(Last Updated On: June 19, 2018)

Planning solo budget travel Part 2 is a continuation of Planning a solo budget travel trip

Planning solo budget travel continues on from Part 1 - in this post we will look at the remainder of the research inculding finding travel insurance and re-adjusting your budget for your impending travels - Forever Roaming the World makes it simple for you.

(Planning solo budget travel part 2 includes some affiliate links. There is no cost to you clicking them, it just earns me a few pennies).

If you are following on from Part 1 you can skip this paragraph and get right into it.

However, if this is your first time reading the post; this is a detailed step-by-step walk-through to help structure your research and planning for solo and(or) budget travel. I would strongly recommend in jumping back to part 1 first, so you can see how the structure falls into place.

Planning solo budget travel: Travel Insurance.

A necessity to some, a nuisance to others. I’ll be honest I hate buying travel insurance. Why do I hate something so important? Well because I have to spend money on something I never want to ever use. I’ve been lucky enough to not have any major incidents over the years (except for a few bruises, scrapes and stitches here and there). I’ll be honest, I will pick and choose when I buy it, there are some destinations I think I might have to call upon it and others I know there’s little chance of needing it.

So, my advice to you is that you should definitely buy it! – No, not really, it’s completely up to you if you want it.

Planning solo budget travel continues on from Part 1 - in this post we will look at the remainder of the research including finding travel insurance and re-adjusting your budget for your impending travels - Forever Roaming the World makes it simple for you.

Now I know there are travelers out there who will preach to you that you need it, just in case something goes wrong but I also know travelers who have roamed the world for years and never had an issue. You know yourself better than anybody, if you feel like you should get it, then please do so. If you don’t, then you can just wing it but be aware if something were to go wrong, or if you were to have an injury, it could cost hundreds, even thousands with the likely-hood to ruin your trip.

The correct type.

If you’ve never had to buy travel insurance before – be prepared, It can be a head spinner!

First of all, everybody and their dog will offer it to you, from your bank, travel agents, the post office (If you’re from the UK) to any existing insurance companies you might have. Then you have the hundreds of options online and it can leave you in haze figuring out which one is for you.

The best thing to do is filter the process, think about how long you’re planning on traveling for (this cuts out a big chunk of companies), what is the main purpose of your trip? Are you planning on doing any adventure/winter sports activities? Think and look back at the research you’ve done and filter down as much as you can, it will make picking the right one easier. Look for budget travel specific travel insurance, and check out backpacker budget travel companies like STA Travel or Geckos Adventure to see what they are offering.

Also, have a look if the country/region you’re traveling to offer any health benefits. IE, If you’re from England and traveling to Australia you will be eligible for Medicare, which is like the NHS and is free for British nationals.

Compare.

There are hundreds of travel insurance companies online, jump online and check some comparison sites, use the filter you’ve made yourself and the choices will narrow down quite substantially.

Photo credit: WorldNomads

Check the prices between the companies online and that of your bank, post office and travel companies. While you’re going through them you will notice a list of circumstances in which they will pay out. You should play around with these options and cater them to suit your needs.

Once you’ve catered it to your needs look at the ones that offer you the most value for money but be pragmatic, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

Popular Price comparison sites in the UK: 

  • Travelsupermarket.com
  • GoCompare.com
  • Comparethemarket.com
  • Confused.com

(Travel supermarket is an affiliate link but no added cost to you for clicking, just earns me some pennies)

Budget travel/backpacker insurance companies:

  • Insureandgo.com
  • worldnomads.com
  • Backpackertravelinsurance.com
  • Bigcattravelinsurance.com

If your head is in a spin about travel insurance, check out this World nomads review posted by one of the most trusted travel bloggers in the world; The Broke Backpacker.

Let the pieces fall into place.

You’ve now got all the pieces for your puzzle, you’ve done all the research you need. You’ve got an idea of prices, you’ve checked out all the different options for flights, accommodation, transport, activities/tours you can’t miss and a rough idea of how you’ll travel. It’s now that time for the fun part of planning solo budget travel – you get to start booking!

You’ll start to feel the adrenaline flow as you book that flight (if you’ve not already), some initial accommodation, transport if you want to and any tours or activities you are convinced are better off booking online. Remember to be savvy when booking and it doesn’t hurt just to have a quick browse around to see if there’s anything cheaper cropped up.

This page contains the tools and resources I use when booking for and during my trips.

