18 EPIC Solo Travel Hacks To Travel Cheaper & Longer


Many people, like myself, enjoy solo traveling without the help of an organized tour. We simply purchase a plane ticket and the first night at a hotel, and that’s it. Often, this is the only planning that some of us do before we go on our solo traveling journey. Some people think we are crazy. And well, maybe you are a little correct. I guess I am addicted to the thrill of it all. Call me strange if you must.

Today I want to give you several travel hacks that will help you travel cheaper and longer during your solo trip, and also, share a couple of mind-boggling example results (bottom of the article). Many of these tips can be used in all types of solo travel. However, they are particularly helpful for those who are solo traveling without any type of guided tour. It all boils down to saving money by spending less money! Get ready to be shocked. Let’s get started. 

A local girl invited me on a day-trip all over rural Cambodia.

List of 18 Very Important Travel Hacks To Travel Cheaper & Longer

  1. Cheap flights
  2. Eat Like a Local
  3. Find Free Activities
  4. House / Babysit Animals
  5. Check Local Tourism Board for Coupons
  6. Meet Locals, They Will Help You
  7. Take a Night Bus/Train
  8. Skip Lunch?
  9. Take Local Transportation
  10. Choose a Cheap Country
  11. Cheapest Hotels/Hostels
  12. Choose The Right Season
  13. Choose a Good Bank
  14. Negotiate Prices
  15. Avoid Scams
  16. Earn Money While Traveling
  17. Volunteer
  18. Travel Insurance

1) Cheap flights

One of the most expensive aspects of solo traveling, is buying a plane ticket. This can range anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. We can all agree that if we save money by purchasing a cheaper plane ticket, then we can take the remaining money and make our trip last longer, or at least have more fun. 

One of the keys to purchasing a ticket that is cheap, is to be flexible on time. Most people have a specific week that they need to take a vacation on, and that is the major problem. If you have the flexibility to search for the cheapest ticket within a 2-month time range, then you win!

There are very few websites that allow you to search based on time flexibility. Why? Because the airline companies and agencies want to show you the most expensive plane tickets available simply because that increases their profit margin considerably. Here are my recommendations:

  • Google Flights This is my go-to website. I search for the city I will be flying out of, and I also search for prices on the potential cities that I will be landing in. There are usually multiple different airports to choose from. I try to find the cheapest airport to land in. Secondly, I do a search based on a 2-month time frame. I do not search for one specific day. Google flights make this process so easy. 
  • DFC or SCF – If you sign up and subscribe to this site, they will send you messages and alert you when there is a particularly amazing deal, such as a Mistake Fare. Learn how to take advantage of Mistake Fares. Basically, you can choose which airport you would like the amazing deals from. This way, you do not need to do searches every couple of hours to find recently discounted flights. This company does this activity for you and sends you a message when they find an amazing deal!
  • SurfShark VPN – Did you know that when you are booking a flight through an airline company, they track your search history and know a ton of information about you? You need to learn how you can find cheap flights with a VPN. Basically, they can increase the price of your plane ticket based on the country you are searching from, your past search history, or a whole list of other things. They call it Dynamic Pricing. It’s creepy and a little scary. You can fight back by using a VPN to save money.
  • AW Search Engine – If you embrace particularly long layovers (Stopovers), you can often hang out in another country for 1-3 days at no extra expense. And in some cases, it will be cheaper if you do! Crazy, right? Learn more about how to find mistake fares.

By using a trusted VPN, you can trick the airline companies into thinking that you are in a different country, generally a third world country, and the prices are sometimes cheaper. The airline companies know to increase the price when you are purchasing the ticket from a first world country because they know that you have more money to spend. Use a VPN, and trick the airline companies into giving you a cheaper ticket. 

The price you pay for a VPN is nothing compared to how much money you can save. After talking to SurfShark they offered to give a deep discount the cost of the VPN for anyone reading this article. Be sure to use the discount code ‘edgesofearth’. 

I met a local man who invited me to go explore with him for the day without paying for a tour. Dhanushkodi, India.

2) Eat Like a Local

Grocery Stores

Obviously eating at a restaurant is much more convenient and delicious. But when you shop for food at grocery stores, you can save a considerable amount of money. Restaurants, in general, aren’t cheap – especially when you add up the total cost of how much you spent at restaurants in one given week.

Cook When Possible

After you have purchased food from the grocery store, you can take it back to your hotel, room, or apartment, and cook it yourself. It is a way to save a considerable amount of money every week. If cooking in a hotel room is not an option, purchase fresh fruits or other items that do not need to be cooked. This is still considerably cheaper than going to a restaurant every day. Find a balance that works for you.

3) Free Activities

When you are ready to go out and have some fun, there are always free activities in every country. This could be walking through a park and meeting local people, this could be going swimming in the local sea, this could be going for a long walk in a village, the list goes on. There are a couple of websites that help identify free activities in an area. 

  • Google – Just do a quick Google search: “Free things to do in ____.” I’m sure someone has written a whole blog post about it.
  • Meetup.com – This is a cool website that will allow you to see if there are any interesting groups of people or even events happening in the location that you are/will be traveling in. It’s a great way to meet new friends and try new activities!
  • Couchsurfing.com – This is also an amazing website that will help connect you to local people. Sometimes there are organized activities listed on this website as well. If not, you can also message local people in the area and they can usually provide more information about free activities, or give you some ideas.

4) House / Babysit Animals

A wonderful way to save a lot of money is by not renting hotel rooms. If you would be interested in simply house-sitting, you’re in the right place. There is a website where people want to go on vacation but they do not want to leave their pets at home alone, or, they don’t want to leave their house unattended. That’s where you come in. 

You simply travel to their house and stay in their house for a predetermined length of time. You are not paid to house-sit, however, you stay in their house for free in a country that you have always wanted to visit! And in your free time, you can go and travel around the local area and do anything you want.

It’s an absolutely wonderful way to save money and make your trip last longer. Basically, you pay a one-time annual fee and you have access to the entire list of house-sitting opportunities. You can learn more here.

5) Check Local Tourism Board

Sometimes if you travel to a tourist area, there is a local tourist board that you can visit. Inside that tourist office, there are sometimes pamphlets with discount coupons inside. Sometimes these coupons are small, sometimes they are significant and will save you a considerable amount of money – especially if you plan on doing a lot of things in the local area.

This kind man in China helped me with police paperwork in ShenZhen, China. Afterward, he took me out to dinner with his wife. We spoke through our phone translators. They couldn’t speak a word of English.

6) Meet Locals

Meeting locals is a wonderful way to enjoy your time in a country, as well as, save money. How can you save money by meeting local people? Well, they are often friendly and give you advice. They will often tell you about things that you were not aware of. Things like convenience, cheaper hotels, cheaper restaurants, cheaper forms of transportation, free things to do in the area, the list goes on. 

Meeting local people if it’s a wonderful way to save money. You can meet people either online or offline. Both are highly effective. I highly recommend that you read this article about How To Meet Local People While Traveling. This will give you a deep insight into how to do this effectively. 

Sometimes when meeting local people through Couchsurfing.com, the website that I just mentioned above, they will offer you to stay in their home. This, depending on how long you say, can be a financial game-changer!

7) Take a Night Bus/Train

If you are going from city to city or town to town, one way to save on hotel charges is to take a night bus or a night train. Why? Because you can sleep on the bus/train and when you arrive at your destination in the morning you have had enough rest, and you can start traveling again. You will save money by not renting a hotel room during the night. In addition, you save time. If you would have traveled during the day, you would have rented a hotel when you arrived in the new city at night, and, you would have wasted a whole day of your trip riding on a train or a bus. Travel long distances at night and you will save money! 

8) Skip Lunch?

