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How to Keep Your Solo Travel Vacation Glow When You Return From a Trip

How to Keep Your Solo Travel Vacation Glow When You Return From a Trip

Apply your “New City” mindset

While in a new city or country, everything around me excites me – the street food, children playing soccer, the smell of the air, local traffic,  crowds of people going about their day and the feel of cobblestoned streets underneath my feet. My senses take in almost everything and feel much alive. 

A good way to stay excited is to bring your traveling “New City” mindset back home. Think of the things you enjoyed experiencing while abroad, like long walks around the city, and try to do the same when you’re back home. Try to look at everything around you in the eyes of a tourist. Revisit activities  you previously assumed were only for travelers. They might come off as “cheesy” but you’ll surprise yourself with how much fun you’ll have.

I love when my friends come into town because it is an opportunity for me to see my city  through their eyes and try out things I probably would not have normally done. As a New York Native I try to avoid Times Square at all costs. When one of my friends came into town, she wanted to explore places in this area & I actually enjoyed myself that day. 

Re-discover Cultural Dishes

We all experience new dishes while traveling. Some of us remember our first and last bites of amazing food. Unfortunately there is no guarantee they will be available back home. If you live in a city like New York City, it is a bit easier to find certain foods you discovered in another country. If you came back from Spain, try their other Spanish dishes and try to be mindful when eating – taking in every bite slowly to really enjoy it. I promise you will never look at food the same way.

If you live outside of the city, making a new cuisine right at home can be an adventure you’ll surely enjoy! Every time I have an urge to drop everything to travel back to Italy, I open up my book full of recipes I gathered from locals while I lived in Florence and get busy in the kitchen.

Give yourself an extra day to readjust

As tempting as it is to use every minute of your vacation days off (you deserve to right?), going back to work the following day does not do your mental health any favors. Give yourself a day or two before going back to the office. This gives you ample time to adjust your mindset and re-visualize your life back home or at work – catch up on emails, tackle some chores, do some grocery shopping and meal prep, get over your jet lag, deal with personal matters, and to unpack. You’ll also have time to realize your vacation is actually over and that it’s time to get back to your life. 

Journaling

Start a journal to help you log your solo travels and take a trip down memory lane when you feel like it. Remembering all the life lessons learned on your journey, especially during the bad times,  will make you feel more empowered in life. From there, write down what you are grateful to have newly experienced, how you have grown from it, and find more appreciation for what you already have in your life. 

Start thinking about your next adventure

Start planning your next trip. Even if feels unrealistic – with a demanding job, a new baby, or no one to go with – day dream of places you want to go to. Visualizing in a new destination will help you to keep thinking about solo traveling again, in the next few months.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

Exploring the World on My Terms – DeAnna Taylor

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

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

I’m DeAnna, a criminal defense attorney who now works as a freelance writer. While I’m technically still a licensed attorney, writing is my current love. I write for Travel Noire, CharlotteFive, and I’ve done a few pieces for XONecole and even Medium.


Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

To me, solo travel means freedom. It means letting go of anything that holds you back and simply living. It also means courage to step into the unknown.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

My first solo international trip was to Cuba in early 2017. It was on my bucket list before the restrictions got too crazy and I didn’t really have any friends that could go when I wanted to. So, I made the decision to do it on my own. Best decision ever. I read tons of blogs befor hand to get a feel of what to expect and how to prepare. Luckily they were all very accurate and to this day Cuba is still my favorite destination.

When I’m alone I can truly take in the sights and sounds of a place in my own way.

Favorite International Meal?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. I would have to say the pad thai in the streets of Khao San Road in Bangkok. You can get a plate for less than a dollar and cooked to order at a tiny little street cart. It’s delicious.

What was the most memorable and/or let down travel experience you have while traveling?

I think my biggest let down happened recently in Amsterdam. I was solo and I ended up booking an Airbnb out in the suburbs to save money. But, I didn’t do my research on transportation prior to and I ended up wasting/spending so much money on trains and buses to get into central Amsterdam during my short stay. Next time I will just spend the money to stay in a more central area.


