I am so happy to share this blog post written behind the fabulous writer at Travel Budget Bug, Holly! It has been lovely collaborating with her. Make sure you check out her blog here! Come along for the ride!
Before we begin, I would like to say a big thank you to the face behind Happy on Holiday for allowing me to share some of my knowledge and experience with her awesome readers!
She has also written a brilliant blog post on my blog Travel Budget Bug- HERE! So be sure to check it out!
For those of you who are new to me, nice to e-meet you! I’m Holly and I write about budget travel for the solo female traveler. I give tips and tricks on budgeting, saving money for travel and travel budget trips!
Anyway…without further ado, let’s just get into it!
Do you love the idea of being independent, traveling the world, but you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to compromise your safety as a woman?
The prospect of solo traveling as a female can be exciting and daunting depending on how seasoned you are.
…Or even if you’re seasoned, you’re still cautious about visiting certain places.
Well, it’s good to be cautious!
As a solo female traveler, you have to be, or you could find yourself in sticky situations.
I know I have, and I’m SUPER wary!
I guess the biggest concern for me as a solo traveler is safety.
On the one hand, safety is paramount and on the other hand, I don’t want to be paying tons for a trip because I’m worried about safety.
Like…I know I’ll be safe in an all-inclusive 5-star hotel with guards on the door, but I want to SEE the world, not stay in a luxury resort!
Do you get me?
You’ve still gotta live a little!
Basically, a little compromise with yourself would be the ideal solution…A SAVVY budgeter!
These 10 tips to cutting costs as a solo female traveler are also savvy hacks to staying safe when traveling alone.
Check out my post on cutting costs when interrailing Europe- here.
Share a ride
I’ll tell you what, solo travel can be pricey!
Especially where you’re visiting places where sometimes public transport isn’t available or perhaps not wholly reliable.
A prime example of this, is when I was in Nepal and I had 24 hours to explore Kathmandu.
Psst…Check out my post on 24 hours in Kathmandu!
If you’ve ever been to Kathmandu you’ll agree that the city is crazy and public transport is not particularly reliable.
On top of this, it’s tricky to get around the city on foot if you want to do your own walking tour of the main spots.
It’s especially not possible when you only have 24 hours!
I guess a lot of other cities are the same!
Additionally, I didn’t want to take chances of missing my flight by relying on the transport, to put it bluntly!
So, what do you do in this situation?
A really good way of getting to see all the hot spots, is by organizing with a registered taxi driver to take you to all the main destinations for a fixed fee that you’ve agreed on up front.
Another way, is by asking people in your accommodation (assumed hostel) to share the ride with you which will make it cheaper for everyone.
Either way, if you’ve agreed a fee up front, you can barter for the price that you want to pay, and you won’t have any shocks at the end.
Another tip, pay the driver at the end so that he doesn’t just leave you in the middle of a place, he has an incentive to take you back to your hostel!
Sounds ridiculous, but it’s happened to me!
My preferred option is to ask a few people in your hostel if they want to join you.
That way, you’re not only getting the ride for a fraction of what you were going to pay, but you’ve got some company, which will make you feel safer too.
2. Join a FREE walking tour
I’m a massive promoter of these!
You’ll find that a lot of places do free walking tours.
The beauty of these is that you’re often guided by a local person or someone who knows the place like the back of their hand.
At the end of the tour you basically make a contribution of how ever much you want to pay to the tour guide for the tour, and there’s no obligation to stay until the end of the tour if you’re not enjoying it.
When you’re traveling alone, walking tours are a great way of getting to know the city within a safe group environment.
You’re not going to get lost and you’ll get some great information about a place.
If you want to go back and visit the hot spots again on your own, you can!
Hey, on a side note, you might like my clever tips post on saving money for travel- HERE!
3. Stay in hostels
I love hostels!
What’s great about hostels is that they are cheap, and they feel safe!
You are surrounded by fellow travelers and there is often always a reception desk.
Having a reception desk is great because it means that there’s someone there to clock your comings and goings if you don’t feel 100% safe going out on your own.
In hostels, there are always people milling around, and they tend to be friendly, outgoing and chatty people who will be helpful to anyone!
There are usually activities going on too, like bar crawls or tours or group activities.
As a solo traveler, this is the ideal environment to be in, as you don’t feel lonely being alone!
