I did it. I booked my first international solo trip. Eeeeek! I’m excited and terrified and internally hysterical and thrilled! Back in May, I closed my eyes, clicked a button on my laptop, and it was official. I initially thought feelings of anxiety would kick in after I dropped my coins on the flight to Vienna. Not the case. I feel strangely liberated being in a state of calm enthusiasm. The downside for me was the planning. Cue the obnoxious groaning.
Listen, I’m not the best at planning for myself. I like to consult and collaborate with multiple minds before I ultimately make a decision on most things. I thrive on this meeting of the minds, it’s my security blanket. When it dawned on me that I would be on my own in the trip decision making department, a few of my enthusiasm balloons were burst. Womp, womp…but I was up for the task. What follows is a synopsis of planning my first international solo trip.
STEP #1 – BUY THE TICKET…ASK QUESTIONS LATER
I’m a flight deal type of girl. I have a bajillion places around the world I want to go and when the universe throws out a flight deal to one of them, I’m antsier than a four year-old being told to sit quietly for more than 5 minutes. I just wanna go! I’ve missed a lot of would be trips going back and forth with the idea of traveling solo overseas. In fact, I’ve agonized over it. Not because I’m afraid to travel solo, but because I was dreading the planning part. Being somewhat of a go with the flow girl, I like to let others make the suggestions for trips and I just go along for the ride (of course if there is a particular interest I throw it in the pot). I wasn’t going to be able to do that with this Vienna trip. I even took a few days to think about it and let me, myself, and I hash out whether or not to purchase amongst themselves. When the deal was still available, I took it as a sign and bought it before I could change my mind. No turning back from this point…
STEP #2 – BUT WHERE DO I STAY? THERE’S SO MANY OPTIONS
So going it alone has its perks, but when it comes to expenses you’re just that…on your own. No splitting the costs of the fancy hotel room with your friends. So where do you stay then? No sweat. Go the way of the hostel, my child. I know some of you are looking crazy right now (as you picture the movie references) and others are scoffing, while there’s the “say yes to the hostel!” crowd.” I booked the hostels and it will be my first time staying in one; however, they seem to have gotten a much needed face lift over the years. Throughout my searching, I’ve come across luxury hostels that look like really nice hotels at a fraction of the costs. Take the place I’m staying in Vienna, Grand Ferdinand. It’s actually a hotel and you’ll be puzzled if you go to their website looking for the so-called hostel room they have. That’s because you can only book a bed in their hostel room exclusively through AirBnB. Look it up! Be impressed!
STEP #3 – RESEARCH, RESEARCH, AND RESEARCH. REPEAT.
I believe in giving myself some wiggle room when I’m traveling. Not everything has to be planned right down to the very last second. I searched for things of interest to me and then made an itinerary with room to move things around. This was probably the most nerve wracking part for me, because I literally want to do everything and the indecisiveness is real. I need more days! I’m a Gemini and I have the attention span of a chipmunk. The littlest things can get me sidetracked. I went down so many twists and turns, clicking links in blogs that led to another link on a different blog and so on and so forth. I scoured the web for all kinds of information about my destinations. I also searched tour sites, and I looked at country official sites for information on what I needed. Europe is fairly easy for Americans as you just need your passport, but you should always checkout what’s going on in the countr(ies) you’re visiting on what you need and don’t need.
STEP #4 – TIE UP THE LAST MINUTE DETAILS
Get your ducks in a row, people. Check the currency and exchange rates. Figure out what you’ll need for a data plan for your phone. T-Mobile is clutch if you have them. Check the weather so you know what clothes to pack. Learn a few common phrases and sentences. Download Google translate on your phone. Make sure you have a converter for your electronics. You’re going on a trip, so don’t forget to do the things that will allow you to do nothing else but enjoy your time away from home.
STEP #5 – BASK IN THE AFTERMATH OF SUCCESFULLY PLANNING YOUR TRIP
I’m not gonna lie. I hated the process of figuring out this whole solo trip business. But I felt accomplished. So….I still have to figure out itineraries for Prague and Budapest…don’t judge me! I can take the training wheels off now and shore up those details. Back to step 3, researching and reading blogs to get ideas for how to plan those days out. But this time, it won’t take me weeks of looking and agonizing over how to plan it all out. I got this and so will you if you’re thinking about traveling solo for the first time. Just do it!
Have you traveled solo? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced? Let me know in the comments!