In July 2017 I took a trip to Canada on my own. It was the first time I was responsible for everything; plane ticket, hotel booking, transportation, etc. It really was a new and difference experience for me. & I thought I should share some of the tips I picked up.
Do you research on where you’re going. Find out what you wanna see. Buildings, museums, landmarks, parks, theater? Find out what’s going on during your stay and plan according. Visit the website for the place you are going and see if they have any package deal for see sighing or touring around. Do this a couple months in advance and add it to your budget. Please do this. It gets expenses when you buy everything individually. Like $500-$1000 more expensive
Wear appropriate clothes. Ie Summer: Sneakers, hat, sunglasses, and water. Pack light; A small bag, fanny pack or anything that won’t feel too heavy after being out for 5+ hours. Do not carry too much cash or anything too valuable.
Trying mapping out where you want to go, it might be in walking distance and it’ll be cheaper than hailing a Taxi or Uber. Walking around will let you see the city/town for a different perspective. You be able to see thing you wouldn’t be able to see if you were zooming by.
Try an AirBnb.
They have a lot of options from staying in a shared room with another person to having the entire place to yourself (I like having the place to myself.) Your host is the owner of the home/place therefore they are knowledgeable about the area you’ll be staying in and (the ones I’ve spoke to) they are quick to answer any questions that you may have. Make sure you check the house rules and check in and checkout times. (Your host may let you check in early if you have an early flight. Just ask.) Make sure you screenshot or print out the directions on how to get the property and how to get in if it’s self-check in. Wifi and cellar access is spotty in some areas so it’s best to have these instructions ready to ensure you’ll be able to get into your room safety. & since your host is the owner of the home the whole deal is more casual.
Use a website that will give you tons of hotels and deals; Priceline, TripAdvisor, Travelagent, etc. Priceline has worked great for me with finding amazing deals on hotels. Hotels.com says they have the secret price if you download their app but it’s the same as their online prices, lol. Check to see if a train runs from the airport into the city or maybe a hotel shuttle bus. You can request which floor you want to be on. Just leave it in the comments if you’re booking online or asking the receptionist if you’re booking over the phone. Free breakfast is a plus.
Hours: A non-stop flight is the best but not always the cheapest. If you don’t get a non-stop flight just know that you might be running from one end of the airport to the other with no time to waste. Or you may have to wait a few hours (or 7) until your next flight arrives.
Times: I like taking an early flight going to my destination that way I can enjoy the rest of the day and get situated wherever I’m staying. I prefer an afternoon flight going back that way I’m not dragging myself out of bed and panicking about whether or not I packed everything because I enjoy sleeping in and taking my time.
Seating: Try to get a seat towards the front of the plane or an aisle seat because there’s more room up there. I prefer sitting by the window because I’m short so I can enjoy the view without worrying about leg room. Some flights will make you pay extra to pick your own seat. If you are traveling a short distance solo it’s not a big deal not choosing your seat. But if you are traveling 5+ hours then I’d recommend a window seat. You can lean against the window when sleeping.
Checking in: Some flights have online check in. Do this, it will save you so much time, especially if you are not checking any bags. You won’t have to wait in line and your ticket will be right on your phone.
Restrictions: If you are worried about what is and isn’t allowed on the plane, check out your airline’s website or give them a call.
Things to know: Check the size of your suitcase. (This applies only if you’re flying.) Your carryon needs to be a certain size or you’ll have to check it; if you check it in going there and back it may total up to $50. It might not seem like a lot but you could use that money when you get to your destination on something fun. Bring a backpack instead of a purse. I say this because you never know whether or not you’ll end up bring souvenirs back with you. A backpack has way more room than a purse does and it’s more comfortable to carry around.
Essentials: Passport, I bring my passport even if I’m traveling domestically. I ended up losing my license to it was a big help until I got back home to get a new one. Bring the credit card you booked your hotel with because they will need it to confirm the booking. Also bring cash with you especially if you are traveling to another country. Of course you can’t forget your phone as well because it has all the information you need on it. From your plane tickets, conformation emails, address etc. Although I would recommend writing all these things down in a notebook in case your phone dies.
