I don't have anyone to travel with these days, but there are places I would like to see so if I want to go anywhere, I have to go by myself. I have traveled with my husband and friends in the past, but always independently, no tours. I signed up for my first tour earlier this year and did RS Best of Ireland last month. Never having been on a tour before, I did not know what to expect, so I paid the single supplement. I was already nervous enough traveling solo on a tour so I didn't want to add any additional unknowns by sharing a room with a stranger. My tour was mostly people traveling with a spouse (which is probably the typical group make up) and I had two sets of mother and daughters traveling together. There was only one other solo traveler. My group was a really friendly, welcoming bunch and asked me to join them for meals and free time so I never felt left out. I had the time of my life! I'm now looking at booking another RS tour next year. My question is for those of you who travel solo, what has been your experience sharing a room? Have any solo travelers done both sharing a room and paid the single supplement? Which do you prefer?
I'm a solo supplement person. I've done 11 Rick Steves tours and have also done 11 Road Scholar tours. Road Scholar does the same as Rick does - you can choose to have them room you with someone or you can pay the single supplement. I've had single supplements on every tour. On 6 of the 11 Rick tours I traveled solo, the other 5 I was with family (brother and SIL plus other family members). I was a solo traveler on all of the Road Scholar tours.
My horror story is from one of my first Road Scholar tours. We were in Wales and one of the tour members did not bathe for the entire 2 weeks. She was a large woman so might have had difficulty getting in/out of the bathtub (it did have high sides) but she could have sponged off at least or asked to see if there was a disabled room with a walk in shower. The Road Scholar leader actually had to talk to her about changing clothes because she had such an odor.
Now, I've never noted a person on any Rick tour who was not well-groomed but it kind of made me realize that I will just pay for the single supplement on any tour I take.
I also need to have my private time away from the group so having a roommate would not be enjoyable for me.
I've paid for a single room on all 6 of my RS tours, because I know me.
I need some alone time at the end of a day dealing with people because I am an introvert. It's really a decision only you can decide.
I have done both - paid the single supplement and also shared a room with a stranger. The 2 times I shared with a stranger, my roommates were compatible, very congenial with no bad habits such as snoring or loud talking, etc.
2 RS tours I traveled with friends and shared a room, that worked just fine. My 2020 tour I will be traveling with a friend and sharing a room.
2 RS tours I paid the single supplement.
1 RS tour I took a chance and did not pay the supplement and ended up with my own room as the other single lady had paid the supplement.
My upcoming tour to Munich Salzburg Vienna, I paid the single supplement.
As I continue to travel on more tours, I find I like my solitude if I'm not with a friend. On the other hand, one of my friends and I decided if we do another tour together, we will have separate rooms.
I think it is a very individual decision. I have tried it several ways as you can see. And there is no one answer to fit every personality. At the end of a long day sightseeing, it is nice to relax and reflect on the day and prepare for the next day and not have to keep your side of the room tidy.
Thanks, Pam. I take your advice to heart since you have traveled so much. I have read your trip reports and even saved the one you did on Paris and Road Scholars Provence because it was jam packed with so much good packing advice and things to see and where to stay in Paris. The Knights of Templar tour particularly peeked my interest. I’m looking to do RS Eastern France next Spring and would probably spend a few days in Paris.
LizinPA, that’s the way I’m leaning for the same reason.
JudyB, I appreciate your insight since you have done so many tours and have done it both ways. Thank you so much!
Oh gosh, thank you so much for the kind words! Definitely stay as many days as you can in Paris ahead of your tour.
Or...if you have plenty of time and money - do the Best of Paris tour first, then your Eastern France tour, lolol!
I always pay the single supplement on RS tours, as I prefer to have my own space. It's a bit expensive, but I'll continue doing that if I take any future tours.
I agree with Liz, Judy and Pam. I was solo on my one and only RS tour to date. Part of my vacation was having my own room, space, and no personal pressures. Having a roommate would have changed the entire tone of my vacation. That being said, I believe the other solo person paid the single supplement as well...so you could gamble and hope you end up with a single because everyone else paid for one. That is too much of a risk for me as I need and want alone time. Tours cost too much for me to risk a roommate ruining the entire vacation.
