Flying solo: Saving up for the trip of your dreams

Plus, get tips for traveling on your own.

Vacation travel is back in full swing. But why should exploring the world on your own be reserved for those with lots of cash or a huge Instagram following?

It doesn’t have to be that way. With some smart planning, some time spent creating a budget and an adventurous spirit, you can spend rock bottom and still travel like a rock star.

The following are some simple tips to turn your much-needed alone time into the vacation of your dreams:

  • Make plans early: This will give you more time to save money and book the best deals on flights, hotels and activities. Prices often rise and fall with demand, so the earlier you start looking, the better chance you’ll have to find lower rates. Okay, so how do you know what time is the best time to book? Google Flights is one way to track prices. It has an alert feature to notify you when a price drops and it also tells you how fares compare to past pricing.
  • Be flexible: If you can be flexible with your travel dates and times – even with your destinations themselves – you could save even more. As a solo traveler this is worth considering, since the only schedule you need to accommodate is yours.
  • Opt for the off-season: This might sound obvious, but it makes a huge difference. Discounted hotels, half-price tours – not to mention fewer crowds and tourists – are just some of the benefits. Your credit card reward points might go further too!
  • And speaking of reward points: Using a credit card with a rewards program is a way to earn points that can be used for vacation expenses. Choose a credit card with a rewards program that works for you. By using the credit card for everyday purchases (even for small transactions), you could be saving for that big trip.
  • Open a high-yield savings account: A high-yield savings account typically pays 20 to 25 times above the national average of more standard savings accounts. Setting money aside requires discipline but starting your savings early and setting up recurring deposits can pay big dividends.
  • Rent out your place: Depending where you live, renting out your home could not only help offset your travel expenses, but you might even make some extra money.
  • Pack light: Remember, it’s just you, so don’t pack your entire closet. This allows you to avoid checked baggage fees, as well as giving you more agility when navigating public transit.


Savings tips while on your trip

Now that you’ve arrived, you’ll want to make sure you don’t go home broke. Don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to save and still have the time of your life: 

  • Skip the pricey tours: Apps like TripAdvisor, Citymapper and Spotted By Locals make it easy to explore on your own. If you do prefer a human-guided experience, many cities offer great free walking tours (though gratuities are usually appreciated). And if you are an art lover, check which museums or galleries have “free admission” days. 
  • Be smart about eating out: Happy hours, daily specials and even coupons can help stretch your food budget without sacrificing taste. You might also consider filling up at lunch, when meals similar to dinner entrees are a bit less expensive (there are often lunch-hour specials too). And if you’re not in a hotel, take advantage of local markets and cooking at “home” versus a fancy restaurant. 
  • Put some Wi-Fi in your pocket: Small mobile or “pocket” routers, typically available across Europe and Japan for a low per-day fee, can free you from international roaming charges. It’s best to reserve one ahead of time and then pick it up when you arrive.


These tips should help you get on your way, without your budget getting in the way. Of course, it’s always good to save whether you are taking off or staying put – and maybe next time you can take some friends or family along for the ride.

This page and the information contained herein is for educational purposes only. The information is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product, service, or strategy to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional. Any links to other websites are included for your convenience only. Bread Financial does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of the information, made available through such sites.

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