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Clarisse Viduya – Trusting Yourself

Clarisse Viduya – Trusting Yourself

TravSolo aims to inspire people to solo travel more through authentic storytelling, by sharing real travel experiences

Tell me a little bit about yourself: What do you do for a living?

For someone whose mission in life is to travel the world solo full-time, I want to quickly introduce you to the girl writing behind the computer.

I’m Clarisse and I have been obsessed with freedom and solo travel since I had a taste of it back in 2018. This was the year that my life changed.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

A solo travel adventure in Australia during a gap year allowed me to be independent and reinvent myself in a way I didn’t think possible.

Australia was an incredible leap for me.

When people would ask what I would do there, or if I had a job lined up, I would tell them that I had no plans. I am simply packing up my entire belongings in one suitcase, selling almost everything I owned, and heading there on a plane on April 17th. That was the extent of it.

They then asked, are you on your own, aren’t you scared? I would then tell them that I am going solo and that something inside me felt that it was the right thing to do that even though I was scared, I needed to get past it because I wanted to grow as a person.

We all know that it’s very hard to grow in a comfort zone if it’s at all possible.

It was crazy to think that it was almost 3 years ago that I left home.

But to be honest, life in a cubicle and the everyday monotony was the reason I took the leap. I couldn’t imagine the same life every day for the next 40 years.

I have experienced many wonderful things since, including eating the best pasta, pizza, and ice cream you can find in Italy. I honestly ate as much as I could when I was in Europe as the food there is nothing short of amazing.

What is the most memorable moment you had with a traveler or local?

The most memorable time of my life came when I met locals that would invite me for a home-cooked meal. We bonded over stories and I learned so much about their culture and history at that moment that it further opened my eyes to the beauty and vastness of the world.

“But to be honest, life in a cubicle and the everyday monotony was the reason I took the leap. I couldn’t imagine the same life every day for the next 40 years.

What is biggest risk you have ever taken on a trip?

Let me tell you this, the biggest risk that any traveler can take is to book a one-way ticket halfway across the world, with all of your belongings in one suitcase and absolutely no plan, except to have trust in yourself. The trust that you made the correct choice and that you will be alright on your own. Remember, you will only have yourself to rely on, but this is not a bad thing.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

Traveling solo teaches you so much about independence, decision-making, and courage. The freedom and experiences that I felt during my solo travels have allowed me to learn so much not only about the world but also about myself.

That is one of the main reasons why I will keep traveling for as long as I can into the foreseeable future.

There are the thrills that come along with solo travel, as well as the travel bug that really guides you to keep going.

Seeing the world, through your eyes, with only you in the driver’s seat, allows you to view everything from your own perspective.

What advice might you give people afraid of being on their own or thinking of taking their first solo trip?

So for those of you thinking about solo travel, I say take the leap! Don’t let your fear hold you back from exploring the world. It really isn’t all that scary and I’ve always felt safe when I’m out on my own.

The world is at your fingertips and traveling solo is one of the best things you can do for yourself in this lifetime.

Live by this awesome mantra (could also be a cool book title):

Solo Mission: Travel

Make it your mission in life to travel the world on your own at least once. I promise you it will all be worth it!

 

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


Got a story or amazing travel content to share? Tag us on IG @travsolo.

2021 is the Year to Solo Travel

We all saw what happened to the tourism industry in 2020. Cruise ships became ghostly quarantine pods, airline stock plummeted, border restrictions sprung into place, many tourist spots closed their doors and a few limitations to solo travel. Travel came to an eerie standstill and the worst part was none of us knew when it would go back to normal again.

Flash forward to June 2021 when vaccines are widely available, countries are opening their borders again, new flights are being added back to websites each day, and businesses are starting to make a steady recovery. Travel is back on the menu but… something is different. The hiatus of 2020 created a fundamental change in the way we think about travel. Do we go back to group vacation package deals? Do we wait for the once-a-year opportunity to pool our allotted time off to go to a single destination?

The answer is solo travel. With more millennials choosing to put off having a family, group vacations are bound to see a decline as adults feel comfortable to set off on their own. The rise of remote work has created a unique post-pandemic environment that has made travel historically more possible than ever before. With remote work here to stay, there is no longer a need for people to bundle their meager allowances of sick days and vacation days for one-week annual vacations with their families. Remote workers are free to go anywhere they want at any time, provided there is Wi-Fi to connect to their jobs.

While we are returning to a sense of normalcy, safety precautions still play a major role in any travel currently taking place—and this doesn’t just mean masks and vaccines. Traveling alone poses a significantly lower risk of COVID spread. Airlines and hotels are ramping up their capacity to pre-COVID levels, but many believe that those decisions are premature and risky. By solo traveling, you are lowering the risk of infection for both yourself, others around you and the cultural communities you interact with on your trip. A happy consequence of having that valid safety reason to leave behind piggybacking relatives is that you have the freedom to build your own itinerary.