I have been on 10 RS tours as a solo traveler. Four were before single supplements were offered on most of the tours and the remainder were after.
The first 4 tours I took I had a mix of luck. Since there was no single supplement offered on those tours, I took my chances. Two of the tours there were no other single males, so I got a room to myself. The other two had roommates for me. While all of my roommates were fine, friendly people, I found myself miserable. The first was a total of 3 single males, so each stop we rotated roommates. One was a heavy snorer, the other brought so much luggage there almost wasn't space in the room for 2 of us and all of his stuff. Due to the odd number of singles, we also got some nights alone. My second trip where I had a roommate I shared with the assistant tour guide (still don't really understand why). But he was up all hours working on the tour talks and doing paperwork. I wanted to sleep. Didn't work out well. After the 4th night, he got his own room for the rest of the trip leaving me to the room alone. And I am sure there were things I did that made the roommates miserable as well (I know for sure that is why the tour guide found his own room).
Since I enjoyed having the rooms alone, I have paid for the single supplement every tour since. I like having the quiet of a room alone in the evening so I can unwind from the day's activities. If I want to sleep early or stay up watching TV, there is no one else to worry about annoying. In the morning, no argument on who showers first or worry about taking too long. If I want to do sink laundry I can hang my clothes everywhere in the room and not worry about getting in a roommates way.
Being a solo traveler and having a room to myself does not exclude me from being included in the group activities. Every tour I have found some one or some part of the total group that I can hang with for the free time the tour gives you for meals and independent sight seeing. While it is not the end of the world nor the complete ruin of my trip if I have a roommate, I am too old and set in my ways to enjoy having one.
I earned it and I don’t mind spending the money to maintain my peace and solitude.
I've done both, and offerng to share a room is a roll of the dice. You might get a great roommate (I've had them) or your own room as the only single traveler of your sex on the tour (had that too), but your trip can be ruined by the wrong roommate. I once had a roommate who although a nice person was a prolific loud snorer. I was getting only about 2 hours of sleep a night and was so sleep deprived by the middle of the tour that I started to miss activities. Imo, spending a few hundred extra dollars for a single supplement is the way to go.
I have not traveled as a solo. I have friends that have done solo tours on RS & Road Scholar. All of them prefer paying the single supplement. Some of the singles have traveled with friends but still prefer having their own room for privacy and quiet time. I have found as a couple we enjoy including the solo traveler's in our group. A few years ago we met a solo traveler on a Southern Italy/Sicily tour and to this day we are still friends. Good to hear you had a great experience and are looking forward to your next solo journey!
I get more persnickety as I get older, so I would definitely spring for the solo room. Plus, I like my naked time. Nobody wants to see that.
I've done just two solo RS tours and paid the supplement both times. Glad to have had my own room for the reasons others have given. My only regret has been because each time I was the only man traveling alone, so I'd have had a single room without paying the supplement. I guess I can think of it as tranquility insurance.
I've enjoyed most of my fellow travelers on both tours, and never felt that I wasn't included. In fact, a couple of times I regretted not accepting people's invitations to join them for lunch or dinner, as whatever else I'd planned turned out not to be so great.
I’ve been on several tours and have always paid the single supplement. After experiences with college roommates from hell, I would never chance it on what should be a fun vacation! Plus, as some have stated, it’s nice to be able to unwind and have privacy. While I find the single supplement annoying and a bit punitive to single travelers ( when I travel independently, I book single rooms and I’m not sure why tour companies don’t offer that option without a supplement) I would personally always pay it rather than chance having to share a room.
Single rooms would have to be half the price of double rooms to make no supplement a reality. I travel as a single and can't say I have ever found that to be true.
@Fast Eddie. I am laughing out loud. Appreciate your candor. 🙈
I've gone on two RS tours and paid single supplement both times. I've invested thousands of dollars on the vacation and I can't think of anything worse than having that investment ruined because I was too "cheap" to pay the supplement. I find that I need a little alone time, even with the most congenial of groups (which RS tours are). Go ahead, pay the supplement and think of it as a type of "trip insurance." You are insuring that roomate issues won't be an issue......
