Ticket for one, please!
Traveling solo has its fair share of ups and downs. If you’re not used to wandering alone, you might feel lonely and homesick at some point. You may miss sharing fun experiences with someone close to you. But after a few journeys alone, you may realize that traveling all by yourself from time to time can be fun, and sometimes, life-changing. You are your own boss.
It is also way different from traveling with a group in terms of travel expenses. You might think it’s more inexpensive as you have to pay accommodation, transportation, food, and other costs for one. However, this isn’t always the case, as most travel expenses are cheaper and more practical when shared.
Whether you’re traveling for work or leisure, single or in a relationship, extroverted or introverted, here are some hacks to enjoy your “me” time without breaking the bank.
1. Snag last minute deals
The good thing about traveling alone is you don’t have to wait for others and consult their schedule before booking. You have the luxury of freely deciding when and where to travel.
Use search tools to look for flights to your chosen destination. If you can’t decide where to travel but you really want to leave the comforts of your home, you can be flexible on your destination, use these tools to hunt for flights to “anywhere”, and choose the places that suit your budget.
2. Google your way to discounts
When opting for savings, Google is a trustworthy companion. Do a quick search with the keywords “discount” or “code.” You might see a number of spas, tours, accommodation, and dining options that offer goods and services at a slashed price.
3. Travel in the off-peak season
Flying during the weekends and Holidays are costly, so it really pays to time your trip wisely. Before booking, research about your destination and see when their off-peak seasons are. Not only will you take advantage of the dropped airline and accommodation prices but you’ll also enjoy manageable tourist crowds
For instance, if you’re traveling to Sydney Australia and stay at one of the beautiful Parramatta Hotels, you may visit around September to November (Spring), and/or around March to May (Fall). Next to convenience and value for money, you’d also enjoy comfortable temperatures during your vacation.
4. Avoid the single supplement
A single supplement fee, which ranges from 100 percent of the standard rate, is a travel industry premium levied on solo travelers whenever they take a room or tour alone. You shouldn’t be paying a penalty for traveling all by yourself, but travel companies think otherwise. According to them, they’re simply passing on the extra cost for single occupancy of a double room.
It’s a good thing that with the solo travel on the rise, many hotel brands are ditching the old school philosophy of the single supplement. You may also avoid them by negotiating with the hotel or tour operator, traveling in the shoulder season where hotels offer better rates for single occupancy, book with companies that specialize in single travels or opt for hostels and simple lodges.
5. Book hostels
Gone are the days when outdated and cramped hostels, with a bunch of basic double-deck beds, are the only practical alternative to pricey hotels. Today, upscale hostels are stepping up their game, rivaling boutique hotels in terms of poshness and cost. Floating hostels, vintage hostels, subway-inspired hostels – they know their gimmick.
Another bonus is the access to programs and activities they offer for low or no cost. There are hostels with weekly cooking classes, wine nights, and scrumptious breakfast buffets, that compete with luxe hotels.
6. Take advantage of free museums and walking tours
Look for cities where you can sneak in and out of the museum without admission fees. You can also take advantage of the interactive walking tours for free or for a very low cost. Guides often operate on a pay-what-you-can basis and the tours are genuine and in-depth.
7. Pack light
Opt for only a carry-on bag containing only the essentials. Not only will it allow you to navigate the city with ease but it’ll also help you steer clear of unnecessary baggage fees.
8. Strategize your meal plans
Before you even think about splurging on a fancy bistro downstreet, ask yourself: Will the satisfaction for tonight mean starvation for the upcoming nights?
Take advantage of the hotels with free breakfast. If you’re full enough, then it can tide you over through lunchtime. You can take advantage of off-peak hours to take late lunch or early dinner deals, happy hour deals, and cheap buffet.
9. Check the exchange rates
Going out of your way to keep an eye on the current economy actually pays. Finding locations with the best exchange rate to cost-of-living ratio helps you stretch your money and experience more.
Your 20 bucks, which can give only you a single pack of potato chips may afford you a hot and filling plate of steak somewhere else. Same goes for other expenses like transportation and accommodation.
10. Share with a solo travel group
Do you want to travel solo but you want to have the savings of a group travel? Don’t you want to feel out of place when sharing the 8-seater buffet table with a family you don’t know? Say no more. Leave the logistics to the professionals by looking for tour companies attracting solo travelers.
Companies like Travendly, Flash Pack, Eldertreks, and Intrepid Travel, connect fellow solo travelers together and match them based on their age. So chances are that you’re going to share expenses (and experiences) with solo travelers of your same age and interests.
Author Bio: Mina Natividad is one of the writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Accommodation, a modern hotel in Western Sydney known for their exceptional accommodation, service, and location, which appeals to travelers in Australia. She has always been passionate about giving in to her wanderlust and collecting mementos from different places.