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

One of my most memorable experiences was riding the train in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was heading to see the Batu Caves and I heard the girl next to me listening to my church’s worship CD. She was a local and I was amazed that my church’s music had reached so far across the world. We struck up a conversation and she was amazed that I go to attend Elevation Church in person.

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

That would definitely be in Cuba. I randomly met two young Cuban guys and they asked me to come hang out with them. They didn’t speak much English and my Spanish is only intermediate. Also, the wifi in Cuba is very limited. Yet, something about them didn’t make me feel afraid so I actually hung out with them and had an amazing time. We went to this random rooftop spot where they taught me how to dance salsa.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

I enjoy the ability to move at my own pace and explore on my terms. I’m somewhat of an introvert so I need time alone to recharge and operate and my highest level. When I’m on group trips sometimes I start to get really agitated and I shut down. When I’m alone I can truly take in the sights and sounds of a place in my own way. This helps me to appreciate the trip even more.


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

My advice is to do your research on your destination prior to going. Have a general idea of things you want to do and see and then try to stay in an area that’s close by to the majority of them. Also, don’t count out the locals. Sometimes they give the best recommendations.

If you were writing a book about personal solo travel story, what three words would you use for the title? (Similar to Eat. Pray. Love)

Release (your fears) Grow (as a person). Enjoy (the freedom and time alone).

You can check out DeAnna’s many solo travel trips on Instagram @brokeandabroadlife.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

Learning To Focus And Put Myself First – Lotte Huijsman

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

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

Before I left home in January of 2018, I used to work for the Dutch government as a business consultant in HR and procurement. It was a comfortable life and I had a great time with my colleagues. However, I felt that there was more to life than that. Now I am a full-time solo traveler! I do take on freelance writing and editing assignments from time to time. On top of that I write for myself While traveling I also try to make myself useful by doing work exchanges by teaching yoga.

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

More than anything else, solo travel is a journey of personal growth for me. Especially when it is long-term. I have been on the road for about 15 months now. Over that period of time, I have experienced, learned and grown more than I could have ever done while living a more traditional life, in my home country. Solo travel has taught me to let go, get to know myself better, to live more in the present moment, connect to others and to take care of myself.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

For many years, I used to travel with my ex-boyfriend. When we broke up, I found it a bit of a challenge to match my interests, budget and availability with that of my friends. Eventually I decided to book a retreat at an ayurvedic center in Sri Lanka. From past experience I already knew most people attend these kind of retreats alone. That made it a more suitable destination for my first solo trip. In the end, retreats are all about focusing on yourself anyway. Something inside of me, assured me that I would be fine. My inner voice was right: it turned out to be an amazing experience that sparked my love for solo travel.

“I have come to realize that the people that I have met have made my journey more memorable, than any destination out there ever could.”

Favorite International Meal?

I am obsessed with Indian food. In a few months I will be back in India and I cannot wait to have good dahl (lentil curry), palak paneer (spinach curry with cheese) and butter chicken again.

What was the most memorable and/or let down travel experience you have while traveling?

After so many months of solo travel, it is hard to pick just one experience. Some of the highlights are definitely the first yoga class I took in India, seeing orangutans on a jungle trek in Indonesia, getting my massage certificate in Thailand, learning salsa in Cuba and watching the pros surf Hawaii’s gigantic waves.

Solo travel is not just all highlights. Like that time I ended up in an Indonesian hospital with a bad stomach infection (barely anyone spoke English) or when my suitcase got lost at an Indian airport. I have also felt lost and homesick plenty of times. But that is okay, solo travel has taught me that these moments always pass and that I am capable of taking good care of myself.

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

Solo travel keeps surprising me by introducing me to the most amazing people. Somehow, I usually tend to meet people the very moment when I find myself wishing for someone to hang out with. I am currently in New Zealand and I have learned a Moari proverb – “What is the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people.” I have come to realize that the people that I have met have made my journey more memorable, than any destination out there ever could.