I've done both. On tours where I shared with a stranger I have had both good and not so good experiences, mostly good. The worst one was when my roommate was totally helpless and felt that she had the right to depend on me for all her needs. That was a bad one. But, at the time, it was mostly a matter of saving the cost of the single supplement that made my decision. Now that I'm older and have a lot of the aging issues that some others do, I prefer to pay the single supplement and have a room to myself. I'm a 'loud' sleeper so always feel guilty if I keep others from getting a good night's sleep. I also have bladder issues that mean I'm up and down to use the facilities at least 2 and sometimes 3 times a night which is also disruptive to a roommate. I normally travel solo independently now but if taking a tour, I'm willing to pay the supplement for the luxury of a single room.
I have always known that if I were to travel solo, I would pay the single supplement. I would be a terrible roommate. I want the windows open, the TV off, and no chit-chat before breakfast. These are minimal requirements; there are more. Yes, my DH is a saint, at least in these matters.
I am a solo traveler and I have done both. I have done four RS tours and I have never paid a single supplement until now. My first two tours I was able to have my own room without paying the supplement. The last two tours I took I had roommates. My first experience was great. We got along well and did not have any issues. My last tour changed my mind to now always pay the single supplement. I like to go on tours, but I now find that I like my own alone time. I have never had a problem fitting in when I was a solo traveler. I am also good at doing activities on my own. The decision is totally up to you. Enjoy your travels. I go to Sicily in Feb 2020
I'm glad this came up as I'm on the fence as a solo traveler. Thinking hard about a tour in April. I have a medical condition that I would not want to subject a total stranger to. Once my medicine kicks in everything is normal. But i need a bit of alone time in the am. So i think i will go ahead and do the supplement
It is a bit of luck, but of the 2 tours I travelled on solo, I got lucky and had the room to myself.
What you can do is email the office and ask if other solos are traveling on the dates you want. I did this when I signed up for Greece (before I had to cancel), and was told that while there was another solo male traveler, he had requested the single supplement.
Solo supplements can sell out quickly, so while you can try emailing head of time, another solo traveler can join after you book and after the single rooms have been sold out.
I an a single supplementer. One thing to keep in mind is that alum reward when taking another tour: $50 per RS tour you have taken. I mentally deduct that from the single supplement. On my last tour, I was assigned what had to be the hotel's extended family room. It was huge! I felt like a princess - and all to myself! I could even see living out of that room...
Debbie...good point! At the meet up when we do introductions I usually say my life's goal is to do enough Rick Steves tours so that I can get the single supplement covered by the alumni discount. I'm almost there, lol!!
I also had a fun thing happen on one tour. I'd gotten the single supplement and there was only one other solo traveler on the tour. She insisted on taking me out to dinner one night because my purchase of the single supplement had allowed her to have a single room! She said paying for my dinner was really a bargain, lol! Very sweet of her.
Pam, I love that story. Thanks for sharing. I, too, have done both Road Scholar and Rick tours both sharing with a stranger and paying the supplement. My goal is the same as yours and I am getting close. I was very lucky in my shared situations and one of the ladies has become a very close friend. I live in CA and she lives in Canada, but we always make sure we have our week together each year. We were just so compatible we decided we were sisters from different mothers. I, like many others have stated, also get the single supplement now because I am older with more getting up in the night and also because I live alone and am retired. Which means I no longer spend 8 hours a day with people and now need to 'decompress' each evening from being part of a group (no matter how nice they are.)
Had a nightmare experience with a stranger roommate on a tour ( not an RS tour). It really soured the whole trip for me. You are taking a huge risk to share a room with an unknown person. I, for one, will never take that risk again.
I have done a number of RS tours, sometimes with the single supplement, sometimes not.
I do like my own space after a while so I tend to get he supplement on the longer tours (over 8 nights).
I have never had a bad roommate. I did have one guy who was a bit of a loaner and went off on his own from time to time when the daily tour activities were done. The ladies in the group could not understand why I did not know where my roommate was. But, the guy never old me anything. Later I found out he wanted to find a European wife. I guess that explains his disappearances. But, I can't imagine that working well with anything less than a week long city tour.
Here's another vote for the single supplement. I've only done one Rick Steves tour and paid the supplement. I have to have my alone time, plus I'd be uncomfortable sharing a room with a stranger. Heck, when my mom and I went to Dublin for a week, I said we had to have our own hotel rooms! Also, I snore at night and I wouldn't want to subject anyone to that. I just want my privacy and room to move about.
