Traveling solo is one of the best experiences in the entire world. You get to choose when and where and for how long. You aren’t waiting on anyone, can eat anywhere you want, and spend as little or as much as you want. The freedom that comes with solo traveling is unbelievable and once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never be the same.
While freedom is a great aspect of solo travel, many tend to shy away from it because they’re scared or think it costs too much. I can tell you that with the right amount of research and advice, traveling on your own can be done quite cheap. Read below some tips I’ve come up with to help you travel solo on a small budget.
Stay at a hostel
Hostels provide cheap accommodation everywhere in the world. You share a room with other people depending on the room you book. This is not only a budget option, but a great way to meet other travelers. Saving money on accommodation allows you to spend your money on other activities or a nice meal out. Plus, a lot of hostels offer free breakfast, tea and coffee.
Hostels and sites like Airbnb (where you can rent out people’s flats, rooms, etc.) usually are equipped with a full kitchen. Preparing your meals, even if it’s just lunch or snacks cuts your budget big time. Plus, you can cook a lot healthier than eating out at a restaurant for every meal.
Use the six block rule
I got this tip from another traveler. If you’re going to travel somewhere touristy like Paris or Amsterdam, use the six block rule. This means, do not eat within six blocks from where you’re staying. Take a walk and see a new part of town and eat somewhere that looks more like a local spot rather than buzzing with tourists. You’ll usually get better food at a way better price. I did this in Amsterdam and had the best pizza of my life for a fraction of the price it would have been in the city centre.
Museum free days
Majority of museums have free days to the public. They usually fall on the first Sunday or Tuesday of the month, so if you’re looking to visit some museums, you can plan accordingly. You can even try to plan and see more than one museum in one day! San Francisco is a fantastic city that honours free days on the 1st Sunday of each month.
Research free activities
Head to Google and type in ‘free activities in…’ and the website will pop out hundreds of blogs, websites, and tourism pages for you to research. Write down a list of your favourite free activities and put that in your trip. Every time I do this, I feel so much better about my trip’s finances as I know I’m going to be saving money, but not skipping out on activities.
Walk everywhere. Not only will you save your money on public transportation, you’re getting exercise! I walk over 10 kilometres a day when I’m traveling. I want to explore much more than what is on the tourist trail. I’ve found numerous hidden beaches, beautiful alleys filled with shops, bookstores, boutiques and cafes and even new friends all by walking. I also think it gives you a better sense of the place by seeing it on foot.
Book a flight on a Tuesday
I can’t tell you the exact math behind this, but Tuesday afternoon is a great time to book a flight. Also, leave during the week on your trip as it will be cheaper. Weekend flights will always be the most expensive. Buying one way tickets is also another way to save money. I’ve bought flights round-trip and then tried to do it one-way each way and they turned out to be cheaper! With flights as well, make sure you are checking at least three different sites for pricing as they differ. Great sites to check out are skyscanner.com, oneworldtravel.com and easyjet.com all provide cheap airfare and prices.
If your trip involves going to more than one place, check out their bus routes. Buses do take longer, but they also provide a huge discount compared to flying and sometimes even trains. I don’t know how many times I’ve taken a bus for less than $15. And that’s not just across London. That’s from Manchester all the way to Newcastle or Newcastle to London. Same goes everywhere else in the world. Buses are cheap. Plug in your iPod, read, sleep or check out the scenery. Buses are a great option to see this world!