When you book a tour or cruise, you normally pay a “per-person, double occupancy” price. If you’re traveling alone, you are charged a higher price, normally called a “single supplement.” The single supplement is usually quite high - up to 50 percent of the trip cost - because it is designed to recoup the income generated by a second traveler.
Fortunately, some tour operators recognize that many seniors are solo travelers and now offer "single-friendly" trips.
What is a Single-Friendly Tour or Cruise?
“Single-friendly” tour groups and cruise lines offer no-cost or low-cost single supplements or provide “guaranteed share” options. By participating in a “guaranteed share” program, you agree to be matched with a roommate, nearly always of the same sex and smoking preference, and, in return, your single supplement is waived. Should your tour operator or cruise line be unable to match you with a roommate, you’ll still pay a reduced single supplement, or none at all.
Companies & Organizations That Provide Single Seniors Tours / Travel Information
Connecting: Solo Travel Network
Connecting: Solo Travel Network (CSTN) is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that specializes in finding information for single senior travelers. Members receive a useful newsletter and three e-books – Single-Friendly Travel Directory, Going Solo Tales and Going Solo Tips. The website lists single-friendly tour operators, cruises, hotels and more.
Tip: CSTN is aimed at all ages. You will still need to investigate each cruise line and tour operator to ensure that the trip’s difficulty level and demographics are comfortable for you.
Singles Travel International
Singles Travel International offers trips and cruises for all age ranges. They offer cruises for singles ages 50 and over several times each year. Most of Singles Travel International’s trips and cruises are open to singles of all ages. You can go on safari, get away for a weekend or explore Italy, and you choose either a room sharing option or higher-cost private room.
Tip: Some trips take you far from medical assistance. Carefully review the itinerary details before you book your tour.
All Singles Travel
All Singles Travel, part of Travel Services Worldwide, offers senior singles cruises on an occasional basis. All Singles Travel’s trips are supplement-free if you book more than 60 days in advance. Even if you have to make reservations within the 60-day window, you can request a roommate to avoid the single supplement.
Languages Abroad offers language-learning programs for mature travelers in Germany, Italy, Spain and France. You’ll take classes each morning and explore the local area in the afternoons. You can stay with a local host family or cook your own meals in a small apartment. Hotel accommodations are available at additional cost.
Tour Operators / Cruise Lines That Cater to Single Seniors
O Solo Mio
O Solo Mio offers international tours for singles 35 and older. Some trips are combined with non-single tour groups. While O Solo Mio will accept singles of any age, most of their tour participants are in their late 40’s and 50’s. If older travelers inquire about O Solo Mio’s trips, the sales representatives will “explain to them that it will be likely that they will be the oldest person on the trip and if that makes them uncomfortable perhaps they should reconsider traveling with O Solo Mio.” (Quote taken from O Solo Mio’s website.)
Silversea is a luxury cruise line that offers reduced single supplements on some of its cruises. Condé Nast Traveller chose Silversea as the “World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line” in 2007. Silversea also has a Gentlemen Hosts program on some cruises; single women who want to eat or dance with someone can enjoy the companionship of a polite, polished gentleman.
Solo’s Holidays offers international trips and activity trips for singles in three different age ranges, 25 – 45, 30 – 59 and 45+, as well as tours for singles of all ages. Because this tour operator is based in the U. K., trips depart from London and are priced in British pounds. They offer single rooms and private facilities. Most trips do not have a single supplement.
Tauck World Discovery
Tauck World Discovery, a luxury tour operator, offers group tours, riverboat and small ship cruises and rail tours (combined with motorcoach tours or cruises). On some trips, Tauck reduces its single supplement.