Five tips to make solo travelling more affordable

These will help you return with a heart full of memories and a bank account that won’t stress you out.

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.

Published: 2 September 2022, 3:21 PM

As we see international travel making its return, wandering to a new country may be an enthralling thought for many.

When it comes to travelling, most may choose to travel in a big group as it offers companionship, safety and most importantly, allows everyone to chip in with the expenses.

Some may balk at the idea of travelling alone, as it means that they have to fork out for all the expenses on their own and run the risk of burning a hole in their pockets. But travelling alone can still be done on a budget, if planned right.

If you’re looking to make your solo travel plans anytime soon, here are five tips to help to cut down your expenses.

1. Opt for hostels or homestays instead of hotels

Accommodation is likely to be the most expensive, especially if you want to sleep comfortably.  

Instead of staying at a hotel or a luxury villa, book your accommodation at hostels or homestays that can be easily found on Airbnb. From there, a quick search on Google or various websites such as Hostelworld and Agoda will give you the best deals, sometimes at prices as low as $5 a night depending on the destination that you’re travelling to.


Staying in social accommodation such as hostels or homestays also increases the probability of meeting other solo travellers, making your travel experience more exciting. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@HOSTELWORLD


First-time solo travellers might feel sceptical or uncomfortable sleeping in a shared dorm-style hostel. However, many hostels provide a limited number of private rooms with private bathrooms, similar to a hotel, but at a fraction of the price.

Those feeling more adventurous can even try Couchsurfing – a platform that allows travellers to work in exchange for free accommodation.


Couchsurfing is a great option for solo travellers on a tight budget. The tasks that can be done vary and is up for discussion between the traveller and the host. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@COUCHSURFING


As the platform functions in a way that is based on trust and instincts, it is important to read the reviews of other profiles to ensure that their account is legitimate. 

Always have a backup plan in mind, so that you have an alternative accommodation to consider if the host has misrepresented their home or makes you feel uncomfortable. 

2. Compare transportation prices beforehand

Compare the cost between taxis and car rentals, buses and trains to find the most common mode of transportation in the city that you’re headed to.

If you’re travelling to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, which have the highest number of motorcyclists in the world, try opting for a motorbike as you can rent it at a reasonable price.


Be aware that different countries have different transport systems, so do your research before arriving at your destination. PHOTO CREDIT: SPENCER SEMBRAT VIA UNSPLASH


Do keep in mind that most countries require proof of an international driving permit before travellers can rent a motorbike. 

If riding a motorcycle on your own is out of your comfort zone, then consider sharing a ride with other travellers you meet along the way.


3. Strategise your meals

Always research hostel and homestay policies ahead of time to find out if they provide free breakfast. As someone currently travelling solo, I gravitate toward accommodations that offer free breakfasts to make the most out of every buck.


Sometimes, the breakfasts can be so filling that I skip lunch entirely and head straight for dinner. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


Otherwise, you could also grab simple breakfasts such as a sandwich, pastry or a granola bar at the nearest convenience store. 

If you’re travelling on a tight budget, avoid grabbing an Instagrammable avocado toast for brunch as it will cost upwards of $7, excluding taxes, at most trendy cafes.


If you can’t finish your breakfast or lunch, consider keeping it in a reusable container and saving it for dinner. PHOTO CREDIT: KATE TRIFO VIA UNSPLASH


Even though it’s tempting to splurge on three nice meals a day, planning and being strategic about which meals you splurge on during the day will help you stay within your budget.

4. Research on affordable tourist attractions

When it comes to activities, I recommend Airbnb Experiences as it offers local tours and events at a lower price than travel agencies. The platform also allows you to make friends with a local who then takes you on a tour of the area. 

For those planning a trip to Europe or the United States of America, where walking tours are common, consider taking free walking tours instead of buying tickets through a tour company.

However, do keep in mind that while the tour is free, travellers are expected to tip the tour guide as a token of appreciation. 


Walking tours are a great way to save money when travelling on a budget, especially if you want to visit some of the more expensive cities in Europe. PHOTO CREDIT: DANIEL TONG VIA UNSPLASH


For paid activities, try booking it in advance as early bird discounts are usually available.

5. Sign up for activities with other travellers

Entertainment costs can vary widely depending on your lifestyle and interests. When planning activities such as kayaking, skiing, or water-rafting, doing it in a group with other travellers as may get you discounted prices.


Doing activities in a group not only cuts down your cost as a solo traveller, but it also helps you forge memories with other travellers. PHOTO CREDIT: ANGGA INDRATAMA VIA UNSPLASH


For solo female travellers who enjoy spending nights out at a club, visiting on ladies’ night may entitle you to free entry and two hours worth of free drinks. Make sure to research any promotions beforehand so as to make sure that you’re not spending unnecessarily on drinks. 

Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean not spending at all, but spending wisely and choosing where you would allow yourself to splurge. 

Once you’ve done your homework and saved what you can, focus on making memories as that will be the highlight of your trip!

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