Saving money on solo travel

Maggie wants to travel alone next year but is afraid she won’t have enough money to spoil herself. So, she’s asked Leon for some tips on saving money on solo travel.


Q. Maggie
I’d really like to try travelling alone next year. My husband has given me a green light to go somewhere by myself because he wants to do a fishing trip with his son (I hate fishing). I’m excited to try solo travel, but I hear it can be expensive. Do you have any tips for doing it cheaper?

A. First, congratulations on your decision to try solo travel. It really is a life-changing experience and it will give you the opportunity to see what you want to see at the pace you want to see it.

We’re often asked about the pros and cons of travelling solo, as well as safe solo destinations, how to save money on solo travel and for tips on how to do it better. As a result, we have an abundance of resources for solo travellers on our website.

As to your question about savings: the first issue will be choosing a safe and affordable destination. Bulgaria, Japan, New Zealand, Cambodia and Vietnam immediately spring to mind. I can personally say that Vietnam is safe and cheap – and I mean cheap. Accommodation, food and drink cost very little and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affordable destination that offers so much in such a compact area.

Many people say Cambodia is even cheaper, but I’m not sure it is as safe. Although, if you stick to the more populated parts of the country, you will enjoy the hospitality that is making this country such a popular destination for budget travellers.

Maybe cruising is on your radar. The only problem is that most cruise lines charge a singles supplement. Still, some – such as Avalon Waterways and Scenic Cruises – regularly offer special deals that forgo such charges, and a few even have single berth cabins but in limited numbers. Cruise Critic has also put together a list of cruise lines that specialise in solo cruise travel, and you could also read this informative piece about avoiding the solo supplement.

Sometimes a tour is the best way to see the best of a destination and save money at the same time. I know it’s not technically solo travel, but joining a tour gives you the opportunity to meet new people, stay protected, and enjoy the benefit of knowledgeable guides and locals. There are even tour companies that specialise in group tours for solo travellers. Our friend Kay O’Sullivan, who is an intrepid solo traveller, also has some great tips for female solo travellers, and suggests a tour group that could help you.

If you really want to save money, and so long as your husband is also going to be out of your house, you could try houseswapping, or maybe even look up couchsurfing in your preferred destination.

While saving money is high on your agenda, saving time for making new relationships is also worth more than gold, so I suggest reading up on these solo travel conversations starters. And remember, stay safe when you travel, with Debbie’s tips on solo safety. I’ve also created a 15-minute solo travel crash course that I shared with David Harris on A Senior Moment or Two earlier this year. You might find it helpful.

If you follow these tips, I can say that you’ll have an amazing holiday and you will come back a different person. Good luck!

Do you have any solo travel tips for Maggie?

If you have a Travel SOS question, send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find someone who can.

Related articles:
Common solo travel dilemmas
Tips for solo women on the road
Five perfect solo stopovers

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