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Single supplement upfront

Is there some particular reason those traveling alone need to pay the single supplement fee upfront ? Can it not be done when one pays for the remainder of the tour? I'm about to loose a traveling companion as a result. Plus, she has taken previous other trips and not had to pay with her deposit.
Thanking you in advance for an answer.

Posted by
949 posts

This is a question best answered by the folks at Rick Steves’ office. You should call or email them directly, as RS personnel do not monitor this forum to answer questions of this nature, but only to ensure that posters follow forum guidelines.

Posted by
1066 posts

I've had to pay the single supplement along with the deposit for each of the 5 RS tours I have taken. I suspect it may be because there are a limited amount of single slots, so they need to know immediately.

Of course, you can contact RS for more info.

Posted by
8674 posts

My guess is the same as Liz suggests. I think they want a commitment as the rooms are limited. It’s just a different way of doing things.

I will also note that for Road Scholar tours there is not a payment up front for the single supplement. It’s a $250 down payment for any tour but your single is reserved. I have noted they sometimes have very few singles. I’ve signed up for a program in Sept 2019 to get a reservation for a single as the other dates are sold. I checked the other day and that one is now sold out of single supplements as well.

The advantage of the Rick tours are that he very generously offers a $50 credit once a year for each tour you’ve taken. My life’s goal is to go on enough tours to get a free single supp.!! 🤣

I’m also guessing your friend’s previous tours have not been with Rick’s company?

Posted by
3 posts

Pam, actually she has never paid for s.s. before with Rick Steves tours. I might just ask their office since she thinks it's discrimination for a single person and it's not like they won't get the remaining money.

Posted by
2778 posts

She doesn't have to pay for the single supplement. She can take a chance on a roommate or not. (I wouldn't chance it, but she can given her stance on this.) Or she can attempt to pay for one closer to the trip and hope there is one available.

If you lose your traveling companion, don't worry. You will have a great time anyway...maybe even better.

Posted by
7832 posts

Definitely a question for the RS office staff. They will have the answer.

Us folk can only speculate

Posted by
3477 posts

No one is required to pay the single supplement. You can take your chances, not pay it, and hope you still get a room alone. If not, you will have a roommate. However, if you truly want to have a room to yourself, the only way to guarantee it is to pay. If your travel companion never paid it and still got a room alone, she has just been lucky.

This policy has been in place ever since RS began allowing singles to have a room alone. It is not discriminatory as you are getting a room to yourself free of any chance of getting a roommate you don't want to share with. The economics of why singles have to pay extra have all been explained elsewhere on this forum.

Where, exactly, is the "remaining money" coming from? When you are a single and don't share that means RS has to pay for an additional room if there is some other single on the tour that could have shared. It costs them more when you are a single who wants to be alone so all they are doing is passing that cost along.

Posted by
933 posts

You don't have to pay the single supplement. It is to guarantee a private room for yourself. She can take a chance on not paying it and getting a roommate or not. I suspect as others have suggested you pay upfront because there are so few singles available, but the best would be to call the RS office.

Posted by
8674 posts

My experience has been the same as Mark’s. I took my first RS tour in 2013, have always gotten the single room and had to pay the supplement up front. I’ve done 10 so far and this is how it’s worked every time.

Maybe she traveled a number of years ago?

Posted by
1984 posts

bmlippert,
The first RS tour I took, I did not pay the Single Supplement and had a private room the whole time because the only other single female paid the SS. I lucked out on my first tour. The 2nd tour I took I paid the SS and there were no other single females so I paid the SS when I didn't need to. It's a gamble. If you are willing to share, you may get lucky and not have a roommate like your friend and like me on my first tour. But I paid on my 2nd tour and would have had a private room because there were 19 people on that tour.

Posted by
86 posts

Wow, I find that offputting as a single. I've travelled with several companies and have never paid more than the deposit upfront. The supplement is added to the final bill and paid when the final balance is due. I wouldn't want to pay the supplement upfront.

Posted by
3477 posts

Why?

If you cancel, within the given window, it is refunded. If you are going to pay it anyway, what difference does it make if that is today or 6 months from now?

Posted by
8674 posts

I agree with Mark again, paying it ahead doesn't bother me at all. I have to pay it anyway so why not space it out a bit and pay a small chunk ahead of time. I don't mind getting the whole tour alumni deduction at the end either. Makes it nice that I don't have to pay as much then. So, if I book ahead or on the Test Drive a tour guide weekend and get $100 off, then have my extra $500 alumni deduction I've almost covered my single supp.

