorted group of solo travelers.
TSW singles vacations has been providing singles travel offerings since 1996. Their program allows the solo traveler
to enjoy travel in the security of an escorted group of other solo travelers and to avoid the expense of paying forced single
supplements. Their free roommate matching service allows all our travelers to be matched with a roommate of the same
sex and smoking preference (smoking or non smoking), as well as the same age range. (traveler's ages range
primarily from ages in their 30's through 50's). Example of cost savings, below are a couple of examples:
1) A traveler on their 10 day cruise and land package in the Greek Islands, would save over $1000 in comparison to
booking the same trip alone through the same cruise line and hotels at the single occupancy rates of each.
2) A passenger traveling on one of their 7 day cruise offerings to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, The Hawaiian Islands
or Alaska would save, through our free roommate matching service, between $500 and $700 over the cost of booking the
same cruise directly through the cruise line, whereby the traveler would have been forced to pay the cruise line's single
3) A passenger traveling on one of our land excursions to France & Iceland , Costa Rica, The Canadian Rockies or Ireland
would save between $250 and $500 versus booking the same trip through a tour operator where the passenger would be
forced to pay a single supplement.
Keep in mind their program is not designed as a romance or dating service. It is instead designed to provide a means for the
solo traveler to avoid this forced "single supplement". Another advantage and purpose of their program addresses safety
issues. All of their trips are escorted by a TSW Singles Vacations representative that organizes such activities for group
passengers as cocktail parties and group dinners during their vacation.
This representative stays with the group at the same hotels and of course on the same cruise sailings to assist group passengers
with any questions or needs that may arise during their vacation. For reservations call 800-717-3231, or visit allsinglestravel.com.
Frequent destinations include: May -- Iceland (with optional 3 day pre tour visit to Paris, France), June - England, Scotland,
Wales, July -- Costa Rica, July -- Cruise of Alaska (with optional post cruse land excursion of Alaska), August -- Canadian Rockies
Dude Ranch Adventure Week September -- Cruise/land Odyssey of the Greek Islands and Italy.
Club Med focuses on all-inclusive vacations, with more than 100 villages in more than 40 countries, including the United States, the
Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Club Med now offers new all-inclusive flexible vacations which include meals, buffets,
and many educational and recreational activities. One of their vacations geared towards singles is Club Med's Solo Rendezvous' on
Lindeman Island for 30+ singles. All single travelers have the choice of a single room (with a supplement) or twin share accommodation
(share with a stranger) without a surcharge. Some current deals include Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic from $1,528 and
Columbus Isle, The Bahamas from $1,810. For more information visit clubmed.com or call 1-888-932-2582. Contact: Joeseph Gerbino
305-347-4305. Club Med is known as the all-inclusive singles vacation.
They still have adult only travel as well. Unlike other cruises you can enjoy a variety of beverages, which includes alcohol, and food daily.
Buffets and snacks are a normal find on board. Gyms and night entertainment is jus the beginning with cable television and CD players,
and spa massages. With the average price of a 7 day vacation starting at $1263, ClubMed beats the competition by about $700. These
packages are all-inclusive and include airfare.
For active singles: Backroads
This adventure travel company offers active travel on all levels and pair you up with like minded travelers. They offer everything from active
travel at a relaxed pace or camping trips with fireside camaraderie for those who enjoy being in the outdoors. Because a limited number of
single rooms are available on most trips for a supplementary fee they offer the first five guests that sign up 100 days in advance for a solo trip,
savings of $100 off the price. But, you must mention this offer at the time of booking to receive the discount. If you seek a comfortable
environment for individual travel, Back roads (according to their PR contact) offers more Solo trip departures and destinations than any other
travel company. Reserved exclusively for adults traveling on their own or with friends. Here's an example itinerary for Backroads' Wine Country
bicycling trip, covering Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino that starts at $2,298 (including all meals) for six days and five nights. For more information
call 800-462-2848 or visit backroads.com.
Eighty percent of Footloose clients are single travelers. Those that are not are usually not couples, but sisters, friends, etc. 12 to 13 people
maximum on their tours. There are no single supplements and typically 5-6 different nationalities are on each tour, so it is a very cultural
They have tours from Alaska, Canada, the US and down to Mexico. Their tours are operated by TrekAmerica -- a adventure camping specialist
for over 30 years -- they operate under the simple principle -- "small is beautiful: the smaller the group, the more intimate the experience." Their
maximum group size is 13 (12 on walking, biking and photo tours) so it feels more like traveling with a bunch of friends than a group tour. Their
vehicles get off the crowded tourist trails - so you can enjoy the scene without the herd. And there are no single supplements, meaning travelers
on their own will share a tent (or room on lodging tours) with a fellow passenger and in the event one cannot be matched up with another passenger
of the same sex, there is never a single supplement with Footloose. Also, they offer last minute discounts where you can save 20% when purchase
online. Footloose supplies all necessary camping equipment including tents, cold food storage containers, camp lights, stoves and other camp
accessories. Camps near major city destinations all have campgrounds with facilities such as showers, pools, shops, and laundromats.
One example is their 21 day Cross Country South Expedition which leaves from New York and takes you from the Atlantic to the Pacific via New
Orleans, Navajo lands, canyons, deserts and the glitz of Las Vegas -- this tour encompasses the diversity of America: you will head south on
America's busiest highway, the New Jersey Turnpike -- and your first stop will be Philadelphia: visit Independence Hall, site of the signing of the
Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell. On to the nation's capital, Washington D.C., where the Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt
Memorials and the towering Washington Monument are brightly illuminated, giving them a special, haunting quality during your night tour of the city.
The Holocaust, Air and Space, National Gallery of Art and other museums included in this trip. Prices start at $1299 and the next trip depart April 10th
and includes: Transportation by adventure vehicle, services of a Footloose tour leader, all camping fees & equipment, four hotel nights, tour of
Carlsbad Caverns, admission to all National Parks & Monument Valley. For more information visit Footloose at footloose.com or call 1-800-221 0596.
A growing solo traveler segment -- the single parent:
Single Parent Travel Network- and Single Parent Tours
This company is devoted to single parents and their families. All of their trips are created with the single parent, grandparent or any adult, married or
single, who travels alone with kids. They have a single parent getaway weekend in Northern Vermont from May 21 - 23, 2004 for a Spring Break
Weekend at the Wildflower Inn located in Northern Vermont (3 hrs north of Boston & Albany & 2 hrs south of Montreal) from May 21-23, 2004. This
resort, located in the hills of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, offers 570 acres of children's activities and programs.
The Weekend Package Includes Two nights accommodations at the Wildflower Inn Meals: Dinner Friday and Saturday night (with menu choices for
adults and children); Breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning; Lunch on Saturday, Daily mid-afternoon snacks.
Activities: All activities are included at the Wildflower Inn: Hiking, Tennis, Biking, Outdoor Heated Garden Pool, Hot Tub & Sauna, Petting Barn, Batting
Cage, Bird-Watching, Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, Fishing, Game Room, Outdoor Play Area for Kids as well as a Special Indoor Playroom (Golfing and
kayaking are also available at additional cost). Singleparenttravel.net.
Excerpted from the New York Times November, 2000
By Hope Reeves
Travel Services Worldwide was started in 1994 by Eric Kravitz, a travel agent from Atlanta who saw a niche for solo travelers. ("People were always wanting to go somewhere without families and kids," he said.) The company generally offers one land or cruise singles trip a month, with 20 to 30 people average aged 30 to 55. The trips vary, but typically run 40
percent men and 60 percent women.
Call (800) 717-3231 for more info
EXCERPT FROM NEW YORKTIMES.COM MARCH 8, 2013 EDITION
By Stephanie Rosenbloom
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT - THESE TWO WORDS STRIKE DREAD - NOT TO MENTION RESENTMENT
IN THE HEART OF A SOLO TRAVELER .
Consider for a moment the cost of a superior ocean view room on a Royal Caribbean International seven
night Alaska cruise . For 2 adults its $1539 each. For a single traveler, the cost is $2843 – That’s an additional $1034!
Single supplement or Single penalty? Royal Caribbean is by no means alone. Supplements are widespread industry
practice in both the cruise and packaged tour industries.
It’s the bane of the single traveler’s existence said Bella DePaulo, a visiting professor of psychology at the University
of California Santa Barbara, who studies what she calls “singlism”, or the ways in which single people are stereotyped
and discriminated against. One experienced solo traveler from Manhattan, Arlene Rosenberg, decried single supplements.
I am really missing out on a lot of travel opportunities because of this “ she said.
Supplements have been around for decades , but with each year they become increasingly more out of sync with the
nation’s demographics as the US grows increasingly single. According to figures released by the US Census there were
102 million unmarried people 18 and older in the US in 2011 – more than 44 percent of adult residents. That is up from
92 million in 2006, which was 42 percent of residents 18 and older.
Tour companies like Rick Steves Europe and Backroads attempt to take the sting out of supplements by offering a halfway
measure – they will waive the single supplement if you agree to be matched with a roommate. In some cases, if the travel
company can not find you a roommate, you will get the room to yourself. Singles companies like
singlestravelescapes.com offer roommate matching with this guarantee.
Professor DePaulo thinks charging single supplements is ultimately a silly business decision. If travel companies drop the
surcharges they might lose money in the short term, but in the long term they will gain loyalty of millions of solo travelers.