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Psychological Benefits of Solo Traveling

Psychological Benefits of Solo Traveling

No one foresaw that the COVID pandemic would pave the road for another, more persistent plague: mental health. A year of quarantine has taken its toll on students, employees, and parents who have felt isolated, underworked, and severely lacking a support structure as the world turned upside down. Now that vaccines are out and global cases are trending downwards, we should be seeing a return to pre-pandemic times… right?

The gradual return to normalcy has been anything but smooth. The mental health struggles that people faced during isolation are not going away on their own as many students are saying goodbye to their college years on a Zoom webcam, employees are quitting for remote work opportunities, and personal relationships affected. The universal question on everyone’s minds for 2021 is: What now?

What we all need is a jumpstart—like rebooting a computer after a virus. We need to close our laptops, get out of our houses, and find ways to adapt to move forward. With travel restrictions easing up in most places, solo traveling is the perfect opportunity to put a physical distance between us and personal issues. Here are five ways that solo travel helps your healing.

 

Managing your stress

Working from home is convenient in some ways—like being able to walk to the fridge for a snack in the middle of a meeting—but oftentimes it can be a source of even more stress than in-person work. Many employees are overworking themselves to the point of exhaustion thanks to nonexistent lunch breaks, sitting at their desks for hours at a time, and taking on larger workloads than ever. Whether you will continue to work remotely or decided to return to the office, one thing is definitely needed – time to de-stress. A solo travel vacation is the perfect way to enjoy your favorite scenery without dealing with the hassle of travel companions. Traveling solo is a failsafe way to ensure that your vacation is all about you and getting your cortisol levels down.

Finding yourself post-isolation

Depersonalization during a pandemic is more common than you think. Feeling like you’re unsure of who you are after the events of the past year is the brain’s normal response to a long period – doing nothing but laptop work, house chores, and binge-watching Netflix. Traveling, specifically by solo traveling, is the best way to remember who you were before COVID turned you into a Zoom-bie, but also to recreate yourself after a year of isolation. Exploring a new destination on your own will force you to prioritize yourself and your needs again. Are you a spontaneous traveler or someone who likes to plan things out? Would you rather spend a night under the stars or under city lights? If you take the time to be alone in a totally new setting, you’ll find out more about yourself than you ever thought was possible.

Getting physical activity

Even if you’re not going on a hiking trip, solo traveling offers much more physical activity than sitting at home. Brain fog, caused by lack of exercise, was a commonly reported symptom of working from home during the pandemic. Getting off your couch, getting to the airport, catching trains and buses, and walking around a new place are all excellent ways of waking your body back up this year. The best part is that you won’t even notice you’re getting exercise because there will be so much sightseeing to keep your brain occupied.

Get inspired

You’ve probably seen people online starting Etsy shops, YouTube channels, or blogs during the pandemic when there was nothing else to do. And it probably made you feel like you were not doing enough with your quarantine time. The truth is, there was no rules or expectations to come up with a great business idea or piece of artwork. Isolation can be draining on anyone’s creativity. If you’re ready to finally start creating and dreaming again, then pick out a place you’ve never been to and turn it into a trip of inspiration. You’ll never know what you’ll find there that will spark your curiosity and fuel your next big idea.

Treating yourself to something nice

The pandemic was hard on everyone, with some level of anxiety, depression and already existing mental issues. You may feel like you don’t deserve a vacation right now with everything that has happened. Let me be the first or final voice to let you know that you have certainly been through enough to deserve a trip. Nearly everyone has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, some still trying to unpack their traumas. So, if you feel like you’ve done nothing remarkable to deserve those cheap plane tickets that you’ve been eyeing for weeks, think again. Surviving through a global pandemic is more than enough reason to book a solo trip and mentally recharge.

 

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By Sarah John & Chizoba Anyaoha


Any additional mental benefits solo traveling as give you? Share it with us @travsolo or submit your story today!

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


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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.

 

Thanks for reading!

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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


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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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Afraid to Travel Alone? Here’s How to Start Slow

People have one of three reactions when I tell them that I am an avid solo traveler:

“That’s so cool, I wish I was brave enough to do that.”

“You travel alone? Isn’t that dangerous? What if something happens, you’ll have no one to fall back on?”

“I love traveling alone; it’s the best isn’t it?”

First off, anyone can travel alone with proper planning and the proper mindset.

Second, most cities in the U.S are more dangerous than large cities abroad-we’ll get into that in detail later. Third, having people around in a crisis can actually make it more difficult to be decisive and take action quickly.

So now that we’ve debunked those myths, if you are afraid to travel alone, what is holding you back?

Let’s take a deep dive into it and talk about some strategies to overcome these hurtles so you too can be that cool girl that travels abroad.

You Are Afraid of Being Alone

 

 

“But isn’t traveling alone boring without anyone to talk to? Don’t you get lonely?”

Let me ask you this, when was the last time you spent a significant amount of time alone? I cherish the time I spend by myself. It’s a moment to reconnect and meet different versions of yourself, which is crucial in maintaining a balanced life.

Concerns about being bored or lonely often stem from a fear of spending time alone. You’re worried everyone is going to think to themselves “That girl is by herself, what a loser”. Or “What am I going to do with no one to talk to, stay on my phone the whole trip?”

Why not give it a try and see if that’s true.

Start with something small like going to a concert, comedy show, or new restaurant alone to build up confidence. You’ll quickly realize no one actually cares or pays attention that you are by yourself {oftentimes there will be other people riding solo there too}. You may find that a minute to yourself can be a nice change of pace. Once you are more comfortable with your new solo status, take a weekend trip to Boston, Philadelphia or neighboring towns. Considering treating yourself to a staycation and take a local trip to the Bronx, Coney Island or Long Island.

 

“Okay, I’m comfortable doing things alone, but I don’t want an entire week alone. I’m not the kind of person that is outgoing and can make friends easily”.

You definitely can! It just takes some practice and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Try going to a networking event in your niche; it’s a great way to meet new connections and to practice introducing yourself to new people.

Does the idea of attending a networking event make you cringe?

First, try a less intimidating space, like a concert or comedy show and make a goal for yourself to talk to at least five people. Build up to talking to more people and attending a networking event solo. This will give you the confidence to approach people at your hostel or out and about while you are abroad.

“But I’m going to a country where no speaks English, won’t that automatically isolate me?”

Spend some time before your trip learning some basic phrases of the local language. You could even look up a local language meet up where you can practice your conversational skills before you go. Keep in mind that there are other travelers in the same boat as you, so definitely seek out hostels and other places where you can meet more people speaking the same language.

You Won’t Have Anyone to Fall Back On If You Get Into a Sticky Situation

 

This was one of my biggest fears that deterred me from traveling abroad.

Four years ago, I found myself in Beijing with a friend of mine. As my first trip outside of the country I was beyond excited. The first morning I woke up at 6am ready to hit the streets but my friend was less than thrilled. She wanted to spend the day in the hotel room playing video games and grab dinner later on at night {true story}. So I was faced with a dilemma — venture out into this foreign city alone, risking getting lost or maybe being kidnapped or play it safe and stay in the hotel room with my friend.

I chose the former — so I grabbed a business card of the hotel I was staying at and departed for the subway. My phone didn’t work in Beijing {I didn’t know anything about SIM cards at the time} so I wrote down directions/addresses on a piece of paper. And you know what happened? I had a really awesome day.


I ended up exploring an outdoor art gallery, visiting a museum dedicated to the afterlife, and wandering through the night markets. Traveling alone in a foreign country was nothing like I expected it to be. It was liberating to walk the streets of Beijing alone. I felt so connected to the world around me — I vividly remember standing in the middle of a busy shopping district soaking in the energy from the crowds passing by. That trip gave me the confidence to take my first solo trip to Thailand the following year and it was the beginning of my solo traveling lifestyle.

You will may run into situations that feel unsafe, you may lose your passport or your phone but all of these things are manageable with proper planning. The reality is these things can happen even if you are with other people — it’s just overcoming the mindset that you can’t do it. But guess what, you definitely can!

Don’t believe me? Test it out.

Try spending a day in your local city without your phone (or turn it off) to test your ability to think on your feet. You’ll be surprised at how well you cope. Or if you are feeling brave, take an improv class (UCB and Magnet Theater offer free courses) to help you get used to dealing with the unexpected.

“But isn’t it dangerous to travel alone as a woman?”

Safety is relative. Detroit has a higher crime and murder rate than any city in Colombia. If you always listen to your gut reaction, you will more times than not steer yourself out of dangerous situations. That being said, you still need to take some precautions, especially as a woman traveling alone such as not going out at night alone. Make sure to research online other solo travelers that have gone to your destination to see what their experiences were. Also look into safety, crime rates, and travel adversaries on the Bureau of Consular Affairs before you choose a destination.

You’ve Never Planned a Trip Before and You’re Worried About the Logistics of Traveling Abroad

 

One easy way to combat this is to keep things simple and do as much planning in advance as possible. Stick to visiting one city and book one hostel in advance as a home base, which will keep the logistics simple. Research things you want to do (Nomadness Travel Tribe, Nomadic Matt and The Blonde Abroad are great travel blogs for solo female travelers) and create a loose itinerary. That way when you get there, you don’t get as overwhelmed. As you get more solo trips under your belt, you can start adding on multiple cities /countries to your trip and plan less of the trip in advance. Especially as you start meeting people traveling, you are going to want to keep your plans loose to switch gears based on other traveler’s recommendations and travel plans.

A lot of the nitty gritty logistics pieces you can easily knock out in advance. Make sure to renew your passport (or get one) well in advance, even if you do not have a trip in mind yet. It takes about 30 days for this process and there are some countries that won’t accept a passport that expires within 30 days of entry.


Start to think about how you want to use your phone abroad. You can either get SIM cards (for unlocked phones) for each of the countries you are traveling to, you can rent a mobile WiFI device, or you can purely rely on local Wifi. Think about how much you are willing to spend on having access to a phone and research how reliable the Wifi connection is in the country you are traveling to. For example, most public places in Thailand have Wifi so you can easily get by. Conversely in Iceland, not only is there no Wifi on the Ring Road, it is a necessity for emergencies to have a working cellphone.

You may want to invest in a new backpack or set of luggage for your solo adventures. This should be done to gradually put your mindset in a closer position to travel alone. Consider what you’ll need to bring with you. I would also highly recommend getting quick-drying towels and clothing so can you wash them while you are on your trip to avoid over packing.

In life you may not have everything figured out, but as long as you are taking the steps needed to prepare and visualize yourself traveling alone, you will eventually go.


You Don’t Know Where You Want To Go Or Where To Go As a Solo Female Traveler



First, brainstorm any countries or regions of the world that you want to visit. If you don’t have a specific country or region in mind, start with thinking about what kind of trip you want. Do you want to be in a city, in a rural area, or a balance of both? Do you want a trip that’s active, adventurous, relaxing, or something in between?

Once you figure out what you want out of your solo adventure, research the best cities to visit as a solo female traveler.

One major thing to consider while doing this is your budget. Traveling to South America or Asia is going to be cheaper than going to Europe. But Europe is easier to navigate as more people speak English. You’ll also want to consider the season you are traveling in — you’ll want to avoid visiting parts of Asia during monsoon season or during the summer so make sure to look into the best travel times for your destination.

One you have a location picked, now is the fun part! Start to visualize what it is going to be like traveling alone to your destination. Better yet create a Pinterest board of all the places and things you want to do to get yourself pumped up for your trip.

Your Friends/Family Think It’s a Bad Idea

When I decided to take a last minute trip to Colombia, almost everyone I know thought I was crazy. “Isn’t it really dangerous?” “Isn’t there a massive drug problem and lots of kidnappings?”

While your friends and family have your best interests at heart, these concerns are really projections of their own fears with traveling alone. Many people also make assumptions about a location based on movies, tv shows, outdated or biased information so make sure to seek out people –whether virtually or that you may know, that have been to your destination as a solo traveler.

Share what you find with your friends/family along with your itinerary to make them more comfortable with your plans. Without meaning to, people around you can often hold you back from venturing out of your own comfort zone. You have to trust and take a chance on yourself. You never know where it may lead you.

Thanks for reading!

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By Cait Sarazin & Chizoba Anyaoha


Have any tips for first time solo travelers we didn’t cover? Tag us on IG @travsolo on your solo adventure and hare in the comments below.

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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