30 of the Best Money-Saving Travel Tips from Solo Travellers (March 2024)

by | Apr 9, 2024

Two women pull their suitcases behind them while walking through an airport.
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Last updated on April 14th, 2024

Featured image: Learn how to save money on travel with these tips from women | Photo by Thaitoystory on Envato

Readers share how to reduce travel costs 

Our March tips are all about saving money on accommodations, and ways to save money on museum and bus passes, public transit and car rentals. Culled from inbound emails and our private Solo Travel Wisdom Facebook group, we love to share these first-hand solo travel tips with everyone to help you travel safely and well. If you a solo travel tip share please do so!  (You can do that here!) 

Tip: You can download these tips as a PDF or print them using the icons above!

30 Tips from Women to Save Money on Travel

1. Reminder to check which credit cards don’t have international fees. I forgot all about it this last trip & boy did those fees add up. — MaKoa N.

2. Wise is an amazing resource. If you get the debit card, you can transfer money into a local currency account and use the debit card to withdraw it when in the country. You save a LOT on fees and currency conversion charges. —  Mariellen W.

You can also exchange your money online with Wise. With Wise, you can open a multi-currency account within minutes, saving you money on conversion fees. 

3.  Canadian debit cards don’t work at Egyptian ATMs of Egyptian banks, like MISR. Find an international bank like Credit Agricole. — Elaine H.

4.  Many cities have free transport for seniors, including Brazil, the Czech Republic and Poland. I am in Prague now and have my passport handy but global entry in my plastic card lanyard to show if stopped as proof of age. —  Gretchen F.

5. If flights to your final destination look crazy expensive consider finding a cheaper one to any nearby destination and take public transit; like a train or bus. During my four months in Europe, I did train or bus and it worked perfectly, less stress at airports. I also took the train from San Francisco to Oregon last spring. Look for alternatives!! — Carolyn R., Canada

6. Get a bank account where your bank refunds your ATM withdrawal fees. When I travel I use my Charles Schwab card. I make sure the ATM I’m using is associated with a bank (any bank) and I tell it I want the conversion in the local currency (not US) so I’m not charged a conversion fee. This is how I get foreign money. Has worked in every country I’ve been to (81), except Chile where my Schwab card wouldn’t work. But I was able to use my credit union ATM card there and they refunded the ATM fees too. — Jamie F.

Wise Banner thin

7.  Rather than paying for roaming fees on your home country’s phone plan, consider buying a SIM card and data plan from the country you’re visiting, especially if you plan to be there for a long time. A SIM card stores identification information that pinpoints a smartphone to a specific mobile network. The app Airalo provides eSIMs instead of a physical SIM card. It’s basically a digital version of a SIM card that allows you to activate a cellular plan without having to use a physical SIM card. Learn more about Airalo here.  — Carolyn R. 

8. Check what kind of travel perks your credit card has and USE them. For example Airport Lounge visits are soooo worth it, Travel insurance so you don’t end up buying double (read carefully!), or no foreign transaction fees for out of country purchases. — Tracy S., Canada

9. Might sound silly but figure out using taxi & Uber before you head out on your travels. I’ve rarely used a taxi at home so have no concept of what’s expensive or not. So when travellers say grab a cab I draw a blank…afraid I’ll get ripped off $$. Had a life lesson on the road in Bordeaux, France about 1 am (plane was 3 hrs late). Plan was to walk to my hotel (5 min). I tried. Walking in the dark in a foreign country at 24 no big deal, 64 a big deal. I’ve now learned to use Uber & taxis at home. — Elizabeth B

10. Go a couple of blocks away from the main tourist track to find good, well-priced cafes and restaurants not targeted for tourists but where locals eat. — Emily P.

11. I find I can save money by taking one-way flights using two different airlines. They always seem to charge more on the return for return flights. — Johanna C.

