Photo Credit: Jimmy Animashaur
5 Lessons Learned From A First-Time Solo Trip Out Of The Country
For my first solo trip abroad, I went to the Dominican Republic. I enjoyed my time there, however, there were some life lessons that I had to learn along the way.
Are you itching to take your first international solo trip? Here are some of the lessons learned while traveling solo internationally for the first time.
1. Things to Do Before You Leave
Make sure to contact your bank before leaving the country to let them know that you will be using your card abroad.
I did not do this and had to rely on other people to help me financially while in DR, which could have been avoided by one simple phone call.
Also, make sure you check on the currency exchange rates before you begin spending in the country, and make sure to change your funds to match the local currency before leaving the airport.
2. Solo Travel Stays
If you are traveling by yourself, you should consider staying in an apartment style hotel in the country in order to save money and get more of the local experience, which all-inclusive resorts do not provide.
You can also practice being more independent this way, and get the experience of what life would be like as an expat living there, since you will probably have access to a kitchenette for cooking local foods from the local grocery store.
3. Activities and Excursions
Make sure to check on transportation costs in the area that you are planning to visit in advance, and get in contact with your hotel or resort to see if they offer transportation to and from the airport. They may even offer activities for you to participate in and excursions for you to purchase at a cheaper rate than TripAdvisor or Viator, so ask questions.
My hotel, Karibo Punta Cana, had transportation to the mall, beach, and local casino, along with excursions for purchase which I wish I had taken advantage of. I also chose to stay at the Be Live all-inclusive resort for one night to save money but to have the experience.
Check to see if the excursions that you are interested in offer pickup and drop off services included with the activities. I bought a ticket on Viator for a Caribbean party boat that included both.
4. Transportation Options for Solo Travelers
Use Google Maps to find your way around. Uber may be an option in your area since it is internationally used. Is so, use the app because it typically costs less than local taxis.
However, also be cautious because I had an issue with a driver charging me a ridiculous amount of money for a trip from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo to see Las Tres Ojos (The Three Eyes) National Park.
If you can, use the local transportation system to get yourself around at a much cheaper cost. It is also sometimes safer to use a private car service to get around, if you can afford it.
5. Making The Most Of Your Experience
One last thing to ensure you gain the most of your experience abroad is to meet the local community and immerse yourself in the culture— whether that means learning the language or simply trying the local dishes.