We like to think of small group holidays as the Goldilocks option. Independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper – and more sociable – than a tailor made tour. It sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right. Costa Rica adventures, tours of southern India, Burma with your brethren, Croatia with the kids...
What is a single supplement?
At Responsible Travel, joining our small group holidays costs the same for someone who is travelling with a large family, a small group of friends, a partner, or alone. This makes small group holidays a great option for solo travellers, as you won’t need to pay the extra costs which are often associated with booking a tour, transfer, activity or hotel room as an individual. You’ll enjoy the same experiences at the same price, regardless of the size of your party.
Typically on small group holidays, solo travellers can expect to share a room with a member of the same sex. You might be sharing a cabin on a small ship cruise, for example, or perhaps a tent on a camping safari. If the numbers don’t match up, or during low season when trips aren’t filled to capacity, you may be lucky enough to bag your own room at no extra charge.
As most of our small group holidays are active trips, the chances are you’ll only be using your room or cabin for sleeping; it’s unlikely you’ll be hanging out there during the day when there is so much else going on. So sharing a room is a great way to have an affordable holiday with minimum inconvenience.
However, if you would like to guarantee having your own room, without having to worry about what time to switch the lights out, the temperature of the aircon or – horror – sharing with a snorer, then most travel companies will offer this for a supplement.
Why do holiday companies charge?
Why do holiday companies charge a single supplement?
‘Single supplement’ is actually something of a misleading name. What it actually refers to is single occupancy
On small group holidays, the tour price includes your accommodation. Rooms are charged at a flat rate, so when there are two people sharing a twin room, that rate is halved. The pricing of the holiday is therefore based on this halved room rate – which is a bonus for solo travellers who would normally have to pay the full amount.
Do remember, though, that this is not an extra charge, or supplement. Tour companies are not profiting from single travellers. What they offer you is a discounted rate for sharing a room with another member of the tour group, and if you choose not to share, then you lose out on this discount. As solo travel is growing in popularity, some small group travel companies are beginning to offer trips without single supplements, particularly for the sort of holidays that tend to attract solo travellers – such as photography holidays, for example.
But if that’s not the case for your holiday, you’ll just have to enjoy the other benefits of small group travel, and consider having a roommate – perhaps for the first time in years – as an opportunity to make a new friend. If you’ve booked onto the same tour, chances are you will share at least a few of the same interests, whether that’s cycling, archaeology or Vietnamese cuisine. And who knows; if you hit it off, you might have a travel buddy for life – meaning no more single supplements for either of you!
If you'd like to chat about No single supplement or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Tailor made holidays for solo travellersTailor made holidays are quite different to small group tours as pricing will depend on the number of participants. So not only does single occupancy have to be taken into account when it comes to accommodation, but the hire of vehicles, drivers, guides and activity leaders will also be calculated. This is why a tailor made holiday can cost virtually double for a solo traveller, as most of services will have flat daily rates, which cannot be split with another traveller.
If you do want to keep costs down on a tailor made holiday, there are a few things you can do that will result in big savings. Using public transport is a big help, as you cut out car hire and perhaps also a driver. A tour leader who accompanies you every step of the way is not a cheap option for an individual; meeting local guides at key points on your trip is more economical. You may also be able to make use of the guided tours run at more popular tourist sites, where official guides will lead groups and a flat fee is charged per person. Self guided holidays, of course, will be cheaper – but still with the benefit of trip notes, maps and backup should you need it. And renting a bicycle costs the same whether you are alone or in a group.
Accommodation is still going to cost more as you are not splitting the room rate with a fellow traveller. However, in some mountainous regions popular with walkers, mountain huts are kitted out dorm style – so you’ll be paying for a bed rather than a room.
More No single supplement articles
If you are travelling solo and get a little put out at the concept of a ‘single supplement’, read on.
Single supplements are often a fact of life for those who prefer to holiday alone.
Solo travel doesn’t need to mean heading off alone and booking dinner tables for one.