When you land in Bali as soon as you step off the plane you will be hit with this crazy humidity. After a mission of a queue at customs and collecting your luggage you will then be hit with a flood of taxi companies wanting you to pick them. My advise is to stick with a company called Bluebird. This is the most reputable company. It should cost about 100,000 rupiah to go from the Airport to Kuta.
No matter how tired you are the excitement and buzz and arriving here will keep you going. If you asked me if i to do the 18 hour flight to Bali via China again to save $1000NZD I would definitely say yes.
It is not as uncommon as you think. I met another 2 solo travellers doing the same route so there is definitely options of those travelling on a budget. In fact the first 11 hour flight was the best. I was lucky enough to get 4 seats to myself and have a great sleep.
Travelling solo is a much easier way to make friends. Solo travellers are much more likely to reach out and make an effort. The memories you make stay with you forever. So far I have met 2 people that have made the trip memorable so far. One is also called Rachel from the USA and is a vegetarian. The other a guy from France living in Wellington. Spending an 18 hour flight with someone is longer than people spend on a first and second date and is a great way to connect to people and hear their story and also maybe even make friends for life
I highly recommend going outside your comfort zone and even smiling at a stranger can make their day. Little gestures like that are free and people will remember you. It costs nothing to be nice and its funny the little things that people remember.