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 rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®).
- Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase).
- Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Get 3 points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases).
- No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, with no annual fee).
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Get 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, plus get access to the Global Lounge Collection). Terms Apply.
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