On this week’s Holiday Hotline, I noticed a bit of a theme.
Lots of people asking about solo travel.
As someone who travels often with someone else, I take for granted how lucky I am when it comes to costs because being able to split a hotel here, a car hire there, can really help when keeping down the price.
However, with a growing demand for solo travel, it’s about time I put my bargain hunting hat on to share some of my top tips when it comes to holidaying on your own.
New to the Holiday Hotline?
Once a week, I take in your cheap holiday requests over on my Instagram and select one to do a deep dive on.
If you want to be involved in the future, make sure you’re following me and keeping an eye out for my stories.
Top Tips for Cheap Solo Travel
Before we crack on with the specific request at hand, I wanted to whizz though some general top tips that will help you book your next solo trip.
However, make sure you keep on scrolling to see what 3 night holiday you could be going on, on your own, for less than £90!
- Perhaps the most important things to keep in mind… Visit somewhere cheap!
I’m not just talking about cheap flights – they’re a one off cost – I’m on about somewhere that is cheap to stay, eat, drink, do and travel about.
Here’s some of my recommendations:
Please note: the average costs for hotels come from Kayak based on what’s been booked in the last three days – therefore you will definitely be able to find something much cheaper by staying in a basic hotel, hostel or airbnb – or just by scoring an unreal deal!
Hotel: £47 a night
Inexpensive meal: £5.04
0.5l beer: £1.81
Also try: Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Łódź and Warsaw
Hotel: £67 a night
Inexpensive meal: £5.12
0.5l beer: £1.28
Also try: Debrecen, Eger, Lake Balaton, Sopron, Heviz
Hotel: £71 a night
Inexpensive meal: £5.98
0.5l beer: £1.71
Also try: Lisbon, Faro, Funchal, The Azores and Olhão
Hotel: £53 a night
Inexpensive meal: £3.92
0.5l beer: £2.61
Also try: Antalya, Bodrum, Cappadocia and Ephesus
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
Hotel: £45 a night
Inexpensive meal: £1.53
0.5l beer: 38p
Also try: Phnom Penh, Koh Rong and Bangkok, Thailand
Hotel: £78 a night
Inexpensive meal: £3.66
0.5l beer: 95p
Also try: Medellin, Bogata and Tayrona National Park
More average daily costs can be found using Numbeo.
- Look for accommodation first
This may well turn out to be a bigger cost than your flight so take a look at when there’s good availability first and then get your flight!
- Change the number of people staying to 1
Lots of booking sites autofill to 2 people and there are many hotels that do offer a single occupancy discount or single bed rooms
- Find the cheapest dates to stay
If you have a hotel in mind, use Google Hotels to scour for the best rates available using their handy calendar view. Then use Trivago to find which site offers the cheapest price
- Use Trivago to help whittle down the options
If you’re not so sure where to stay, use Trivago and its handy filters to really nail what you’re after. Always remember to click ‘more deals’ to see the cheapest prices!
- Stay in a hostel
If you’re wanting to meet other solo travellers, or just really keep the cost down, hostels are perfect – I recommend using hostelworld and using the filters to sort by best rated
- Many hostels also offer private rooms if you want to mingle but also have space to yourself
- Stay in a Bed and Breakfast
B&Bs are also a great shout and if you’re refining your search by selecting how many stars you want, you can often miss out on these as many aren’t starred like hotels.
Booking.com has a helpful B&B search section for this!
- Stay in an Airbnb
Airbnb has become standard issue when it comes to travel these days and are a great way to cut down daily costs, especially if they come with a kitchen!
If you haven’t used it before, you can get £25 off your first stay here.
- The private room option is a great way to keep costs down, still have access to a kitchen (normally!) and be able to have a local on hand to help you out
- Stay for free
Did you know that you can bag free accommodation by looking after someone’s house, watering their plants or even feeding their pets? I’ve done it twice and it is amazing.
- Obviously, it’s always important to get the cheapest price possible so click here for my ultimate cheap flight checklist
Meeting New People
- Book a group activity
Solo travel can be amazing but if you, like me, can send yourself a little crazy after too much time alone, then why not plan for a group activity during your trip? It may just be a free walking tour (google whether the place you’re going has one) or a cookery class/hike or food tour!
