Many solo Black women travelers strive for new adventures to feed their wanderlust while minding their budget. However, solo travel can increase costs with annoying single-traveler surcharges and full-price transportation, tours, and meals.
Have no fear; there’s always a way to save a coin while traveling on your terms, even as travel costs rise.
Use Rewards Programs
Many types of rewards programs may be available to you. Your employer might have an employee discount site, so make that your first stop to find deals for rental cars, experiences, and hotel stays. Have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership? They often have member discounts on vacation packages and more.
Travel credit cards (and some general credit cards) offer rewards and accrue points whenever you swipe your card. By using my Chase Sapphire Preferred travel card exclusively for travel purchases, I receive 3x points in my account. By doing this, I’ve been able to book flights for nearly nothing, such as the time I booked a flight from San Francisco to Puerto Rico last year for $30!
Visiting tropical destinations in the warmer months may seem fitting for your Hot Girl Summer plans, but your feelings may change after comparing the increased travel prices with off-season costs.
Some of my most memorable solo trips were during the off-season, from the springtime rain of Vancouver in April ($69 roundtrip) to the cloud-filled skies of Barcelona in September ($298 roundtrip). I found the weather didn’t impact my plans as much as I’d initially thought.
The lack of tourist crowds during the off-season also helps to step up the vacation factor. I arrived to near empty streets while visiting Lake Atitlán, Guatemala in late May ($438 roundtrip). And I was the only one in attendance during my group tours. It turns out I’d just missed the busy spring break crowds a week before, so I got to experience the beauty of the lake and surrounding nature in peace and quiet.
Meet Up with Travelers
While the main reason we travel solo may be to enjoy our own company, there are reasons to meet with other travelers. Most of my solo travels have resulted in me gaining new friends from around the world. Not only do these meetups give you a chance to make meaningful connections, but they could also save you money on experiences and meals that you can split. Check out groups like Nomadness Travel Tribe, the ABC Travel Greenbook app, or the XPat app, all of which host a worldwide community of Black travelers.
Try Alternative Transportation
I’m all for saving the environment, so walking to my destinations, when possible, is my go-to method to save money and get my daily 10k steps in. This is also the perfect way to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood you’re staying in and connect with the new environment around you.
If you book an experience with a tour company, check if they include hotel pick-ups and drop-offs. Even if you’re not staying at one of the pick-up locations, I’ve found that some companies are willing to meet you in between or even pick you up at your accommodation if you’re already enroute to the location.
When all else fails, I’ve found public transportation to be the best way to save on transportation.
Dine on a Dime
The community grocery store is my first stop after arriving at my destination. Not only are you saving by avoiding overpriced foods at chain retailers in tourist areas, but this gives you control over what snacks and beverages you indulge throughout your trip. I focus on shopping for breakfast foods like granola bars and “easy” fruits like bananas and apples that I can toss in my bag before an early
Staying at a place with a fridge and microwave? This is perfect for storing and reheating your to-go meals, especially if you’re a foodie like me who orders more than I can eat in one sitting.
Also, consider booking a culinary experience to save on dining costs. While visiting Italy solo, I signed up for a full-day Italian cooking class at a Tuscany farmhouse. We met a local chef there who guided us through cooking a four-course meal. This experience included a food history lesson, shopping trip, countryside tour, two meals, and recipes for the dishes—all for $100!
Opt for Affordable Experiences
Who says you have to spend a lot on activities to immerse yourself in culture?
More affordable activities like visiting local parks, museums, and galleries help you connect with the community, learn the local history, and patronize businesses.
Booking walking tours on sites like Viator, GetYourGuide, or Airbnb Experiences can offer affordable options to see and learn about your destination without stretching your budget. And don’t forget to always try to patronize Black and Indigenous tour guides and companies to help stimulate the local and global economy.
Try these tips on your next solo trip and watch the savings stack up!
Brianna Mills is an accomplished photographer and creative professional with years of experience honing her craft by capturing the world's exquisite beauty during her travels. With a passion for storytelling, Brianna shares her expertise and journey with others through her words and photography. Through this work, she seeks to capture the essence of the world's beauty with honesty and authenticity.