Huh?! Just kidding. I am only making sure you are still awake and actually reading this article 🙂 It’s long, I know. Hopefully you are learning something..

9) Take Local Transportation

Instead of being like a regular tourist and hiring an expensive taxi to take you everywhere, simply learn how to take public transportation. Sometimes this is a bit daunting, especially if the country you are in, in general, does not speak English.

You can learn how to use public transportation by searching for a blog post on the Internet, or, meeting local people who may explain it to you in English and help you understand the basics of traveling in their country. When you get used to traveling like a local, you’ll be shocked to see how much money you have saved. Seriously.

I often rode the local bus system in Vietnam.

10) Choose a Cheap Country

Along with purchasing a cheap plane ticket, one of the best ways to save money is to visit a cheap country. This Cost of Living Index will let you know which countries are cheaper or more expensive than your own. It provides great insight and allows you to compare and contrast.

The cheaper the country that you are planning to visit, the longer your money will last. But keep in mind, usually the cheaper a country is, the less developed it is. The less developed a country is, the more difficult it is to get around and explore. Don’t take this statement lightly. If you are a first-time Solo Traveler, it may be best to pick an intermediate country. But, obviously, the choice is yours.

11) Cheapest Hotels/Hostels

Accommodation is one of the most expensive parts of traveling. The keys to saving money are finding the cheapest hotel rooms as possible, or staying at hostels and sharing rooms with other people. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Here are a couple of my favorite websites that I have used to save a considerable amount of money over the years.

  • Agoda – This website often has great deals on hotels around the world.
  • Hostel World – This is my go-to website when I am searching for a hostel in a particular touristic area
  • Hotels –  Basically the mother of all hotel websites.
  • Airbnb – This is a hotel alternative. This website allows you to rent a room/house from local people rather than an actual hotel. 

12) Choose The Right Season

Depending on which country you visit and how touristic it is, the prices of visiting these areas fluctuate based on the season. There are peak seasons where a lot of tourists visit, and there are slow seasons. The key is to visit a country or an area when it is in the offseason. Generally, hotels are not fully booked, restaurants are not completely packed, and because of this, prices are generally lower.

13) Choose a Good Bank

Personally, I use a bank called Charles Schwab. This is because I’m not charged extra fees by using the ATMs around the world. Almost every other bank in existence charges fees for traveling abroad and withdrawing money from the ATM. This is the fundamental reason that I chose this Bank.

Exploring somewhere in Cambodia.

14) Negotiate Prices

There are many countries that you may visit in which haggling and negotiating the prices of items you wish to buy, is common. Now personally, I absolutely hate negotiation. If the price is too high, then I simply smile, say thank you. and then walk away. I personally refuse to negotiate. However, if you enjoy negotiation – great! This is a wonderful way to save money! 

Generally, people know that you are a tourist, and they will increase the price considerably. Often people try to take advantage of you which is quite frustrating. Be aware that this is common practice in so many countries and places that you will visit. Research before you go. The lower you are able to haggle the price, the more money you will save.

15) Avoid Scams

Scams are literally everywhere in every country that you will visit. Generally, scams are more prevalent within tourist areas. But, scams can also be in villages where tourists don’t exist – but it’s not normal. The best way to avoid scams is to do research about common scams in a particular country before you go. 

What’s interesting to me is that every country has unique scams. There really isn’t one particular universal scam in every country. People around the world think differently and, therefore, they will come up with completely different scams.

So be sure to do research about the local scams in the specific country that you plan on visiting before you arrive. Often, the scams start at the airport. So make sure you are prepared before you leave for your destination.

A couple locals from rural Bangladesh invited me on a boat ride.

16) Earn Money While Traveling

One obvious way to extend your travel is to simply earn income while you are traveling. There’s obviously different tax legalities and Visa legalities based on what country you are in and what country you are from.

Doing work while in another country can become a bit of a headache, legally speaking. So, do your research before you go. But, if you figure it all out and make it happen, earning an income while on the road can stretch out your travels for a considerably long amount of time! Maybe indefinitely!

