Tours for solo travelers! Woo-Hoo!
Here is a list for people who want to travel alone, but are bummed by the outrageous single supplement fees. Gathered from solid sources, these companies offer exclusive rooms or cabins for singles; no costly penalty for not having a companion; and an organizational attitude that says, “We love solo travelers!”
If you have other good recommendations, let us know, please! I’d love to build a “library” for people who travel alone. This is just a start…
Overseas Adventure Travel: “The leader in solo-friendly travel” never charges a single supplement fee. The top 5 places for solo travelers in 2016: Iceland, Galapagos, Machu Picchu, India, Botswana, and Italy. Another bonus is that groups are small, 10-16 people; this means the group can get to more interesting sites. See more at the O.A.T. website. You can order a catalog, too.
Rick Steves: Yes, there is a single supplement fee for Rick Steves tours. I know–I’ve been on 11 of them. However, the fee is sensible. Also, for each trip taken, you get a $50 credit. After a few tours, you can practically pay the single fee with your credits; that’s exactly what I did for the $575 single room charge on my recent trip to Sicily. The tours are always a good mix of singles and couples, so a solo traveler never feels out of place. Get more information, and order the catalog and free DVD at RickSteves.com.
Road Scholar: Not every trip–and Road Scholar has over 5,500–has free single supplements. But there are always specials, such as the Peru Expedition that I’ve signed up for next year. Road Scholar, recognizes that solo travel is inevitable in its 50+ age demographic: “Going solo doesn’t mean you have to pay extra for your room on these [Special Rate] adventures.” The print catalogs are almost overwhelming…and inspirational. Order yours at RoadScholar.org.
Wild at Art: Based in Scotland, these are unique “creative art experiences,” with a variety of topics and locations. The upscale, small group vacations are relatively inexpensive. Over 80% of guests are solo travelers. Example: A 4-day photography course in Edinburgh is about £1400, with a very small £150 single supplement. Get more information here.
Note: Cruise lines have been slower to embrace the solo traveler. Big cruise lines have started to add some single cabins, but haven’t proportionately reduced the prices. Those listed here are luxury…that means expensive, yet can also provide more amenities. For dedicated cruise enthusiasts, it’s good to know that there are options for single cabins. To help compare, I’ve listed prices for a Danube River cruise–double occupancy.
AmaWaterways: Specializing in river cruises, single supplements are “waived on select sailings.” This probably means that depending how many empty cabins there are, solos can get a break. There is no direct information on the AmaWaterways website; there is a message to “Ask for Details.” A 7-night Danube cruise is $3400 per person.
Avalon Waterways: Avalon Waterways also provides free solo cabins, but very limited, and only on select itineraries. After an extensive site search, I did find the single supplement page that said, “Booking must be made, under deposit and discount applied between February 8 and June 6, 2017 for travel in 2018.” Best bet is to contact Avalon directly: 877-797-8791. The 8-day Danube cruise is about $2000.
Uniworld: Uniworld advertises that it waives solo fees. And it even has a page with current options! That’s the good news. The other news: In 2017, the only 8-day Danube cruise with this option sets sail on November 12… starting at $6000. Other cruises have more dates, but similar prices.
Vantage Deluxe World Travel: River cruises with 6-8 cabins in each ship dedicated to solo travelers. Vantage claims to have “free or low cost” single supplements on each itinerary. Two things: First, these are not budget cruises; single supplements start at $1499. Second, the number of free cabins on each cruise is limited. I include Vantage here for anyone looking for a “splurge” experience. An 8 night Danube cruise is about $4000 a person; however pricing isn’t easy to determine.