I'm Candace and I'm a destination wedding & portrait photographer based out of the Washington, D.C. area. Chances are you won't find me in the DMV for too long. Come and explore my corner of the world with me!
Ta-da! Look, I am by no means a travel expert. I haven’t explored the entire world, I haven’t traveled every form of transportation (yet) but after two years of dedicating my life to photographing amazing people and seeing the world, I’ve accumulated some knowledge in the art of travel, and even some things you shouldn’t do. With all of this new found downtime I have on my hands, I thought it was about time to start laying what I know on the line for anyone who hopes to see the world!
First up on the chopping block, traveling the world solo and why I highly recommend all you guys take at least ONE solo trip within the next year!I know I know, it sounds absolutely crazy, right? Traveling to a foreign city or country completely by yourself. This is exactly what I used to think 2 years ago before I stumbled upon a solo travel blogging community and I have never looked back! I promise you the world is not as bad as its made out to be.
This map needs a few additions but its my work in progress =D
Traveling solo is so liberating. You are forced to take control of everything, to ask for help if you need it, to slow down and instead of freaking out, breath and go with the flow. Traveling solo can be tough, I won’t lie. My first 15 minutes in Dublin went a little bumpy only because I clearly spaced when it comes to common sense, ha. I wasn’t always into doing things by myself but ever since my first solo trip, I prefer doing things by my lonesome now!
Traveling solo will give you freedom! You get to be completely selfish! You get to dictate when you wake up, where you eat, when you want to chill and do nothing. You get to the set the pace for the entire trip and do exactly what you want to do! Total freedom.
Traveling solo will force you to meet new people! Unless you prefer total solitude, traveling solo makes you ask questions. We as people are meant to connect with others. This is one reason why I prefer to stay in hostels! Not only for the far better pricing, but I have met people from all over the world! Literally! My first solo trip I stopped in Iceland and met Tracy, she’s from Seattle! She was on the bunk above me and we ended up splitting a car rental and exploring together! We even saw the northern lights! So many incredible memories were made with a person who otherwise, would have been a complete and total stranger to me without starting small talk throughout our dorm.
Traveling solo will help you find yourself! Cliche, yes, but true! When you are exploring the world by your self you get to relax, unwind and destress from the normal day to day life. You get to focus on yourself whole heartedly and that is something I think people need to take advantage of more often. We need alone time too!
Here are a few tips on getting started with planning your first solo trip.
First things first, do the research. You cannot simply rely on one person to give you all the details. I spent weeks and weeks of reading blog after blog and going through Facebook groups trying to retain any and all information in regards to traveling solo, and as a female at that. I looked at any safety warning for countries around the world and built my trip accordingly. I also look into traditions or customs because the last thing I want to do, is go to a foreign country and piss someone off or be disrespectful.
Use your common sense. Especially if you are a female. Research your hotel/hostel/airbnb’s neighborhood to be sure you are staying in a safe area. Don’t walk around with fancy jewelry or flash your money around when going through your wallet or purse. Definitely don’t get plastered. Getting so heavily intoxicated opens you up for theft, possible abduction? Who knows. I have no issue drinking and getting loose but I will never let myself get hammered when in a foreign country especially by my lonesome. Pretty much, use the same common sense that you would use traveling here in the states.
Research what you need to take with you to be sure you aren’t forgetting anything like a power converter, or some light reading or music. This is something that you will change frequently as your needs change but you’ll master it in no time. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to get a post up on all of my travel necessities! 😉
I do most of my flight tracking and searching with Kayak explore and google flights. 98% of the time I am booking directly through the airline but google flights plays as the search engine in finding said flight. I mainly use Kayak explore to gauge when the cheapest time of year a flight to a specific country could be. Its also great for finding cheap last minute flights if you are up for leaving your destination a surprise! Most will say that the best time to book is on a Tuesday, I find this to be fairly accurate but I like to add that I always find the best deals late at night.
If you want to meet new people and start new friendships, I highly suggest looking into hostels. They are NOTHING like the movies and while there are certainly some shady hostels out there, for the most part they are clean, safe and solo friendly! You’ll be surprised how many solo travelers you will meet. Another great thing about hostels is if you don’t want to worry about wandering the streets of, wherever it is you are staying, hostels always have night activities! Things like beer pong tournaments, pub crawls, dinners, live music… all of which further helps you meet other people. If you want some extra alone time and don’t want to worry about disturbing people and their sleep, you can always opt for a private room at a hostel or even an airbnb. All of which could save you some extra money.
The world was meant to be explored! Sometimes, we can’t wait for friends or family to go with us! Don’t be afraid to take the plunge! You’ll be thankful you took the first step!
If you have any additional tips for getting your first solo trip under way, leave them in the comments below =D Happy Adventures my friend.