Packing - Always be strategic. Keep it Light! Unless you want to drag around an overweight 55 lb bag (and pay the $100 fee!) you will need to have a plan for your packing. When I travel I always stay within 2-3 color themes so I reduce the number of shoes and accessories packed. Ladies, when it comes to handbags keep it simple: One large tote and a small clutch will do just fine! My number one rule on long trips: Don’t be afraid to REPEAT! Jeans and slacks can be worn at least twice during a trip.
Pre trip – Groupons, Living Social Deals and other city vouchers are a must! Before heading to your destination check out these sites for discounted deals at local restaurants. Most deals are between 30%-50% off for popular and newly opened establishments. Pre purchasing vouchers and planning out your meals will make it easier to stay within your travel budget.
Research - Know what you are looking for in a hotel or resort. Close to the city center? Fitness Center? On site massage services? What are your dealbreakers? When I travel complimentary wi –fi, onsite restaurant and fitness center are must have amenities for me. Depending on the nature of your trip (sightseeing, family or leisure) narrow down your “must haves” and compare at least 3-4 hotels before booking. You may be willing to sacrifice on site restaurant option if you know the hotel is close distance to several restaurant options. Know before you go!
Safety First – This is very important when flying solo. While you are traveling you should always be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you pick a travel destination that is known to be safe and recommended for tourist travel. The U.S. Dept of State updates daily their international travel warnings and details on locations to avoid.
A few precautions I always take:
a) Ask for 2 keys when you check in and let them know someone else will be joining you later.
b) Try not to be outside of your hotel late at night, if you do have a cab called ahead of time so you aren’t spotted walking down the streets alone.
c) When traveling overseas. Don’t leave the hotel with your passport, keep it locked in the hotel room safe. You don’t want to risk it being stolen or lost while you are out and about
Explore - Please don't go to Rome and eat cheeseburgers everyday or get upset when you can’t find a Coca Cola! This is a major travel pet peeve I have! You should immerse yourself in the local culture and embrace new experiences. I love checking out "Hole in the wall" restaurants! They usually have the best food at a more affordable price point. Ask the concierge or "locals" you interact with for their dining recommendations.
Be Friendly - Making connections while traveling can make the trip more interesting, especially when traveling alone. Don’t be afraid to casually chat with the hotel bartender or smile at other tourists you see while out and about. Maybe you can link up with another group of people to go to dinner or a local tour with. I find that when people are on vacation they are much more open to meeting new people and making “fast friends”.
Stay Healthy - Pack your gym shoes and plan to workout on your trip! Even if your hotel doesn’t have a fitness center there are options. a) Bring workout DVDs to play on your laptop b) Download workouts on your smartphone or tablet c) Go for a walk outside.
*Bonus: Create a Bucket list – Make a list of all the travel destinations you want to experience. Your very own travel bucket list. This is a great motivator to move you from dreaming to planning that perfect trip!
~ Toya Nicole