Take a note of all the bookings you make and how much you spend, make sure you get confirmations and receipts.

Can you feel that? That’s your heart skipping a beat because now it’s real!

Re-adjust your budget.

Once the adrenaline wears out and your heart gets back to a normal speed, It’s time to come back down to earth because now you have to re-adjust your budget.

Get your calculator out again, remember you had an initial budget before you started to do your research? Now that you’ve got the main things booked, and you know how much you’ll be able to save until you leave, let’s get a rough idea of how much you’ll be able to spend while you’re traveling.

Daily/weekly/monthly budget.

You’ve got an idea of how much you will be leaving with, you know what visa you’ll be on (working or tourist) and depending on how good or bad you are with money, you should give yourself a maximum spend per day/week/month.

How do you do that?Planning solo budget travel continues on from Part 1 - in this post we will look at the remainder of the research including finding travel insurance and re-adjusting your budget for your impending travels - Forever Roaming the World makes it simple for you. Well, you have a general idea of costs, you know roughly how much accommodation, food, drinks, and activities will cost and how you’re going to get around the country. Factor in these costs with how much money you will have and work out what you can spend. It’s up to you if you want to do that daily, weekly or monthly.

I tend to separate my budget. I will work out roughly how much I will need a month for the bigger expenses like accommodation, transport or any big excursion I’m planning and put that to one side. I’ll then figure out what I have left for the month and give myself a daily spend. Obviously, this doesn’t work out all the time, sometimes you can spend less and sometimes you end up spending a lot more (especially if partying is involved). And, of course, the more you travel long-term the less money you’ll have to play around with and the budgeting is taken care for you with the lack of funds. ( What happens when the funds start drying up?)

Currency conversions.

It’s also a good option to start looking at currency conversions to help work out your daily/weekly/monthly budget. A big mistake first-time travelers make is working out everything through their native currency. Additionally, don’t compare how much something costs in your country to that of your destination. The costs will vary, some things will be much cheaper and some will be more expensive.

So, if you start working things out in the currency of your destination beforehand you will get a better grasp of it, especially if it’s a poor country where the currency isn’t worth a lot and you’ll be dealing with bigger numbers. I.E in SouthEast Asia you’ll be dealing in hundreds, thousands and millions (no you still can’t class yourself as a millionaire, I tried it and it didn’t work).

TIP: Currency exchange rates change all the time, use a reliable tool to help you.

Travel websites and apps.

Gone are the days when budget traveling or backpacking meant going off the grid. So, inevitably while you’re traveling you’re going to be connected and It’s a good idea to save some travel websites and download some apps that will help you through your journey.

Planning solo budget travel continues on from Part 1 - in this post we will look at the remainder of the research including finding travel insurance and re-adjusting your budget for your impending travels - Forever Roaming the World makes it simple for you.

There will be some websites and apps that will be lifesavers, some you will need to have and others you’ll want for fun. I’m not going to go through all the travel websites and apps here but a few essential ones you should have are google maps, google translate, hostel world app, and of course, Forever Roaming the World. Have a look for local apps that will help you with navigation, transport, food spots, bars, and things to do and see locally.

This page contains a comprehensive list of solo and budget travel websites and apps that will help you and be useful to you all the way through your journey.

planning a solo budget travel trip

It’s a good idea to invest in discount cards, local sim cards for your phone too.

Documents.

You might be wondering what documents you should take with you if any at all. There are some you will require but there is no need to take a mountain of paperwork with you.

Planning solo budget travel continues on from Part 1 - in this post we will look at the remainder of the research including finding travel insurance and re-adjusting your budget for your impending travels - Forever Roaming the World makes it simple for you.

So what should you take? Well, that will depend on the country you are from and where you’re going to as. However, in general cases you need your most important documents which will be:

  • Passport/photo ID
  • Drivers license if you’re planning on driving on your travels
  • Your flight details (Some countries require proof that you’ll leave the country)
  • Proof of visa if it’s paper and not electronic (most are electronic nowadays)
  • Some countries require vaccination proof.
  • Potentially a recent bank statement if you are traveling on a working holiday visa

You might have read or heard from others that more documents are needed – they’re not. You don’t need countless photocopies of your passport and drivers license, you don’t need every letter under the sun from your Doctor, or your financial and credit history (trust me I’ve seen travelers with mountains of paperwork).

However, in saying that if it makes you feel safer or you think you will need more, I suggest you load them onto your, phone, tablet, hard-drive, USB stick or send them to yourself as an email.

