Best Hacks to Save Money While Traveling Solo - Ultimate Guide

We all know that traveling is expensive. But, after reading our solo traveling money-saving guide, you don't have to break the bank while still having a great time as a solo traveler! You'll be able to enjoy your vacation without worrying about the cost. Read on to learn how to save money when traveling solo.


Table Of Contents

Is Solo Travel More Expensive?

Plan Your Trip

Budget Your Trip

Save On Flights

Accommodations

Food & Drinks

Activities & Attractions

Internet & Phone

Travel Insurance

Work-Trade Opportunities

Bonus Solo Travel Tips


Is Solo Travel More Expensive?

It's always been a question for travelers - is solo travel more expensive? To put your mind at ease, we're here to assure you that you won't have to break the bank just to have a great time alone! Since you're the only one going, you'll be able to do as much as you want without having to worry about anyone else's schedule or opinions. Traveling solo also gives you huge benefits like being able to make decisions on your own without having to worry about what someone else wants or needs from the experience.

“Solo travel not only pushes you out of your comfort zone, it also pushes you out of the zone of others’ expectations.”

Suzy Strutner


You might be wondering "How do you save money when traveling solo?" You can start by checking out your options and choosing the right destination for you. Don't skip this step - it's one of the most important parts of having a great vacation without spending too much! There are also some simple hacks that will help you have an unforgettable experience at a cheaper price on your next solo trip. Cheap solo travel is definitely possible!



PLAN YOUR TRIP

Planning your trip in advance is a great way to save money and ensure you're as prepared as possible. There are lots of ways you can prepare for your trip before you even set foot on foreign soil or board that lonesome plane ride.

Planning a Solo Trip On a a Budget


Be Flexible About Your Destination

Solo travelers who are flexible about their destination can save hundreds of dollars by being willing to explore new areas, rather than sticking with the same location for an entire trip. Planning a bit in advance can help to take advantage of low season rates, which can be as much as 70% lower!

If you're willing to move around during your solo trip and explore new cities or regions at a time, then try looking for the best rate before booking anything. This is especially helpful if there are places that catch your attention along the way - it's much easier to spend a week in one location and then move somewhere else for the second half of your trip than it is to book everything in advance!

The key with this hack is that you're not just flexible about when you go, but also that you're willing to explore new areas if they catch your eye during travel. This will help you to take advantage of the best deals.


Choose An Affordable Destination

When choosing a destination, it's important to find one that is affordable. This way, you'll be able to stick to your budget and not have to worry about overspending while on vacation.

Some great options for affordable destinations include Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Eastern Europe. If you're looking for a more luxurious destination, consider spending less time in the city and more time in nearby towns. You can also find great deals on hostels outside of big cities.


Research Your Destination

The first thing you'll want to do is research your destination ahead of time. What are the prices, what are the best places to stay, how far away from the city center is it located? You want to check this out ahead of time because if there's something you don't plan on doing, then it's important not to waste money on tickets for this activity. It's also crucial that you know how long you'll need to stay at each destination because this way you can plan your trip accordingly and avoid spending too much money on flights or time for transportation.


Travel Off-season

Saving money is the goal when you're traveling solo. As a solo traveler, you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about the cost by following these hacks to save money while traveling solo. One of them is to travel off-season!

You might think that this will mean fewer people and less fun things to do, but it's actually just the opposite - off-peak seasons are usually cheaper than high seasons because more travelers have gone home for winter break or summer vacations.

If there are still plenty of people around in an off-season destination, they'll be locals who don't expect expensive tourist prices which means more affordable options. So if you want to get away with spending as little as possible on your next trip, then try traveling off-season or during shoulder-season. Avoiding the high season will increase your chances to get good deals on hotels and flights.



BUDGET YOUR TRIP

Creating a budget for your trip is an important part of traveling solo. It's important to have enough money set aside so you don't feel like you are constantly spending whenever something comes up, but it's also useful to not be too frugal - after all, what is the point in being on vacation if there aren't fun things that you can do!



Travel Fund

Have a travel fund set aside before you go on your trip. This will help to avoid the temptation of overspending because you feel like it's "just a few dollars". Make sure that this fund is one that you can't easily touch, so if something comes up while traveling (injury or illness for example), then there aren't extra charges caused by overdrawing your account.


Travel Budget Spreadsheet

Using a travel budget spreadsheet is one more method to help you save money while traveling alone! You can use one of the two templates that are available for free on Google Docs, or simply download an Excel sheet and input your own numbers. This will give you an idea of how much money you have left to spend while traveling, and it'll also help you keep track of your spending.