I have shared good (and bad) times with many people from all over the world. However, I have never befriended so many locals as I did in the south of India. People there are so curious and hospitable and have never felt alone. After several days I was already invited to an engagement party. It was quite the experience: me as a tall, blond girl in a saree and everyone wanting to take a selfie with me. I cannot wait to see my Indian friends again later this year.

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

Solo travel is a bit of a risk in itself. I believe in the good in people – without being naive or reckless. That has worked out pretty well so far. Looking back, some situations might sound risky. Like when I got on a motorbike (no helmets in India) with a guy I had only met once, going horse-back riding through the mud in Cuba right after a cyclone and going out by myself to dance salsa in Colombia. I trust my gut feeling in situations like these. It has never let me down.

What inspires you to travel more alone?

My own curiosity keeps on leading me to new travel destinations. I am intrigued by other cultures and nature never ceases to amaze me. The world is soo big and there is so much to explore! So far, solo travel has been such a rewarding experience. It inspires me to keep on going.

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

It is better to have regrets about what you did do than about what you did not do. If solo travel is on your mind: go for it! There is only one way to find out if it suits you. I have never met a single person who went on a solo trip and hated it. If it makes you nervous to book anything; pretend to be booking it for a person that is dear to you. Arrange the bare necessities such as a visa, vaccinations and your first accommodation. Outside of that, I would recommend leaving as much room as possible for chance encounters and unexpected adventures. You will be positively surprised.

If you were writing a book about personal solo travel story, what three words would you use for the tittle? (Similar to Eat. Pray. Love)

 

Meditate. Meet. Move.

Thanks for reading!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

7 Reasons to Travel Alone After a Breakup

We all meet that one person who creates butterflies in our stomach. You spend every waking moment together, talking on the phone, texting or sharing funny GIFs to laugh together. It gets to the point where you see yourself living a long full life together, believing this person may be the one. You eventually make plans to travel, taking your relationship to the next level. Weeks before leaving, things take a sour turn — leading to a break up. But plans were already made to travel together, so you start asking yourself “What do I do?”, “Do I cancel?”, “Should I just go?”.

You can already guess what may we may say but if you need anymore convincing, here are seven (7) reasons why you should solo travel after a break up…

You get to spend time with yourself

Sometimes we put so much time to our relationship, forgetting our own individuality. This is your chance to re-learn how to be by yourself again. Solo traveling will help you re-discover things you used to enjoy, like to do, hobbies you forgot about and who you were before getting into the relationship.

You get to distract yourself a bit

Breakups are painful, intense and it sometimes can feel like the world is crashing down on you. You’ll be surrounded by new culture, cuisines and interesting people to keep you busy until you are ready to deal with the aftermath of your break up.

You get to take the trip you wanted

When traveling as a couple, you feel you have to factor your partner in every decision and compromise for the sake of the relationship. You may have wanted to go Amafi Coast in Italy but settled for London because your partner has already been there or just did not want to go. Being single now, you get to make your own decisions and travel the way you like.

You have time to refocus & grow

You have more time to channel your energy and mind to personal projects you are passionate about, ones you may have put aside to make time for your partner and for the good of the relationship. You can now figure out your priorities, goals, professional development and what you want next in your life — making plans to achieve them.

You will make new friends

Meeting people is one of the best reasons to solo travel. You will connect with people, like you, who are going through a breakup themselves and are using solo traveling to pick up the pieces. If the opportunity presents itself and you’re opened enough to share your story, you’ll feel better and can support each other — forming a strong bond.

Have time to emotionally heal

Solo traveling offers the opportunity to reflect on your former relationship, without the influence of other people’s opinions. Give yourself time to process your emotions clearly and open-heartedly. Be truthful to how the breakup made you feel and you’ll feel much better in the end.

Teaches you to love yourself again and to move forward

After processing the good, bad, and ugly of your former relationship, you can truly move on and start to live your best life. You’ll realize how important inner happiness is. You will be in a better position to figure what you want in your next relationship and how it fits the life you want or if you even want to be in one and decide to stay single for some time. There is nothing wrong with choosing yourself as a priority and being a little selfish. Only you can make decisions that make you happy in the end and live life at your own pace.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

How to Start a Travel Journal for Solo Travelers

Why start writing a travel journal as a solo traveler you ask?

