I’ve been on a few solo trips and the task of planning and executing these trips seemed daunting. I remember my first solo trip; I was traveling to see my cousin in St. Louis, Missouri. I was so nervous because I had never navigated my way through an airport alone and it was only my second time flying. Although I was new to the travel experience, I enjoyed every minute of it. From checking my bags to boarding the plane, I was excited that I was headed somewhere new.
I’m guessing there are some of you out there who are new to traveling and wouldn’t mind tips to help you plan and stay organized. Over time, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me along the way and I want to share a few of those things with you.
***Whenever you travel, let friends or family know where you’re going and where you’ll be staying while there. In case there’s an emergency, someone needs to know how to get to you or get help to you.
- Research the Perks
If I’m not driving to my desired destination, I’m flying to my destination on Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines has a Rapid Rewards program that allows you to earn points toward future flights. I signed up for rapid rewards after moving to a new state since I have to fly more frequently to visit family back home. Whatever airlines you choose, check to see if they have a rewards program or perks; this can save you money on future flights, hotel stays, and rental cars.
Quick Tip: I use Honey to search for coupon codes for rental cars and other online purchases. Honey is a browser extension that automatically finds and applies coupon codes at checkout with a single click. You can join Honey for free at joinhoney.com.
2. Opt for Airbnb’s Instead of Hotel Stays
When traveling, I would usually stay in a hotel, but now I opt for an Airbnb. I believe Airbnb is much more affordable and personable than hotel stays. Some Airbnb stays cost $40 or $50 a night and sometimes you can book an entire apartment for less that $100 a night.
During my last trip I stayed in Frisco, Texas, in an upscale neighborhood. I stayed for four nights, which cost me less than $200 for the entire stay. If I stayed in a hotel for four nights, I probably would have paid $500 or more.
3. Stay Organized with an Itinerary
I know what you’re thinking, an itinerary for a solo trip? Yes! Personally, I don’t keep an itinerary for things to do, but I do keep one to organize email confirmations. You’ll get many confirmations as you’re purchasing plane tickets, hotel stays, and rental cars.
An itinerary comes through so clutch (comes in handy) when keeping up with the following:
- Flight dates/times & flight numbers/airlines
- Hotel check-in and check-out dates & times
- Rental car pick-up and return dates & times
Here me out, instead of checking your email over and over and over again, an app would suffice! I use the TripIt app whenever I’m traveling. I keeps everything I listed above in one central location for me. Another great thing about this app is it imports all of your email confirmations. All you have to do is connect it to your email by creating an account and allowing the TripIt app to access the email where your travel confirmations are located.
The TripIt App also lists the address of all your confirmations. So, it will list the address to the airport, rental car location, hotel, and any other location that you enter into the app. This makes it easy for you to navigate your way to those locations. TripIt allows you to click on the locations within the app and it will open up the navigation app on your phone to guide you to the location of your choice. TripIt is so helpful, I never travel without it!
4. Instagram is Your Travel Buddy
Whenever I’m traveling, I always look to Instagram for ideas on what to do in that city. Usually, there are several pages on Instagram dedicated to “things to do” in that city. For example, I came across this page called @stufftodoindallas because I was planning a trip to Dallas, TX. I happened across this page because there’s an identical one for Atlanta, Georgia, where I reside. The pages have beautiful photos of museums, restaurants, parks, local attractions, and so much more that’s available for a fun time in that location.
Instagram is a great place to start if you’re traveling somewhere you’ve never been before and you’re looking for something fun to get into. Trust me, you’ll find something.
I hope these tips helped and that you feel better prepared for your solo trip. Happy traveling!