7 Easy Ways to Make Solo Travel Affordable
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Traveling solo seems like a far-off dream reserved only for hippies and Instagram influencers. But these solo travel bloggers have tactical money tips for any traveler to help you think less about money, and more about exploring your destination.
1. Be flexible
Drew Binsky, who has been to 140 countries and counting, says flexibility is key for cheap travel. “You simply can’t be constrained on exact days and times to travel, because you can get killer cheap flight deals by being flexible,” he writes. For solo travelers, it can be easier to be flexible since there is only one schedule to accommodate.
2. Consider the high and low season
Along with flexibility, be willing to shift destinations based on their off-season. James Kelley of Escaping Abroad has swum with dolphins, turtles, and other wildlife. On these excursions, he warns travelers to try to avoid busy times of the year to get up close and personal with wildlife. Another plus? Traveling in the off-season tends to be cheaper, and travel points or miles may go further, too.
3. When eating out, opt for the deals
Stephanie Raley of Pearls and Passports recommends taking advantage of food and drink offers when dining out. Think happy hours, daily specials and coupons. Pro tip: Use a credit card that gives bonus points toward dining.
4. Choose a travel card carefully
Kate McCulley, the blogger behind Adventurous Kate, recommends selecting a credit card that has no transaction fees if you plan to travel abroad. Berna Anat, who has been living out of a backpack since January 2018, wrote in Young Adventuress that she has used large travel credit card sign-up bonuses to cover tickets to New Zealand and Bali.
But Alex Berger from Virtual Wayfarer reminds travelers to evaluate spending and debt behavior. Understand how your credit card spending and debt can affect rewards, and pick a card that works for you and your money habits.
5. Get creative with accommodations
Sabina Trojanova of Girl vs. Globe uses Hostelworld to find reviews and locations. Cailin O’Neil from Travel Yourself says to consider booking an apartment rental if you'd like a little more space to spread out than a hostel room.
6. Plan your budget
To keep your travels as stress-free as possible, set yourself a realistic budget and stick to it. Keith Jenkins of Velvet Escapes reminds travelers that if you overspend early on in your trip, it can lead to a headache later.
7. Prioritize travel (If that’s how you want to spend your money)
A common theme of these solo travel bloggers is to make travel a priority in your budget. Finding ways to reduce costs in daily life leaves income for travel. Shivya Nath from The Shooting Star writes that she loves most of the work she does, but also says that the work she doesn’t love “pays for exorbitant flights and my student loan.”
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: The top 5 budget-friendly U.S. cities for solo travel How I flew for free: Round trip NYC to India using Chase Ultimate Rewards This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards