Do Single Supplement Charges Sink Your Travel Plans?

Whether you're 18 or 80, you may have the opportunity to take a great trip on your own, a deserved holiday or a flight to a potential university, a business trip or a vacation to visit friends or family. Most people perceive that traveling alone costs more, and with single supplements on many vacations packages, that can be true, but are all elements if travel more costly if you go solo?

Generally, flights are no different for individuals versus couples or families; big airfare discounts are normally applied to large groups. You can take advantage of cheaper flights by grabbing a charter flight, flying stand-by (singles do better, are more apt to get a seat, on stand-by flights, but you have to be flexible in terms of flight times), or by booking flights at 3:00 p.m. (Eastern time) on Tuesdays; it's true! There are plenty of ways to take advantage of discount airfares.

Avoiding single supplements on vacation packages is possible. Most organized tour operators charge 10-100% extra for a single supplement over double occupancy. There are three ways to avoid this:

1. book your own travel and don't buy package deals (although this may be more costly than the single supplement, so do some research)

2. join a singles travel group or club and travel with their group; they seek and find travel packages that don't punish solo travelers or people who want a room to themselves

3. check last-minute travel package deals that have eliminated the single supplement fee as an incentive to fill up airline seats and hotel rooms that remain empty shortly before the departure date

Other ways of dealing with the dreaded single supplement are to book a room in smaller hotels or B&Bs; they seldom charge other than a basic room rate for one or two guests. If you're adventurous and like people, you might find opportunities with tour operators to share a room with someone, like you, who is traveling alone; you'll both save money and might make a new friend!