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Pay the single occupancy fee to a tour company or agree to share a room with a stranger of the same sex?

Pay the single occupancy fee to a tour company or agree to share a room with a stranger of the same sex?

Oct 8th, 2002, 07:49 PM
  #1  
AB
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Pay the single occupancy fee to a tour company or agree to share a room with a stranger of the same sex?

I'm really in a bit of a quandry and need your opinion. Most of my girlfriends are now married or engaged, so I don't have many options for traveling companions. It's now either go alone, join a tour group, or stay home. I don't want to stay home and have been looking at tour brochures for destinations to France, Italy, Spain and Portugal for 2 weeks (not all at one time) in the spring and summer. The tours are for a leisurely 2 weeks in one country with 3-4 hotel changes. The only meals included are breakfast, and there's a 1 day city tour at each stop, otherwise the rest of the time is mine for sightseeing on my own if I don't purchase the optional organized excursions.

With most of the tour companies, the single occupancy surcharge is about an additional 1/3 the cost of the base cost of the tours. Some of the tour companies have the option for singles to agree to share a room with another single person of the same sex, and reap the benefit of not paying the surcharge. Has anyone done this and agreed to share a room with a complete stranger or is it worth paying the surcharge? There is a caveat though, if there isn't another person to pair up with, I will have to pay the single occupancy surcharge with most of the tour companies. Only two tour companies, Cosmos, and one other that I don't remember off the top of my head, won't assess the surcharge if in advance I agree to share a room and they don't find me a roommate.

I thought that joining a tour might be a good way to meet people instead of traveling alone for 2 weeks.
 
Oct 8th, 2002, 08:09 PM
  #2  
Sue
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AB,

I took a tour with Trafalgar to Central Europe and agreed to the share. If they don't find you a room mate, there is no single supplement. They did find me one and it worked out OK.

On later tours, I decided that after spending most of the day with the group I would rather pay the supplement and have my own space at the end of the day.

I do travel independently too, but I love the tours and the efficiency of them.

After taking several tours, I've discovered I prefer it to traveling with a friend.

Everyone on the tour is interested in seeing pretty much the same thing. If there are choices, I do what I'm interested in doing. Maybe that's selfish, but I don't come home wishing I'd seen or done something I really wanted to do and compromised and did something else. Plus there's the added plus of meeting and traveling with people from Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Canada, USA and other countries.

Most of the people on this board travel independently, so I don't know how many responses you'll get to this.

I'd certainly rather go on a tour and see how you like it than stay home and not go anywhere!! Give it a try!

Sue
 
Oct 8th, 2002, 08:42 PM
  #3  
Rex
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A villa stay, arranged as part of a small group trip need not result in a surcharge for those occupying a bedroom single - - as long as, the single(s) acknowledge that a bigger bedroom goes to those who need double occupancy.

For our Fodorites trip to Italy last September, we had seven people, and five (of us) had single bedrooms; the one larger bedroom went to a mother-daughter "couple".

In the nights where hotel rooms were part of the itinerary, a single room was still a choice (naturally costs more per person than a shared twin room), but two of the women elected to share a room in Florence. Then went back to single rooms (I think - - they actually just paid their own rooms, so I am not entirely sure) in Rome.

Might be looking to put together another small group trip in
April 2003, "alia" - - any interest?

See also

http://www.travel-board.com/index.ph...y;threadid=280

or

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessages.jsp?fid=2&tid=64663

for some ideas about such a possibility.

Best wishes,

Rex Bickers
Westerville, Ohio

 
Oct 8th, 2002, 08:47 PM
  #4  
Lesli
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AB -

If you do a search here for "solo," you'll find several great threads about traveling on your own that will perhaps inspire you, or at the very least let you know that there are lots of others out there also traveling by themselves. Many of them loving it! I'll try to "top" a recent one for you, but really, check them out.

I myself am not a tour group kind of girl, and the best thing I've ever done for myself is take my first trip to Europe alone. But if you won't go without a tour, then do that! Can't advise you re the single supplement versus unknown roommate choice - another reason to travel independently, for me.
 
Oct 8th, 2002, 10:22 PM
  #5  
Nita
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A good friend of mine took a tour and agreed to bunk with a stranger to avoid paying the sup. single price. She was really sorry she did, the woman talked constantly, snored loudly, took a very long time in the bathroom making my friend late to every meeting spot. She would rush in the bathroom early and lock the door and ignore knocks or pleas to hurry. Ruined my friends trip, she came home and burst into tears telling us the story.
 