In 2021, new and seasoned solo travelers will find that the best part about traveling to places alone is the empowering revelation that you can be totally in control of your own decisions when it comes to where you want to go, where you want to eat, how much you want to spend, the activities you’re interested in and what you want to experience. The inner confidence and self-love you develop from solo traveling are things that will live within you even as the pandemic passes over us.

After the economic crisis that COVID-19 caused, many people have struggled to recover financially yet are still itching to travel after being cooped up inside for a year. This is where solo travel comes into play. If you’re traveling by yourself, booking flights, accommodation, and creating an itinerary is much cheaper without the added expense of other people. Even if others are carrying their own financial weight, traveling alone ensures that each penny you spend is spent how and when you want to. You’ll never run into an awkward issue if your friend wants to go to an expensive restaurant while your bank is near dried up. Traveling with friends can be fun, but if you are someone whose wallet is still reeling from the pandemic and you still want to hop on the summer 2021 travel bandwagon, know that you are able to travel cost-effectively much easier when you are going solo.

The travel industry and travelers in general have experienced a rollercoaster of events between 2020 and 2021. While we can expect many things to go back to pre-pandemic normalcy (like high flight prices, sadly), there will be some major shifts in attitude towards travel. The pandemic has forced people to come to terms with the fact that our world is not just school, work, and sleep and that solo travel is actually quite cheap. Now, those who previously thought travel was inaccessible due to budget, job, or family constraints are suddenly finding doors swung open before their eyes—all thanks to the emergence of solo travel.

 

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By Sarah John & Chizoba Anyaoha


Tips on how to make solo trips cheaper? Share it with us @travsolo or submit your story above today!

Cheril Clarke – Explore. Enjoy. Surrender

To me, solo travel means freedom. It means adventure and uninhibited exploration. And it means opportunity. When I think of trips I’ve taken alone, I think of all the creativity and excitement that came out of being by myself and not having to be responsible for anyone else for a few days.

The inspiration for my first solo trip was a decision to no longer skip destinations because my spouse, friends or family didn’t want to go. As much as I love international travel, I also want to explore all 50 states. For most people, there’s nothing exotic or sexy about places like Idaho, Wyoming, or Utah, but I think there’s beauty everywhere and too many people often overlook what is at home in favor of what is abroad and may get more social media clout. Also, when you live and work with your spouse, solo time is healthy for both partners to maintain individuality within the union.

Speaking of marriage, I have to note the biggest risk I ever took on a trip—leasing a condo in Montreal. My wife and I fell in love with the city on YouTube. We went up for a weekend and ended up leasing a condo. It was one of the most spontaneous and wonderful decisions we’ve ever made. Also, I LOVED the poutine!

It was also the memorable for me personally. I’d never realized the burden of living in a constant state of fear and polarization until I left the states to gallivant in Montreal. I could walk my dog at night alone without distress. There was never a thought that a gunman might enter a private establishment and start a massacre. It’s funny because I was born in Toronto and am a Canadian by birth, but I was raised in the States and completely detached from Canada until a few years ago. The locals were fantastic, and it was refreshing not to worry about random violence, nauseating political discussions. Realizing how much that weighed me down at home was enlightening to say the least.

Traveling alone gives me time to find unexpected inspiration from new people and places. I write for a living—both corporate and creative—so traveling alone gives me time to inject freshness. I think it also keeps me open-minded to people who live differently than me and more empathetic overall even when there is an obvious difference of opinion and belief system.

If you’re thinking about traveling alone, use common sense when it comes to safety, do your research, and just do it. Embrace the chance to live unscheduled and more imaginatively. Use common sense when it comes to safety measures, research your location and locals before you go, and go or it. You’ll be fine. Even if there are hiccups or unexpected challenges, you’ll grow as a person from figuring out how to navigate them on your own.

 

Cheril N. Clarke is Founder of Phenomenal Writing. You can find more about her here and follow her @cheril.n.clarke.

 

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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Everything to Know About Solo Travel in Summer 2021

The sun is out, vaccines are out, and passports are starting to come out. As the world slowly begins to recover from the pandemic, summer solo travels of 2021 is becoming less of an aspirational Pinterest board and more of a reality. Before you spontaneously hop on the next flight out, there are still some important travel restrictions, risks, and precautions to make note of.

Here is a guide for where you can and cannot go, as of May 2021. Bear in mind that travel rules are changing constantly, and your best course of action at any point is to check the CDC website to see what risk level your destination is coded as.

 

Europe

Currently, travel in this area is advised against because of the recent COVID-19 spikes in countries like France, Germany, and Italy. As of May 3, the CDC website has coded the entire continent of Europe as Level 4: Very High Risk. The EU has designated a small (but growing) list of countries where tourists are accepted.

