How can singles travel on a budget?
As a single Baby Boomer I have made many trips alone, but having a friend along is always a nice way to keep the expenses down and have a person with whom you can share experiences. It is important to have some agreements before you set out such as: how are you going to divide your expenses and who is going to keep track of shared expenses? I have no problem letting my fellow traveler be the bookkeeper and informing at the end of the trip if I owe them for certain things. I have timeshare condos which are equivalent to 5 star hotels or resorts, so we often offset my expense with them paying for some of the food, gas or car rental. Of course, this differs with family and different situations, but the main thing is to get it sorted out before the trip. I have found that not doing this ends up with hurt feelings on both sides, so it is important to plan major expenses well in advance of the trip. This also allows you time to save for your vacation. Some banks allow you to set up separate savings accounts for vacations so you can add a set amount each month and add more funds when you can.
Whether you are traveling with friends or alone, the planning stage is essential. There are many websites available to track flight prices months ahead of your departure. I like kayak.com, but there are many more. If you search on Kayak, other sites will pop up like popcorn offering you a wide range of prices, but beware- these prices quickly change to one similar to your regular airline’s price when you start to plug in dates and times. The more flexible you can be the better rate you can expect. I use airwatchdog.com to watch for fare changes also. Carrie Visintainer offered up several suggestions for all types of travelers at this web address. http://thoughtcatalog.com/carrie-visintainer/2015/04/hey-travelers-here-are-5-airfare-tracking-sites-that-are-worth-checking-out/.
Hotels also need researching and there are many ways to stay in first class hotels for a fraction of the price. Kayak and most travel site have deals on hotels and cars, especially if you bundle them together, but there are different options for last minute hotel price reductions. Hoteltonight.com has an app that sends alerts to your Smartphone. Hotel.com, trivago.com and others offer great information, but sometimes calling the hotel will land you a better price. Planning ahead offers other benefits. I have booked online and then walked into a hotel and had a conversation with a clerk about how they hold open vacancies for booking agencies. Another person walked in and was told that there were no vacancies. The hotel did have rooms, so when we went outside I told him to get on his smartphone and book at my site.
Airbnb.com is advertised as the “Worldwide Accommodations Leader. Find Unique Listings in 30K Cities! Listings in 190 Countries · 1,500,000 Unique Listings · 24/7 Customer Service Inc.’s 2014 Company of the Year” online. My wish list on that site is a houseboat docked on the Seine within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. They have something for everyone. FlipKey.com, a subsidiary of tripadvisor.com, is also a rental agency with properties all over the world. I have used it to rent out my condo and found the listing and payment part of it very easy. Since I was dealing with a Timeshare company too, I had to make the arrangements for my yearly week in Orlando through them also, so that they would know that someone else would have access to my property. It was nice that this allowed me to have my maintenance fee for that year covered plus a little extra cash.
Yipit.com says that it offers, “Every deal in your city”. There are deals on dining, activities, goods, services, shopping and much more. They have Groupon deals, but you can also download a Groupon app for quick and convenient access to deals and coupons on your computer, tablet or phone.
You may have a favorite booking website for your travel. Please share this with us.
Next question- Wanted: Information on how to avoid the dreaded Single Supplement on cruises and group tours. How have you successfully accomplished this?
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