Short answer – Yes!
Most of the costs you incur on the trip will be higher. Rent and transportation are where you’ll end up spending the most than if you traveled in a group.
But if you’re smart about it, there are options to save money for solo travelers. Also, these options could unlock opportunities that might not always be available for those who travel in groups!
You’ll discover that in this article.
Why is solo travel more expensive?
Imagine taking a cab with three other friends. Let’s say it costs $40. Now the bill gets split evenly amongst the 4 of you – which means everyone pays only $10.
Now, if you take the same cab while traveling alone, you’ll bear the $40 cost. So that’s 4 times more, and hence more expensive.
Money goes farther when you travel with a group.
In a group, your money goes farther, buying you more options and convenience.
Renting with a group
You can afford to stay at a nice apartment or hotel with a group. The cost gets divided amongst all the group members.
Usually, the rate of a room for 2 is still marginally cheaper than the rate for a single person’s bed. So renting a place becomes cheaper.
But that also means you must share the space and sacrifice a bit of your freedom.
What is more expensive when you travel alone than in a group?
The following things are more expensive when you solo travel instead of banding with a group.
- Rent or living expenses
- Taxi fare.
- Lack of group discounts, and hence bargaining power
Fortunately, there are ways to save money and unlock opportunities that would be hard if you traveled in a group.
How can solo travelers save money?
Let’s have a look at them:
1. Stay at hostels
Hostel beds are super cheap! A single person can cost around $4-$20 per night depending on the city. Because they’re so pocket-friendly, they’re popular amongst solo and budget travelers.
So instead of renting a hotel for $24/night in Asia, solo travelers could stay at a hostel at $6/night! That’s 4 extra nights.
2. Do couchsurfing.
Couchsurfing is another popular option for saving money. It’s when you request a homestay at a local resident’s place.
For example – Imagine you’re looking to stay in Paris. Staying here in apartments is expensive, even if you stay in groups.
So how can a solo traveler afford to stay if they have a tight budget?
One way is by using Couchsurfing. Sign up, connect with a local of the place you’re traveling to and request for a homestay. If they accept, you won’t just save on living expenses but also make new friends.
I’ll cover the details of couchsurfing in another post.
3. Use public transport
Generally, it’s better to stay away from cabs if you can reach the same destination using public transport. Cabs are usually more expensive.
Another option to consider, if you have a valid driving license, is to rent a car or bike. It offers the luxury of mobility and convenience. Sometimes, it can even be a cheaper option compared to public transport if you need to travel frequently.
Hitch-hiking is a great way to travel from one city to another. All you have to do is ask strangers for a ride in their car. It’s like couchsurfing, but just for traveling between cities.
It’s a game of patience and numbers. Out of the people who pass by, most will ignore you, some might offer to help but they might not be traveling to the place you want to, while a few will help you reach your final destination.
In most cases, you’ll end up spending time. But the journey will not just save you money, but also help you meet new people.
It’s hard to hitchhike in groups.
5. Get lucky by talking to people.
To find money-saving opportunities, you need to talk to people. This is a super hack. If you practice it consistently, some life-changing opportunities could open up.
Sometimes, it could be as simple as saying hi!
Before boarding my flight to Bangkok, I had to figure out how to transfer between the airports at midnight. Buses or trains weren’t available. The only choice was to take a cab and pay more for the night service.
Then before boarding the flight to Bangkok, I noticed a Thai couple behind me. I said ‘hi’ and asked how I could transfer between the airports. And guess what – once we landed at Bangkok, they dropped me from their car.
You can say I got lucky. But all I did was just open my mouth – that unlocked an opportunity.
6. Tag along with someone temporarily
One of the travel superpowers of a group is bargaining. More people means more revenue for the hotels or tour operators. So often they’re happy to cut their profit margins per customer and offer discounts to a group.
But why shouldn’t solo travelers get this benefit? It might not work for reserving hotels, but you definitely can try it while bargaining with tour operators.
Look for ways to form an alliance. For example, you can try to invite other solo travelers who might be looking to cut costs too. Since you both have a common problem, it would be easier to relate and convince them to join.
Once again, it all comes down to talking to people.
One of the disadvantages of traveling alone is that it’s expensive in comparison to group travel. But there are ways to budget, cut costs and unlock some amazing opportunities.
Good luck traveling solo.