Hostel world is a great place to find your ideal hostel.
4. Learn some of the lingo
A fantastic way of avoiding getting ripped off, is by learning some of the language in a place.
I know this is not always possible and doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try right!
Some countries really appreciate you making the effort to speak their language.
…And sometimes a little effort goes a long way!
5. Get travel cards
When you’re traveling around places, you’re often hopping on and off tubes, buses, trains, tuck-tucks and all sorts!
It’s definitely worth checking whether the place you’re visiting has travel cards, especially if you’re going to be there a few weeks.
Sometimes it works out cheaper to get a travel card than buy your tickets individually or buy a day ticket…every…single…day.
In London you’ve got Oyster cards, in Hong Kong you’ve got Octopus cards, check these out at a tourist information wherever you go.
Often you will have to pay for the card, but once you leave the country, you can get your money back by handing your card back.
6. Avoid airport transfers
When I’m travelling solo, I never get airport transfers!
They are such a RIP OFF!
Instead, I get instructions from either the hostel or the Airbnb that I’m staying in on exactly how I can get from the airport by using public transport.
Most airports will have buses or trains or sometimes tubes which can get you to the center easily.
There’s no excuse to have to pay top dollar for a transfer or a taxi if you don’t want to.
Saying that, you may also want to try and arrive in the daytime if you’re doing this.
Public transport on your own at night in a foreign country can be scary!
7. Get good travel insurance
This is a MUST, especially when you’re traveling alone!
You want to make sure you’re totally covered for any unexpected occurrences.
You don’t want to have to fork out an arm and a leg for medical bills because you forgot to get your insurance, or one that fully covers you!
Nowadays, insurance is also important for unexpected cancellations due to COVID!
When you’re getting insurance, don’t be ripped off though.
8. Keep your money in different locations
You’ve probably heard this a million times… “don’t leave all your money in one place”.
Well, I’m here to repeat this, because it’s an important way to keep safe.
Think about it, your money is your ticket to safety.
Usually, I like to have some cash and the rest of my spends on travel cards.
But…sometimes this is not possible if you’re in a village in the deepest parts of Asia, like erm…Banaue in the Philippines.
…Check out my post on the mistakes that I made while in Banaue rice terraces, Philippines!
So, sometimes, you need cash and the best way to store it is by putting small amounts in various locations.
Like, put some in your bag, some in your purse, maybe some in your passport holder etc.
This way, if you lose some or have some stolen, you have other stashes to rely on.
This can not only help you save money if things go wrong, but also keep you safe!
9. Bring a padlock
This might sound like a weird suggestion, but you wouldn’t believe the number of times I have needed a padlock when I’ve been staying in hostels!
You are often provided with a locker to put valuables in, and if you have a padlock you can secure your locker.
That way you can travel around freely and not worry about having to take ALL your valuable belongings.
This will not only help keep your things safe, but also avoid having to pay for a padlock at the hostel (which are often pricey) or trekking around to find one!
10. Research, research, research
This last point is vital!
Before you go on your trip, you need to know what you’re doing and how much each thing will roughly cost, so that you have some idea of what you will be spending.
One easy way for tourists to get ripped off is when they have no clue about the local currency conversion rates.
A good example of this was when I was traveling through Europe, I got used to the Euro, and then I got to Hungary which uses HUF and got super confused!
When you’ve got currency confusion, you’ll pay a named price for whatever, because you don’t know whether it’s the going rate or not.
You’re disorientated and you don’t know right from wrong…bit dramatic right?
I’ll tell you this…Make sure you know what the conversion rates are before you go.
Try and get an understanding of what the costs for the main things you want to do are.
If you are budgeting for a trip, then this is the sort of textbook stuff you’ll do anyway!
Check out my post on how to come up with your realistic travel budget- HERE.
Honestly though, doing research will save you a load, especially if you’re doing a trip where you’re going from different countries with different currencies.
You need to get into that currency zone to get your head around whether what you are paying is the correct amount and that you are not being taken advantage of as a tourist!
Cutting costs and staying safe kind of go hand in hand when you’re traveling solo and you’re on a travel budget.
These tips will surely help you put your mind at ease and give you some ideas for your solo travels!
I hope you enjoyed Holly's guest post! Thank you again, Holly, for sharing your expertise. Would you like to see more guest posts in the future? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for coming along for the ride. xx