Since 2010, when I started traveling the only documents I have ever needed on hand were my passport and flight details, I have never been asked for anything else.

Packing.

I’m not going to go into much detail on this one but I’m sure you’ve heard and read that you should keep your packing light. Well while that is true, you should pack accordingly and keep it practical. Use your common sense, you’re going to be traveling around, more than likely with a backpack, that backpack is going to be on your back; so only take what you can carry and more importantly only what you need.

A few tips to save some space, roll instead of folding, use packing cubes, look into a lightweight but wind-resistant clothing. Just remember you’re going traveling and not going on a short-term holiday so you don’t need 3 outfits per day.

Pack what you think you need then get rid of half of it because you won’t wear it. Over the years my backpack has got lighter and lighter.

The other side of packing will be your electronics – This will be on personal choice and requirements. Do remember to pack a plug/socket converter though.

One last thing when planning solo budget travel.

There is one last thing. You don’t have to do this, It’s just something I’ve picked up over the years and kept me in good stead and saved me money and time. What I recommend you do is to find out and look into the easiest and cheapest way to get to your accommodation when you before into the country.

I do this for every country I arrive in, whether that’s by land or air. There are a few reasons I do this.

Planning solo budget travel continues on from Part 1 - in this post we will look at the remainder of the research including finding travel insurance and re-adjusting your budget for your impending travels - Forever Roaming the World makes it simple for you.

1. Saves me getting hassled.

The last thing I want and need when I first walk out of an Airport/bus/train station is taxi drivers and bus touts hassling me; In-fact I hate it! So If I do my research on how I can get to my accommodation, I’m able to walk out and brush off taxi drivers because I know exactly where I need to go. Also the less flustered you are the less likely you’re to be targeted by scammers.

2. Saves me getting ripped off/scammed.

One of the first things you will notice when arriving in a new country, not only will the taxi drivers and local transport operators hassle you to go with them, some will also try to rip you off. And, It’s unfortunate to say this but tourists get targeted by petty criminals because half the time travelers are naive and easy targets. If you look like you know what you’re doing and know where you’re going you’re less likely to be targeted.

And if you can remember when we spoke about researching transport, you will have an idea of which taxi’s are official and which are not.

3. Don’t have to waste time/get lost/stuck.

Another reason is that it simply doesn’t waste time, as soon as I walk out the Airport or station I know where to go, I know which taxi/tuk-tuk/bus/metro/train I need to take and I have an idea of how to get to my accommodation.

TIP: Check what your options are beforehand – Taxi/Uber/tuk-tuk/shuttle/bus/metro/train.

What could be worse than arriving in a new country just to get stuck because you didn’t think to check a bus or train timetable?

TIP: Ask your hostel or accommodation if they provide pickups or if they can arrange one.

TIP: With google maps look up a route from airport/station to accommodation and screenshot it – check it en-route so you know you’re on the right track.

It doesn’t have to be an in-depth research, I’ll quickly check which is the cheapest, quickest but safest method.

Your research and planning solo budget travel is complete.

And, that is it. You are all set. As I mentioned right at the beginning of this planning solo budget travel post, the more you travel the quicker and more streamlined this process will become for you. You can compare it to driving a car, at first it seems long, arduous and a complicated process but the more you do it, the easy it becomes. You will over time learn your own tricks and hacks, you’ll have your own structure and you will know your go-to sites so researching and planning solo budget travel will become a doddle.

In the meantime, I hope this planning solo budget travel aid/walk-through has helped you for your journey, please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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  1. You listed some helpful information not just for solo travelers but for just travelers in general. I could definitely use some of this on my next trip. I remember getting lost in Japan from the airport to our hotel because I didn’t search it thoroughly.

  2. I definitely agree that you should know how to travel from the airport to your accommodation! You don’t want to waste time and money because you were simply lost! I also agree that an insurance is necessary. If you can afford to travel, an insurance should be part of the budget. Accidents can happen!

  3. These are great tips not only for solo but for all types of travellers. My family normally do not buy travel insurance and so far we do not have any incident or accident. Also when we travel, the only documents we had are our passports, flight and accommodation details. We also do research on how to get safely and at the least cost to our destination when arriving in a new country.

  4. We always read up the place we travel to, especially the stay options and travel facilities. Often we try to tie up the pick up and drop from hotel itself. Scammers are everywhere. Very meticulously detailed post. Several of the points fit couple and family travelers too.