That being said, two weeks ago it was announced that Europe is planning to allow vaccinated American tourists back into their borders. While this has yet to be solidified, there are some European countries that are allowing Americans in early: Greece, Iceland, Croatia, the UK, Malta, Slovenia, and most Eastern European countries like Turkey, Georgia, Ukraine, and Albania.

 

Asia

Traveling to India and most of South Asia at the moment is definitely not a good idea in light of the massive spike in cases happening at the moment. The US has banned nonimmigrant travelers from entering, though the ban does not encompass US citizens or residents and commercial flights between the US and India continue to operate. Creating tentative plans for South Asia travel for late summer is probably not a wise idea, as there is not nearly enough clarity on when the COVID wave will end there, and most businesses and activities are shut down.

South Asia may be off limits, but East and Southeast Asia are in fact classified as Level 1 (Low) and Level 2 (Moderate) Risks. In late April 2021, China began to accept vaccinated American tourists into the country. Thailand, a Level 2 country, is accepting American tourists but with a two-week mandatory quarantine upon arrival until July, when vaccinated Americans can enter without quarantining. Vietnam is another low-risk country with similar arrival requirements to Thailand. Malaysia and Indonesia, however, are Very High-risk countries that the CDC does not recommend traveling to until circumstances change.

 

Africa

Four out of five of Africa’s top tourist destinations (Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, and Mozambique) are essentially off-limits for American tourists. All four of these countries are labeled as Level 4 risks on the CDC website. While borders are not firmly closed to Americans, travel to these countries has various arrival requirements like mandatory COVID testing, quarantine periods, and enforced mask-wearing. Morocco, the number one most popular tourist destination in Africa, is at a slightly lower Level 3 risk but still has mandatory testing and quarantine enforced for all foreign travelers. Morocco is also under a partial lockdown at the moment, so if you do visit you may find certain activities and restaurants restricted.

 

Australia

Thanks to stellar pandemic policies and early-stage precautions, Australia and New Zealand have both been cruising at a mellow Level 1 (Low Risk) on the CDC website for months now. But their low cases is also due to incredibly low rates of international travel. To this day, Australia and New Zealand are not accepting American travelers. In fact, they are even restricting some Australian nationals entering from abroad. There is no new information on when this strict ban will end, and some even speculate that it won’t be for another two or three years. It is safe to say that you can knock Australia and New Zealand off your summer 2021 bucket list. Do keep an eye out on the situation, as travel restrictions and requirements are constantly changing—especially as vaccination rates climb.

 

North & Central America

Canada is a Level 4 (Very High Risk) country, and tourism travel is not recommended. The Canadian government has restricted travel by almost all foreign nationals, including Americans, for non-essential purposes. Most of North America including Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America are classified as Level 4 countries. Still, many flights are operating between the US and Mexico. Resorts and hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean remain open for Americans and usually offer COVID-testing on-site. The only countries in Central America and the Caribbean that are not Level 4 are El Salvador (Level 3), Belize (Level 2), and Haiti (Level 3). Despite the fact that flights are operating and resort deals are luring more and more travelers, it is recommended to vaccinate before your trip, wear a mask at all times, and avoid large social gatherings.

 

South America

All countries in South America are listed as Level 4: Very High Risk, other than the Falkland Islands. Chile and Uruguay have a total ban on American entry, while Venezuela allows Americans under certain conditions. All other South American countries do allow Americans in as long as you have a negative COVID test and complete mandatory quarantines upon arrival (the length of quarantine varies per country, but generally falls between 10-14 days). Because tourism is a major industry in South America, many countries making optimistic opening plans to kickstart their economies by way of allowing tourists back in freely. These plans are yet to be confirmed, but your South American vacation may be on the horizon very soon—especially if you are vaccinated.

 

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By Sarah John & Chizoba Anyaoha


Anything people should know about solo traveling in 2021? Share it with us @travsolo or submit your story above today!

Solo Traveling During a Pandemic? Here’s What to Expect

With warm weather finally here, people are itching to finally break free from quarantine and solo travel away from school and work emails. Although summer temperatures and sunny skies have certainly given back a sense of normalcy and newfound freedom to the public, the reality of the situation is that we aren’t out of the pandemic quite just yet.

As of May 2021, the CDC still has most countries classified as a Level 4 risks, the highest risk category for COVID-19. Despite these warnings, many of these countries have begun to open up their borders (often for vaccinated individuals) and as a result, there are many flight and hotel deals circulating around the web to lure in those with severe cases of cabin fever. If willing to take all the necessary precautions—vaccinating, masking up, checking travel and quarantine restrictions, and taking proper hygiene measures—then international solo travel may be on the near horizon for you. If you’re thinking about taking your first steps into the world since the pandemic began, here are some things to expect between booking your ticket and arriving back home.

 

Deciding where to go

Obviously, your destination will ultimately depend on how safe it is at the time that you’re planning on visiting. Though many Level 4 countries are welcoming tourists (such as Greece), other Level 4 countries like India and Nepal are off-limits due to the dire COVID circumstances occurring there now. Make sure to do thorough research on what the case count is at your destination.