Oct 8th, 2002, 10:47 PM
  #6  
faith
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Hi,
I took a tour to England & Ireland this past May/June and did a share.
This was my first trip to Europe in years and I had a great time on this budget tour with Cosmos. I did luck out with my roommate but, like others have said, it is nice to have your own space/room at the end of a long day of touring.
I think that tours and cruises are a good way for a single gal to travel.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 06:16 AM
  #7  
up
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Oct 9th, 2002, 07:37 AM
  #8  
Martha
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I am in the same boat you are. But I am like Sue in that after traveling with friends a couple of times I prefer going on tours.
My first tours were with Trafalgar and I opted for a share and was lucky to get a room by myself at no extra charge. Then I was paired up with someone who snored louder than you can imagine. So I decided after that I would just pay the single upcharge.
I have found small group tours are now to my liking. ( No more than 20 people) And I feel that after a long day I just want time to myself.
Yes, I think the single upcharges are outrageous but they are worth it to me.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 07:57 AM
  #9  
Sandy
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You take your chances... I had a HORRIBLE experience on a cruise with a share. As a result, would NEVER do it again with someone I didn't know. YOu need to decide if saving the money is worth the risk.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 08:26 AM
  #10  
Dori
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As stated earlier, you take your chances. I only had to do it once and was quite concerned about it. Thought I was overreacting and that it would work out fine. When I met the woman, she was nuts!! There generally is one in every group and I got her. I personally would pay the single supplement. Sue was right. Even if the person turns out to be okay, it's nice to have your own space at the end of the day (not to mention bathroom!) Have fun.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 09:18 AM
  #11  
topper
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Oct 9th, 2002, 09:38 AM
  #12  
Beth
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You just can't really tell. (How's that for a definitive answer.) On a three week trip to England, I shared with a stranger and made a new friend. And, then I have traveled with a long-time friend, who in the interim since our last trip had begun to snore like a truck driver, and I didn't sleep at all (and I was doing all the driving). I recently shared a room with two friends and even the king size bed with one of them, and it worked great; saved us a good deal of money. But I did know them well and had shared separately with each of them in previous trips. If you do decide to share, be sure to take ear plugs, just in case.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 09:42 AM
  #13  
Lori
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I know a couple of people who "shared" and ended up regretting it (complainer, snorer types) so I'd vote for solo! Another thought is to put together your own trip (pick 2-3 cities) and travel to each yourself and then hook up with day trips to places of interest outside your "home base city". All cities have tour companies that do them. You can be with other people for the day and not with them all the time! We're not tour people, but we did take a couple of day trips when we went to Spain and it worked out quite good,in fact we met some really nice people (but there were a few that I would not want to have spent a lot of time with either).
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 09:43 AM
  #14  
Lori
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oops, my first sentance was not too clear, I meant that my friends ended up sharing with a complainer in one instance and a snorer in another.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 09:50 AM
  #15  
Jason
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AB
Go solo.Me and my roomie took a "triple" on a cruise cuz he was all alone.I am convinced it NEVER works out to shar with a stranger.Like Aunt Matilda says,"Stranger means danger".
Jason
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 10:11 AM
  #16  
Christina
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I've done a couple tours when I was younger and paid the single supplement without even considering alternatives because I like my comfort and privacy. Even if I were traveling with a friend, I'd probably want my own room, to be honest. This wouldn't even be optional to me, I wouldn't consider sharing with a stranger any more than I'd consider cutting costs by not eating or something. All of the tours I've seen have fairly reasonable single supplement costs, often better than you can do on your own. The correct way to analyze the fee isn't as a percentage of the base cost but by dividing it by the number of room nights it covers to see how much extra per night you are paying for your own room, because that's all it is for.

Traveling independently wouldn't solve this problem as you'd still be paying single-occupancy room costs, and they are not cheap. Of course, you can try to luck out by saying you'll share and then getting your own room, but I wouldn't count on it. You just have to decide for yourself how much that extra money is worth to you to not have your own room and even risking making your entire trip unpleasant.

I think a single supplement of 1/3 base cost sounds a little high, it should be more like $25-40 a day for good value on a budget tour and I've seen some tour companies that do have it at that level, espec. Spain and Portugal should have cheaper hotel costs and I think could do it for that (e.g., comparing the cost of $100 for a single room vs. maybe $140 for a double, would mean a daily avg. single supplement of only $30). Paul Laifer tours in Eastern Europe, for example, have very reasonable single supplements of only about $25.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 11:01 AM
  #17  
Susan
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AB, I'd never share a room with a stranger. Even when I travel with a friend, if we can find cheap enough hotels, sometimes we get our own rooms.

I'd never take a tour because I'm not a "joiner" and being in a group or worse yet on a *schedule* would make me nuts. Having said that... if you won't go solo, definitely better a tour than staying home!!!

It's hard to answer your original question about paying the single supplement because everyone is so different. I'd spring for the supplement, at what ever price, it would be worth the peace of mind and privacy to me.

I'd much rather "travel alone for 2 weeks" (sounds like heaven) than "meet people"... but that's just me.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 11:13 AM
  #18  
Beth
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You might look at Rick Steves' "Europe Through the Back Door" tours -- they don't charge a single supplement at all, and on some stops, you'll have a roommate, and on others, you won't. So - it might be a way to have your own space and also meet new people, too.
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 11:13 AM
  #19  
andi
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I've taken several tours - once had a forced single supplement - there were only six of us on the tour, one other single woman and she wanted the single, so I had to get one too. She would've been a fine roommate. On a Backroads tour, I had a roommate who was lovely, but I chose that tour (a hiking trip)because I felt there was a good chance I'd find like-minded people. Another trip that I didn't research as thoroughly led to a roommate who was quite annoying. You'll take a chance either way - is it worth several hundred dollars for your privacy? If you can well afford it, get the single (and peace of mind), if it's a real stretch, take a chance on a roommate (but try to find someone else who's traveled with that company to see what kind of people they attract).
 
Oct 9th, 2002, 11:16 AM
  #20  
tour
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AB, while you can meet people while traveling independently, it is true that on tour you have the choice to hang out with people or wing it on your own once you reach each destination.

Christina is right, the single supplement is usually cheaper than doing it on your own.

My sole experience on a tour had me doing single share. There were an odd number of single women traveling and the way it was handled (in this particular case - this isn't standard policy of tour companies) was to rotate the room assignments so that we all had a turn as 'odd man out.' Although sharing wasn't too bad, I much preferred the lower stress of a room to myself, especially after being with people all day.
 

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