Solo Travel: The Stress That Is Money

money love, money stressMoney.

Love it for the opportunities it offers.

Hate it for the limitations it presents.

Frustrated by it for the fact that solo travelers pay almost twice as much as those traveling with a companion

Getting Around the Issue of Solo Travel and Money

I’m a travel blogger, therefore I’m not affluent (though things are definitely on an upward track).

And while I do enjoy the benefit of having much of my travel comped (I always tell you when I do), even from those trips I return having spent hundreds of dollars more than one would expect.

Then there are the trips that I take without a sponsor. This is important for how can I offer you a real perspective on travel if I don’t live it in real terms financially? And it is my job (I know, poor me :)) to travel lots.

So, how do I get around the issue of money. I try…

A few of my fellow travelers as we go through the second gorge on the Yangtze River., money stress

A few of my fellow travelers on an organized trip. We’re going through the second gorge on the Yangtze River.

Saving Money with Organized Trips

Though most of my travel is independent, finding a tour or cruise company that waives the single supplement is truly the easiest way to eliminate that “twice as much” factor that solo travelers usually face. The challenge is to find organized trips that suit your interests and style of travel and which have also waived the supplement.

In April I went on my first organized tour and was quite surprised by how great it was, as you will learn from China Through the Eyes of Others and China Beyond the Wall and Behind the Walls of Locals. There are times when an organized tour is going to give you more and cost less than traveling independently.

We do our best with the Solo Travel Deals page to point you in the direction of many opportunities. We’ll also send you these opportunities via email if you sign up for the newsletter. You can also do your best to find such opportunities by following the tips in this post: Single Supplement Waived: Music to the Solo Travelers Ears.

Photo of deck of the Navimag, money stress

There were many solo travelers on the Navimag – a low cost ferry with accommodation for travelers going to Patagonia.

Finding Inexpensive, Unique Experiences

Luxury, in the sense of plush beds, pool in the hotel, spa and high-end restaurants, is expensive.

Luxury in the sense of an amazing view, personalized service from an entertaining host, a unique hotel, or a hostel with tons of personality, doesn’t have to be costly.

The major costs of travel are transportation and accommodation. I focus on managing these by finding inexpensive, unique experiences.

Choose Your Destination to Save Money

Some destinations are horrendously expensive. Think Paris, New York and London. Others are not so much: Prague, New Orleans, Winnipeg.

Choosing your destination wisely can make the difference between:

  • high transportation costs or almost none
  • expensive accommodation or lots of interesting, inexpensive options
  • a new expense at every turn or lots of low-cost things to relax and enjoy

You don’t have to go far to travel. On a trip to the next town you may find experiences that surprise you. I did, in Hamilton, Ontario. It’s not far from my home in Toronto, but it’s definitely not normally thought of as a destination city. Read Surprising Cities: You May Not Have To Look Far.

To Take this Full Circle

  • Don’t get psyched out.
  • Know your financial limits.
  • Save a little all the time.
  • Plan and budget well.




  • Janice Waugh

    Wow. Thanks for letting me know. It’s now fixed.

  • Bernadette Saumier Berger

    This has the incorrect link – can you give us the good one please.
    Check out this free ebook: Luxury Hostels of Europe.

  • Jimmy Hoffman

    Great article! I recently left my job in the states to pursue a lifetime goal of living and working abroad. I find myself following your suggestion not to get psyched out almost everyday. Good advice!

  • Janice Waugh

    HI there.

    I love your attitude. I also find that inexpensive gets one closer to people. I traveled coach for 3 days across Canada and had the best time because of the interesting people who were doing the same.


  • TravelnLass

    I’ve traveled world on a shoestring – for 30+ years. Indeed, I’ve long seen the LACK of bountiful travel funds as a PLUS in my travels. It most definitely gets you off the beaten path, away from high priced tours (always higher than DIY even with a waiver of a single supplement), and gives you the added bonus of mingling more with the locals and experiencing the authentic culture of a country. Stress? Nope, I love the challenge of exploring on a budget and doing so quite comfortably.

    And rarely do I pass on even the most breathtakingly pricey attractions (can you spell U.L.A.R.U. – Ayers Rock at $1,000 for domestic airfare and 3 nts. lodging?) in my travels. It’s all just a matter of pinching pennies here, and splurging a bit there (i.e. I couchsurfed up the east coast of Oz – meeting wonderful locals who bent over backwards to be sure, for ex. I saw a kangaroo in the wild, etc. – for 2 weeks saving me a TON of money to splurge on Uluru).

    Honestly, traveling solo on a budget is an art. And personally, having unlimited funds to travel would take a lot of the fun out of doing it! 😉