Departure

Once you find a safe destination and book a plane ticket, go to the airline’s website to see their pre-boarding requirements. To avoid quarantine requirements in different countries, they may require negative COVID tests prior to boarding. If you are vaccinated, you may still be subject to a COVID test depending on the airline and the destination. Most importantly, bring your vaccine card—even if the airline doesn’t explicitly mention it—as you never know when or where it may come in handy.

Arrival

Proof of a negative COVID test is usually necessary in most countries -see if the test is offered upon arrival or if your negative results are needed as soon as you arrive. As usual, it depends on the country when it comes to whether they offer you a free test or not. If you are vaccinated, this may save you from a COVID test as long as you present your vaccine card. Quarantine requirements differ from place to place but are becoming more and more a thing of the past as countries are eager to accommodate tourists, especially vaccinated ones.

Your Stay

The rule of thumb is to wear a mask. Currently, there are no countries that are completely maskless (other than Australia, which is not accepting international tourists anytime in the near future). Even if you are vaccinated, it is better to err on the side of caution while solo traveling to ensure that you don’t pick up any variants that may be floating around. Keep in mind that many countries are behind on vaccinating their citizens, so wearing a mask will help keep both you and the locals safe. Other things to make a note of: city curfews, if restaurants and bars are open, and fun outdoor activities like hiking and swimming that you can enjoy without worrying about COVID.

Coming back to the U.S.

Recently, U.S. airports have been ramping up safety measures for international arrivals. Though the rules are constantly changing, there is currently proof of a negative COVID test required when you get to customs at the U.S. airport. Because of this, you should schedule a time at your destination when you can receive a COVID test and get your results before you depart. COVID test results are only valid within 2 days of arrival in the U.S. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated U.S. citizens are subject to providing proof of negative COVID results.

If you regularly keep up with both the news and solo travel deals, you’re likely to find some fantastic prices since demand isn’t yet where it used to be pre-pandemic. The bottom line is that international solo travel still carries a risk (as of May 2021) no matter where in the world you decide to go, but because there is such a high level of variance between different countries when it comes to COVID severity, it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons, do the research, and find out if you are ready for an adventure again.

 

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By Sarah John & Chizoba Anyaoha

5 Friendliest Cities for Solo Travelers

Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you hate bicycling, Amsterdam will change your mind. This friendly and upbeat city offers a welcoming environment for foreign travelers to experience Dutch culture. Choose from one of their colorful bikes to ride across the canals to see the flower market, Rijksmuseum, and coffeeshops. The city is home to many expats, digital nomads, and backpackers so you’ll have a relatively easy time making new friends in cafés, libraries, and bars. Rembrandtplein offers an array of cozy cafés for you to conduct any work or blogging that you might want to do during your solo trip. Stay until sundown and this area will quickly turn into one of the liveliest nightlife strips you’ll ever see—filled with bars and clubs to dance the night away. Do yourself a favor—hitting up the local dispensaries is a must.

Amsterdam: Photo by Chait Goli from Pexels

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Though sometimes overshadowed by Bangkok, a solo trip would not feel complete without visiting Chiang Mai. While the Old City is richly populated by temples, Wat Pha Lat is a special, peaceful jungle oasis away from any noise. For the Sticky Waterfalls, pack a bathing suit to climb up the rocks. If you’re looking for a memorable place to stay while there, the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary takes overnight reservations where you can help feed, take care of, and bathe with rescue elephants while learning about habitat destruction and other threats that these friendly and loving mammals face.

Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Mai: Photo by Andrew Jones from Pexels

Austin, Texas

The countless creeks, riverbanks, hiking trails, and nature attractions make Austin a favorite for the outdoorsy type solo travelers. If you’re not able to get a reservation at Hamilton Pool, the pastel blue waters of Blue Hole Lagoon that look straight out of a fairytale will almost certainly make up for it. If you’re okay with being surrounded by college students on a night out, Sixth Street is the obvious place to be. But if you prefer your beer filling your stomach and some midterm-the-next-morning teenager splashing it on you, Rainey Street is a solid choice. While more laid-back than Sixth, Rainey is anything but quiet with its steady crowd of musicians, foodies, and tourists. Take an early dinner at Via 313 and hang around after hours to hear live music radiating from the bungalow bars and speakeasies.

Texas Capitol, Austin: Photo by Mizzu Cho from Pexels

New Orleans, Louisiana

Calling all foodies, this one’s for you guys! Tucked neatly along the bends of the Mississippi River, the Crescent City is the jewel of America yet feels distinctly un-American. The narrow, walkable streets of the French Quarter are perfect if you’re looking for the quaint, snug feel of a European Village without sacrificing the proximity to a major cosmopolitan center. NOLA food is perhaps the most unique and distinctive food in the country with endless options like po’boys, beignets, bread pudding, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, and more. On Bourbon Street, flashing neon lights and Hand Grenade cups (the signature NOLA drink) litter the street until morning. Partygoers here aren’t cliquey, so it’s likely that you’ll find an awesome new friend to grab a beignet with you the next day.