As solo travelers, we experience so much on our own and are free to do whatever we please. But sometimes it is hard to share your story with family and friends in a more digestible way, especially if you do not have someone to back it up.

Starting a travel journal is a good way to write about the many adventures we take and share it with others. You can have a place to write about your stories, cultures and customs you experience, observations, and a way to remember your travels and reflect on them down the road.

Know your reasoning for writing

Ask yourself what is the journal really for — It is a personal account of your travel experience to reminisce later on? Looking to share your experience with your family and friends? Or a mixture of both? This will help you understand what style and tone of voice you want to use, what to add in and leave out.

 

Think of what you want to include

When starting to write a travel journal consider adding your itinerary, intended routes to explore, people you have met throughout your journey, favorite meals, best areas, surreal moments, new experiences, the good, bad and ugly, photos and captions for each. Be opened to writing about the sounds you hear, the food you taste, things you smell, your intuitions, & the vibes you get.

Get something on paper ASAP

While you are experiencing new things, while traveling alone, you may not have time to write full paragraphs about your journey right in the moment. Jot down a few words to help you remember your thoughts as they come.





Choosing when to write

Writing, as you move from point A to point B, is the best because you have idle time to observe and write while you wait to arrive at your destination. Grab a seat, either on the train, bus or taxi — another option is to find a nice cafe or restaurant to enjoy a meal and write after. Start writing about everything that comes to mind!

Date your entries

Make sure to add dates for each new writing entries, to help you distinguish on one day to the other.

Remember….





YOU control the narrative

Travel is about living in the moment and is the most important part of your journey. Don’t feel pressured to have to write about everything. We all have those experiences we know will never be forgotten. You control what you feel or don’t feel like writing about. We are all the writer of our own story!

Enjoy yourself and writing

Focus on having the time of your life. You are going to do exciting things and writing about your experience should be too! It may feel like a chore sometimes so try thinking of ways to to make it more enjoyable, like shortening your writing entries to a few sentences or writing when you feel inspired to.

Thanks for reading! Create your travel journal with us by signing up when we are ready to fly off!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

Moneyless, Homeless and Making Travel Happen – Michael Blaney

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

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

I tend to change jobs like most folks change their pants. Usually I’m in a restaurant cooking or bartending but I find myself in hostels from time to time. Recently I’ve been doing more catering work and a little acting as well. I tend to get itchy feet after being too long in one place so I see my way out pretty quickly.

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

Freedom. Possibility. Adventure. There are a few better feelings than arriving to a new country where you know no one and everything feels like it could happen at any moment; it is life in HD. Everything feels new, intense, and you can do whatever the hell you want. Nothing like it!





What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

I grew up being told travel and adventure stories. My dad used to tell my brothers and I about his misadventures during his solo bike tour through the Southwest US, my favorite high school teacher would share his tales of hitchhiking through Ethiopia, Palestine, and the United States. It was always so alluring that I wanted to have these kind of awesome adventures of my own. I remember noticing that people who traveled and came back seemed different; it was the way they lived and looked at the world. I wanted to be like that when I got older too.

After my first time overseas visiting family in South Korea, I was hooked! All I wanted to do was travel and I wanted to do it on my own terms. Years later when I was old enough and had just ended a 5 years relationship, I immediately bought my first one way ticket to Paris.

Favorite International Dish?

Being a chef I could go forever back and forth about what international meal might be my favorite so for the sake of everyone involved I’m just going to go with the first one that popped in my head: Bacalhau Com Natas. It is a Portuguese dish of salt cod baked in a rich cream sauce with potatoes, onion, and a boatload of garlic. It’s incredibly decadent but you can never seem to get enough no matter how full you are. I learned to make this from my ex after a day of hiking and we ate the entire pan that should have fed six – it’s that good.

What was the most memorable and/or let down experience you had while traveling?

Running out of money and accidentally moving to Portugal is pretty up there for me. A few months into my first jaunt in Europe, my bank deactivated my card because I had completely neglected to notify them of my travel plans. I was on my way from Ireland to Portugal so I arranged for my brother to send my replacement card to me in Lisbon. Now stuck with only the cash in my wallet before my card was sucked into a Dublin ATM, I was left with six Euros and about two weeks until my card came to Lisbon.

I landed in Lisbon on Thanksgiving day. My feast that year would be some pastries and bread I had found in a dumpster, eaten in the rain. A few more cold nights went by sleeping on the street and eating what I could find when I realized I’d have to make a better plan than this. I went to a few hostels explaining my situation to see who would trust me to pay them, when my card finally came in. Eventually one hotel receptionist, after giving me what felt like the first hot coffee I’d had in forever, told me not to worry and it will be figured it out. A few months later, I found was still in Lisbon working at the hostel and dating the receptionist. We lived together until I left over half a year later to continue my travels. It is hard to describe what it feels like to show up to a country not knowing anyone, nor the language or culture. Then depart later, leaving behind new friends, lovers, and a place that had become home.





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

I spent a month and a half in Busan, South Korea working as the cook for a language exchange cafe. When I was set to leave, I decided that my goodbye party would go like this: eat some great food, barhop until all were sufficiently wasted, and climb a mountain to watch the sunrise over the sea. While sitting in a tree up on the mountain, watching the sun come up completely plastered with a bunch of strangers from all over the world 40 something days ago, I felt such joy, love, and belonging among these friends-turned-family. I have yet to see a prettier sunrise.

What’s the biggest risk you have taken on a trip?

Probably running out of money a million times and just leaving with little traveling cash. It feels apocalyptic the first few times but eventually you get used to it. You learn to survive and trust that things will eventually work out. You find somewhere to work in exchange for room and board and after some time paid work seems to come on by. It’s a little uncanny how serendipitous it can all come together.





What inspires you to travel more alone?

I get little travel pangs daily. This little restless feeling, mixed with an insatiable curiosity. It is an ever present desire to move and explore. I’ll just be going about my day and find myself making mental notes about flights to look up, & places I need to go that I haven’t thought about in a while. I’m still not sure if it is something you can get out of your system or if each trip just makes you more restless. I’ve found that so far it is the latter.

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

It may seem cliché but just fucking do it and you’ll be fine. If you’re afraid of being on your own it’s probably exactly what you need to do. You’ll make friends and it is amazing to discover that the people you needed to meet seem to come your way. You’ll also learn to stare down loneliness and work with it. All the emotional, mental, spiritual shit that has been hiding beneath your routines, distractions, and comforts back home will come up in a big way and force you to deal with them.

You’ll have a lot of shitty days, mishaps, and the occasional disaster or breakdown, but you’ll learn to become stronger for it. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to become some enlightened Buddha figure because you went backpacking, all your problems won’t be solved by your new worldly perspective, but you will grow, you will meet some amazing people, build some beautiful friendships, and you’ll have an absolute blast doing all this.

If you were writing a book about a personal travel story, what three words would you use for the title?

Learned. Lost. Looking.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

9 Reasons Why You Should Never Travel Alone

Solo traveling is something everyone needs to experience in their lifetime. Once you travel alone for the first time you are likely going to want to do it again. But just like skydiving or eating vegemite it is not for everyone.

Here are some reasons why you should not travel alone.


You have a have a hard time being selfish

Traveling alone is going to be all about YOU – your interests, wants, needs, how long you want to stay up, how early you want to wake up & owning your traveling style. You get to do you 24/7.

You have a very hard time eating alone

Eating alone can be a tough pill to swallow, especially when you are surrounded by people sharing meals, laughs and creating memories together. Good chance you will eat most of your meals alone.

You avoid meeting new people

Maybe you are fine with the friends you already have back home. Traveling alone will force your hand to socialize with strangers from across the world from different cultures.

You are comfortable being completely comfortable

Traveling alone will force you to face some adversity you may not be used to experiencing, like having to deal with times of loneliness in foreign land. You may even end up talking to people with very different personalities you are not used to, trying new things for the first or eating foods you are unfamiliar with.

You shy away from making decisions on your own

There is no one else to help you plan where to eat, drink, sleep & go while you take a step back. Everything you do or don’t do is entirely up to you.

You are responsible for ALL Expenses

Thinking of splitting the hotel, cab or food bill? Guess again! Every cent will come out of your wallet for sure. If you are looking to save you will have to do a better job budgeting for your trip.

No one to take Instagram-ready photographs

We all have friends who become our “professional-but-not-professional” photographer, taking our pictures with every type of lighting and angles they can find to get the best Instagram-ready photo to post. Selfies are easy to get but it would not be your ideal photo for those looking to impress. It is harder to set up a tripod around tourist attractions. You would be lucky to find strangers who can take a decent picture for you.

You worry too much about your safety

Traveling alone usually does not have any safety nets, especially without having family or friends looking after you. You are responsible for being aware of where you go,  your surroundings, taking safety measures & watching your back during the night.

You have a hard time saying goodbye

You have met some of the most amazing people on your solo adventure, created long-lasting memories and shared personal stories with each other, connecting on a really genuine level. Strangers who you have become friends and now it is time to say goodbye? Traveling alone can be like that.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

Embracing the Path Less-Traveled  –  Michael Hsun





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

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

Officially, I am the VP of Business Development for Next Gen Summit. In short, I’m responsible for partnering with organizations who bring value to our community of young founders and entrepreneurs, helping them find success in their personal and professional ventures. There’s nothing more I love doing than helping other young, aspiring entrepreneurs take their businesses and ideas to the next level and I wake up every day feeling like I have the best job in the world!

Solo Travel: What do these two words mean to you?

Freedom and ownership. Freedom, because you’re unconstrained by the needs or preferences of anyone else you travel with. Ownership, because you fully own your travel experience. I sometimes think of solo travel through the lens of the industry I live in — startups and entrepreneurship — where successful founders truly take advantage of the freedom they have to own their future.

What inspired you to take your first solo trip?

My first solo trip was to Kazakhstan. Being the travel hacker that I am, I chose Kazakhstan because Almaty was the furthest city away from Pittsburgh (where I went to college) that I could get to at the lowest cost per mile. I asked all of my friends if anyone was interested in backpacking through Central Asia with me. Unfortunately, it was the end of the academic year and everyone I knew was more interested in the classic euro trip than a trip through countries most people couldn’t identify on a map. Nobody came through, so I ended up, rather unintentionally, solo for the trip.





Favorite International Meal?

I grew up abroad so this answer is biased, but chili crab in Singapore is simply unbeatable.

What was the most memorable and/or let down travel experience you have while traveling

My most memorable travel experience was my first trip to South America — specifically, to Iguazu Falls. I love the outdoors and visiting the falls had always been a bucket list item for me, but the memory of walking through the rainforest and seeing the waterfalls appear before my eyes stunned me in a way that I had never experienced before. I think it took me a good five minutes of standing in silence and awe before I was even able to move. No picture, magazine, documentary or story can do the falls justice.

Coincidentally, my biggest let down was when I crossed the Argentina-Brazil border after visiting Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side. I was taking a bus from Puerto Iguazu on the Argentine side to Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian side, and because I was the only non-Argentine or Brazilian passport holder on the bus, I was dropped off at the checkpoint to get my passport stamped and instructed to catch the next bus that would take me from the border to town. Unfortunately, I just so happened to catch the last bus of the day so there was no “next” bus, which left me stranded at the border for two hours before I hitched hiked my way on another bus that brought me into town. Being stranded at a border crossing is definitely not a good feeling.

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

In North Korea, one of the stops on my group tour was a bowling alley in Pyongyang. The three other members of my group were all retirees and had no interest in playing a game, so I was the only one who ended up bowling. Of the two guides who kept an eye on us throughout the entire trip, the senior guide stayed back in a restaurant with the rest of the group while the junior guide who was about my age joined me in a game. As we made our way down to the lanes, my guide ran into a group of his college friends and we were soon invited to bowl with them.