12. Travel with a phone with eSIM capability. If new to the world of eSIM technology, watch a few YouTube videos that explain how they work and compare a few eSIM companies. My last trip of 46 days to several countries was my first eSIM experience. I chose a 60-day Global Plan with Airalo of 5 GB. As soon as the plane touched down, I had service (data only, no phone number). It was VERY useful for navigation, booking Uber, looking up stuff on the fly, and using apps such as WhatsApp that require Wi-Fi. Many service providers use WhatsApp so having cellular data while on the move is very convenient. — Anne B.

Airalo eSIM banner with JourneyWoman promotion

13. “Friendship Force is not only for women travellers, but many solo women, like myself, enjoy membership and travel with this great organization.  We travel as a group (12 to 25 members) and live with FFI members in their homes in countries around the world, living as they do, eating as they do, and seeing their country through their eyes.  It is a very safe way for people to travel as the host families are responsible for seeing that you are well looked after.  I have belonged for over 20 years and find travel with FFI much more satisfying than I did travelling around the world for a year as a tourist.” – Shirley F. House

House or petsitting is a great way to stay in a place for free. It also gives you the chance to really experience a place from a local perspective.  Recommended companies include Trusted Housesitters and HomeExchange

14. I’ve just returned from a 4-night trip to Budapest. The city is amazing with so much to see. No need for taxis as public transport is plentiful. You can get the 100E bus at the airport and this brings you right into the city. From there you can swap to a bus, tram or underground rail to wherever you need to get to. I used Google Maps and found it 100% accurate. You must have a ticket before you get on the public transport system. I thought I could buy one from the driver but he could only take cash so I got off at the next stop to get a ticket. I was immediately approached by an inspector and no amount of pleading worked. My simple error cost me £27 fine. The ticket machines are all located either in the underpasses beneath the roads or more rarely at the bus/tram stops. When you get on the bus there’s a machine you push your ticket into to validate it. There is also an app called Budapest Go which I discovered a couple of days into my trip. — Amanda B. 

15.  I am currently sitting in Marrakech Airport and I thought I would give you a heads-up in the event you ever fly out of Marrakech. First, this is a country worth visiting! I wish I had scheduled more time in Marrakech. But the airport can be a bit of a patience tester. Bring toilet paper!!! There was none to be had in Departures and if you have it, don’t flush it. And if you do have it, share it if there is another in need. Be prepared for lineups. First, your bags are scanned at entry. Then determine which line you need to get to to get a boarding pass. An e-pass is not sufficient, even if you are going to carry on. Then a line up for a manual custom check. The next lineup is security scanning. Finally, you go through the passport check. There, you will be directed to a lineup for each security agent’s booth. You know how it feels like whatever lineup you get in to, it ends up being the slowest? That is #12. I decided to take a taxi to the airport. If you flag one down yourself, it will be about 70 to 100 MAD (Moroccan Dirham) It will be 150 MAD if the hotel orders a cab for you and you pay at reception. Don’t be surprised if the driver picks up another fare along the way. — Niina N.

16. Be sure to check government websites for entry requirements like visas etc as soon as you choose a destination. Many people discover they need a visa on trying to board a plane and don’t have one! — Chris M. 

Tip: Use a program like iVisa to confirm entry requirements and apply for all your travel visas. Learn more here!

Two women friends outdoors with paper city map

Packing light, using public transit, and exchanging your money before the airport will help you save money on travel / Photo by Envato

17. Research everything before you go- make your own travel notes-knowing what you are seeing deepens the experience.  — Tracy T. 

18. If you are over 60 and are going to do some train travelling in London, apply for a senior rail card and have it linked to an Oyster card for discounted travel. Also if you have a hearing impairment you can apply for a Disabled Person’s railcard and link it to an Oystercard. — Rosalind G. 

19. Remember that an adapter will not convert 110v to 220v. For example, don’t plug a 110 hair dryer into a 220 outlet or vv. That’s when you need a transformer/converter, not an adapter. Your appliances will get fried otherwise, and you could start an electrical fire. — Cathie M. 

