For adults dreaming of relaxing quietly by poolside in summer, the two most dreaded words are “Marco Polo”. Why? The game never ends. While you try to nap, loud shouts volley back and forth from all sides.
For all of us solo travelers, the two most dreaded words are “single supplement”. In the past, 50% was common. Some trips could even be 100%. The worst I have seen was a tour I took. It started at a 50% single supplement at $7,500. Pairs were charged $5,000 each. Next, an advance sale offered pairs or couples “2 for the price of 1” or $2,500! The result? While they had 2 for 1 pricing, I paid for “1 for the price of 3”!
Here are our 5 updated tips on how to find top solo travel deals.
1. Consider a substitute destination. For example, if you are looking for castles and centuries-old history, compare prices in both Western and Eastern Europe. Dreaming of the South Pacific? Price the Cook Islands against the higher rates in Tahiti.
2. Travel off-season. There are two big mistakes here. First, many travelers don’t know that rates go down as fast as the second week in Sept. In the south of France, you can get up to 50% off that early. It is just before many hotels close for the season. Secondly, you must adjust off-season plans not only by time of year but for climate. For example, the Caribbean rates go down as the heat soars. As a result, beach lovers can find good prices in July and Aug. In contrast, Paris has top discounts of almost half in the midst of winter’s chill.
3. Get out your calculator. Compare every rate for which you qualify as most are not cumulative. So if you are a student or senior, government or corporate employee, see what is the lowest price that you can get. You may find that publicly available discounts can exceed some affinity programs.
4. Gift yourself. How does this work? Most travelers look right away at their rewards programs and frequent flyer accounts for flight deals or upgrades. Do take a look at the restaurant deals, but watch for geographic limits. Where those work, you can save a lot on trips since meal costs are often overlooked in budgeting. Last minute deals may still have a high single supplement but can have a low enough overall rate to be of interest.
5. Think like an international finance guru. Look to see where the dollar/your currency buys the most value. Canada and US exchange rates are a recent example. Although the dollar buys more in the UK than it did, the conversion is still a factor in already expensive London.
The good news is that as solo travelers increase more travel providers are adjusting prices to attract individual travelers. However, no single supplement specials go fast so do book early. Watch out for our updated tips on how to see the world no matter the size of your budget!