17) Volunteer

As I said before, hospitality is one of the most expensive parts of traveling. Volunteering around the world allows you to bypass that expense. Generally, if you look at the websites below, there are lists of volunteering opportunities throughout the world.

If you volunteer at one of them, usually, food and hospitality are automatically provided. You will not be paid for your volunteering, but you will save money by simply not spending money. Some of these opportunities are absolutely phenomenal and will create memories of a lifetime!

  • WorkAway –  Look at a giant list of volunteering opportunities around the world. If you stay and volunteer somewhere, generally, you are provided with three food, and a place to sleep.
  • WorldPackers – Another giant list of amazing volunteering opportunities throughout the world.
  • WWOOF – Live, learn, and help out on organic farms around the world.
1, 2, 3, Cheers! I helped out at a school in rural Vietnam, and we celebrated.

18) Travel Insurance

Travel insurance sounds more like an expenditure rather than a way to save money. In a way, you are correct. But think about if you don’t have travel insurance, and you are in a taxi going to your next location when suddenly a car behind you crashes into you and injures your neck. You are rushed to the local emergency room in an ambulance.

Liability may not be like it is in the west. The person who crashed into the back of your car may not be held accountable for his actions and then guess who is stuck with an incredibly high medical bill? You. You either are required to pay cash for this or use your travel insurance. This is why Travel Insurance is important.

Travel Insurance prices and policies are different – there are so many factors. There is a very small list of companies that I recommend. If you are currently unsure about which company to choose, be sure to check out my Travel Insurance recommendations.

These Solo Travel Travel Hacks Are HIGHLY Effective!

The travel hacks that I have listed above are among some of the most effective ways to save money while solo traveling, that exists today. It took me a long time to gather the information and create this post. 

I will now give you two of my most extreme examples of how effective these travel hacks are. But, won’t tell you which specific country I was in because it is irrelevant to the equation. 

Example 1) I have traveled in a country for a little bit more than a year and I spent a grand total of $750 USD for the entire trip, And that also included my plane ticket to the country. 

Example 2) In a separate story, I spent six months in a very expensive city on the other side of the world, and my total expenditure was less than $300 USD.

How are these examples even remotely possible? I simply followed the travel hacks that I listed in this article. Believe me, they work. Which ones did I use? Almost all of them.

Keep in mind, I do not expect everybody to have these types of results. In fact, I don’t expect most people to get anywhere close to those numbers. Remember, I’m an expert at solo traveling. I’ve done this for awhile…I know the ins-and-outs of traveling the world long-term as cheap as possible. After the first month or so of traveling the world, I can promise you that your skills will increase dramatically. 

Exploring a city in China

You Don’t Have To Travel Cheaper

In addition, it is not required that you travel in this way. If you have a little bit of extra money to throw around and enjoy yourself more, great! Stay inside a slightly more beautiful hotel, go to the slightly more fancy restaurant, take a direct taxi instead of a crowded bus. That’s wonderful! 

There’s nothing wrong with traveling like a normal tourist. There are times when I have been traveling the world that I have also done the same thing. 

I do not travel to every country with the intention to be as cheap as possible. Nope. I can remember once I spent $22 on a single small beer. That definitely breaks all the rules from above :). Other times, I have spent almost $1,000 in just a couple weeks. I suppose it depends a bit on my mood.

I have developed this skill and I am simply sharing it with you. Not everybody is blessed with a large bank account. Some people have an addiction to traveling, like me, but unfortunately they don’t have a lot of money to make everything happen. I hope you have found this information to be very helpful! 

Don’t forget to bookmark this page for later!

Brock

Hey - I'm Brock. I grew up in the USA, and I have been a full-time Solo Traveler since June of 2016. I am also a Travel Vlogger on YouTube where my primary focus is to simply hang out with local people around the world. My full story is here: About Me

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