Become A Budget Travel Hacker

By Christine de la Fuente
Posted on

Travel can be a hefty expense. But don’t let this stop you. Traveling on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean gross hostels or 40 hours transit time. If anything, traveling on a budget leaves more room for creativity and adventure. There are several ways to travel on a budget and keep costs down, both when preparing to travel and whilst you are traveling.

budget travel boat with solo female traveler

establish your budget

What is your financial limit? Before you can plan, know exactly how much you have to spend. Some destinations make traveling on a shoestring a lot more possible than others, so the first step is to establish a budget

determine your priorities

Maybe having a private room is a must instead of a hostel dorm room. Maybe your top priority is getting a scuba or yoga certification. Decide your priorities before you plan your trip, keeping in mind that when you have expensive taste in one area, you will have to sacrifice a little somewhere else. 

Be flexible with dates

The plane ticket to any destination can be one of the costliest investments when traveling. But being flexible with your dates can save you anywhere from a few dollars to a couple of hundred dollars. Consider travelling during low season when everything is cheaper. Not only will you be able to save more but you will also beat the crowds. Also, consider travelling to a smaller or non-hub airport – flights may be cheaper, but the travel may take longer.

Consider an organized tour

I have been on two Meetup Tours with The Solo Female Traveler Network. Organized tours are almost never the cheapest way to travel, afterall you are paying for stress free travel where someone else worries about logistics, research, booking, fixing things when they go wrong, and giving you those built-in friends.

BUT you will know exactly what your costs are. When you book a trip, SoFe Travel give you plenty of time to explore solo knowing they are waiting for you to come back at the end of the day. 

Look for alternate accommodation

budget travel for solo female travel

Hotels are the most popular option, but they are far from the only one. Shared accommodation is what keeps cost down. You sacrifice privacy, but you meet other travelers. Some hostels have curtains on each bunk with your own power outlet and shelf inside. These make a big difference if privacy is important to you. 

Here is a list of alternatives from low to high cost.

  • Couchsurfing – this is a global community that allows you sleep on someone’s couch free of charge by connecting travelers (like you) to people with a couch and a passion for experiencing other cultures. It’s not to be used as a cheap way to travel as much as a cultural experience that happens to be free. Bring a gift for your host and be ready to hang out with the locals. We have our own FB group connecting our members to each other purely for free accommodation.
  • Hostels – These are budget-friendly shared accommodation, which means you don’t necessarily have your own room. However, some hostels allow you to book a private space (if they provide it) but for an extra cost.
  • Airbnb – A unique concept allows you to book your accommodation in someone’s home. There are a variety of kinds of spaces to book such as a private room, an apartment, a house, a mansion, a villa, a treehouse…you name it! You can find some very affordable options with some privacy, but your options will depend on the location you are looking in.
  • Hotels – The most popular accommodation for travelers and tourists. Costs will vary depending on the establishment and the kind of space you want.

TIP: When you book your accommodation make sure you are aware of its location. Locations that are farther away from the center of cities (or outside of the larger cities) will lower the cost. If you want to be closer to the city, it will cost a bit more. Don’t forget that if you are from the center, then you will either need to do extra walking, jump on public transportation, or get taxis. Do some research on the area to see what is available and be sure it is safe and worth the money you will be saving on the hotel.

Booking activities

budget travel for women

Having a tight travel budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to limit your activities and experiences. Many cities provide free walking tours (just be ready to give a well-deserved tip)! It’s a great way to orient yourself to a new place and make friends especially when you are on a budget.

Transportation

When it comes to keeping your own traveling costs down, public transport will always win. Become familiar with your destination’s public transportation system and taking advantage of it. Besides, Uber doesn’t exist everywhere.

Food

Food is one of the best parts of travel, if you ask me. You don’t have to spend an arm and leg to get some delicious meals. Laksa in Malaysia. Falafel in Israel. Dumplings in Vietnam. Noodles in Thailand. All so cheap and totally delicious. Local food is the best for both enjoyment and your wallet.

  • Stay out of the tourist areas when you want to eat. It is common that in these areas the prices of anything are much higher.
  • Consider finding places to eat outside these areas.
  • Join MeetUp groups and/or Couchsurfing events. Many of these events provide food and also fantastic opportunities to meet people (travelers and locals alike).
  • Prepare your own meals. Choose accommodation with a kitchen. Visit a local grocery store and cook something nice for yourself. This will really keep costs down.
food on a budget solo female travel

Be flexible. Be creative. Be open to new experiences.

about the author

Women Solo Travel

Christine De la Fuente

Christine de la Fuente is a creative travel blogger from Los Angeles, California. She enjoys traveling the world solo just as much as she loves traveling the world in LA – “How To Travel The World Without Leaving Los Angeles”. Most of all she travels to visit historical sites, eat good food and experience festivals all around the world.