Travel Tips

Joel Callen

How to save money when travelling solo

How to save money when travelling solo

It seems unfair that if you travel alone you can end up paying twice as much. Single surcharges, set room prices and taking taxis can all add up and make solo travel an unappealing prospect. But it doesn’t have to be so. These are our top tips for saving money when you’re on your own.

Buddy up

If you’re taking an organised tour or a cruise, you’ll need to avoid the dreaded single supplement; this can add anywhere from 25 per cent to 100 per cent to the rate. If you don’t mind sharing, many companies offer roommate matching where they will pair you with another traveller of the same sex and save you both some cash. Many will also do their best to match you with someone similar to you in age and language, so you’re more like to get on. G Adventures, Intrepid Traveller and Holland America Line are just some that offer this service, so do your research and see what suits you.

Be flexible

If you don’t mind booking at the last minute or aren’t too set on a destination, some tour companies will waive the single supplement if they still have empty spots close to departure. It’s unlikely that they will publish these discounts on their website, so call the company directly and see if they have any spots available at a discounted rate. Let the deal dictate your destination – you might discover a fantastic place you’d never even thought of.

Get the room right

Most hotels have a set room rate regardless of how many guests are staying, which can mean singles pay double the cost. Airbnb is a great option for solo travellers – you can rent a room in someone’s house for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room, and you’ll also get to mix with the locals. Backpacker hostels are also real moneysavers. We’re not suggesting you share a dormitory, but they often have decent single rooms available for a very reasonable rate (though you may have to share a bathroom). You probably won’t be spending much time in you’re room as you’ll be out exploring, so as long as it’s clean and safe there’s no need to spend a fortune.

Related link: 13 joys of travelling solo

Share the ride

If you are taking a taxi or car service from your hotel to the airport, ask at the front desk if anyone else has requested one for the same time. You can see if they are willing to share and split the bill. Or if you hear someone at baggage claim or in the taxi line mention your hotel, be bold and ask if you can join them.

Food for thought

Food can be a big expense when you’re on the road, but you also don’t want to miss out on trying delicious local cuisine. In many countries (especially in Asia) street stalls offer tasty food at a fraction of the price of a restaurant. In Europe solo diners can often sit at the bar instead of a table and choose from a cheaper menu. Produce markets and supermarkets are a great option for putting together a cheap meal – make yourself a picnic and head to a sunny park to enjoy it.

Find a deal

Discount sites like Groupon or Living Social offer deals on everything from meals and spa treatments to tours and concerts. Sign up to the relevant site for the city you’re visiting a few weeks before you go and you could be able to nab yourself some great experiences at a fraction of the cost.

Related links:

How to survive a long-haul flight

The world’s best cities for solo travellers

9 things you don’t know about cruises