The single person supplement, still unfairly levied by most hotels, guesthouses and tour companies, is the bane of solo travellers and can increase the cost of a holiday by up to 40-50 per cent – if in doubt, glance at the small print in adverts for cruises, train journeys and the like.
Many hotels don’t even offer single rooms and, if you book as a solo guest, you will usually be charged the rate for the room, not per person. When single rooms are available they are often substandard – tucked away like a cupboard without en suite and other facilities and often facing the back of the hotel, just above the delivery area.
So, for those of us not keen on sharing rooms with complete strangers, what, if any, are the best ways to find decent, affordable accommodation?
Some sites advertising no or low single supplements include:
Travel Quest lists accommodation charging no, or low, single supplements, but check carefully
Seniors Discounts has advice on how over 50s can avoid supplements
Short Breaks North Wales allows potential guests the option of choosing “no single supplements”in its search engine, but again, do check the small print carefully
If your holiday falls within academic holidays at Easter and in the summer, check out university/college vacation lets, as most of the rooms are single, often en suite. These days you find universities in most major centres of the UK (and Europe), not just larger cities. Unfortunately, there is no universal site for all UK academic institutions. Try:
Budget Stay UK is probably the most useful site , but it not comprehensive and only deals with some institutions
In general, it is probably best to find, then contact direct, institutions in the areas you want to visit. A Google search of “university vacation accommodation” is a good starting point.
Places that cater for business travellers are used to accommodating single guests during the week and reductions can be found, particularly at weekends, but not necessarily at budget rates.
Base2Stay has single rooms in Kensington, for example.
Even if they do manage to avoid being fleeced for a single supplement, it’s probably fair to say that most solo travellers don’t want to spend their stay gazing at the four walls of their room and it’s here that personal experiences and recommendations come into play.
“Inclusiveness without suffocation” was how the ideal accommodation for solos was once described to me and, if you can find somewhere offering that magical combination, then you will already have one highlight of your trip.
There are, of course,no hard and fast rules, but some stars are listed below. Please add your own favourites.
Glasgow Guest House a lovely sandstone villa in the city’s Southside, equidistant to the Burrell Collection in Pollok Park and Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park, combines original Victorian features with modern, well-equipped bedrooms. Renowned for its great breakfasts and warm and witty hospitality, it has one en suite single room, several doubles/twins at reasonable rates and plenty of storage space for boots, bikes and gear.
Hotel Papillon situated in a quiet, beautiful area of historic Buda, minutes from both the medieval quarter and the very efficient Metro, is a clean, family-run hotel, ideal for a stay in Budapest. It has a restaurant, a garden with swimming pool and ultra-friendly and helpful staff, happy to accommodate bikes and outdoor gear.
Melodia Del Bosco must have one of the most spectacular vistas of any hotel, anywhere in the world. Perched high above the picturesque village of Pedraces in the Dolomites, it has well-appointed en suite rooms, gym, sauna and its staff really do go the extra mile to make solo guests feel welcome. It has special offers for on and off-road cyclists, skiers and hikers and is a perfect place to unwind after a day in the mountains, summer or winter.
But for many, the ideal accommodation for solo travellers is a tent. Campsites usually charge by the occupant, fellow campers tend to be inclusive and there’s something about canvas that quickly breaks down barriers.