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Do any tour operators not charge single travelers extra?

Dear Editor,

Are there any tour operators that don’t charge single travelers extra?

—N. S.

Dear Natalie,

I’m not aware of any company that has an across-the-board policy of allowing single travelers to stay in their own accommodations on a tour without paying a higher per-person rate than travelers who book as a pair. Essentially, tour companies figure that if you occupy space that could be filled by two paying customers, they’ll lose money. Thus, most of the time, tour operators pass the cost of this potential loss on to the single travelers in the form single supplement fee which can as much as double what you pay. Even when single-person accommodations are available, you’ll usually still have to pay a hefty fee, although not as much as if you were staying alone in a double room.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to avoid paying a single supplement. The easiest way to keep from paying extra is to book with a tour company that has a roommate-matching program that pairs single travelers together as roommates in double-occupancy accommodations. Tour operators that offer such programs include Elderhostel, Brennan, Collette, Tauck, Trafalgar, and Uniworld. It’s not always guaranteed the company will be able to find you a roommate or that roommate will be of the same gender, though.

Another option is to book a tour with a company that specializes in singles travel and offers a roommate-match guarantee. Two singles tour operators worth looking into are Singles Travel International and All Singles Travel.

If you’d really rather stay in private single accommodations, it’s difficult to dodge the single supplement. However, on rare occasions, a tour operator may reduce or eliminate the extra cost for single accommodations when bookings are slow and a tour is unlikely to fill. One company that regularly promotes solo-traveler deals is Tauck, which offers single accommodations for little or no extra fee on select tour departures.

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