20. A lot of cities offer free walking tours. Keep in mind they are not free. Please leave a nice gratuity. Each guide has seemed passionate about their information and do know the guide has to pay 3 euro per person even child to the organization that does the bookings and advertisement for them. It is great for an orientation to a city as they often give you tips on what else to do, money changing, public transport, and restaurants. — Linda K. 

21. Just back from a long weekend in Paris and my 5th trip but it’s been a while. Galleries Lafayette food hall is fantastic for food to go (pate’ all day! So many!) and some casual dine-in options and a small wine bar. I echo O Chateau for a tasting and the lunch boat on the Seine is just pleasant. Also jaw-dropping is La Galerie Dior – gorgeous dresses from him and his successors, beautifully displayed at his former design HQ. Apple TV has an interesting series out now about him and Coco Chanel during and post WW2. Also enjoyed a great fondue lunch at a small local charming local spot Le Latin-Left Bank a few blocks away from Notre Dame and behind the main streets. The rooftop of Printemps shop has a gorgeous garden patio with fantastic city views and light fare-Le Perruche. — Mona B. 

22. Take a short plastic clothesline and a few plastic clothespins to hang your hand-washed bras and undies. I use the clothespins for hanging all sorts of things, especially if my room has hooks. And the pins have a hole; after using a facemask, I always pull off the elastic strings, and then I tie some to the clothespins for hanging on hooks. — Cathie M. 

23. I can recommend the train trip from London to Edinburgh – especially as it gets further north and goes along the coast. If you are over 60, buy a railcard and you’ll get a discount. It pretty much pays for itself with one trip. As for accommodation, I stayed at one of the university residences after students finished their term. It was basic but secure. — Anne Marie B. 

24. Years ago I stayed at the Clan Campbell Hotel in Edinburgh, which I believe is now known as Number 11 Boutique Hotel. As I’ve always traveled solo, I stayed in a wonderful little room up the gorgeous staircase and hung out chatting to the owner for hours after dinner. So incredibly comfortable and welcoming. Loved every second of it. I was living in London at the time and took the train to Edinburgh and back and it was a great ride — I even met an older solo traveling woman living in Aberdeen and had a wonderful conversation with her. — Maria V. 

25. If you’re in a cafe or shop and see another local lady with a good haircut ask her where she goes. I did this in Thailand to get a local recommendation and it worked out. Just had to be prepared with pictures as my Thai wasn’t good enough to describe what I wanted. –Paula C. 

26. I purchased the Paris Pass for my trip last fall and some of the venues require that you book a time once you have the pass, i.e. Louvre.. but you need the pass first then you have access to book. I highly recommend the pass!!! – Cathy W.

27. Before you spend money in Paris, I would check how many of the museums you wish to visit have reciprocal arrangements for members of other museums. I think that if you are a member of your local museum you may get free entry to some. If buying your local museum membership gets you free into enough of the ones you want to visit it may be cost-effective. — Fiona R. 

28. When in Europe I’ve always booked my cars through Auto Europe probably not the cheapest but they are great and easy to contact with a 1 800 number. I also always splurge and get the all-inclusive insurance (no deductible, collision, liability etc) Was well worth it in England last year when I popped a tire. No problem getting a replacement vehicle and did not have to pay for the tire replacement which would have been 700£! — Linda R. 

29. ADO bus is a great way to get anywhere in Mexico. Clean, comfortable, with onboard bathrooms. Usually slightly over air-conditioned and you need earplugs for the loud movies in Spanish but they are great. Also, AeroMexico sometimes has cheap intercity flights. There are local buses called collectivos that run in towns and between some towns as well. — Dayn H.

30. Bajiogo is a service I have used to drive me to San Miguel de Allende (SMA), Guanajuato, the airport, etc. Sometimes it’s a shuttle, other times it is a private vehicle. I’ve traveled quite a bit in those areas and advise you not to miss visiting SMA & Queretaro. —Marisela A. 

More Budget Tips to Save Money on Travel

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