French Quarter, New Orleans: Photo by KEN COOPER from Pexels

Rome, Italy

You’ll never find yourself alone and bored in Rome. The city moves fast, and so should you if you want to be able to fit The Vatican, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, and museums all in one day. Antonio Camponeschi’s Trattoria Tritone is a hidden gem for the best spaghetti pomodoro in Rome, plus a violin serenade as you dine—especially if you’re eating alone! Spend a whole day at the Villa Borghese, starting with a morning visit to the Borghese Gallery to see famous works by Bernini, and a lazy afternoon on the Villa grounds with gelato and a book. By day, you’ll be booked and busy running between museums, architecture, and a quick Aperol Spritz at a patio bar to prepare yourself for the vibrant night scene in the Trastevere neighborhood, where travelers from all around the world mingle and share stories.

Spanish Steps, Rome: Photo by Natasa Dav from Pexels

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By Sarah John & Chizoba Anyaoha


Know another friendly city? Share it with us @travsolo or submit your story above today!

The 9 Best Countries for Digital Nomads in 2021

Remember those long meetings that could have easily been summed up into an email? Turns out our wish finally came true. A welcome side effect of 2020 has brought us into the remote work era. Commutes and cubicles are edging towards irrelevance as more professionals take advantage of their newfound freedom from the 9-5 to be part of the work-life-travel revolution. If you’re eager to pack up both your laptop and flip flops and take off to a new country or city to answer those Zoom calls, we created a list of the 9 best countries to live your new digital nomad life.

 

1. Dubai

The desert, the beach, skyscrapers, and a high-speed Wi-Fi connection all walk into a bar… and it’s only one city: Dubai. This UAE oasis is a haven for nearly 8 million expats, and you could be one of them with the one-year Virtual Working Programme visa. Here you’ll find easy access to comfortable, sleek workspaces that your coworkers will mistake for a Zoom background. In your spare time, you’ll have plenty of options between camel rides on the beach, desert excursions, and traditional outdoor Middle Eastern bazaars. You’ve probably heard the city’s nickname “playground of the rich,” but budget-friendly accommodation is readily available through hotel apartments and long-term Airbnb rentals in Old Dubai.

Dubai: Photo by Ethan Wilkinson from Pexels

2. Australia

Expats tend to gravitate towards Sydney, but Australia is an expansive continent with much more to offer. Wollongong, or “The Gong,” is a lesser-known city that is home to a close-knit yet diverse community of locals and foreigners. Near pristine yellow beaches, this city also has the advantage of cheaper rent—something not to be taken for granted. If you’re looking to stay in here for longer than a couple of months, I encourage you to apply for the Working and Holiday visa for a maximum one-year stay and check out Flatmates.au to find a place and roommates to live with.

Australia Kangaroo: Photo by Sabel Blanco from Pexels

3. Barbados

Thanks to the easily accessible Barbados Welcome Stamp, the country has become home to a growing community of remote workers looking for a warm place to sip cocktails in between virtual meetings. Many beaches even have Wi-Fi, to accommodate the wave of digital nomads who have taken to Instagram to express their amazement at the freeing, stress-relieving atmosphere of this Caribbean island. If you’re willing to spend $2,000 and a five-day processing time in exchange for working in paradise for a year, Barbados’ work-life balance awaits you.

Barbados Beach: Photo by Caribbean Winds from Pixabay 

4. Costa Rica

With the Rentista visa, you can work remotely in Costa Rica for two years as you venture through port towns, rainforests, volcanoes, and beaches. Jaco, a town full of digital nomads, is ideal for those who need a solid internet connection and want to be able to shop and experience the nightlife without being too far from the nature and wildlife that the country is known for. If reliable internet connection isn’t a necessity for you, you’ll have a much easier time traveling through Costa Rica and visiting well-known places, like the Rio Celeste waterfall.

Costa Rica Mountains: Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

5. Iceland

In stark contrast to the beach getaways mentioned above, Iceland is a misty snowscape straight out of a fantasy movie. Known for attracting hikers and photographers, this is the place for you if you have flexible working hours and want to spend your days trekking outdoors rather than cooped up inside. The country offers a six-month visa for remote workers. Reykjavík cafés tend to be cozy and lowkey, making them the perfect spot to finish up your work, so you can maximize your time wading in the Blue Lagoon, hiking through the numerous national parks, and spotting the frequent auroras.

Iceland: Photo by Simon Migaj from Pexels

6. Czech Republic

The scenery of the Czech Republic has historically been the inspiration behind many fairytales. The towering, Gothic architecture of Prague would appeal to any digital nomad seeking a classic European adventure. With the Zivno visa, remote workers can gallivant through the medieval old town of Prague, stopping by at nearby cafés, libraries, and museums for a quick work call. Though the city looks ancient, it is anything but. Wi-Fi hotspots, stellar cell and data connection, and speedy public transport allow you to zip through life in the city at your own pace.