  5. Definitely agree on finding the best way into the city from the airport in advance. I remember arriving in Quito and being surrounded by about 30 taxi drivers right away all vying for my business and giving me no personal space. If I hadn’t known to look for the “green bus,” which was of course unlabeled, I would have ended up massively overpaying to get into town. Although sometimes it backfires — in Addis Ababa my (pre-arranged, by the hotel) taxi driver drove me to the wrong hotel and refused to give me change for the only bill I had! So you never really know.

  6. I love all these tips for solo budget travel. Especially the last one about researching and planning for how to get from the airport to your accommodation. It makes it so much easier after a tiring, long flight to know where you have to go and how.

  7. Love learning about how to better plan trips so its true that insurance is great! Travel insurance is a tool most people skip over, but we believe it’s important to get for big trips. Maybe not little weekend trips, but long trips especially if they’re booked out far in advance. We like that you provided many different companies/websites to checkout. Also, love your tip about finding the easiest transportation once you arrive. Most people assume taxi is easiest but sometimes there are cheaper or even free options by the hotel. Great and thorough post!

  8. Thank you for the helpful tips. I usually get free travel insurance with my credit card so I take advantage of that. I also agree with sorting out your transport from the airport to the accommodation before hand.It saves one a lot of trouble.

  9. I can see loads of really sound advice in this post that comes from years of travelling. There are so many small things that are easy to forget about. My favourite is to check the bus info before you get to your destination so that you don’t get lost. This is a great list to use when you are travelling.

  10. Reading everything that you included on that list makes me realize how much there is to travelling, not just travelling solo. And miraculously, it all comes together like clockwork when we make a list. The key is planning.

  11. That’s a great and comprehensive list. I like what you say about sussing out your onward transit options. I managed to forget that once in New York, which wasn’t my smartest move.

    We’ve had the need to use our travel insurance twice, and are mighty glad that we had it. They weren’t serious issues, but one could have been (palpitations caused by way too much caffeine in Chicago!), and it was good to know everything was covered.
    Bernadette Jackson recently posted…London Calling: A Day Exploring Fascinating Shad ThamesMy Profile

  12. These are great tips for travelers! Agree that taxis can be the ones that scam the most! We left a month ago to travel Asia as a couple and the first thing getting off at the airport in Beijing was a taxi scam. But, we’ve discovered that we save the most money using Uber when possible. Need to try Grab one day. And never getting an unregistered taxi at the airport ever again!

  13. Very comprehensive list of tips! The biggest challenge for me is the airfare, though I’ve already become an expert in booking cheap flights since I’ve been a frequent traveler since 4 years ago and, now, I’m a long-term traveler. I prefer hostels most of time, not only because they’re way cheaper, but also because I meet exciting travelers there. I don’t mind long layovers because I enjoy drinking coffee, reading books, and writing when I have plenty of free time.
    Rye Santiago recently posted…I Quit My Job in Pursuit of a Bigger LifeMy Profile

  14. Fantastic and detailed tips. We also love Booking.com for planning our family travel accommodations as they offer so much more than just hotels. I also love your point about ensuring you know how to get from A to B once you arrive, so many of us get overwhelmed trying to figure that out on the spot, so being prepared is a great advance idea! (And I’m still working on getting my packing down)

  15. Helpful tips! I totally agree about doing lots of research for flights. It can be so tempting to book the first cheap flight you find, but I’m really starting to love long layovers. In fact, if I have the time, I will stay an extra night in a layover city to break up my trip.

  16. Loads of great tips in there for new travelers! It took me so long mastering the art of packing lightly, but it’s really the best of tips when you have only a carry on, soooo much cheaper to travel that way!

  17. This is really extensive and detailed post with very good tips on planning solo travel. I have travelled solo within my country a few times. Don’t know how the international experience would be. But will keep these tips in mind for when it happens.

  18. This is the ultimate guide for a person taking their first solo adventure – and it’s only the second half! I would recommend this to anyone nervously planning that experience. It’s so true to have digital and hard copies of documents. I also make copies to leave with someone I trust at home (my parents and my in-laws both have copies of our important documents. Just to be safe.

