Traveling solo is becoming much more common. In the past, vacationing alone meant huge expenses and having to save up for years beforehand. Now single travelers are becoming more financially savvy and learning how to cut costs. And it doesn’t always mean staying at a hostel and living off bowls of rice, and airplane cookies. It can also mean great experiences and comfortable accommodations. Here’s a few tips to achieving money savings on a vacation for one.
Accommodations Beyond Hotels
Don’t look only at hotels when considering potential accommodations. There are many options for travelers, and your solo trip ensures that you don’t require a travel partner’s permission to be as thrifty as possible. The obvious solo traveler choice is a Hostel or “Bed and Breakfast” that often have rooms available for single travelers, no minimum nights and based in traditionally local areas. AirBnb offers options for all price levels in local accommodations, even rooms in a hosted space, like the original couch surfing.
Home stays, and non-profits offer placement with locals that include room, food and an immersive experience. Other growing sites offer home sitting, pet sitting, house swaps, and work away spots that include accommodations usually in lieu of pay, or for low fees.
Glamping, yurts, and well kept open camp sites are popping up all over, both domestically and overseas. Some of these camping spots rival 5-star resorts and have the service to match. What’s your travel style? Bed, hammock, tent, luxury spread?
Inquire If Accommodations Include Freebies
Whether you choose a hotel or another place to stay, find out what is included. If you pay slightly more for your room but get free breakfast and wi-fi, it might be worth it. By filling yourself up at a hotel’s free breakfast, you can skip lunch and eat a big meal at supper, saving some green. By staying somewhere that includes these extras, you can save money in the long run. Plus planning out your day, and a few of your meals by supplementing them with a stash of snacks you keep yourself (dried & fresh fruit, nuts, chips, granola bars ) is not only better for your digestive system, but cuts on overall costs. You may even have more for extra happy hour rounds.
Plus hitting up accommodations with wifi you save on travel planning, and cut back on wasted time or ending up somewhere you really didn’t want to go, simple because you didn’t look into the details. Someone’s perfect dream described online, can be your personal hell. Do what you love, not what is supposed to be trendy.
Avoid Single Supplements
Single supplements are one of the factors that have made solo travel a nuisance in the past. Thankfully they are increasingly a thing of the 90’s. Many travel packages, hotels and cruises assume there will be more than one traveler and charge you a fee for traveling alone. There are certain cruises and travel companies that are beginning to work around this, so inquire and make sure you are not throwing money away unnecessarily.
Refer to outfitters that are customizing detailed trips and tours around people who want to travel solo. Get a group rate, enjoy the solo option.
Try to Negotiate
Hotels may claim they have a rate for a certain night or room type, but in reality, it fluctuates depending on who are you talking to. Try to negotiate a good deal and be sure to bring up any travel club memberships you may have with deals you might not be aware of.
Ask if there were last minute cancellations (they want to fill these) or ask if they have a “cash” price. Something that often gets a discount since they are not paying the extra credit card fees for processing, and they can utilize the cash flow.
If the person making your reservation is unwilling to lower the rate, ask to speak to a manager. A manager’s goal is generally to keep all potential guests happy, and they have more leeway on giving discounts. It doesn’t hurt to ask, most things are negotiable, and you’ll probably never see those people again. Make it your trip.
Negotiating is something to remember with other purchases as well. Depending on where your travels take you, you may be able to find better deals than advertised, so just ask. Many times I have found that the online prices are much higher than what it is offered when you simply ask in person. Cut out the middle man.
I suggest always using cash to get better deals, use at smaller shops and locations, including street vendors for food and shopping, plus, you avoid bank fees, international transaction fees and reoccurring ATM fees. I may feel a little riskier, but keeping your wits about you, and keeping small cash amounts on you, always helps.
Eat Out at Lunch Instead of Dinner
Many restaurants offer the same food at lunch as at dinner, only in slightly smaller portions and at a lower cost. By eating out at lunch, you can try the food you wish and pay less. I like to pair snacking, treating myself to a nice meal out, getting adventurous with street food stalls, small plates, and staying well hydrated. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything but can still travel cheap if I desire. Using travel apps to check for last minute deals at restaurants and other local places is a smart way to grab a deal.
The nice thing about traveling alone is you get to make all the decisions. If you had plans but you find a better way to save money, you can cancel and do it your way. Look for things such as “one seat only” deals that are hard for airlines and other companies to get rid of. These types of deals usually need to be snapped up immediately, and work perfectly for the traveler who doesn’t need to run his or her plans by a travel partner.
On vacation, keep your eyes open for deals on eating and other services that you can save money on. Jump on almost full tours, bookings, cab sharing, ride sharing, volunteering, and more.
Traveling solo has a reputation of being more expensive. But with a little creativity and a travelers eye for a good deal, you can save money while enjoying the full experience. The sky is the limit when it comes to saving money when you travel alone.
Looking to let someone else do the travel planning with a transformational expedition? Join us in Bali for the Pages of a Passport retreat.