October 23, 2010

October 23, 2010
Say No to Solo Fees

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope your weekend is off to a safe and great start.

Dab the AIDS Bear is with Robyn Richards and Fran Emerson in Jacksonville, Florida for their AIDS Walk this weekend. So if you are in the area make sure to come up, say hello and get your pictures taken with Dab the AIDS Bear in support of people living with HIV and AIDS.

Dab the AIDS Bear and I travel a lot. Most of the time we are traveling by ourselves. Any one who travels by themselves have ran into upcharges for people traveling alone. So today I want to talk about how to avoid outrageous fees for single travelers.

If you have traveled alone or as a single person in a group, you have probably fallen victim to the dreaded single supplement fee. Almost all ground tour accommodations and cruise cabins are built for two. So when travelers go solo, they often get socked with an additional fee to make up for lost revenue. If a cabin costs $200 a night for two people, solo travelers even though they use half the towels and eat half the food still pay full price. Can you avoid solo traveler discrimination? Your options are limited, but here are three smart moves.

1. Shop for a single

Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, the Norwegian Epic, features an industry first: 128 lower priced studio rooms for solo cruisers, plus a private two story lounge reserved for studio guests so they can relax and mingle. This could be a cruise industry game changer: Shortly before the Epic's maiden voyage in June, the P&O Cruises ship Azura launched with 18 dedicated single passenger cabins priced at 70 percent of the cost of a double. For land tours, Gutsy Women Travel which obviously caters to female travelers is one company that offers low single supplement fees.

2. Ask for a break

Instead of requiring the nearly standard 200 percent single supplement fee, Princess and Holland America cruise lines sometimes drop fees to about 150 percent. Booking early is often helpful. Also, smaller luxury lines occasionally waive or reduce fees on sailings if they expect unsold cabins. Check around: Paul Gauguin Cruises recently waived single supplement fees on South Pacific cruises. It never hurts to inquire.

3. Get a roomie

"Guaranteed Share Options" are popping up among lots of land tour companies: They will attempt to pair you with a same sex partner, and if they can not, they will waive the fee. Try Intrepid Travel, Mayflower Tours, Backroads, and O Solo Mio Tours.

On some cruises Holland America books singles at half price with the caveat that the company may put another same sex single in your cabin. If they do not have a match for you by sail date, you get the cabin to yourself at a 50 percent discount.

So hopefully those tips will help you out the next time you are traveling alone. Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab