Sure, canoodling with a significant other on a moonlit beach can be romantic, but not everyone has the luxury of escaping with a partner in tow.
In fact, recent research shows that more and more travelers are choosing to go it alone: Internet searches for “solo travel destinations” have been increasing by more than 60% each year.
Unfortunately, for a lot of these folks, traveling without a partner translates into annoying higher costs—those dreaded single supplements!—but there are ways to avoid paying extra on accommodations, cruises and outfitters. Here’s how to stretch your travel dollars if you plan to head out on your own solo pilgrimage this summer.
Be Strategic About Your Destination
You may feel like the world is your oyster when you’re traveling alone, but it doesn’t mean that you should just hop on a plane to anywhere. One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to travel is that major cities are more expensive than small towns.
While it’s true that luxury hotels and high-end restaurants in big metropolises carry steep price tags, a major city itself can actually be an economical choice for a solo traveler, says Sarah Schlichter, senior editor at IndependentTraveler.com.
For starters, you can use public transportation and avoid having to rent a car—a difference that can save hundreds of dollars. Cities also tend to have a broader range of lodging options, with some hotels even offering singles-friendly rooms.
At The Pod Hotel, in Manhattan, you can get a room with a twin bed for as little as $159, which is close to half of what you’d pay for a standard double room in the city. Similarly, the Yotel hotel chain—with locations in New York, London and Amsterdam—offers compact rooms (we’re talking 75-170 square feet depending on location) starting at $149 per night.
Cities are prime spots for affordable entertainment, too. Sure, you can drop $100+ on tickets to a Broadway show, but you can also take advantage of the many gratis things to do, like free admission days at art museums and botanical gardens.
Skip the High-Priced Hotel
When it comes to saving money on vacation, it can be tough for solo travelers to score good hotel deals for the simple reason that they charge per room, not per person. But rather than seek out the cheapest (and often sketchiest) pick, consider bypassing the hotel altogether, suggests Schlichter.
“Airbnb.com is a great option because you can rent anything from a one bedroom to an entire house,” she says. The prices vary, of course, but Schlichter has found single rooms in major destinations for as little as $65 a night—far less than what you’d pay at a hotel. Hostels are another alternative, especially if you book with such reputable chains as HI Hostels or boutique designer options, like South Beach Hostel in Miami.