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Booking tips for solo travellers

Travelling alone or simply want your own space? Which? Travel helps solo travellers seek out the best-value holidays.

Solo traveller with map

Solo travellers

Solo travellers are a small but significant sector of the holiday market, accounting for one in ten of the Brits who headed away between June 2010 and June 2011. 

Travelling alone is not just for singles – nearly one million of the 3.3 million solo travellers going away during this period were non-singles taking a trip without their partner.

And let’s not forget those holidaying with friends or family, who, although not strictly solo, may still want a room of their own.

The cost of going solo

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Seasoned solo travellers will be accustomed to the costs that can arise from holidaying alone – the dreaded 'single supplement'.

Yet opinion is divided as to whether this is a supplement at all. Many solo travellers put the increased cost of single occupancy down to the pure economics of one person occupying a double room.

Whichever camp you’re in, our snapshot research shows that, in most cases, holidaymakers wanting their own room could pay up to 56% more than the per-person price for a package break to Tenerife, or as much as 90% extra for a Mediterranean cruise.

Crusing alone

The world of cruising has responded to strong demand from solo travellers, with some operators reducing single cabin supplements and expanding singles accommodation.

Solo-friendly services and facilities are also in place.

Despite a rise in the number of single cabins, demand still tends to outstrip supply, so book early to secure your cabin. Miss out on the solo cabins and you could be in for a shock, with some supplements rising to 90%.

Which? Travel's booking tips

1. Package vs DIY

Booking your flight and hotel separately is often cited as a way to save on the cost of your solo holiday. But Which? Travel found the price was not always lower when comparing specific hotels. DIY packaging did increase the number of solo accommodation options available to book online, however. Which? Travel found 37 available hotels, compared with 12 listed as part of a Thomas Cook package for July 2012.

2. Contact a travel agent

Agents can sometimes offer a greater choice of solo rooms, or have the ability to request more. They may also be able to package the holiday differently to see if this reduces the price.

3. Book early or late

Early booking will help secure single rooms or sole occupancy accommodation before it sells out, while booking late means you may capitalise on unsold double occupancy rooms at a reduced rate.

4. Travel off-peak

Holiday out of season when occupancy rates are often lower and hoteliers are more inclined to accept solo travellers.

5. Grab a brochure

Looking through the holiday brochure is one of the simplest ways to see and compare single occupancy rates.