Travelling solo can be expensive but it doesn’t need to be. If you have a long list to tackle and you really want to explore as much as you promised yourself then follow these 4 tips and thank me later!
Tip 1: Setup flight alerts and keep an eye on sales
Flight alerts are my favourite part of my travelling research. The alerts are emails sent to your inbox when the price for the flight (you selected) goes down. They are super useful if you want to wait for the right time to purchase your ticket. It also shows you straight away if the current price is above or under the average price.
If you have your destination in mind then set up some flight alerts on Google Flights or other flight websites such as Skyscanner. I personally use Google Flights and this is how to set up the alerts:
- Head to Google Flights and type your departure + destination details
- Insert the rough dates you were thinking about and you will notice 2 toggles right under the filters (see the image below)
- Choose between being alerted for specific dates or “any dates”. If you choose any dates you will receive more emails as Google will inform you when the price goes down at any time of the year. If you have clear dates in mind I would suggest going for the first option.
Remember to remove the alerts once you make your decision. This is how to do it:
- Head to Google Flights
- Click on the 3 bars on the top left
- Press “tracked flight prices” and bin any alerts you don’t wish to receive any more
Another tip to get a cheap flight is during the sales. The best way to find out the sales days is by signing up for the airline’s newsletter or checking the online sales during Black Friday. I will surely keep you posted on the best deals!
Tip 2: Sign up for credit cards to get your rewards
This is probably the best choice I made this year: I got myself an American Express credit card! I realised that the one I had didn’t actually provide any travel rewards so I decided to read about American Express and its reward points. I opted for the free American Express British Airways credit card. There are quite a few alternatives and you can pick based on how much would you spend per month (some of them have minimum spending) and if you are willing to pay for the card (I don’t, that’s why I opted for the free option). Also, each country would have different credit card options so make sure you do your research.
These are the travel rewards I get from my card:
- 1 Avios point for every £1 spent
- Free transport insurance when booking the flight with an Amex card
- Free companion ticket when spending £12k in one membership year – or a 50% discount on my next flight ticket (which is great for Solo Travellers)
As mentioned above, through Amex you will get 1 Avios for each pound spent. But what if you want to get 3 or even 15 Avios points for each pound? This is how to do it and it’s free:
- Head to British Airways Executive Club and login to your British Airways account
- Make sure your browser allows you to track your cookies
- Head to “collect online” and check out the list of stores
- Next time you purchase online from one of these brands remember to access the brand’s website through the British Airways Executive Club. Why? Because British Airways will track your purchase from your favourite store and convert the money spent into Avios.
Extra tip: if you do your online shopping on your mobile phone you should download the app version which is the Executive Club Rewards App.
Tip 3: Booking.com genius levels
Sign up to booking.com to book your accommodation because you will get discounts depending on how many hotels have you booked so far. There are 3 levels of rewards called “Genius Levels”:
- Genius Level 1: Get a 10% discount. You are on Genius level 1 as soon as you sign up.
- Genius Level 2: 15% discount, free breakfast, free room upgrade. To obtain Genius level 2 you will need to complete 5 bookings within 2 years.
- Genius Level 3: 20% discount + the above + 24h support on your bookings. To get to this level you need to complete 15 stays.
Bare in mind that the discount is not guaranteed on all properties as well as the other perks. I’ve rarely found the room upgrade but I honestly very often find the discount and free breakfast, maybe around 90% of the properties I look for. Also, you get a really good discount on the taxi trip to the accommodation or airport, I even had some free taxi rides in Thailand when booking my hotels.
Another experience I had with Booking.com: I’ve approached a few hotels in person on my travels where I would ask if I could stay for a few nights and if I should book through booking.com. Some of them have actually asked me to book directly through them and gave me a 15% discount.
Tip 4: Avoid High Season
Sometimes booking a holiday in the low season is not only cheaper but a blessing. Take a European country such as Italy for example where June, July and August are super expensive but actually, September is still really warm. It’s also less busy and a lot cheaper.
Same for many other countries such as Bali which have monsoon seasons. It depends on the country but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will constantly rain every single day all day. So I would suggest checking the high and low seasons for each country from your wish list and finding out how risky it would be to visit during the low season.
It doesn’t take too much to travel cheaper, I hope you have everything you need now to start collecting rewards to make room for more trips!
Next step? Read my Top 5 Tips on How to Book Your Solo Holiday
Ciao for now,