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Go Solo Without Breaking the Bank

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    Get Away on Your Own — on a Budget

    A solo vacation can be the ultimate in getting away from it all. You can relax and lower your stress level or get your blood flowing with an adventure. Either way, it’s about indulging yourself. Sound good? It is! Sound expensive? Not necessarily. Here are some tips for keeping yourself on a budget.

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    Think Convention Cities

    Visit Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C.and you’ll find nice hotels with budget rates. And you can nab cheap airfares, too. Just make sure you don’t time your trip to coincide with a huge event. And don’t forget to hit the neighborhoods away from downtown. When you’re hanging out where locals live, you won’t feel awkward being alone. See also: weekend getaways

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    AARP Offer: Explore Your World

    Explore Travel with our newsletter filled with tips and ideas to plan the ultimate getaway.Join AARP today for savings on airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises.

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    Think Smaller Cities

    If a teeming metropolis doesn’t suit your style, consider “B-list” cities such as Asheville, North Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Louisville, Kentucky; Austin, Texas; or Milwaukee, Wisconsin. These places are undergoing revivals fueled by artists and small businesses. Along with superb restaurants and pubs, you’ll find an upbeat local population plus plenty of nostalgia and history.

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    Make Your Meals Work for You

    Wherever you are, you’ll save money as a single diner if you make lunch your main meal. At lunch, or even happy hour, you’ll get the same menu for less, and you can save leftovers for a cozy dinner in your hotel room. When I’m on my own, I usually have a light meal in the evening and catch up with email or watch a movie. If I’m feeling social, I’ll visit the lounge bar in my hotel, where I’m likely to meet people and get tips on what to do the next day.

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    Save in the Shoulder Season

    If you have your heart set on the beach or a national park, timing can make a huge difference to your budget. Think about taking trips during the two weekends leading up to big travel times on the calendar: Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Beach Week (when colleges let out for summer). The crowds haven’t arrived yet, but restaurants, resorts, hotels and stores are staffed up and getting ready for the crowds.

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    Hang With Hobbyists

    Can’t get your friends interested in knitting? You can attend knitting retreats everywhere from West Virginia to Antarctica. Spouse not excited about science fiction? Check out the annual World Science Fiction Convention. Whether you love kites or books, Zumba or opera, you’re bound to find affordable events.

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    Go International

    For the ultimate savings on international travel, there is no better destination right now than Southeast Asia. Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand all offer an exotic, affordable experience. The flight will cost you — but once you get there, everything is petty-cash cheap, including luxury hotels and markets with great deals on crafts, jewelry and clothes. The best part is the locals, who appreciate that you are interested in their culture and make you feel welcome.

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    Get With a Group

    Not everyone wants to set out on the open road completely alone. Road Scholar programs cater to the 50-plus crowd and focus on learning while traveling. Adventures by Disney provides adult-only trips that focus on culture and history. Trips often have robust online and Facebook groups that form prior to the trip, and tour leaders give special attention to solo travelers.

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    Do Some Online Research

    You’ll find plenty of groups that cater to solo travelers and lots of deals at sites such as OnTheGoTours.com, IndependentTraveler.com and aarp.org. Then get out there on your own!

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    Also of Interest

     

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