As some of you may know, I am a frequent SOLO Traveler over 40, I travel on a budget and I love it.
I have traveled solo to Costa Rica, Cuba, Morocco, Canary Islands, Lisbon, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Senegal, Malaga, Thailand to name a few cities and countries. So as you can imagine, I have people ask me all the time How do you travel so much, Ali?
So I want to share some of my basic tips. I can go deeper into some of these and will probably add a video or two just for you all.
OK...so let's talk about you...
So, You want to travel,
see the world or at least a beach or maybe a new city or cool event.
You've asked friends and family, but they can never get off, or money isn't right. or well, they just flake on you and they flake last minute.
You've probably even joined travel groups with the hopes of finding someone(s) who might be a good travel partner, but you are a bit leery about traveling with people you don't know.
you aren't a kid anymore, matter of fact you may be over 40 (like me) you may even feel like you are missing out and let's face it...
TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE!! :)
So what do you do....
you twiddle your thumbs and think maybe you can go by yourself, and almost immediately, you panic at the idea of THE COST and think OMG, can I afford it?????
YES, YES YOU CAN!!
with a little planning and these tips you will be well on your way.
Hey the toughest part... is deciding to embark on traveling SOLO to begin with, right?
Tip #1 - Begin Saving Early
(if you do not already have a travel fund)
* see my tips on Saving in Easiest Savings Tips blog!
Tip #2 - Prep and Research
I book all my own travel, but of course you can get an agent to help you if you want. Just do your own research and ensure the extra fee for the service isn't the cost of another traveler (if your goal is to save money)
Where do you want to GO??
Do you want sand, sun, ice caps, water, volunteer ops, culture, vibrancy, urban, rural, English speaking or not?? the options are endless!!
Sure you can search vlogs and the web for info and that is great because you get some insight on others experiences from those who have already planted their feet.
I have personally read my own blogs as well as Lonely planet, Hey Ciara, Uncornered Market & Oneika the Travller. My short list.Check out Eightydays.me. Another favorite planning tool I use, if I am going to Europe (which is usually my starting point since it is cheap to fly out from there) If you have android you can use the app, if you have the other one (haha) you can use the website. :)
This app is the TRUTH. It has lots of cool features and it plans your routes for you to cities you may not have thought of. Note- trip has to be minimum 8 days. Neat thing is even if you do not book using the tool you can get some great ideas from it.Check out below for the flight and other tools I use to compare and save.
Now let's get into the expenses that cost $$$$
Skyscanner - My Fave Flight tool Search "To Everywhere" to see options and starting cost
This will also show you hotel rates once you select a city
Search by month to see by month in case you have some flexibility
Set price remindersMomondo - Second Fave Flight search tool I use personally. This one is right on with Sky scanner price wise sometime a bit lower. It also has similar monthly price views.
BUT it's not always about the initial low price, right
Be sure to check extra fees
Airlines - Baggage, meals, seats, priority etc.. Those can add up quickly and a $129 One Way flight may end up $100+ more. Check official airline sites, they may be the same as 3rd party sitesCheck sites with Free cancellation on Flights
OneTravel - 72 hour cancellation $0Student Universe - up to 7 days cancellation ($7)Expedia - 4 hour cancellationCheck flights that offer payment plans so you can pay a little at a tme without breaking the bank.
Frontier airlines offers that.Booking.com offers payment plans for vacationsBuses & Trains - This is nice option and is often cheaper not to mention a bit more comfortable at times.
Rome2rio.com, Raileurope, Rail Ninja Bus options
I used busbud.com for my trip from Silves to Lisbon and the cost was $22 for a quick 3 hr trip. It was easy to book and bus was clean and comfortable. And I didn't have to check anything or show ID or anything. check local buses and overnight options. ** this saves on hotel fees if you can travel and sleep comfortably and safely overnight**
Accommodations - When I travel solo which is often, I try to keep my accommodations under $50-60 per night. Trust me you can find some great deals in really nice 3-4 star places. There are some areas where lodging is just more expensive so you may need to save a bit more. Try travel sites that list all types of accommodations. Think about what you want to see during your stay and plan your location according to that along with cost.
Consider Hostels, Apts, Guest houses
One Fave is Airbnb.com. this site is cool. you can book an entire place, house or hotel or share a room or stay in a room.
Another awesome site is Booking.com. They have EVERYTHING! and prices are excellent. Additional bonus now you can book apartments on booking.com. I also get cool discounts based on how many nights I have booked. There is Genius Level 1 and Genius Level 2.
Recent new adds are Couchsurfing.com or Workaway.com. These both provide options for finding locals and staying with them either for no cost or bartering for doing some work around their homes. Workaway has a small fee I believe it's $44 annual to join.
Note- I do not suggest Workaway if you have a really short stay and you are trying to do a lot of site seeing. (this is the reason I opted out on my last trip) and really read the requirements the homeowner is looking for and don't be afraid to ask questions.
Next you wanna think about how you want to get around. If you don't think about it when you book accommodations you could be in for unexpected costs.
Getting Around - Plan in advance. If you can walk around a lot and see things that is the ultimate because not only are you enjoying your visit, you are also getting in some awesome BODY Movement and learning the city.
Uber/Cabify/Lyft/Taxi - download the apps. Of course these are great because you don't have to have cash on you.
Rent a Car - make sure you are comfortable driving, what side of the car and road do they drive on and if it makes more financial sense.
EX. you have a great accommodation, but what you want to see is far. If you notice tours are basically paying for transportation, consider a car.
This is true for Iceland.
An excursion will be over $200 but in essence you are visiting a free location so you are basically paying for the transportation.
Public transportation - (Trains, buses) this is usually the CHEAPEST method of travel and let me add the BEST way (in my opinion) to really get to know the area you are visiting.
Do a little research on whats best and safest and if you have a host or concierge please get their input.
Excursions - do they include pick up and drop off in the price
Google maps offline -app
Maps.me - app
Plan out what you want to see. Here are a couple of sites I use when planning.
Airbnb.com/Experiences - are pretty awesome and often organized by individuals and small groups so you can really feel like you are contributing to individuals in the community directly.
This can be a huge expense if you aren't careful!!
I suggest shopping at a local grocery (get an apt), cooking at your apartment and getting your adult beverages, if your drink, from local stores. It is much cheaper. Then you can plan maybe 1 meal a day out or a light snack while you are site-seeing so you aren't spending $100 a day, which can happen.
Pack water for the day especially if you will be doing lots of walking pack snacks in your back pack
Ask Locals what's the best place to eat at, they typically are less than the touristy spots.
Tip #3 - Travel Off season -This is a big one too. Pay attention to flight sales if you have the flexibility to go whenever. They are usually always cheaper during non peak times. * note each country has different PEAK seasons.
It's nice if you dont want to go when there is a lot of hustle and bustle (ie. people) and normally accommodation and excursion prices are often lower
Use the apps I suggested above to help plan.
Those are a few basics.
Now get to traveling!!
Don't forget tp check out my blog on Easy Savings tips