Thursday, 6 August 2009

"single blessedness"

I was early for the train so I browsed among the leaflets and timetables. Special offers for train travellers attracted me, especially since the illustrations showed attractions in the southern Peak District that I hadn't visited for years, if at all.

I picked up the leaflet hopefully and began to read. One offer was free child admission with a full-paying adult. That sort of offer used to be helpful but not any more. Almost all the remaining offers were "2 for 1" admission charges. Only one offered a discount for the single traveller.

Once again, I find an assumption that everyone moves around in couples. It's not just the train companies that think this way. I've been browsing holiday websites - more in hope than with any confidence that I'll manage an exciting holiday next year. There are some good headline prices. I even thought, briefly, that I might manage the trip to Iceland I've been dreaming about since my schooldays. But the prices come with the usual footnote "Prices are based on two adults sharing a room."

I can see that single travellers cost hoteliers more than couples. But why can't holiday companies just say what the single room supplement is? Too many ask single travellers to phone in - suggesting that singleness is a bizarre state - while some holidays, offering plenty of space for couples, say that nothing is available as soon as I enter information about my solitary state. Prices rocket out of my range when I confirm that I need a room of my own - and I'm not broke.

Why can't companies cater for single people? There's nothing wrong with travelling alone - lots of people do it. Solitude has advantages although it requires some toughness and self-reliance. Almost everyone is single at some point. Single people like holidays and days out just as much as couples.
In some cases - for example when people are newly widowed - this attitude must be intensely hurtful.

Why make us feel like oddities or burdens?


Anonymous said...

I particularly need to be alone when in my beloved landscape, as only then can I tune in to the distant sounds, general vibe and its value. Sorry its not quite what you were concerned with, yet this un-assistance to the single traveller on public transport I can I appreciate as irksome to say the least. kllrchrd

Kathz said...

I certainly agree there are times and places when being alone is a positive benefit - and that includes being alone in particular places. Since writing this post I found a few holiday companies offering holidays to single travellers and was sorry to observe that they thought I would be happy only in the company of lots of other single people. I think that two things really annoy me: the restriction of lots of activities and special offers to couples, which makes being single more expensive, and the assumption lying behind this that there's something strange and undesirable about being solitary.