travelalonecrpdPerhaps you know of that dreaded penalty on people who travel solo called the “single supplement.” A person traveling on their own is charged about twice as much – sometimes even more than that – for a hotel room or tour or cruise.

It makes some sort of sense for travel companies focusing solely on short-term profits. They want to get as much for a room from one person as they could if two people shared it. But of course, solo travelers are not too happy with it. As the number of single people (and non-single people who sometimes travel on their own) continues to grow, the travel industry is beginning to realize that they had better pay attention and do something to appeal to the solo traveler.

At the New York Times, Stephanie Rosenbloom addressed the issue in her article, “Singled Out (for the Single Supplement).” Rosenbloom asked people from travel companies why they charged a single supplement, and what (if anything) they were doing to appeal to the growing demographic of potential solo travelers.

There is a lot to the article, including a list at the end of tours and cruises making real efforts to reach out to solo travelers and make their experiences better and more affordable. Most relevant to the theme of this blog is the discussion of one of the ways the travel industry uses to try to appeal to single people: “they will waive the supplement if solo travelers agree to be matched with a roommate.”

Here’s what comes next:

“It’s nice to have these options, but for many solo travelers, roommates are something they left behind in college — and they want to keep it that way. The reasons for that range from the obvious inconvenience of rooming with a stranger to a more profound idea that Professor DePaulo refers to as “single at heart.” It’s the notion that some people are single not because they can’t find a partner, but because, as she puts it, “single is who they are” and “how they live their most authentic life.” These are people who want “to regulate their own space and time” — all of which is at odds with having a roommate when on vacation, let alone one they don’t know.”

By the way, Stephanie Rosenbloom has been writing about single travelers for some time. Some of her previous articles include:

How to cruise solo

Single for the holidays

Single in Chicago

Single in the Caribbean

If you appreciate this sort of enlightened writing about single people (and solo travelers of all marital and relationship statuses), then  go to the Times article and Like it, Tweet it, post a comment, email it to your friends, or do whatever else you think is appropriate to get the word out.

Single traveler photo available from Shutterstock