Travel SOS: Seven ways to save on solo travel

Maggie has asked Leon for tips on saving money on solo travel.

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.

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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 newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find someone who can.

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    disillusioned
    22nd Dec 2018
    8:01am
    Some travel agencies, like Travelabout, have a solo travellers group, where you can travel alone, if you wish (and pay a single supplement), or chum up with someone to share, but you are still travelling in a group of other solo travellers. Not every day is regimented, however, and there are plenty of chances to "do your own thing" on your own or with some other members of the group.I have had one trip recently with them to Melbourne for 5 days, and found it to be a well-organised (for the most part) and pleasant experience. Next year I am planning to do a river cruise through Europe with some of the group, and am looking forward to this experience.
    sunnyOz
    22nd Dec 2018
    1:06pm
    Rubbish...I looked at a so called singles advertised trip. Company boasted they catered for singles. But their so called singles rate was $100 less than for 2 people! Might let singles come along....but still have to pay for 2. I get around that by now house sitting. Am doing a 5 week HS in Broome, minding lovely home with pool. Just pay cheap air fare.
    diamond
    22nd Dec 2018
    1:49pm
    The title of the article is misleading. Solo travel to me is not sharing with someone I don't know or paying exhorbitant costs to have my own room. It is about time single travellers were given a fair price on accommodation. I am seeing a tours cancelled because of lack of numbers . These tours would have gone ahead if singles were given a reasonable price but I and others are not prepared to pay almost the same as a double.
    sunny
    22nd Dec 2018
    4:38pm
    The model dressed in teal green should have spent her money on a decent outfit, decent haircut, and she'd look a lot happier!
    Virginia
    2nd Jan 2019
    4:25pm
    Evergreen regularly do cruises in Europe or Vietnam and trips to South Africa with no single Supplement I have found cruising on small to large ocean cruise ships with lots of Americans on board can be very confronting . Only Aussies and Brits and Jewish people are friendly. Yanks look straight through you... As if I was interested in their fat rude bearded partners.
    But go for it Small river boats can be lots of fun. And there is usually other women in your position.
    I also do tours and different companies charge different percent single occupancy rate.
    I love it and I hate it but its fun and sometimes the best way not to ruin a friendship or relationship.
    A friend and I went to Vietnam and she surprised me by saying "I have my own room " We had been friends for 50 years and we still are.


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