Operators told to lift their game for solo travellers

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If you have ever ventured out on a solo vacation, you would be in good company if you felt like the odd one out, according to research from Lonely Planet.

The travel authority says that while traipsing the world alone is on the rise across age groups and among men and women, those who are intrepid enough to do it feel discriminated against by accommodation and hospitality providers.

Given the surge in solo holidaymakers and the millions made from them by the tourism industry, Lonely Planet believes the sector needs to pick up its game when it comes to looking after wandering singletons.

“Over the coming years we expect the desire to travel alone to continue its growth, setting the challenge for tourism providers to better serve this popular and lucrative travel trend,” said Lonely Planet spokesperson Chris Zeiher.

“Travelling solo can be one of the most rewarding ways of experiencing any destination, and most travellers will find themselves alone on the road at some point in their travelling lives.  Sadly, a significant number of travellers cite a lack of choice or increased cost as a barrier to this type of travel.”

Lonely Planet reported that solo travellers are stung with higher costs than those travelling with family or friends, including an average of nearly 20 per cent on travel insurance and more than 50 per cent on accommodation.

More than one in three Australian travellers who responded to a Lonely Planet survey said they felt disadvantaged when choosing to travel alone. This is despite the fact 85 per cent of those quizzed planned to bite the bullet and holiday solo in the future.

Among the examples of poor service from the industry cited by hard-done-by solo travellers was a lack of choice in organised excursions and second-rate hospitality in restaurants and bars.

“One in two Australian travellers said that they have had to pay a single supplement when travelling alone, and 90 per cent of those surveyed said they would look more positively on a company that did not charge this,” Lonely Planet said.

“Restaurants were also particularly criticised by respondents to the survey, with typical comments involving poor service from staff, being seated in the worst places and even being refused bookings.”

While calls by the publisher fall on the industry’s deaf ears, there is a small light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a guide full of tips for those holidaying alone to make the journey more enjoyable. Lonely Planet has just produced the The Solo Travel Handbook, and you can find out more information on how to get a copy here.

In the meantime, the publisher will continue “calling on the industry to look more positively on those travelling solo, rather than just as single occupants of rooms and dinner tables”.

Have you ever travelled solo and had poor service because you were alone? Or maybe you had a positive experience as a solo traveller. If so, tell us what happened. What do you think industry should do to look after tourists holidaying alone?

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Written by Olga Galacho


Total Comments: 6
  1. 0

    Yes it does cost a lot more travelling alone. I do wish hotels did give a discount for a room if it’s only one person in the room. Often the room costs include 2 breakfasts and there is no discount if second breakfast not needed. And sitting at a table for dinner on your own is quite uncomfortable and I feel they want you to leave as soon as possible. I understand this however as they would get more more money from that table if more were sitting at it.
    I’m unsure what the single supplement is.. And was not aware travel insurance cost more for single travellers. As the question is never asked if you are travelling with someone or not.

  2. 0

    Agree with Scottishlass.

    Everything to do with travel (accommodation, tours, etc.) is getting more expensive by the year and travelling alone is getting more expensive when requesting single accommodation on a tour.

    It is becoming out of reach for low income seniors to have any kind of holiday of a reasonable length. Combine that with disability and it becomes more difficult. This impacts on travel insurance costs.

    As for sitting at a table for dinner on my own it is something to which I have become accustomed due to my spouse’s death some years ago. It used to bother me but now I could not care less if the establishment thinks that they would get more money from my table if more were sitting at it. If I were not eating at their establishment they would miss out on the money that they made from me. I try very hard to economise on the number of time that I eat out due to budgetary constraints. Visits to local supermarkets help minimise the cost of eating on holiday.

    I was not aware that travel insurance cost more for single travellers.

  3. 0

    I travel alone and almost always have to pay a single supplement…..I don’t understand this as I would not make as much mess as 2 people sharing a room…..I have travelled with a group last year and we could opt to share a room if another single person of the same gender was travelling alone. I was not prepared to take the risk…imagine, I get the loud snorer, or the person who hogs the bathroom, or the one who is always running late and wants to borrow my toiletries – no thanks. I would prefer to pay the single sup than take that kind of risk. Probably this means I travel less often but I can at least sleep at night!

  4. 0

    Agree with Patti on aspects of sharing a room with a stranger while on holiday. I like my privacy too much to cope with sharing except for sharing with younger family members and close friends whom I have known for some time.

    I am a tidy person and leave a room, except for making the bed and used towels in the bathroom, almost the same as I found it.

  5. 0

    Earlier in the year I actually booked an overseas trip – but then cancelled it due to high cost of being a single. Even tours I wanted to do were based on 2 people – if I wanted to go, I would have to pay for 2, even just for me, or share. Instead, I bought a caravan and will hit the road here, seeing my own country!

  6. 0

    I have just finished arranging some accommodation for a holiday in Scotland with AIR B&B.
    It seems to be the least expensive way for a solo female. The ID process is pretty thorough, and all communication is conducted through AIR B&B . Time will tell if I got it right!



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