To this day, I will never forget the scene where I, the lone foreigner, ended up bowling with a group of North Korean students who did not care if I was an American. We shared beers, talked about our favorite TV shows and music, and complained about school and work. We saw each other not by the cover of our passports, but by our shared curiosity of who we were as an individual.

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

My first trip to Ukraine in 2015 was barely a year after the Ukrainian revolution that overthrew the previous government. Ukraine remained highly unstable after the ousting of the president and the annexation of Crimea, causing its economy and currency to collapse. As an outsider, I saw Ukraine as an amazing opportunity to pick up flights (priced in the severely devalued local currency, the Ukrainian hryvnia) on the cheap.

Little did I know until I set foot in Kiev was that the country was still unstable. But because everything was cheap and there were so few other tourists, I had an incredible time. Everyone else I met were either as brave, crazy, or oblivious to the state of affairs of the rest of the country — and that created friendships that last to this day.





What inspires you to travel more alone?

My solo travel inspiration is a bit unconventional. I travel based on the cost of getting to a place I haven’t been to before. In other words, I don’t pick a destination before I plan my travel. As a result, I often end up in places that are not necessarily on someone else’s travel bucket list.

I’m inspired to travel alone because I have a desire to see every country in the world. And because not all countries are created equal, I’m in constant awe at what I see that most people often miss out on when they travel to more popular corners of the world. The road-less-traveled is my traveled path.

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

Don’t overthink. Plan less and embrace spontaneity. And when things don’t go your way, know that there remains a lifetime of experiences waiting to be discovered.

If you were writing a book about personal solo travel story, what three words would you use for the title?

Live. Learn. Love.

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

How to Budget While Traveling Alone





Looking for new places to go while on a budget? Glad you are!

But I want to travel alone. Still possible to save? Absolutely, as long as you focus on the key essentials!

Traveling, whether it be to a new town, city or country, requires money to book your flight, reserve a room or eat the finest cuisines your new surroundings has to offer. We all want to experience everything we can without feeling guilty, ashamed and regretful when checking our bank accounts — regretting every financial decision made post-trip. We all have been there where you try to find the cheapest items on the menu, in order to save a few buck without feeling you are missing out. While traveling alone allows you to completely make money-saving decisions on your own, it can be a bit more expensive at times.

Here are some things to consider when planning to save for your next solo trip.

Figure out how much your trip will cost you.





Pick out destinations you want to visit, see how long you want to be away for & see how much the trip will cost you in total — It is reasonable to cut your ideal trip by a few days if your budget is a bit low.; a flight to Vietnam or Indonesia may be expensive but the cost of living is pretty low — costing about $10 to $15 per day. From there, do your research on more local areas to stay in; they tend to be cheaper compared to touristy ones. Set up a daily allowance based on how much you need to spend on accommodations, food, & transportation — the top necessities for any trip.

Staying at a Hotel or Hostel





Just like choosing a new apartment, each option has their pros and cons. Hotels offers privacy, quietness you may need while Hostels provide the social environment to easily meet other travelers. While the latter is much cheaper, you’ll ultimately will be sharing a room with strangers who may or may have the best hygiene or mannerism. The former is more expensive, provides less social activities, & less likely to meet other travelers. Another option is to split a couple days between the two & see what works best for you. If you are truly looking to save I suggest staying at a hostel. Another option to strongly consider is an Airbnb rental, where you get the privacy you need & option to hang out with the local who rented you a room, if they are free to do so.

Getting Around





While there are many ways to get from one place to the next, some are more expensive than others. Using public transportation is by far the best way to really save, it may not always be the most reliable but at least you will have more money to spend for food, drinks and activities. Use this as an opportunity to sit back and view the scenery. If you find yourself in an unsafe area or feel uncomfortable late at night, a cab ride might be worth the few extra bucks

While some places do have cheap services such as South America, wish we can say the same for Europe. Good thing is Europe has some of the fastest & cleanest metro systems out there, with with easy commute. Hop on the train, bus or scroll around on a bike, great opportunity to ride with the locals, experience what they experience & check out new spots from different angles.