Sign Up For a Travel Credit Card

Signing up for a no-fee credit card will allow you to earn points that can be used towards flights, hotels, and activities. These cards are typically geared more toward people who have excellent or good credit scores (check yours using Credit Karma), but it's worth the risk if you think that you'll be able to pay off your balance each month.

Avoid ATM fees

Do not pay ATM fees by withdrawing money in advance. This will help you avoid extra costs that might be associated with your bank not being part of the ATM network. You can also save on additional fees by withdrawing larger amounts to reduce trips or by using a debit card instead of credit when possible.


SAVE ON FLIGHTS

Flights are one of the most expensive parts of traveling alone, but there are some hacks you can use to save money on them. Airplane tickets don't have to be one of the biggest costs.



Last-Minute Deals

If you don't mind waiting to make your flight reservations for your solo travel adventure until the last minute, then this is one way to save money. If there are seats left on flights that haven't sold out yet, they will go pretty cheap because these airlines want them filled ASAP!


Airline Programs

Another way to save money on flights is by becoming a member of airlines' websites and signing up for their newsletters in order to be notified when they have sales and deals going on. You can also buy tickets as far in advance as possible.


Pack Light

Another great way to save money while traveling solo is by packing as little as possible. If you're only carrying a backpack, then you can save money on baggage fees by avoiding checking luggage. You'll also want to pack light because the less stuff that you bring along with you, the more likely it is for everything to fit into your bag and not be too heavy.


Pack Carry-On Snacks

Snacks are crucial while traveling solo, but they can get expensive if you're buying them from vending machines or at convenience stores. Instead of going to a grocery store, try packing your own snacks for the road so that you can save money while traveling solo.


ACCOMMODATIONS

There are many ways to save money on your accommodations when you're traveling solo and make the most out of your travel budget.



Couch surfing and Airbnb

One great way is to couch surf - stay with locals who will show you around their city and give you an insider's perspective on the area. You can also use Airbnb to find cheap, private rooms - often for less than the cost of a hotel room.


Stay in Hostels

Stay in a hostel instead of a hotel to save more money on accommodation costs. Hostels are not as scary as they sound, and you'll meet tons of people from all over the world!

If you're looking to save some money on your accommodation, stay in a hostel instead of a hotel. Hostels aren't as scary as they sound and you'll meet tons of people from all over the world! Make sure to check out the reviews of the hostel that are left on its website or on sites like TripAdvisor - these reviews will give you an idea of whether it is right for you. Sometimes you can even find fantastic deals for a single room. Sometimes you can even get a single room for the same price as double occupancy.


Camping

If you don't mind roughing it, camping is a cheap and easy way to save money on accommodation costs while traveling solo. You can find campsites all over the world for as little as $5 per night!


Get a Monthly Rental

If you're staying in one place for more than a few days or weeks, consider renting an apartment or house on Airbnb to have your own space. You can find great deals and save money as a solo traveler this way.


Use Hotel Points

When traveling solo, use hotel points to save on your lodging - even if the value of a point is only $15 it's still $15 saved :) These are just some great ways that you can stay for cheap when you're traveling alone. Not all options will be available in every location but they should give you an idea of how you can save money when traveling solo.


FOOD & DRINKS

It can be difficult to save money while traveling solo because everything costs more than usual. However, there are many ways that you can still save money on food and drinks while traveling solo. From making your own meals to shopping at markets instead of touristy shops, these hacks will make it easier for you to save some extra cash while out in the world!


Make your own meals

One way to save money on food while traveling solo is by cooking your own meals. Make a grocery list before you leave and keep it in the front pocket of your backpack so that you can always reference it easily. Then, compare grocery prices at different shops near where you are staying - don't be afraid to check out local markets too!


Free Breakfast

If you are staying in a hostel, ask them if they have free breakfast. Many times the hostels will offer some sort of complementary food for their guests - whether it's coffee and tea or fruit or pastries! This is an easy way to save money on your morning meal before heading out into the city.


Coffee and Alcohol

Coffee is usually overpriced at cafes - make sure to skip the fancy drinks if you want to save money on food while traveling solo. It's also important to limit how much alcohol you buy, as this can burn a hole in your wallet quickly! If you are staying in one place for longer than a few days, you should consider getting a coffee maker and some mugs to make your own cup of Joe in the morning.


Take Advantage of Happy Hours

Happy hours are a great way to save money on drinks when traveling solo - especially if you want to drink at night! Check out bars near where you're staying, as they may have deals that can save you some serious cash.


Street Food

Instead of going to restaurants and cafes, consider trying out street food. Street food is a great alternative to dining at sit-down restaurants and cafes. Street vendors often serve up healthier options that are also much cheaper than what you can find in most upscale establishments!


