How To DIY Solo Travel Plans
9.9 times out of 10, I will plan and fully book all of my travels myself, without the use of a travel agent or using an all-inclusive option. I used that .1 when I chose the all-inclusive package in Cabo. While convenient most of the time, I noticed it didn't make me want to venture out to indulge in authentic Mexican food and drinks because I had essentially already paid for these things at the hotel, which were not authentic. If you need to utilize a travel agent or choose the all-inclusive option, go for it. But if you have the time and energy, I would recommend the DIY route when planning solo travel. It can be a lot of work and research, but it’s easy, rewarding work! Besides, some vacation bookings or packages may be based on double occupancy or priced per person. So in the end, that trip may not be as cheap or the savings may not be as grand as it appears. Here are some tips on how you can plan your trip by simply purchasing your flight, lodging, and other necessities yourself.
One of the best parts about traveling solo is the flexibility. You can pretty much do what fits your schedule and budget, without the need to coordinate with someone else. Use one of my favorite travel hacks when coordinating flight options: the one way ticket. This option can sometimes yield cheaper results and allow the flexibility of traveling into one city and leaving out of another or by choosing different airlines to travel on. Fly out on Delta, fly back on United. I think the latter option is frowned upon with airlines but its absolutely legal and fairgame. If it will save you $50-100, I would say do it. This is where the research comes into play but a savings like that is well worth the extra little bit of work. Just consider the timeframe of the flight, layovers, and luggage fees of particular airlines to decide if this works for you. Long or overnight layovers may not be worth the savings. Now that you have booked your flight, you need to decide where you will be staying.
Consider hostel living. For example, there are tons of nice, clean, and very inexpensive hostels in the European part of the world. Hostels seem to be forgotten when travel planning or people get scared because think about what they've seen in the movie or because they believe it's not a safe option (by the way, not true), but for the solo traveler it should absolutely be a reputable option. When doing research on hostels, do a search, filtering any perks that you would prefer such as free wifi, private rooms, and free breakfast and narrow it down to your 3 best options. Then do a more detailed Google search on each option, looking for more exact photos and reviews. Use your gut and intuition when deciding on the right place for you. Be careful when choosing private rooms with more than 1 bed as you will more than likely be paying for the extra bed. Sure you may want some privacy, but that’s the joy of solo travel. Get out of your comfort zone for a few days. Plus since you are traveling solo this is a fantastic way to meet new people to explore the city with. If you aren’t all the way comfortable with this option, try it for a few days, and then stay in a hotel or an apartment. This option gives you the best of both worlds. Some private alone time and some amazing moments with strangers. Win win. Just make sure it fits into your budget.
Now that you have decided how you are getting to your destination and where you will be staying, decide on what you want to do once you are there. This is the fun easy part! Be open-minded with your adventures. Research the most popular touristy things to do as well as things to do off the beaten path. Then once you have narrowed down some options, one of the best ways to meet people is to sign up for tours. Do a Google search for free and paid tours for the activities you plan to do. You can choose to book any tours and activities until you get to your destination in case your plans change. If you decided to stay in a hostel, be open to the adventurous things your roommates are getting into. Trust me...you will have the time of your life! Having an open-mind is the theme for solo travel. It will take you a very long way. Besides, you will have an amazing story to tell your grand-kids one day.
So there you have it. Leave the planning in your own hands to maximize the full potential of your travels. Utilize the one way ticket option, stay in hostels, and meet some new people. Do your research and come up with a general idea and plan of what you want to venture into once you get there, while being open-minded to the many possibilities of what could be.
So how will you plan to DIY your travels in the future? Let me know!
(photos from my solo trip for my 30th birthday in London and Paris!)