Hey Besties! Ah sista is in need of a vacation like today, so I'm super excited about my upcoming trip to Belize. From what I have researched, the country is beautiful, the native people are so welcoming and there are many historical sites to explore. However, I am also terrified because this will be my first semi-solo vacation. My cousin will accompany me for the first three days, but then she has to leave and it will be just me. “Just Me, Myself and I” – Beyoncé.
This will not only be my first solo vacation, but my first solo vacation abroad in a foreign country. What the hell am I thinking, right? I really can’t believe I’m getting ready to do this, but I am. I haven’t even told my parents yet, yikes! My mother is going to freak out, try to talk me out of it, send up prayers, call on Jesus and then demand every single detail of my itinerary. My daddy won’t say much except, “watch your surroundings kid”. One of my friend's made it a point to remind me of the movie "Taken". Like really, I'm already nervous and you have to mention that, ugh! Gee, thanks. So, to give them and myself peace of mind, I found some tips to help me on this journey.
Take notes because I’m sure I have some brave Besties that are looking to do the same thing.
1. Make a local friend. There are lots of great networks to connect female travelers all around the world. Ask them about the customs and things to do in their area, or even make plans to meet up.
2. Take pictures of all your documents and put them on a locked site like DropBox that you can access from any computer. Passport, IDs, ticket numbers, reservations, etc. That way if you lose them AND your computer or phone, you won’t be totally screwed.
3. International phone plans are worth it for emergencies. If you don’t want to spring for a whole plan, at least pack a couple of international phone cards with you in case you need them. When I traveled to Liberia I purchased a phone there and bought calling cards.
4. Schedule a regular check-in with someone back home. Makes sense. It keeps my parents from sending out search parties, mainly my mother. LOL.
5. Register with the U.S. Department of State. If something noteworthy happens in the country you’re in or at home, they will let you know ASAP. And download their Smart Traveler app. And it’s also a good idea to find out where the US embassy is located when abroad.
6. Try to dress like a local. It will prevent you from getting a lot of unwanted attention. And if you don’t look like an obvious tourist, you won’t be the first target for swindlers or pickpockets. Exactly, not trying to get “GOT” in a foreign country. Not a good look.
7. Bring a selfie stick! For those times when you don’t want to hand your camera or phone to someone to snap a pic for you, the selfie stick will be your favorite tool. Thank goodness for Novo Nordisk, my company got us selfie sticks! Check that off my list!
8. If you get lost, don’t look at your phone or a map in the middle of the street. Just duck into a café or shop and check there. The ultimate way to get “Got”! No sir, not me! Avoid looking like a tourist, please.
9. Talk to strangers and be curious. When you travel alone you accept the responsibility to reach out, be extroverted and strike up conversations with strangers. Talk to anyone and everyone who looks friendly. I’m pretty good at this but I will need to channel my inner Veronica, she is “Ms. People Person”.
10. Trust everyone and no one. One of the best reasons to travel alone is to meet new people, but this also makes you more vulnerable. It's okay to hang out, but watch your own back. I’m from “the Chi”; I give everyone the side eye. Belize is no exception.
11. Eating alone isn't so bad. Cafe and outdoor dining is often attractive to single travelers.
“People who have never traveled alone often describe their first solo trip as an almost religious experience. To take in new surroundings unfiltered by the prejudices, tastes or preferences of a traveling companion can be heady stuff. Traveling alone gives you the chance to indulge yourself fully.” Despite that fact that I’m scared shit-less, this is going to be an amazing experience. One that is sure to empower me and be spiritual enriching.
So who has done this before? Tell me about your experience.
Enjoy the Journey,