Drink Filtered Tap Water

Don't buy bottled water when you're traveling solo - instead, drink tap water which will save you money and decrease your plastic footprint on the earth. Tip: Get a durable travel water filter bottle.



ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS

Saving money on a solo trip is all about finding free or less expensive activities to fill your time. Doing this will save you some cash while traveling! Always do an online search for attractions before visiting them, so that you aren't deceived by the marketing and know whether it's worth the visit.



Explore Free Attractions

Many cities have their own set of cheap attractions that can be visited without spending any extra cash at all - these often include art galleries, museums, and parks. Don't be afraid to do some research in advance so you aren't disappointed when you get there!

Go for a Walk

It's important for all solo travelers to take time out of their day just to relax, reflect on what has happened that day or week, and enjoy the city without worrying about having plans every second. Taking some time to go for a walk around your city can be very therapeutic, and it's also free! And who knows, you might even enjoy meeting locals. If you need a break from your solo travel experience and want to meet other travellers a free walking tour.


Take Advantage of Free Activities

There are so many great things that you can do as a solo traveler - all you have to do is research what interests you the most. Whether it involves seeing historical monuments or taking in views at the top of tall buildings, there are many free activities that you can do to keep yourself entertained! Walking tours are your cheapest option for sightseeing! There are many walking tour companies that offer free walking tours, allowing you to see the city without spending any extra cash. This is especially great in major cities like New York City where attractions can be expensive.


GETTING AROUND / TRANSPORTATION

You can save money on transportation when traveling in other countries by using public transportation. You can often use the same ticket for buses, trams, trains and subways making it easier to get around your city! However, if you are staying in one place long-term or even short-term rental cars may be beneficial as this allows you much more freedom to explore beyond what is possible with public transportations.


Rail Pass

Consider getting a rail pass if you're planning on taking multiple trains around the world - it will save you lots of time and energy instead of buying each ticket individually! If you choose to rent a rental car, another idea that can help with costs is sharing it with other travelers. You can share a car rental with others by joining the same rideshare website that you found your ride on, or by asking around to see if there are any friends who also need a ride.


Rental Cars

When looking for a rental car, it's important to do your research and compare prices between different companies. A few things you can do to save money on your rental car include booking in advance, checking for discounts (AAA or Expedia Deals) and choosing the smallest car possible.


Parking Fees

One of the best ways to save on parking fees when traveling is to avoid them at all cost (pun intended!). There are many ways to do so, including walking or using public transportation. If you are going short distances, look into park and ride options that might be available in areas around your destination!





INTERNET & PHONE

We know you want to stay connected during your travels, especially as a solo traveler. However, it's important to be mindful of the costs associated with phone plans.


Mobile Data

A great way to avoid paying for phone plans is by using a WiFi-only SIM-card! These cards are typically less expensive than traditional cell phone plans, and they do not require any sort of contract. If you want the freedom of having your own number as well as access to apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, choose a phone that has a dual SIM card.


WiFi Hotspots

If you don't want to splurge on your own phone, then another option is purchasing a WiFi hotspot device! These devices will allow multiple people to access the Internet from anywhere in the range of its signal for about $20 per day. The only downside is that they do not typically offer as fast of speeds as using a SIM card for your phone, but they can be an affordable way to stay connected.


SIM Cards

If you do want the freedom and convenience of having your own phone number without going over budget, then another option is purchasing a SIM card once you arrive at your destination. Many countries have their own prepaid SIM cards with data plans that are much cheaper than what you would typically find in the U.S., so look into this option before heading abroad!


Check Your Phone Plan

If you're traveling internationally, don't forget that your current cell phone plan may not include international access! It will cost extra money if you decide to use this feature during travel.

Another option is purchasing a SIM card for your destination before leaving so that data and service are included in the price of your plan. This can be a more affordable option than paying for service while already traveling, and it's also helpful to consider if you'll need access to data during all parts of your trip - including transportation!


Use Free WiFi Whenever Possible

One way that solo travelers can save on their phone plans is by using free WiFi whenever possible! You can find this by looking for a cafe or restaurant that offers it, asking the hotel you're staying at if they have any options available, and even trying out apps like iExit. This app shows users where to find gas stations with free Wi-Fi so that drivers don't need to purchase access while on the road.


Using Skype Or WhatsApp For Calls & Texts

If you're traveling on a budget but still want to be able to communicate while you're away, then consider using Skype or WhatsApp for calls and texts. Both of these services allow you to use wi-fi networks without needing an international plan with your cell phone company.

Phone Calls

If you're not on a free data plan for your cell phone, avoid using the call feature on your phone while traveling. This will help to eliminate long distances, as well as any fees associated with international calling plans (which are often very high). If you do need to make a call, use Skype or FaceTime instead of paying for minutes. You can also use Google Voice if you want to forward your number so that it rings on multiple devices at once!


