You’ve booked your flight, packed your backpack and have carefully planned your itinerary – but have you got enough money? No matter how much you save, travelling can often leave you short of cash – especially if you’re going it alone. Find out how to get the most out of your money while still having an epic solo adventure.
Hostels are the obvious choice for the budget, solo traveller with the option of a cheap bed in a dorm room proving more affordable than a single hotel room. Many offer free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and also host activities and pub crawls, so you can easily get to know people. Be smart and book directly on the hostel’s website: booking sites charge additional fees.
If you’re feeling adventurous (and brave), you could try couch-surfing. Locals offer up a couch or spare room in their home to travellers in exchange for help with the cooking or cleaning (or for nothing if you’re really lucky).
The golden rule of travelling alone is never to pack more than you can safely manage. Whether you’re carrying it on your back or wheeling a suitcase, pulling around unnecessary weight can cause problems.
Firstly, excess weight may mean you have to pay additional baggage fees at the airport, and you don’t want to be eating into your budget before you’ve even left the country. Secondly, a manageable backpack will make life easier on the road. You may find that you can walk a little further instead of taking a taxi or bus when you don’t have far to reach your accommodation.
Plan your meals
Dining alone can be daunting and expensive; instead, buy some groceries from a local supermarket and cook in your hostel. You’ll probably meet other solo travellers doing the same thing, so will be able to make friends while you cook. When you do want to eat out, look out for early bird specials or fixed price menus to avoid a pricey food bill.
The biggest luxury of travelling alone is being able to pick where and when you go. To save money, consider booking your next trip in the off-season when prices are likely to drop. Or even opt for a UK getaway – Toprooms have great deals on unique, original hotels and B&Bs throughout the UK that guarantee value for money.
Whoever said nothing in life comes free has clearly never been a budget traveller. There are loads of freebies out there; you just need to know where to look.
Start at your hostel – does it offer any free meals, internet, or excursions? Check out the national tourist board to see if they provide free, downloadable guides and maps or discounts on entry into local attractions. Better yet, seek out free museums and art galleries where you can spend an entire day walking around within spending a penny. Don’t forget to check out Free Tour, who organise free walking tours in locations around the world.