Traveling when you’re single can be a ton of fun. Without a spouse or partner to appease, you can travel when you want and where you want. And since you don’t have to choose activities based on anyone else’s tastes, you can pack your trips full of stuff you want to do.
Unfortunately, traveling as a single can be more expensive than it would be if you could split your costs with someone else. For example, a single hotel room usually sleeps two, but you won’t get it for half the price of a double room.
If you want to travel independently, you should plan on paying what is commonly called a single supplement — a noted or hidden charge that arises from the fact you’re traveling alone, since most travel arrangements are based on double-occupancy.
The good news is, a handful of travel ideas work better for singles, and there are even “singles vacations” created with the solo traveler in mind. If you’re looking for a way to travel on the cheap without a buddy, here are some of the best inexpensive ideas to consider. (See also: 6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel)
1. Go “couchsurfing”
If you’re especially independent, why not go couch surfing? Yes, we actually mean hopping from one couch to another while you traverse the planet in pursuit of your travel dreams.
Couchsurfing makes it easy to book space on someone’s couch nearly anywhere, while making valuable connections, and potentially even friends, within a community. The best part is, the hospitality offered through Couchsurfing.com is absolutely free, provided you are willing to meet your host’s expectations as a guest.
You can find a couch or spare room nearly anywhere in the world, from Amsterdam to Zambia. This opportunity allows you to stay multiple places for free while having someone to connect with.
If you’re worried about how safe it is to sleep on a stranger’s couch for free, Couchsurfing.com suggests reading profiles and their reviews carefully on the website and only making selections you feel comfortable with. “If you’re uncomfortable, keep looking,” the website advises. It also suggests trusting your instincts and having a backup plan or knowledge of the nearest hostel/hotel wherever you’re staying. (See also: 13 Ways to Get Free Travel Accommodations)
2. Opt for a singles cruise
While cruising is usually considered an affordable travel option, single travelers are often in a poor spot when it comes to booking cruises on a budget. Because cruise cabins are booked based on double occupancy, single cruisers are usually asked to pay for two people or for a “single supplement” charge to make up for the fact they’re not sharing their cabin with anyone else.
Fortunately, special singles cruises have been set up to help cruisers mingle without all the extra charges. Some don’t charge a single supplement, while others promise to match you with someone to share a cabin with.
Some singles cruises even set up special mixers or cocktail hours to help you meet a special someone. Discount cruise website VacationstoGo offers details on upcoming singles cruises — how much they cost, and how to book. (See also: 40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune)
3. Select an all-inclusive resort made for singles
If you want a relaxing beach vacation with included activities and plenty of people around, an all-inclusive resort might be your speed. These properties include food, lodging, and entertainment for a single nightly rate, and are often very affordable if you’re willing to shop around.
All-inclusive brand Club Med even offers properties that cater specifically to singles. At its Turkoise property in Turks and Caicos, for example, nightly rates for singles start at just $109 per night.
You can also find myriad all-inclusive properties for less than $150 per night in Mexico, Jamaica, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Pick a property that caters to adults to increase your chances of meeting other solo travelers.
4. Become a housesitter
If you want to visit new lands and you love animals, becoming a housesitter might be right up your alley. TrustedHousesitters connects homeowners who travel with verified housesitters who will stay at their properties, water their plants, get the mail, and take care of pets.
While you don’t typically get paid for these opportunities, you can get a free place to stay in destinations around the globe. Currently, you can find housesitting opportunities in places like the United Kingdom, Australia, Paris, and Austria. As a bonus, any pets you watch can help keep you company. (See also: 10 Tips for Landing the Perfect House-Sitting Gig)
5. Join a guided group tour
Guided tours can offer a convenient way to see some of the world’s most amazing sights. Whether you’re touring Greece’s ancient ruins or joining a safari through Kenya’s famous game parks, a tour can save you a lot of planning since the tour company irons out the itinerary and travel details for you. You’ll also have the benefit of traveling with a knowledgeable guide and with a group, which may help you feel safer and less lonely.
Unfortunately, not all organized travel tours are best for singles, since many charge a double-occupancy rate whether you travel alone or not. It helps to seek out tours specifically for single travelers. Some of the most popular companies that offer this option (without a single supplement) include G Adventures, Tucan Travel, and Contiki, which focuses on travelers in the 18-35 age range.
These tours typically include not only your lodging and transportation, but some meals and activities, too. With G Adventures, for example, travelers can pick from tours like a seven-day Italy trip that includes lodging, transportation, food, and activities for $1,599.
6. Pick up a travel credit card
No matter where you’re traveling, pick up an airline credit card or travel rewards credit card before you go. These cards let you earn points for every dollar you spend, and most offer a big sign-up bonus after you meet a minimum spending requirement within a few months of signing up.
Airline credit cards can be especially advantageous for the single traveler. While families may find it difficult to find more than one or two award seats on a flight, singles have the advantage of only needing one. This is especially true when it comes to airlines that only release one or two award seats at a time.