I traveled on two RS trips with my husband and went by myself one year to return to Paris. I wanted to keep the price down, so I didn’t select the single supplement. My roommate and I were fine together- both independent and courteous. But two other women had to be separated because of snoring issues.
Since that time I have traveled solo and with my husband on our own itineraries. Traveling on my own and having that freedom, I would now have a hard time if I had to share with a stranger.
thank you to all of the posters. I have signed up for my first two Rick Steves tours and purchased the single supplement for both. Based upon the posts and on my own idiosyncrasies I think that I have made the correct choice.
Add my vote to pay for single supplement. If one can't afford the extra cost and is very flexible, then by all means try rooming with another tour member. Friends and relatives on the tours I've been on, seem to have shared rooms just fine, however they know each other.
I have paid the supplement for my own room twice now for RS tours. For me, I can't imagine sharing with someone I just met when the rooms and bathrooms may be small. Also, many double rooms in Europe are 2 twin beds pushed together sharing one headboard, which is too close for comfort for me. I don't want the hassle when Im on vacation of coordinating shower, bathroom, TV viewing (or not), or sleep times with someone I just met. If someone snores, it would disrupt my sleep (and earplugs are not the perfect answer to noise). In the end it is a personal choice. Some people are so laid back that the compromises do not bother them. Heck, you might luck out like a fellow tour member did on my recent RS tour. She did not pay the supplement, but I did, so she got a private room without paying the extra fee.
I didn't pay the supplement my first 3 trips with RS. All the people I was paired with were nice people, but on the third time the guy must have had sleep apnea. This wasn't snoring, it was silence and then gasping for breath that was so loud earplugs didn't touch it. I was more tired day by day and it kinda ruined the trip for me. Now, I pay for the supplement.
Hi, fellow solo travelers. Question for those of you who paid single supplement on RS tours - how was the room you were assigned in each hotel? Was it in a decent location with the same amenities as the double rooms assigned to others on your tour?
I am going on my first RS tour this spring - Best of Eastern France on May 24. (Very excited!!) I paid the single supplement as I know I will prefer privacy at the end of the day.
In prior solo travels on my own, not on tours, I have paid for a single hotel room to save money. In some hotels their single rooms are in a bad location with little or no views. My last experience was in an otherwise great hotel in Vienna. My single room was near the elevator and had a single window that opened onto a small internal courtyard, an airshaft really. I could not see the sky from my room. Had to check the internet to see if it was raining!
With what we spend on the tour, airfare, etc. the single supplement is a small percentage of trip cost and worth it IMHO. RS tour supplements are pretty reasonable, actually.
@GimmeGrenache - I haven't been on the Eastern France tour but my answer is that "It depends". Sometimes I've gotten a nice double sized room. Sometimes it's a teeny European single.
In thinking of my rooms on the Paris and Heart of France tour, all of my rooms were nice sized except for the one on Mont-Saint-Michel and as you can imagine there everyone's room was small or odd.
I DID think that I got a nicer room in Ghent on the Belgium and Holland tour last April because I stayed there 2 nights ahead. They put me canal-side in a huge room for my pre-nights and I was able to stay in that room for the tour nights. I did NOT see what other rooms looked like, though.
The thought of a smaller, not as well-placed room does not deter me from the single supplement though.
Since RS tours tend to use older, smaller hotels in the center of things, almost all the rooms vary.
I've done 6 RS tours as a single and don't recall any single room that I thought was bad.
I've only taken the RS Greece tour. I paid the single supplement. All the rooms I was assigned were double rooms. Some were outstanding and some were average, but all were clean and comfortable.
All the rooms were double rooms the year I went on the Paris and the Heart of France tour. Last year's Switzerland tour had several "single" rooms and some double rooms. The older the hotel, the more likely for the smaller, single room. The assignments vary by hotel.
Keep in mind that the even the rooms that people on single supplement get vary in the same hotel. In Luzern, I had a lovely balcony room overlooking the river and the Chapel Bridge. Another tour member had what could best be described as a remodeled closet. When we arrived at Lugano, I still had a nice room, but that same person had a lake view room (she deserved it!).