Internet On Your Phone

To cut down on expensive data usage, turn off all push notifications from apps like Facebook and Instagram. You'll still be able to check these when you have free Wi-Fi but not while using data. You can also avoid getting "sticker shock" at the hotel or hostel by only bringing your phone if they offer free WiFi - otherwise, use it as little as possible!

If you're planning on traveling for a long period of time and are considering getting a phone plan, consider buying an unlocked phone and using it on the provider of your choice. This will allow you to switch providers if rates go down or new deals come available!




TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance is a must for solo travelers who are concerned about theft, medical emergencies or other problems while they're abroad. The type of traveler you are will also have an impact on your requirements- whether or not you can handle any difficulties that come up, need assistance for certain problems only or want the best possible coverages in one policy.

When you're traveling solo, emergencies can happen much more easily. For example, one of the most usual reasons that individuals choose to purchase travel insurance is because they are concerned about theft or loss of their luggage.

Do you love going off the beaten path, exploring new places, and doing things that are completely out of your comfort zone? This is a great thing for life in general but it also presents some unique risks when you're traveling solo!




Travel Medical Insurance

If you're traveling solo, it's a good idea to have some form of medical insurance just in case. There are a lot more risks when you're going solo because there's nobody else with you, so that means you have to be on the lookout for yourself! Most companies recommend that you purchase medical insurance before you leave, and to make sure that you're familiar with the terms and conditions of your policy.


International Car Insurance

Americans tend to forget that many countries require Americans who are renting cars to also purchase these kinds of coverages in order for them to drive on their roads, but this isn't always necessary elsewhere where laws aren't as strict! Ensure you have both medical aid and car rental coverage before making any major expenses.


Finding The Best Deal for Travel Insurance

There are three key things you should check when purchasing travel insurance: coverage, exclusions, and area of coverage. Each company is different so read everything carefully. The type of traveler you are will also have an impact on your requirements- whether or not you can handle any difficulties that come up, need assistance for certain problems only or want the best possible coverages in one policy. Check out World Nomad Travel Insurance and Geo Blue Travel Insurance to get a good deal for your solo trip.

WORK-TRADE OPPORTUNITIES

The work-trade opportunity, a form of bartering in which someone does a job for free in exchange for a stay at that person's home or business.


Work-trade opportunities are becoming more popular, so check out sites like WWOOF and HelpX if you're interested in this kind of adventure.

You can even find jobs overseas on sites like UpWork or simply ask at your hostel if they know of any work opportunities. It is important to do research before signing up though! Volunteering is also an excellent way to reduce your costs while traveling - be sure to only sign up with reputable organizations and always communicate clearly about the expectations and conditions set forth by both parties.


BONUS SOLO TRAVEL TIPS

In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are some more bonus tips for your cheap solo travel adventure:

  • Your phone can double as your camera, so leave the bulky equipment at home! Just be sure to take extra precautions when traveling abroad with expensive tech like this - there are many stories of people having their phones or cameras stolen from hostel lockers while they were out and about. An extra expense that you definitely don't need!

  • Bring a power converter so you can switch your plugs to fit the outlets in other countries. They might not look familiar, but they will almost always be able to handle 100 volts and 50 or 60 Hz - just make sure that it's compatible with multi-voltage appliances!

  • Pack a universal adapter for any electronics that don't have a power converter.

  • Pack earplugs! They can be lifesavers for people who want to sleep while traveling on planes, trains, buses or hostel dorms.

  • Pack your favorite tea bags and instant coffee for longer trips - it's much cheaper than buying every single flavor you come across!

  • Plan out which hostels you'll be staying at ahead of time. The best way to do this is by using an app like Hostelworld or booking directly through their website so that you can avoid any extra fees that might be tacked on by a third party.

  • If you're going backpacking, consider buying used gear and clothing - it's much cheaper! This is also good for the environment as well since there will be less waste in the world. You'll have the same experience on your trips but won't pay a high price.

  • Finally, remember that it's okay to go alone! Solo travel can be just as fun and rewarding as traveling with your friends or family - sometimes even more so. Don't let the idea of spending time by yourself intimidate you! You may never know how many great people you'll meet and what you'll get up to until you try.


Solo travel may be an excellent method to get to know new places and cultures without the burden of having others around you. You'll meet remarkable personalities, discover more about yourself, figure out what you're capable of when left alone, and have a trip unlike any other. The greatest thing that you can do as a budget solo traveler is preparing ahead of time and research everything you can. The more prepared you are, the better your trip will be!


It's possible to travel cheap solo and enjoy every minute of it - just remember that preparation (and following our tips) is key!

Related P