Prague, Czech Republic: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

7. Croatia

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll probably recognize the red-roofed city of Dubrovnik as the filming site for King’s Landing. This sunny southern European city is bursting with art and archaeology waiting to be discovered by curious travelers. After landing in Croatia, apply for the one-year digital nomad visa and have a blast discovering ancient ruins, Gothic cathedrals, and Renaissance palaces that will awaken your inner Rick Steves. The more time you spend here, the more you’ll likely consider staying an extra year or two.

Dubrovnik, Croatia: Photo by Lucian Potlog from Pexels

8. Mauritius

A free one-year visa to a tropical island we call paradise? Say no more. This Indian Ocean island known for its crystal-clear water, coral reefs, and rich wildlife is extending its hand to digital nomads. Its small appearance on a map is wildly misleading when it comes to what Mauritius has to offer. While you won’t find a busy cosmopolitan center, there are plenty of activities to do between your work breaks like swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and of course, photography. There is no specific community of digital nomads here, but locals are known for being exceedingly friendly, especially if you know a little French.

Mauritius: Photo by Dominik Ruhl from Pexels

9. Mexico

Famously the home of thousands of American retirees, Mexico is once again gearing up for an influx of American remote workers who are using the Mexican temporary resident visa as an opportunity to work digitally in our neighbor to the south. While a trip here may trigger Spring Break Cancun memories, the vastness of the country leaves you with more options to pause away from the crazy party-town vibes to conduct your work. Merida is a bright, colorful city whose lively atmosphere is the perfect place for remote workers looking for excitement as well as a clean, safe place to live. If you wander inland, you’ll find the bustling metropolis of Mexico City where Spanish architecture, Aztec temples, and world-class food collide.

Mexico City: Photo by Rafael Guajardo from Pexels

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By Sarah John & Chizoba Anyaoha


Have an awesome nomad story to share with us? Share it with us @travsolo or submit your story above today!

 

Taking a Solo Road Trip During Coronavirus

As we are all aware, travel for many of us has drastically changed. We are all trying to adjust to the new normal while also trying to live a resemblance of our lives from months ago. As places continue to open up, whether it be hotels or restaurants, more of us continue to look for ways to travel while easily practicing social distancing and good hygiene guidelines post-COVID-19.

One of the best ways to do so is a weekend road trip getaway as we adjust to COVID-19. You can safety isolate yourself in the car while being on the American Road – feeling the breeze kiss your face, the soft touch of the searing wheel in your hands and the freedom it provides  – its not forget it is a great excuse for a change of scenery. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your road trip.

Happy friends travelling in campervan

Understand the risk

Traveling involves frequently moving from from one destination to the next. You’re exposed to many public spaces and surfaces from every door knob you touch to every gas pump you hold to every chair you sit on. The more you move the more you become exposed. Being mindful of what you touch versus how many times you sanitize or wash your hands makes all of the difference. It is better to wear gloves when touching the public gas pump and switch to only cashless transactions to minimize touching openly available surfaces.

Look to travel to cities with the lowest COVID-19 cases and break them into towns or counties like Northeastern states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Philadelphia, & DC. Make sure your car is in shape, by getting it serviced or inspected to avoid any unnecessary issues during your trip. Make sure to understand the highways you’ll be on, the states you’ll be crossing into and any travel advisories you need to be aware of.

Bring your own supplies

Make sure to always have your hand sanitizers and mask on you everywhere you go. It is also good to have any disinfecting wet wipes, and disposable gloves if or when additional cleaning and sanitizing is needed. Loading up on a case of water and snacks helps to decease the numbers of stops you’ll have to re-load on refreshments.

Make your travel plans flexible

Traveling during uncertain times anything can change in the blink of an eye. A place you just traveled to can be become an outbreak epicenter the very next day. Plan your trips with the mindset that you may either have to make last minute changes or cancel altogether. 

Practice social distancing at your hotel

Every hotel continues to enforce their own mask-wearing requirements, social distancing guidelines, cleaning procedures and how many guests are allowed on a given night. Make sure to understand how and what your hotel is doing to make sure you are as safe as possible. To take it a step further, call or email your hotel before either arrival or even booking. They will be more than happy to help you better understand their new safety policies currently in place. Some new changes include eliminating lobby seatings, contactless check-ins and check-outs and keyless entry – allowing you to turn your smartphone into your room key. Consider turning down housekeeping services to decrease the number of people come in and out of your room. 

