As anyone who’s gotten out of their comfort zone can tell you, taking a trip alone can be a life-changing and thrilling way to experience a new destination. Solo travel continues to grow in popularity. There are many easy travel hacks you can implement to make your solo trip more enjoyable. Here are just a few.
Don’t Check a Bag
Aside from saving you money and avoiding luggage fees, the lighter you travel the more free you’ll feel. All you need to be nimble and safe is a travel backpack and (if you must) a day pack. Don’t take our word for it. Look around the Internet – seasoned travelers skip the checked bags. You’ll move more quickly through the airport (no baggage claim for you) and get your vacation started faster. And if you don’t check a bag, the airlines can’t lose your bag. Simple!
Skip Restaurants (mostly)
Sure, you’ll want to splash out here and there on a dinner – and if you’re a gourmand in Italy or France you might have specific dining establishments on your must-do list. But – for the rest of us – you can get just as much of a f eel for a city by dipping into their groceries. You’ll also get a real “do as the Romans do” vibe by grabbing a bottle of wine, some bread and cheese – and then heading to a popular park. You can’t go wrong and you’ll save so much on your budget!
Keep Your Destination Airport Flexible
When planning a multi-country trip, a lot of people make the obvious choice and fly into London’s Heathrow or Paris’ Charles de Galle airports. Sometimes this can get you the cheapest airfare, but it’s always worth looking into other airports. If you don’t need to be in one city by a specific date, you’re better served by being flexible on the inbound and outbound flights home and piecing together local flights for the rest of your itinerary. Which leads to our next point…
Use Local, Low-Cost Airlines When it Makes Sense
Sure – if you’re flying to Europe in the height of summer, you might feel more comfortable mapping out the whole trip before you leave home and paying for all of your flights in advance. You can also save money by using local, low-cost airlines to get you around the continent once you’re on the ground. It also gives you greater flexibility. If you make some friends in Barcelona and decide to go with them to a festival in Croatia, it’s much easier to make that plan happen if you haven’t already bought a flight to Finland on those dates.
Take the Free City Tour
Most of the time, a free city tour is a great way to get the lay of the land absolutely free! The local guides are generally extremely knowledgeable, and can help you orient yourself quickly, especially when you have limited time in a new destination. One caveat – tip your guide well! They depend on tips and it’s just good manners.
Sleep on the Train
To save on accommodation costs, you can kill two birds with one stone and take a night train, flight or bus ride. No need to pay for a hotel, and it gets you from point A to point B while you snooze.
Leverage Your Local Contacts for a Place to Stay
The ultimate cheap place to stay is with friends or friends of friends. If you’re on a tight budget, this is the best solution. Barring a free place to stay, many hostels now offer private or semi-private rooms so you don’t have to find yourself in a dorm room. They even have family rooms in many hostels. You may not have an en suite bathroom, but you’ll almost always get breakfast included and a diverse, convivial crowd of folks with which to dine.
Pass on Seat Selection
Another perk of solo budget travel – if you don’t have a travel buddy you can skip paying extra for a specific seat on the plane. Buy the discount fare and save the “seat” money for a different use.
Make the Most of Layovers
When faced with a daunting long layover, lean into that business and make a fun day trip out of it. For example, if I’m traveling somewhere and I know I have a minimum of a 6 layover, sometimes I look for an overnight or a longer layover in that city. Especially if it’s somewhere I haven’t been before, it’s a chance for another adventure.
Search Often for Flights
CheapAir.com has a great tool on our site called My Searches. In My Searches you can see which searches you’ve done in the past and keep track of your flight research in one simple place.
One more thing you should know. When you book a flight with CheapAir, you have a bit of price protection built in with our Price Drop Payback feature. After you book, if your flight goes down we will give you a credit for future travel. In this way, you can purchase with peace of mind.