Overseas Adventure Travel, which caters to people over 50 through small group itineraries, has long offered solo spaces on its trips, but demand has been so high that in November the company announced that it was adding an additional 2,000 solo slots to its 2018 inventory.
About 27 percent of people traveling with the company in 2010 were solo travelers. By 2017, that number had risen to 46 percent and the company estimates that by next year, about half of its travelers will be solo.
Abercrombie and Kent, the high-end adventure tour company, said it has been attracting more solo luxury travelers, with that number increasing by more than 15 percent over the last two years. Earlier this year, in response to growing demand, it offered discounts for solo travelers across all of its product lines, more than 40 journeys in every continent, for the first time.
Meanwhile, at sea, the studio staterooms for solo travelers introduced on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic ship in 2010, have been so popular that the company has added the staterooms to its newer ships, including the Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Escape and the Pride of America when it was refurbished in 2016.
Its newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, which will begin sailing in 2018, will have new studio staterooms with virtual ocean views, and include key-card access to a shared lounge with refreshments, snacks and television where fellow studio guests can meet. (Some river cruise companies, like American Cruise Lines, also offer single occupancy rooms.)
In addition to new tours and slots being made available, the tips and vacation planning site Solo Trekker 4 U has introduced a Solo Travel Pricing Tracker to help travelers find solo-friendly itineraries. The Tracker searches Solo Trekker’s database of more than 900 travel providers for options without fees known as single supplements, or with lower supplements or other deals for people traveling alone. In test searches the Tracker didn’t always pull up what I requested, but it’s a welcome tool and handy for discovering companies that specialize in solo travel or have relevant offerings.
After all, it’s not necessarily easy to find companies that consider the wants and needs of people traveling solo. For instance, solo travelers have long had to pay a single supplement if they want their own room; the fees can be so hefty that they make certain trips unaffordable for some people. Tour companies and cruise lines have sometimes lowered or waived their supplements, but historically that’s been when it’s convenient for them, not necessarily the solo traveler. (To underscore how muddy pricing can be, there have even been times when it’s cheaper to pay a supplement for a regular stateroom than buy a room designated for a solo traveler.) It’s also common practice for travel companies to match solo travelers who want to avoid supplements with roommates. But of course rooming with a stranger is hardly every traveler’s idea of a vacation (and a solo one at that).
There are, however, some companies that routinely offer solo spaces with low or no supplements on certain trips. For example, Road Scholar, which specializes in educational tours, has trips in 2018 and 2019 that offer solo travelers their own rooms with no supplemental charge.