Be Kind and Show Empathy

While hotels are doing the best they can possibly do, guests need to also do their part in keeping their shared environment safe. Hotel staffs are human beings too and we as a collective travel community are here together. Know that every new guests brings in more potential germs into their place of work. It is your duty to make sure your hometown isn’t currently dealing with an outbreak before you decide to travel or you run the risk of spreading it to another town or city. This is the real reality are all dealing with, we  have a responsibility towards each to do the right  thing and play our part for everyone’s safety.

Final Thoughts:

If you’re taking a road trip soon during Coronavirus, this is the perfect time to embrace and discover nature, enjoy some me-time on the road, or a read a new book on a rooftop during sunrise. If you love food, look into trying out the local cuisines with their own rich history. Do your part, practice social distancing guidelines, sanitize and wash your hands after every public encounter, show empathy, embrace and adopt to new changes while traveling responsibly.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


Have an awesome road trip story to share with us? Share it with us @travsolo or submit your story above today!

Different Ways Other Countries Celebrate Their Independence Day

As we are all aware of, there has been a strong display of racial tensions and police brutality that continues to divide the United States. We have now landed on a particular day to commemorate our independence from the British, the same day we traditionally celebrate every year – whether it be with our family, friends or loved ones. This year is quite different in our opinion, the holiday joys aren’t what it used to be and people’s spirits have been tainted and battle tested. It begs one to ask one of the most fundamental questions “Are we actually, as a country, truly free?”

As a way to help people get back into the spirit of things and understand how travel helps us to appreciate our many differences as human beings, here are a couple of countries we can learn from their many different ways of celebrating their Independence Day and how they fought to liberate their people.

Singapore

 

 

When: August 9th

National Day of Singapore is celebrated in commemoration of Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965.

Celebrations: Features a National Day Parade, an address by the Prime Minister of Singapore, followed by fireworks and celebrations. The entire city dresses for the occasion with flags lining the buildings, patriotic songs blasting on the radio, people decked out in red and white, and a huge National Day Parade. To top off the night, there is a giant fireworks show that sets off from Marina Bay.

India

 

 

When: August 15th

Independence Day, one of the three National holidays in India; The other two holidays are Republic Day and  Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, January 26th and October 2nd respectively. Independence Day is observed in all Indian states and union territories where everyone has the day “off”. .

Celebrations: On August 15th the Prime Minister raises the Indian flag and twenty-one gunshots are fired off in honor of the solemn occasion. The Prime Minister gives a speech that highlights the country’s achievements over the past year, along with raising important issues and discussing the upcoming year. He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. In state capitals, Chief Ministers of individual states unroll the national flag and celebrate with parades and historical-themed pageants. Kite flying is also an Independence Day tradition, with a multitude of different sized and shaped kites coloring the sky.

 

Mexico

 

 

When: September 16th

Día de la Independencia is a Mexican holiday celebrating the “Cry of Independence” from the Spaniards, which started a revolt that kicked off the country’s independence on September 16, 1810.

Celebrations: Independence Day is celebrated with festivals, fireworks, bell-ringing, tons of parties, traditional Mexican food, dance and music. Flags, flowers and decorations in the colors of the Mexican flag – red, white and green – cover the public areas of cities and towns throughout Mexico. “Viva Mexico” or “Viva la independencia” is shouted with pride among the crowds and fiestas.

 

Ghana

 

 

When: March 6th

Ghana gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1957 and became the first colonized sub-Saharan African nation to do so.

Celebrations: The country commemorates its independence with fireworks, parades, and marches. Ghanaian music is a very integral part of their celebrations. The coastal regions celebrate Independence Day on the beach with music and dances that marry the elements of West African tradition with hip hop music.

 

Ukraine

 

 

When: August 24th

Ukraine was part of the Union of the U.S.S.R. up until December 1, 1991, when around 90 percent of Ukrainians voted for their country’s independence.

Celebrations: Citizens of Ukraine get dressed up in traditional clothing and join the crowd on the streets of Lviv, Ukraine’s cultural capital. There is an annual international folklore festival called Etnovyr that showcases a variety of performing arts programs, exhibitions, and a variety of traditional street foods. Buildings across the country are adorned in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag to commemorate the country’s Independence.

 

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By Aimee Kuge


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How to Plan Your Perfect Solo Adventure Based on Your Travel Style

You finally found the courage to plan a solo trip, but then you realize you have no idea what you’re doing (we’ve all been there on our first solo trip). You realize that without having to negotiate with other people for what to do, you have no idea what you want out of trip. What do I even want to do with my time? What would be my ideal trip?

Don’t worry, we got you.

We break down how to plan and get the most out of your solo trip based on your solo travel style

The Spontaneous Traveler

Do you shy away from committing to plans?

Do you like to the fly by the seat of your pants and see where the day takes you?

Do your friends know you as the person that would jump on the train to Philly to see a concert?

Do you love to wander into small shops and local restaurants without checking them out on Yelp first?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are a spontaneous traveler.

