/ Travel & Leisure

Travelling solo – why two minus one doesn’t always equal one

One pair of flip-flops in the sand

There’s no denying that having to pay more to holiday on your own is frustrating, especially when it costs, on average, a third more. But can we really blame the travel companies for our need to go solo?

The dreaded single supplement has been the bugbear of solo travellers for many a year. And it’s no myth.

When Which? Travel went online to compare the price of some package holidays to Tenerife for one versus two people, the results showed that solo holidaymakers would pay on average 27-36% more for their holiday.

Yet hit the online travel forums and opinion is clearly divided as to whether these sometimes supersized holiday prices are fair.

Solo travellers want choice

As a newly single holidaymaker (cue the violins!) I set about researching solo holidays for Which? Travel with added interest. I was pleased to read that I am certainly not alone when it comes to travelling solo – in fact my fellow solo travellers accounted for around one in ten holidays taken between June 2010 and 2011.

More interestingly, nearly one million of the 3.3 million solo travellers during the same period were non-singles taking a trip without a partner.

I was also comforted to read that I wasn’t the only one whose ideal holiday didn’t involve an organised trek across the Atlas Mountains with other singles. Instead, like the majority of other solo travellers, sometimes I just fancy a sun, sea and sand package holiday.

However, packages through mainstream tour operators tend to be family and couple focussed so when I discovered the additional cost for travelling alone I wasn’t too surprised.

The big solo debate

As I continued my research it wasn’t long before I came across solo holidaymakers debating the matter of single supplements. Was this an outrageous penalty fare imposed by hoteliers/tour operators, or a simple case of pure economics – after all, if you buy a tandem but ride it by yourself you still need to pay for the whole bike, right?

When searching for my own holiday I found my search was more time consuming compared with finding a holiday for two. How could I find out how much extra I was paying without comparing the single and double price of every holiday, and why did there appear to be fewer holidays available to me as a solo traveller in the first place?

That’s not to say that it’s all doom and gloom. My research helped me pick up lots of helpful tips, like travelling out of season and speaking directly with the travel agent to try and track down the best prices. I also went on the hunt for solo offers and managed to secure a special offer holiday with no single supplement.

So what do you think about single supplements and the choice of holidays available? Have you travelled solo on a mainstream holiday and how do you go about finding the best deals?


Council tax makes the same discrimination. Single person gets a 25% discount when there can be 4 times the amount of people living next door!

When I was single, the holidays I went on were for just short breaks to see friends/go to gigs and I found that if you book everything separately, things turn out a lot cheaper. Dunno if that’s the case these days though, they certainly are more expensive than I remember


I have no problem in paying a supplement if I an using a twin or a double room for one but I don’t see why I should pay extra to stay in a room only big enough for one person

lambourne says:
19 September 2011

Easyjet are currently advertising 100 holidays for £100 each released every Friday however it seems impossible to book one of these holidays for one person and when the website says ‘one left’ what it actually means is one holiday for two people left!

I often go on holiday alone and am sick of the single supplement which often ensures I am given a room much smaller and grottier than those travelling with a partner.


A word of warning for people to stay away from ebookers.com

£8 charge for a debit card, £26 for a credit card, a really poor website that allows you to submit orders even though their backend payment process was down. I rang ebookers and they can search on my card number to see if any payments are made, so they keep your card details after you’ve submitted too.

Sorry bit of a rant, but don’t ever use ebookers, the worst holiday booking site I have ever come across, they’re not exactly alone either. I’m now leaving everything to my partner as I am raging to much!! 🙂


You could say that you will not make a booking if the company charges a fee for using a debit card. That has worked for me and in one case (concert tickets) the charge for debit cards has now been dropped. Obviously this will not work with a website, but that is not the only way to book a holiday.

I can understand why companies charge extra for credit cards.

ebookersservice says:
21 September 2011

There is actually no fee applied for debit card usage and for payment by credit cards there is a 1.5% charge capped at a maximum of £30.00.

Payment details are retained securely as with any other company and all data is retained and disposed off within the legal framework provided by the Data Protection Act.

As for the booking system allowing you to submit an order when the payment processing system was down I’m not really sure what this means. I presume that you submitted a reservation which failed either as a result of your bank declining the payment due to lack of funds or the supplier/ebookers being unable to process the payment from the card you supplied.

If you contact us via our main service page one of our team will be happy to assist you.



Hi Dean, while this is an annoying situation, it’s not really relevant to this Conversation topic. Can you remember to try and stay on topic when posting comments – something we do ask for in our commenting guidelines. We do have other Convos about surcharges where this might have been more relevant, for example:
Thanks, Hannah


regardless, look at the reply from “ebookers”, absolute rubbish. “There is actually no fee applied for debit card usage” go to the website and try and book with a debit card, that’ll be £8!!!

Considering I had already spoken to the customer service line and escalated to supervisor, a response like that is indicative of this awful company.


But yes in future, no worries, hardly a massive deviation from the topic though….