Food





We can all agree this is the most important part of the trip, because we all have to eat at some point right? No pressure to splurge on every restaurant you come across! Figure out how expensive meals are, many times you want to eat out, decide on your food budget & how often to cook inside on some days (easier to do at a hostel).

Activities





Choose what you are actually interested, rather than going to all of the places everyone is going to. Remember, your budget is different than other people. Just like food, we want to experience everything we possibly can & have the best time possible.

While there are free events around, the options are pretty limited most times. Google search “Free Tours” in the destination of choice  & a couple of names will pop for you to sign up. Check out hostels in your areas, as they usually throw free weekend activities. Put aside some money to try out new activities, you are in a new city so you should give yourself time to try out new things!





Final Thoughts

Even though you are less likely to split the bill with someone else you are able to control how much you want to spend, without worrying about a second opinion, feeling guilty about spending more or less than your travel buddy and feeling like you are not allowing yourself to have the best time possible. Once you have set up a budget you are able to understand your needs versus your wants — only thing left is to prioritize your happiness. You have come a long way planning your solo trip alone, jumping on a plane into the unknown & venturing off into a new culture — so ENJOY IT!

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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

Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

At TravSolo, we’re on a mission to spread the word about the joys and excitement of traveling alone. Whether you’re hoping to shop, museum hop, or day drink with locals, we want you to go for it. And while traveling solo offers the benefits of freedom and self-discovery, the unfortunate reality is that being alone in a new place requires you to take extra precaution. Being alone and foreign are enough to make you seem like a target to the wrong person. Additionally, taking all of the necessary precautions doesn’t mean you won’t end up in a bad situation.

With that said, we put together a quick list of safety tips to make sure you don’t end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.





Research

Learn as much as you can about your destination before you go. Read travel forums, ask friends and family who have already been, and use social media to find out more. Learn the neighborhoods, city layout, and public transportation options so that you know where you’ll feel comfortable going and how you’ll get there.

Internet Service

You can expect most metropolitan areas to have adequate access to WiFi, however, rural areas likely do not. Reach out to your carrier to find out about the coverage at your desired destination. If you’re traveling out of the country, consider purchasing an international SIM card or phone plan to ensure you can reach someone in case of an emergency.





Travel light

Packing less is a game changer. The less you take with you, the less you have to worry about being taken from you. Once you get to your destination, only carry what you need for the day, including cash and credit cards (pro-tip for those on a budget!).

Be a Chameleon

Find out how locals speak and what they wear so you can try your best to blend in. Take time to understand their mannerisms, daily activities, and local customs so that you can be respectful.





Stick with the Crowd

Try your best to blend within your surroundings. For starters, it is safer and you’re more likely to meet other travelers and make friends. After you’ve gotten a feel for the touristy parts of town, decide if you’d be more comfortable traveling to a more localized area.

Follow the light

Even if it means taking a longer route back, stay in well-lit areas at night. It’s okay to take alternative routes to avoid areas where you may be harassed.





Secure your belongings

Look for rooms with safes, especially if you’re sharing a hostel room, to ensure that strangers don’t have access to your valuables.

Set a drink limit

Even though alcohol is enjoyable, it inhibits your ability to make rational decisions. Enjoy yourself while avoiding to overdo it! You don’t want to be the drunk tourist who looks like a target.





Some last notes

The reality is that bad things can still happen when you’re prepared and when you least expect it. Some things really are out of your control. Trust your gut! If something feels wrong, then don’t do it. It’s good practice to keep a friend or family member in the loop of your location and itinerary.

All of this said, you still have to live your life. Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t travel — there’s danger everywhere (including your hometown). Let the fear of danger be what motivates you to prepare and take precaution. Safe travels!

Editors: Chizoba Anyaoha, Rachael D’Addezio & Audrey White

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By Chizoba Anyaoha


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