  19. I feel like a doofus, but I literally never thought of how important it is to have a digital copy of your passport/ID as a just in case measure. These are all great tips, from the basic to the “I bet that’s the voice of experience speaking”, and a fun read, even for those of us who aren’t backpackers ?
    Meagan recently posted…Exploring Johnston Canyon’s Secret CaveMy Profile

  20. Your tips are super insightful, especially for those who wish to travel solo. This is really a one stop guide. Backpacking sure isn’t easy and finding the right hostel can be so taxing! Love the way you have explained the importance of travel insurance and how to book return flights that help save money and allow date changes!

  21. Well done! I think this post does have all the information you need if you want to set out on a trip alone for the first time. I do have two questions though: Why do you prefer booking just one night in advance? For flexibility? Also, how do you know in advance if the hostel is a party place or rather quiet? Loved the tips on booking cheap flights. I am not a solo traveller and not a budget traveller but I do look out for cheaper options too. I didn’t realise you could trick the system by choosing a different booking country for example. Will try this out next time I book flights!

    Silke recently posted…The Cliffs of Kilkee on a Broccoli Kind of DayMy Profile

  22. Never thought about changing my origin when booking a flight and for the other sites besides Skyscanner. Thanks for those tips!!!

  23. This was a nice informative post! There was a lot of good tips and insight. Currently planning on taking a trip next summer so I was able to take some valuable tip! Thanks for the share!

  24. THese are all great tips to planning and being prepared and comfortable. I always make sure about the transfer portion for ease of comfort to making an easy transition to where I’m staying and arrange a pickup or know if Uber or similar transport is available.

  25. I use Skyscanner, too. It’s one of my favorite sites for airline travel, though I’ve not actually booked a flight using it. Other than flying between the US and Mexico, I haven’t needed to fly recently. I’ve also never stayed in a hostel. I think I’d be more like you were in the beginning – I’d want to have a few days covered. I suppose that if I were going to go on an open ended trip, that one day in a hostel is a good plan and then you can explore for a better deal.

    Travel insurance is must for me. No one wants to use it, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

  26. Great tips! I second two things in particular – pack light and ask your hostel in advance for the best/cheapest way to get to them from how you enter the town. Personally, whenever possible, I take a carry on – a 45 liter backpack, which is pretty big. I occasionally have to check it on smaller regional airlines, but I choose these flights based on flight price combined with any luggage fees (some don’t charge for checked bags).

    Exploring Curiously recently posted…Visiting a Fairy Tale Castle in DenmarkMy Profile

  27. I really like these tips, although I’m a sucker for a bit more privacy and luxury… I always plan my trips 3-4 months in advance and get an Airbnb or hotel after saving for a long time! I’m definitely not a budget traveller but these tips make me think it’s possible for me!

  28. You have a lot of great advice here. I like the idea of booking only one night in your hostel and then looking for cheaper places. I would definitely look for a quiet one, although this introvert would much rather have a room to decompress in at the end of the day! If I were 20 years younger, I may have been able to travel with just a backpack. I fear I’m too old for that now.

  29. Great post! I have to admit that I am not much of a solo traveller but it is on my list! Your tips are great, particularly the one with the Google Maps screenshot! Just had a really dumb taxi driver in Munich who didn’t even know the route and didn’t want to turn on his navigation for some reason. Definitely gonna have a screen shot next time!

  30. I loved reading the 1st part of the post and the second part of the post doesn’t disappoint me one bit! Thanks for sharing your valuable experience. I like the concept of volunteering for my experience and is a low cost solution as well! I guess on that point, we are totally on the same page!

  31. well this was really helpful. I agree packing for holiday or short trips need minimum goods. however, i struggle a lot when it’s long stays though. great post and def agree on not liking cramped conditions on a long hail flight over 10 hours…bu 1st class is so expensive.
    Bee recently posted…Grootvadersbosch ReservationMy Profile

  32. Some more great tips on travelling solo. I’m not a backpacker, but your tips also apply to us flashpackers ? I agree about shopping around for accommodation, and yes, travel insurance is a pain, but I’ve seen too many incidents abroad where people had to spend thousands to get medical treatment. Since then, I always make sure I have it!

  33. Ok so once again I totally admire that you can do this because I cannot – booking only for the first night of stay in a new country and then winging it ! I would be too freaked to do that lol. I totally agree with your point of not carrying any print outs or folders, I mean, it is the age of internet and we can always carry soft copies on our phones ! Most airlines even have started to accept online boarding passes, why waste all that paper (and space)? I love all your tips Amit, as always they’re very handy, but many of them require a courageous traveler rather than a risk averse one like me ?

    Medha Verma recently posted…10 things I wish I knew before visiting BaliMy Profile

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