 

Here’s how to plan your ideal trip:

Go to Cities

Especially major cities in Asia and Europe, you can get away with planning less because there are so many options at your disposal. You’ll have countless restaurants, nightlife, museums, and art galleries that you can bop in and out of at your leisure. You can also spend your days wandering the streets and seeing what you run into — Tokyo is one of the best cities for this.

Take Advantage of Last Minute Deals

Travel Zoo and Travel Pirates, two companies specializing in flash sales {think a getaway to Punta Cana for $168}, are a gold mine for spontaneous travelers. Also keep an eye out for JetBlue flight flash sales that often feature one-way domestic flights for under $100.

Another great tool if you’re looking to explore all your flight options is Skyscanner. You can search for the cheapest flights for an entire month or for the entire year. You can also enter a specific location or search the entire world for the cheapest flights for the time period of your choosing. For the spontaneous traveler, this may be your new travel addiction.

Invest in Renting a WIFI Hotspot or SIM Cards





Although I always recommend not relying on WIFI when traveling abroad, if you intend to do little planning for a trip it is crucial to have access to the internet both for looking up things to do as well as keeping yourself safe. While traveling to a new country without a plan can be exciting, without as much research, you aren’t as informed about the safety and culture so it’s crucial to have a working phone in case you get into a dangerous situation.

Stay in Hostels

Even if you can afford to stay in nicer accommodations, I would recommend staying in a hostel to meet other travelers. Find a hostel that has a large communal area to hang out in or that serves food onsite so you can easily make new friends. Other travelers are great resources for ideas for things to do that you may not have thought of or places to avoid. You may end up meeting people to travel with on your journey and without set plans, you are free to pivot and join them.

The Travel Planner


Do you make detailed itineraries for trips {maybe down to the hour}?

Do you research everything you want to see and do in advance?

Do you book everything possible before you land and leave nothing up to chance?

Do you watch an extensive amount of videos and look up images of everything you want to see and do?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are a travel planner.


Here’s How To Make the Most of Your Trip:

Figure Out What Style of Trip You Want Before You Start Researching

Do you want a relaxing vacation laying on the beach or do you want to be trekking through the rainforest? Do you want to be in the heart of a bustling city or relaxing in a hammock enjoying the view on top of a mountain?

Figuring out the style of the trip you want before you start planning allows you to narrow your focus to find activities that will create that style of trip. If you start randomly researching whatever you find interesting, you may end up creating a trip where you are running around a city site-seeing when you really wanted to also spend time in nature.

Make Your Own Pre-Vetted Yelp With Google Maps


Google Maps has the fun feature called MyMaps, where you can create specific points of interest on a map and add in descriptions, color-coded icons for different categories, and even add multiple layers (just in case you want to make a Plan B itinerary). It’s a great way to have all the possible things you want to do that you’ve pre-researched at your fingertips. That way if you get to a location and are hungry, you can pull out your pre-created map and see if any of the places you researched are nearby.

Start with Booking Hotels/Flights First

I always feel committed to a trip and less stressed once I book my flights and hotels. These are the two major anchors of any trip and once you have them secured, you can breathe easy that the hardest part is over. As the trip gets closer, then you can start planning out specific things you want to do and tours/activities that you want to book.

Research People That Took a Similar Solo Trip

Hearing first hand-accounts from people that have already taken the trip that you are planning will give you more insight into what you are getting yourself into. It will help flesh out a mental picture of what your trip will be like. Oftentimes these travelers will have ideas about what not to miss, what to avoid, and any other relevant information that will help you get the most of out of your experience.

The Experimental Traveler


Do you love trying new things?

Do you crave experiences within a new surrounding?

Do you have no preference on what you do, you just want do it all?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are an experimental traveler.

Here’s How To Make the Most of Your Trip:

Seek Out Major Cities

Major cities have a constant stream of fun and interesting things to do to satisfy the dynamic city dwellers. Whether you want to go to a museum, see an improv show, go to an art gallery, or go bar hopping, you can find it all in a city. Not only will you find more new and unique experiences in a city, you’ll also find there is a never-ending supply of new things to do.

Research Travel Guides Made by Locals

To get the most out of your trip and have the most new experiences, look into guides made my locals. They will have an insider perspective on what things are worth going to and what are worth skipping so you can make the most out of your limited time.

Blend Elements of Planning and Spontaneity

With your goal of getting the most new experiences, there needs to be elements of planning and elements of seeing where the wind takes you.

Book your flight in advance and the first hotel you plan to stay at, but leave the rest of the lodging until you get to your destination. This will allow you to get a feel for your first destination and adjust accordingly if you find another location where there is more to do. You can easily get last minute lodging at hostelworld or booking.com.

Research what things you absolutely must do and book them in advance. Also have a list of things that you may want to do depending on time but that you don’t book in advance. This allows you to prioritize the experiences that are most important to you while also giving you the ability to be flexible with your future plans.

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By Cait Saizan Chizoba Anyaoha


What travel type are you? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure.