Solo travellers pay a near 90% premium for their holidays
The travel industry often levies ‘single supplements’ to cover the costs associated with solo customers who occupy a room intended for double use.
However, research from Which? revealed that solo holidaymakers are even being charged a premium when booking smaller rooms especially for single occupancy.
It analysed thousands of package holidays from the UK’s two largest providers (Jet2holidays and Tui) to popular destination including Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.
The consumer champion found that on average, a solo traveller booking via Tui would pay almost half as much more (47%) than someone holidaying in a pair. These travellers paid an average cost of £1,147 compared to a couple who would pay £781 each.
Meanwhile, solo travellers booking through Jet2holidays were found to pay 36% more for their trip than a couple at £1,320, compared to £970 each for those travelling with company.
It also found examples where solo travellers paid more per person for all-inclusive packages, despite taking up one plane seat and eating and drinking half as much as a couple.
And it also revealed single flyers have 10% fewer choices.
However, when it comes to cruises, the price differential here is staggering.
In one extreme case, a deal for a solo traveller was 87% more to book a single occupancy cabin, when compared with two people sharing a larger, double room on a popular Mediterranean cruise route with P&O.
The cruise holiday departing May 2023 quoted £749 per person based on a couple sharing a double room, inclusive of flights. But a single passenger was quoted 37% more at £1,198, but would see a £200 increase if adjusting the booking for a smaller, single occupancy room.
‘Solo travellers routinely pay over the odds’
Jo Rhodes, deputy editor of Which? Travel, said: “Single supplements are a common expense faced by solo travellers, and are often used to cover the cost of one person occupying a room intended for double occupancy. However, our research has found solo travellers routinely paying over the odds, even for smaller, single rooms.
“With inconsistent pricing across the industry, solo travellers can very easily miss out on the best prices. If you are planning a trip, make sure to shop around and wherever possible look for companies that waive single supplements.
“Take your time to compare the total price with the per person cost offered to a couple and check the cost of both single and double rooms. A single room can often save money on hotel stays, but may be a pricier option than a double cabin on some cruises.”
In response to, P&O said it has removed single supplements on selected cruises. Where there is a single supplement, it said solo travellers will always pay a reduced price compared to where two guests made a booking.
Jet2holidays said it was recently recognised as a recommended provider for solo holidays by Which? and works with hotels to offer single rooms or rooms for sole use with a £30 discount with a promotional code.
Meanwhile Tui said the Which? findings “don’t reflect the travelling habits of our customers” as solo travellers do so outside of peak holiday season. It added it offers a large range of holidays which cater to this market and gives discounts, but noted that where hoteliers only offer double occupancy rates, “unfortunately the cost will be passed on to the customer”.