What room you get when you pay single supplement varies. Never expect the room you get on single supplement to be that same you would have gotten sharing with someone.
Many european hotels have special single rooms that are given to singles. Some are more like US hotels where all the rooms are double sized. The views also varied from excellent to the aforementioned ventilation shaft. As far as amenities, all rooms get the same (coffee service, TV, phone, bed, en suite, and so on). Some hotels have rooms with balconies or patios and are hugely oversized compared to the average room. What you get depends on the luck of the draw.
Rooms I have received included one on top of the elevator shaft in Amsterdam that had a limited height ceiling (I am over 6 foot tall) where I constantly bumped my head and was woken often during the night as people used the elevator. I got one in Hallstatt that would have been able to sleep at least a family of 6 comfortably, it was more of an apartment than a hotel room. The room in one French chateau was larger than my current apartment. While one I got on the England tour was barely large enough for me to stretch out on the bed without touching all 4 walls simultaneously. No matter, I had fun at every stop.
The rooms were great on my Scotland trip last year. Maybe just lucky. But I’ve been traveling long enough [not globally) to think of my hotel room anywhere as a bed and a shower (and tea service). I’m not in it long enough to care much where it is or what I see out the window.
I have done 5 RS tours and I have traveled with a friend on two of them, and was willing to take a roommate on the others. I have yet to paired with a roommate, so I have enjoyed a single room without having to pay the supplement. For my 6th tour this fall, I have also indicated I would be willing to have a roommate. Being involved with traveling athletic teams for over 20 years, we always roomed together, so it doesn't bother me to take my chance. Since most people don't want to take the chance with someone they don't know, I think the odds are good that I won't be paired with someone. There have been other solo women on my trip who paid the single supplement. All of my groups have been very welcoming, as have the other solo travelers.
This is a very interesting thread. If I want to go to go on a RS trip in 2021 I will have to have a roommate. The cost of a single would push the budget for me too high and in addition a supplement cost is as much as flight ( for the destination I am looking at) I would hope if there is a serious issue that the tour leader would handle it and correct the issue. At this point I am like I will take the gamble as I don't want to say I always wanted to go to ..... but never went.
Does the RS give the group the option to chat online before the trip?
In regards to the rooms does every room come with their own bathroom? I read some place online that you may have to walk down a hall to use the bathroom.
I’m wondering if certain tours have more single (women) so the chance of sharing a room is greater. Say Paris City vs Loire Valley? Or other tours for comparison? And would you risk sharing a room for a shorter stationary tour vs a longer multi-city tour or vice versa?
As LF said, the cost of the supplement is almost the cost of airfare. As I get older and more set in my ways, I’d pay the supplement. But if I wanted to do two tours back to back, would I want to pay for two single supplements? Just wondering for future planning...
Hi. I have travelled on 11 RS tours solo each time. I have no experience re sharing a room per se. I really value my alone/down-time in the evenings which is the main reason I elect to pay the single supplement. Also, since I usually do one tour in any given year, my alumni discount pretty much covers the single supplement cost at this point.
Other responders have testified to the quality of single rooms. Only once have I had the airshaft experience and just for one night. It could be double rooms faced on to this as well. I survived. Other times, I have had rooms that elicited an "Enchanted April" feeling. If you have seen the movie, the women awake the morning after travelling to a glorious view of the bay near Portofino. Heaven, beauty, euphoria! I had one of those moments and rooms in the hotel at Vaison-la-Romaine. Great when that happens. I had a lovely room in Hallstatt that felt like a suite. All the rooms have been ensuite. The Hallstatt bathroom had heated floors. I could have lived in that room. Likewise in a charming but smaller room in Chamonix.
In the 11 tours I have taken, I have never been the only solo woman. I have been aware from time to time when women have shared. Still, usually couples or families make up most of each group. I was astonished that on my last tour, MSV in December 2019, that there were 12 "solo" women. It turns out that 6 knew each other from work and some of them shared. Imagine the logistics if all 12 needed single rooms!
Not sure if these comments are helpful. I also take these tours because I do not have regular travel companions. Plus, I enjoy the groups, and the feeling of kicking back without having to make daily logistical decisions about transportation, hotel, etc. I DO like to spend some days pre or post tour exploring solo.