I’ve used Airbnb Experiences in the past and have always met amazing people along the way. You’ll get money off your first one if you don’t have an Airbnb account already.
- Book a group tour
Like meeting new people so much you want to travel with them? There are loads of great tours available which will even pair you up in a room (hello splitting costs). Plus, most tours organise everything for you so you can relax on all the details.
Tour Radar is a great site that compiles tours from load of different companies.
Right, let’s put all these tips into action so that we can help out Liam who has asked for:
- Somewhere photogenic
- From London or Edinburgh
- End of Feb/early March
- 1 person
- 3/4 days
- £300 budget
As London tends to be easier to find cheap flights from, I’m going to challenge myself by finding a cheap flight from Edinburgh first and hopefully the London option will come in at around the same cost.
When there’s no specific destination in mind, it can often be difficult to know where to start so I’m going to show you a really handy trick you can use on Google Flights to help you out.
I discovered this by total accident – I don’t know why they’re not screaming it from the rooftops as it is SO HELPFUL!
Step 1 – Enter your departure airport but leave the destination blank. Don’t worry about what dates are in, just press search.
Step 2 – In front of you will be a list of destinations to the left and a map with prices on the right. You’re going to click on the dates and next to ‘Specific dates’, you’re going to click on ‘Flexible dates’
Step 3 – Now, select what month you’d like to go away in (or you can just select ‘all’) and then select whether you want to go away across a weekend, 1 week or 2 weeks.
For Liam, I’ve selected ‘February’ and ‘Weekend’ and this is what comes up.
ISN’T THAT THE MOST HELPFUL THING EVER?!!
Though make sure to cross check your dates in Skyscanner and Momondo as they can often come up cheaper.
Now, you may be thinking ‘but Liam wanted 3/4 days Chelsea, not 2 and he didn’t specify weekend travel‘ well… You’re right. But as Google Flights is scouring for the cheapest flights across a weekend, most of them do tend to be 3 night stays as 2 nights is often more expensive.
Also, taking less annual leave means more holidays in the future so what’s not to love?!
There are some great options coming up from Edinburgh including:
Warsaw – £23 return
Gothenburg – £23 return
Milan – £32 return
Gdańsk – £33 return
Copenhagen – £48 return
Berlin – £50 return
But in the spirit of keeping daily costs down (and not choosing Poland which I’m sure you’re all sick of me banging on about!), I’ve decided to go for:
Edinburgh to Bratislava
Thu 27th Feb – Sun 1st March
Ryanair – small hand luggage only
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and I think Liam will definitely be able to find some photogenic spots!
What’s more, with an average inexpensive meal coming in at £5.12, a beer coming in at £1.71 and ticket on the local transport costing only 77p, his money will go really far.
Also, as it’s only 64km from Vienna, it’s very possible to do a day trip to the Austrian capital, or even a twin city break!
You can even catch a boat between the two from 30 euros (though check the site for winter times as they aren’t daily!) or take a train for around £10, or a bus for around £5 via omio.
Now, let’s hope we can find a flight from London for a similar price!
London to Bratislava
Thu 27th Feb – Sun 1st March
Ryanair – small hand luggage only
So, Liam will get a much fuller schedule if he flies from London but I think it’s fair to say that both prices are looking GREAT.
Now onto the fun bit…
Cheap Bratislava Accommodation
£73 for 3 nights
Save £25 on your very first Airbnb here
This highly rated and central Airbnb came in even cheaper than the private room options available. What a bargain!
Boutique Hostel CHORS
Capsule in 10 bed dorm
£52 for 3 nights
Now, there are plenty of hostels to choose from with beds for £10 a night on hostelworld but I’m a big fan of these new ’boutique hostels’ that are popping up! You can even pay £4 more to stay in a room with just 3 others.
Apollo Hotel Bratislava
£126 for 3 nights
That’s right, just because you’re travelling solo, it doesn’t mean you have to rough it. The great news is that Bratislava means 4 star hotels for under £50 a night.
YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
So, if Liam was to go with the cheapest flight and the cheapest accommodation, his 3 night trip to Bratislava would only cost £90.
Even with the better flight times from London and the four star hotel, his total cost would be £172 which really isn’t too shabby at all.
Get it booked, lad!
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Until next week!