Frustrated by the single supplement? There are ways round it as Lyn Hughes reveals
Many of the companies that offer small group tours offer the option of sharing with someone of the same sex. Whether a cultural jaunt through Japan, a foodie break in Tuscany, or a Himalayan trek, you will probably find many other solos in the group, and a lot in common with your room mate. You may even make a friend for life. And if there are an odd number of people you may get a room to yourself.
Think you're not a hostels person? Well, think again. Hostels vary considerably from simple multi-dorm ones to ones that are more akin to boutique hotels. The new breed of luxury hostels may even have pools, hot tubs, cinemas and dinners. If you eschew a dorm bed and go for a private room, the chances are there will no or very little supplement, and it will be a fraction of the price of a comparable hotel.
Instead of a hotel room, book a studio flat, an apartment or even a room in a house. The new breed of rental companies such as HouseTrip and Airbnb offer a much wider range of accommodation than the traditional rental companies. Renting just a room can also be a much friendlier option than staying in an impersonal hotel.
It is understandably difficult to get any concessions in the high season. But travel out of season and you are in a much stronger position and it may be possible to get a deal. Why go when the masses are there anyway. If you don’t need to travel in the school holidays then don't.
More tour operators are now offering a programme of supplement-free trips especially for their solo clients. Some of these are solo specialists such as Just You, Solos Holidays and Travel One. Others are companies that have just seen the opportunity to offer departures for solo travellers, such as Voyages Jules Verne and Cox & Kings.
As the old adage goes, if you don't ask, you don't get! If you are travelling in the low season for instance, when rooms are not full, or if you are travelling to a destination that has fallen out of favour (such as Egypt at this point in time), you will be in a stronger position to get the single supplement waived. So, always phone the travel company or hotel if possible (email , if not) and ask the question.