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'My travelling days are over because of greedy companies who see single travellers as unworthy of their attention'

Single supplements can feel like a tax on travelling alone...

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Solo travel can offer the adventure of a life-time

Solo travel can offer the adventure of a life-time

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Solo travel can offer the adventure of a life-time

"I'm tired," a reader wrote to me recently.

"I'm tired of the endless, wasted hours looking for an affordable day, let alone week, anywhere for a single man in his fifties on a budget."

Single supplements and holidays priced on a per person basis have made this man feel like a "persona non-grata", he told me.

"You see, I've had a travelling companion for years but he is now too ill to travel.

"We travelled all over the world on good deals for two people. I don't mind travelling on my own, if only I could find somewhere to go that didn't require me to pay for two/four people...

"My travelling days are over because of greedy travel companies and hotels who look on single travellers as not even worthy of their attention."

It's not the first email I've had from frustrated solo travellers - from active retirement groups to people simply looking to travel alone because they like it.

"I tend to travel myself because it is easier than waiting for other people to make up their minds," another reader told me last week.

Hotels and tour operators say surcharges pay for losses incurred when one person occupies a room designed for two.

But those supplements feel like a tax on travelling alone.

Solo travel is a growing trend (a recent British Airways survey found 50pc of female respondents had taken solo trips); it's time more options were available.

The good news? Small group tours from G Adventures and Intrepid have sharing options for solos, new cruise ships like Celebrity Edge are including more single staterooms, and I'm starting to see traditional tour ops like Sunway, TUI and ClickAndGo offer small ranges without single supplements.

Needless to say, it's always worth phoning to ask for options, rather than googling yourself to a standstill.

TUI, for example, has a seven-night Zakynthos package departing May 31 from €599 (3-star, room-only) and a five-star, half-board week in Tenerife from €1,019 next June 3 (use the solo discount code that shows on tuiholidays.ie).

Camino Ways (caminoways.com) has two guided group walking trips in Spain and Portugal for solos - seven-night packages start from €1,000pp (ex. flights).

Elsewhere, Travel Department (traveldepartment.ie), which says solo bookings rose 150pc last year, has a new, five-night French Riviera short break from €979 departing October 14, with excursions included.

Riviera Travel has a dedicated page for solo travellers (rivieratravel.ie/single-holidays), while Belfast-based Friendship Travel (friendshiptravel.com) has a week in Rhodes from €875, including solo use of a simple double room, host support, transfers and some evening meals.

The more solo travellers phone or email to make their case, the more of these offers we're likely to see.

Weekend Magazine