Foot Wear: Sneakers and comfortable shoes are a must. Even though I didn’t plan on it, I ended up doing a lot of walking around and I was so grateful that I brought my converse (sneakers) with me. They were literally the only shoes I wore the whole time other than my flats. Flip flops, sunglasses and a hat are so necessary if you’re traveling during the summer.
Outfits: Pack a formal outfit and an extra outfit. I had an impromptu dinner last time I traveled and I was well prepared, thanks mom for the helpful tip! I also ended up using the spare outfit I bought. Saved my life. It’s better to have it than to not have it, trust me I always travel with my sweatpants and I’ve never regretted it. Leggings or thermal bottoms will also work. A bathing suit is a must because you never know whether or not you’re going to use it. Even in the winter there might me a nice Jacuzzi or a hot springs somewhere. Tights save lives, people. Especially if you don’t like to shave or if you’re wearing a skirt on a windy day. (Haha, this one really might be just for me.) It keeps you warm!
Electronics: BRING ALL YOUR CHARGERS PEOPLE DON’T FORGET THEM!! That includes any wall plugs, power packs, charging cords, and adapters if needed.
Bring a laptop or tablet. This tip is for small business owners and social media buffs. I find it easier to update everything with an actual mouse and keyboard. (Maybe that’s just me though.) I ended up wanting to blog about my little adventure and boy I wish I had my tablet rather than having to type it all up on my phone. Typing is easier and goes by faster on a tablet than on a phone. (I suppose this tip is also for bloggers like me.) But if you’re trying to get away from work then this tip is not for you.
Misc: Bring gum and a snack! Gum will help your ears pop when the plane is ascending and descending. Snack will save you money so you won’t have to buy anything while on the plane. Or if you have a long flight you can always pre-order a meal from your airline’s website.
You want to get to the airport 2-3 hours before your flight leaves. If your flight is scheduled to leave at 2pm get there at 11am or 12pm. Because the time your flight is suppose to leave does not included, getting your boarding pass, checking your bags in, getting through security, getting through customs or your actual boarding time. Get there early so you don’t miss your flight because you got stuck waiting in all those lines! Make sure you know what airline you’re taking so you can get dropped off at the right gate. (I had forgotten which airline I was taking, lol.)
Bring something to pass the time because the wait will be long especially if your flight gets delayed.
Don’t wear headphones when you’re at the airport. This is important if you are traveling alone. They’re are several announcements and one might be for your flight. You can always jammed out to your favorite song after boarding your plane.
Go through security first before sitting down to wait. This may be obvious to some of you but I found myself sitting down in front of the security gates rather than in front of the gate for my plane.
If they say that the flight is fully booked and ask for you to check your bag (aka your carry on) always know that may not always be the case. When I was going to my destination they made that announced and I found space for my bag. When I was flying back they made that announced and there was space for my bag. But if you feel the need to check your bag then go ahead and do so.
Always get a second opinion. I was told that I couldn’t bring my knitting needles on the plane with me but when I asked someone from security, they told me that I could. When I was going through customs I was directed into one line after speaking to one of the attendants but when another attendant made an announcement and I found out that I was in the wrong line. Second opinions are important because no one knows it all.
Make sure you know the check in and check out times beforehand.
Check-in: When you get to the hotel you want to make should that your room will be already be available.
Check out: You don’t want to get charged for an extra day so check out on or before time.
Check to see if you can get a shuttle to the hotel you are staying at. Even if it’s not complimentary they should have one and it might be cheaper than an Uber or Taxi.
Have Public Transport as your last choice since it’ll be a haste moving around with your suitcase, unless you pack light.
If you’re taking a shuttle back to the airport make sure to have the front desk schedule you for it so you can make it to the airport on time.
Be careful when ordering room service it might be cheaper to eat out. Some hotels charge you around $30 to deliver to your room.
Uber is usually cheaper than a Taxi depending on where you are. But Public Transportation will always be the cheapest.
Safety should always be your top priority! Even if you have to pay extra do it. It’s better to be safe than dead or hurt.
Here an article on Personal Safety by Heather Rudd Palmer talking more about safety 🙂
Last updated: 03/02/2020
I hoped you learned something new, felt inspired, or just enjoyed reading my story. Exploration post come out every other Friday. If you would like to know about my next post please subscribe below. Until next time!
– Olguine Brutus
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