Rich Gosse is mad as hell, and he's not alone. Gosse, chairman of the nonprofit American Singles Education Inc., writes that ''single adults are treated as second-class citizens in America. Nowhere is this more evident than in . . . travel. The entire travel industry is geared toward couples and families. Anyone committing the transgression of traveling solo is punished with the single supplement, which often doubles the cost of travel, particularly on cruises."
A Natick reader agrees, writing, ''Pray tell the theory behind charging a single passenger more than half the rate for a couple. . . . The singles use less of everything -- food, water, supplies, etc. Why is this?"
The answer, of course, is ''the bottom line." If a couple each pays $1,000 for a trip, their room or cabin grosses $2,000 for the travel provider. Even with a hefty single supplement of, say, $600, and even accounting for the use of ''less of everything" by singles, the company stands to make more from booking a couple. Most companies then offer reduced rates for a third or fourth person in the room.
This irks the solo traveler enormously. But what is he or she to do?
They can complain, certainly, but that will change little in the short run. The only practical way to save is to be matched with a roommate, a service that travel companies are increasingly providing. Gosse, for instance, has partnered with the Singles Travel Co. (www.singlestravelcompany.com), which strives to match solo travelers with others of their gender and interests. Note, though, that even Singles Travel charges the dreaded supplement if you do not sign up for a roommate. Some travelers value their alone time and do not want a roommate they do not know.
Occasionally, companies have specials without the supplement. For instance, Singles Travel International (www.singlestravelintl.com) says it has weekly no- or low-supplement cruise specials for singles; call 877-765-6874 for dates and rates.
Without a roommate or a no-supplement special, the only way to avoid the extra charge is to stay home -- an alternative unacceptable to a lover of travel.
Student brochure The nonprofit Student & Youth Travel Association offers a Travel Safety Tips brochure as a free download on its website, www.syta.org, or by calling 800-509-7982. The brochure addresses safety and planning concerns and outlines precautions.
Seniors' special Emerson Inn by the Sea in Rockport has a September special for travelers age 55 and up. The September Is for Seniors package includes a two-night stay, Sunday-Thursday, in what it calls a ''cozy" room, or a non-ocean-view queen room; a breakfast buffet for each person, a complimentary dessert for each, and a $10 gift certificate for the inn's gift shop. The package, offered Sept. 5-29, is $198 for cozy rooms and $238 for queen oceanfront rooms per couple, a savings of 60 percent.
Visit www.emersoninnbythesea.com or call 800-964-5550.
Ski passes Never mind the weather or the calendar: Ski NH's Anywhere, Anytime Ski Passes are on sale, with savings of 20-60 percent. Additional volume discounts are available if passes are ordered before Sept. 1. The passes consist of fully transferable lift tickets, valid any day, including holidays and weekends. Skiers and snowboarders can customize lift tickets: New Hampshire's smaller ski areas cost $20 per ticket and the larger resorts are $40 a ticket. Packages begin at $400 for small ski area lift tickets and $800 for large ski areas.
Visit www.skinh.com or call 800-887-5464.
Cool train trip The Mystic Valley Railway Society Inc. calls a trip planned for Oct. 29-30 the First Frost Special. Passengers will follow the former Boston & Maine and
Call 617-361-4445 or visit www.mysticvalleyrs.org.
Gas groaners With the price of gasoline on most everyone's mind, the TravelSmart newsletter notes that you can comparison shop at www.gaspricewatch.com and www.gasbuddy.com. Also, AAA lets you figure how much you will spend on gas for your trip at www.fuelcostcalculator.com.
For more information in the newsletter, call 800-327-3633 or visit www.travelsmartnewsletter.com.
When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Contact Richard P. Carpenter at firstname.lastname@example.org.