I have had the experience where there was only one other person on a tour who was traveling solo. I paid the supplement so she got a single room with no extra outlay of money. She was very sweet and took me to dinner as a thank you for giving her a single room. Quite funny and we had a good time. I would not want to gamble on that though. I like the privacy and need some alone time.

Posted by
86 posts

I guess I look at it as if it is refundable, why does it have to be paid ahead in the first place? Couples are not asked to pay any more ahead.

Why should my money earn interest in someone else's account rather than mine? Some of these trips are booked way in advance.

Not everyone may have the funds to pay that much at booking. Again, sometimes trips are booked way in advance to get a spot.

Not everyone is entitled to discounts.

Just my opinion.

Posted by
1991 posts

While it wouldn't stop me from booking a tour, it is patently unfair. The single supplements are usually over $700. The justification could be made for charging $250x2 - the amount RS would take in for deposits for a couple traveling on a tour. But what's their basis for charging more than that? And the fact that it's refundable is irrelevant in assessing fairness. $700+ is a lot of money.

Posted by
3661 posts

I didn't mind paying the single supplement up front. They only have a limited number of rooms and providing them to tour members on a first pay/first served method makes a great deal of sense to me. Honestly, if you can't afford to pay the $700-800 fee with your deposit, simply wait a few months to save up a bit more and then sign up for the tour. If that isn't enough, perhaps you need to reconsider if you can afford a tour at this time.

There is no "discrimination" here. It is simply a practical method to assign single supplement rooms on a first pay/first served method.

Posted by
2778 posts

I agree with Pam, as usual. I am happy to pay for the single supplement ahead of time. I want to assure I get one of the few single rooms. If I were traveling independently, single rooms do not cost half as much as a double, but rather more, so I don't see the issue. Don't sign up until you can afford the tour, which is just good financial sense anyway.

Posted by
1984 posts

Just to add a little context here in response to Valerie's comment that the SS is unfair. I just booked a trip to Israel next spring with my church group and I noticed the SS is $1,250. Now, I have a friend who is going to be my roommate so I don't have to pay that. The Tour company will match you with a roommate but if there is no solo female to match you with, they will charge $1,250.
RS will not charge you the SS if you say you will allow them to match you with a solo female and you are the only solo female. So, I don't think the RS policy is unfair.

Posted by
2642 posts

bmlippert, maybe you and your traveling companion should consider going on your own, it would be a lot cheaper. I personally wouldn’t ever go on a tour, I can stay a 3-4 weeks for less then it would cost for a 14 day tour.

Posted by
1166 posts

A few years back I signed up for the Sicily tour. I didn't know yet if I would have a companion or should take a chance being matched with a roommate. I wasn't ready to decide. A few weeks before the tour someone from the RS office called to remind me I could be matched with someone, but if I wanted a room to myself I should pay the single supplement. I decided to risk it. As it turned out, a single did join the tour at the last minute and we were matched as roommates. We were very compatible and I enjoyed the tour. I felt the whole matter was handled very fairly.

Posted by
3551 posts

OAT tours has no single supplement. Perhaps an option for u as u plan for future tours.

Posted by
3589 posts

I agree with Pam and Wray. I have traveled independently more frequently than with a group, and in most places I stayed I paid the full price that is charged for 2 people in the room.

I'm not a gambler, so I don't mind paying upfront to assure that I get a room to myself. I have some health issues that I wouldn't want to impinge upon a stranger and it's a luxury I give myself now that my husband has decided not to travel overseas. Since I pay for the trips, it's also significantly cheaper than paying for him to go along.

If you prorate the nights spent on the tour, a single supplement is not all that expensive for the privacy gained. For the RS tours I've taken and the ones I hope to take in 2019, the nightly supplement cost is $52, $67, $56 and $55.

No matter how you end up with a single room, be aware that you may have beds similar to a US twin, double, queen or king. I had all those on both the RS Village Italy tour and on the Best of Scandinavia one.

Posted by
10308 posts

It's a private business. RS can make its own policies. No discrimination, no laws broken. If you don't like their policies travel with a different tour company.

Odysses Unlimited has a single supplement but you pay it when you pay for the tour and not when making the deposit. $375 holds your place and the remainder is due 95 days before the start of the tour.

Posted by
10 posts

I was not happy paying the single supplement up front with the deposit. Over $1000 upfront. I had to cancel and it seemed to take forever for the credit to appear on my credit card.