Have you heard the one about the single parent who wanted to take the kids on holiday? S/he was forced to pay double for not having a partner.

It sounds like a joke, but single occupancy surcharges are no laughing matter for the 25 per cent of families that end up having to fork out more than they bargained for. So it's good to learn of the launch of Single Parent Holiday Savers (0800 091 5050; single parentholiday savers.com), a new website with the express aim of making it easier – and cheaper – to holiday solo with kids. It features deals at more than 40 child-friendly hotels, mainly in Spanish resorts, where there are no extra costs for single adults.

Companies specifically catering for lone mums and dads have always been few and far between, but one of the most established is Single Parent Families (01763 226567 single parent.travel), a small operation offering a surprisingly broad selection of escorted holidays, from ski trips in Lapland (below) to cruises on the Nile. The emphasis here is on socialising: all of these holidays provide a way to mix with like-minded families without feeling as if you stick out like a sore thumb.

And for those in search of real adventure, there's more good news: companies such as Exodus (0845 863 9600; exodus.co.uk) now have a selection of excursions for one-adult families, including a brand new wildlife trip to British Columbia where you get to go whale watching and kayaking off Vancouver Island. And what's more, there's not a single occupancy penalty in sight.

All of which goes to show that sole parents in search of surcharge-free family holidays finally have something to smile about.