Solo Travel Savings Tips for Retirees
Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you recommend some good travel companies that offer good deals for single travelers? I’ve taken a couple tours since I retired a few years ago, but the single-supplement fee really cuts into my budget.
Solo traveling is a growing trend among baby boomers and retirees. Nearly one in four who travel today go it alone, according to a recent Visa Global Intentions Study. But one of the biggest drawbacks among solo travelers is the single supplemental fee — which is an extra fee charged to single travelers who stay in a double-occupancy room alone.
To help you avoid this extra charge, more and more travel companies and cruise lines are making adjustments to accommodate the growing solo-traveler market. Here are several to check:
There are a variety of travel companies today that specialize in vacations for solo travelers, including Singles Travel International (SinglesTravelIntl.com) and Singles Travel Getaways (SinglesTravelGetaways.com). Both companies offer tours, cruises and adventures in the U.S. and overseas, and will match you with a roommate to avoid the single supplement, or won’t charge you if a match can’t be arranged.
General tour operators
Some big operators in this category that have lots of solo travelers include Intrepid Travel (IntrepidTravel.com), which handles more than 100,000 travelers each year, sending them to more than 100 countries. And G Adventures (Gadventures.com), which has more than 700 tours around the globe, and offers a variety of travel styles. Both of these companies can pair you with a roommate, and some tours offer your own room option for an additional fee.
And for higher-end luxury travel check out Abercrombie & Kent (AbercrombieKent.com), which offers a 50 percent single supplement discount on their select small group solo travel trips and cruises, and Tauck (Tauck.com), which has no single supplement on their European river cruises.
If you’re interested in trips designed for adults 50 and older, consider ElderTreks (ElderTreks.com), Road Scholar (RoadScholar.org) and Overseas Adventure Travel (OATtravel.com).
ElderTreks specializes in exotic adventures worldwide, and will match single travelers with roommates on most of its trips, and doesn’t charge if a match can’t be arranged. Road Scholar specializes in worldwide learning adventures, and has designated trips that offer the same price for solo travelers as for those traveling in pairs.
And Overseas Adventure Travel, which operates in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East, Cuba, Australia and New Zealand, has free single supplements on all its land tours and either free or low-cost single supplements on its small-ship adventures.
If cruising is your thing, there are a number of cruise lines that have some ships with single-occupancy cabins, including Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL.com), Royal Caribbean (RoyalCaribbean.com) and Vantage Deluxe World Travel’s river ships (VantageTravel.com).
Or, consider booking a cruise at SinglesCruise.com, which uses a variety of different cruise lines for their single customers. They provide roommate matching.
For solo women travelers, there are a host of tour companies and clubs, like GutsyWomenTravel.com, Women-Traveling.com, SerenDipityTraveler.com, TheWomensTravelGroup.com and Womens-Travel-Club.com that will either match you up with a roommate, or reduce their single supplement fee.
If you’d rather find a suitable travel partner before you book your next trip, there are a number of free websites that can help you here too. See Travbuddy.com, TravelFriend.us and TravelersMeeting.com. Or, to find a cruise buddy, try CruiseMates.com, which has a message board where users can post roommate requests.
For more information on solo travel, check out SoloTravelerWorld.com, which offers solo travel tips, destinations and stories, and also publishes a monthly list of solo travel deals.