Singles at disadvantage: Solo travelling still much more expensive

Singles at disadvantage: Solo travelling still much more expensive
Credit: Belga

On top of the bad news that no person in Belgium pays more taxes than single people, enjoying fun activities, like going on holiday, is also more expensive when doing it solo.

People, especially of younger generations, are increasingly choosing to stay single for longer for a variety of reasons, however, it seems society and the economy are slow at adapting to this trend. The travel sector, and specifically hotels, seem to put single people at a disadvantage.

Either a single supplement is added — an additional cost charged by hotels for one person to stay in a two-person room — or one person has to pay the full price for a hotel room meant for two people (€100 for one person rather than €50 paid by two people).

Three years ago, French consumer protection agency UFC-Que Choisir found that solo holidays cost on average 53% more than holidays for a couple as a result of a practice of over-margining to the detriment of single people. Since then, it seems little improvement has been made.

One woman, Magda Guelinckx, said that when looking at hotels in Alsace recently, a single room in one hotel cost €100 more for four nights than a double room. She told Radio 2 that the single room's description was also a lot less detailled than that of a double room. "For the single room, it just included the price."

Same cost for hotel

The reason why travelling as a single person is more expensive is fairly straightforward, according to Kurt De Vreese of tour operator Holidayline.

"The costs for the basic infrastructure of a hotel room remain the same. Lighting, furnishings, heating... If you can divide those costs between two guests it is cheaper than if one person has to bear those basic costs."

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The fact that hotels are still not equipped for single people booking rooms is another element that impacts this price difference. "The infrastructure is now really built around couples," De Vreese explained.

"But the group of singles is growing, so let's hope hotel developers take that into account."

Tips for affordable solo trips

When booking a solo trip (or any type of trip, really), booking in advance (at least three months before the trip will take place), can help save money without having to limit the number of destinations, which is usually the case when booking last-minute trips.

If you aren't travelling with children or people who are tied to school holidays, avoiding the high season is an easy way to save money, as these are less popular times.

Exploring new, less touristy regions can also help cut the price of holidays. For example, one week in an eastern European country will be cheaper than one week at the Spanish coast. This region is also becoming increasingly popular with solo travellers, which increases your chances of meeting others.

The type of holiday you opt for can also make a difference in the price. Especially when alone, all-in holiday, or even half-board options, are often cheaper than a city trip with daily restaurant visits.

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