It is very rare to have rooms without ensuite bathrooms on RS tours, and if there is a possibility it's mentioned on the tour page.
No, there is no way to chat with tourmates beforehand, other than asking here on the message board.
LF there are only a couple of tours where a shared bathroom is a possibility. One of those is the 21 day Best of Europe if the tour stays in Stechelberg, Switzerland as opposed to one of the other villages in the area. In spite of the shared bathroom this was one of my favorite tours, ever. Wow, did I learn a lot and see SO much.
If you’ll go to the tour page, click on the Physical Demands section down the page and if there is a possibility of a shared bath it’s listed there. If it is not mentioned then there are no shared baths on the tour. At one time the only other tour with the possibility of shared baths was maybe one of the Scandinavian tours.
I'm 62 yo and travel mostly on my own, but also with tours. Your question just made me realize that on my last 3 tours I've paid the single supplement. I would have taken an assigned roommate but none of the tours had an extra to pair me with. I am never thrilled about the extra cost, but it is quite lovely to have the freedom of a single. You can just chill out in the room, no need to socialize. You can spread your things out the way you want, get up or go to sleep when you want without being disturbed. It is a luxury I guess I have come to enjoy. I like to stay up a bit late and read, or watch tv to unwind. Can't do that if you are being polite and a roomate wants to go to sleep. Also, I had a roomate once who got up like 5x during the night to go to the bathroom or at least that is how many times she woke me doing it. I like to shower at night, sleep until the last possible minute, get dressed and quickly out the door. Not good for me to have a roomate who gets up 90 minutes before our departure to shower, etc and wake me up.
During these same 5 years I've been a volunteer English speaker four times at a program where they give you free room and board in return for your labor. The room is with a roommate. Two out of four times this has been a problem (the last roommate got transferred out of our room for verbal spats with the other volunteer across the hall including calling her a bitch. My roommate was very volatile.) Not a very good record. For my two lovely roommates, who I quite enjoyed getting to know, it still was a lot to have to good out of your way in sharing a hotel room/bathroom with a stranger (no matter how nice they were.) Little things like bathroom sharing, doling out the space are small things and workable if you have a nice roommate.
I think I've concluded that at this point in life, if I don't have a friend/family member to come with me I will spend the money for the single room as it has added relaxation and enjoyment to make the trip better for me. That extra bit of payment makes the larger amount I spend for the tour more worthwhile. As you said, one consideration is trying to buddy up with the other tour members, as you have no natural companion in a roommate. I admit, that is a consideration but so far the tour I was on had enough pairs of friends rooming together or other singles that were open to hanging out with me. My first choice would be to travel with a friend, but if not a friend, I may choose in the future to pay the supplement.
"I would have taken an assigned roommate but none of the tours had an extra to pair me with."
Unless something has changed, on an RS tour you do not have to pay the single supp if there is not someone to room you with. On one tour I took I had paid for the single supp and the other solo woman traveler had not. She wound up with a single room as well without paying the supplement fee. She was also very sweet and funny and insisted on taking me to dinner to "pay" for her single room! She said that was WAY cheaper!
on an RS tour you do not have to pay the single supp if there is not someone to room you with.
While true, you have to be willing to gamble there will be no other singles on the tour the could room with you. If you wait too close to the tour date to request single supplement, you can be told no or there may not be any more left for the tour. If you pay the single supplement and you are the only single on the tour, you do not get a refund! And the RS office has never told me if there are any other singles on my tours.
Does the RS give the group the option to chat online before the trip?
No. There is no opportunity offered by the RS office for any contact with other tour members before the tour. They claim it has to do with various privacy laws. However, you might run into some of your tour mates here in the forum if you get lucky. Unfortunately, not many of the people who actually go on tours show up here.
If there is an odd number of persons who paid the single supplement, they will rotate the "single room" so that everyone gets a shot at it.
I have taken 6 RS tours. The first few were with my ex-husband. I took one with a friend and we shared a room. She had night terrors so she decided that she really shouldn't share a room again. The next she paid for SS and I didn't. My roomie for the entire 11 day trip was great... an introvert like me so we co-existed in peaceful quiet most of the time :). Will be taking the Eastern Europe trip in May and wanted SS but all were already take so I will share again. Hopefully all goes well!