I Used xoNecole Articles To Plan My First Solo Trip & Here’s What I Learned

Life & Travel

TRIP CONFIRMED.

Once more, I stared at the flight confirmation window on my laptop, confirming that I did indeed just book a flight to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — all by myself. Ay dios míoooo.


Related: I Did Everything You're NOT Supposed To Do On My First Solo Trip

Trying to salvage the situation and quell the waves of anxiety that kept overcoming me, I repeatedly reassured myself that I could always ask a friend to buy a ticket and join me. But, I wanted to do this. I have been traveling a lot lately, especially taking short international weekend trips, and solo travel had been on my bucket list for several months now. After reading, "Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone At Least Once In Her Life", I decided that this was my chance.

The question was: where would I begin?

Just like our readers, I also turn to xoNecole for life, career, and travel advice and decided to do a little digging. Luckily enough, I found a few dope articles about solo travel that I used to plan every stage of my first solo trip.

Article: 5 Ways To Travel Solo Like A Boss

Lydia Lee (@hello_lydia)

Like Zaniah suggests in this article, research and schedule drafting were extremely important to me in the beginning stages of my trip planning. So much seems out of your control while solo traveling like making new friends, finding your way around, and ensuring your safety.

Proactive planning is your greatest chance at regaining some of this control. The week before my trip, I sat down for over an hour and drafted an in-depth schedule detailing every single day of my trip and what I intended to do. Friday: pool and spa day, Saturday: walking tour, Sunday: beach trip, etc. Although my planned schedule would ultimately do a complete 180° upon arrival, I felt 100% more comfortable with my plans and was able to begin budgeting and booking tours in advance.

Pro Tip: Safety > Penny Pinching

When it came to booking a place to stay, upon reading this article, I also decided to prioritize staying in a reputable hotel with a concierge and security team. I'm usually the first person to book a cheap Airbnb to save money, but since I was traveling alone, I did not want to leave anything to chance. I even prescheduled taxi service to pick me up from the airport since my flight arrived while it was still dark outside.

No precaution is too great – it's better to over-prepare and tone it down rather than feel like you did not do enough and be left in compromised situations.

Article: Budget Airlines Vs. Major Airlines: Which Is The Better Option?

Although I did not end up booking my trip to any locations on Jovania's compilation of bucket list destinations, I started my search with the 10 cities and countries she recommended. Should I visit Barcelona, Milan, or Montreal? Where could I take a quick trip and get the most bang for my buck?

After reading 10 Places You Can Travel To & Get Warm This Winter, I knew that I definitely wanted to go somewhere tropical. I spent about a week researching San Nicolas, Aruba and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, as both are known to be international locations that are relatively female solo traveler friendly.

Upon doing some research, I decided that I wanted to be in the Caribbean so I could take a direct flight from New York. I also knew that I wanted to visit a Spanish-speaking country, so Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic quickly jumped to the top of my list. After a ridiculously cheap direct flight to Santo Domingo, DR popped up on my Skyscanner app ($240!), I knew that my fate was sealed.

Article: Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone At Least Once In Her Life

Char's article was where my solo travel fantasies all began. At the beginning of her article, she touches on the freedom of solo traveling, and she couldn't have been more accurate.

Solo traveling feels a little rebellious and selfish in the best way. You have complete say over where you do and don't go, when and who you interact with, how much of the bed you take up and when to leave it… You can take the time to self-reflect or completely immerse yourself in new projects. The choice is yours.

I spent so much energy worrying about what could go wrong as I was originally planning out my trip, but all of my fears were silenced as soon as I had the chance to stop, reflect, and fully embrace the experience – the independence was almost intoxicating. I don't think I have ever felt more free.

Article: I Took An 'Eat Pray Love'-Style Vacation Around The World & Here's What I Learned

Lydia Lee (@hello_lydia)

Everyone jokes about the almost satirical self-reflective component of solo traveling, but my personal rendition of the #eatpraylove experience totally caught me off-guard. I went out of my way to make time every day to spend uninterrupted time by myself either by the pool, or during breakfast in the hotel sky lounge to simply reflect. No work, no companions, just me.

On my first day of self-reflection, I found myself reflecting on my goals, progress, and challenges over the past few months in the most kind, self-forgiving manner that I could ever remember. I'm incredibly hard on myself, and for the first time, I felt that I could truly "see" all of the progress I was making. I felt comfortable with the steps I was taking to achieve them. I felt genuinely proud of myself for some of my recent achievements. And, especially proud that I felt brave enough to take this solo trip.

After my second day of self-reflection, I found myself going much deeper. Almost three years after my grandfather's death, I finally grieved. I let thoughts of him fill my mind and allowed myself to feel the pain. This emotional vulnerability then let me feel the pain of past heartbreak and other disappointments that I told myself didn't matter. This emotional detox was way overdue, but much needed.

Featured image by Getty Images.

Related Articles:

A Black Girl's Guide To Traveling On A Budget - Read More

I Jetset On A Budget For An Entire Year With These Travel Hacks - Read More

5 Easy Ways To Make Money While You Travel The World - Read More

Sign up today and be the first to get notified on new updates, exclusive events, retreats and giveaways!

More Posts

The OWN network has turned up the heat on Tuesday nights. And if you watched the premiere of the Will Packer produced series Ambitions, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Viewers were catapulted into this deliciously messy drama that follows the lives of five families who are all trying to navigate the waters of dominance, disloyalty, dishonesty, and most of all: debauchery. The cast is full of amazing actors who do more than a good job bringing their characters to life -- I'm talking Essence Atkins, Brian J. White, Kendrick Cross, Brely Evans and the lead lady of the pack: Robin Givens.

Keep reading... Show less

Elevate and chill is the wave, and every week, xoNecole is spotlighting black women bosses you should support and follow. Join us on August 3 to support businesses like these in real life at our first annual ElevateHER Market event.

The moment Candace Marie Stewart took her first trip to New York City, she understood why her life in Arkansas didn't make sense. While southern girls have a unique perception of style and flair, Candace felt a soul tie to the Big Apple that she couldn't ignore. Ever since she made the fashion capital of the US her home, this social media maven has been creating a name for herself despite the status quo.

Keep reading... Show less

If you are a business owner with a product to sell, you've probably considered becoming a vendor as a marketing tool to make additional revenue. The personalized interaction you get with prospective clients and customers is essential for every business. Vending doesn't just look like a booth at a conference, and it's not just for people who sell jewelry or hair products.

Keep reading... Show less

If you're like me, you live for that moment when you come home from a long day of adulting and get to remove your bra.

Keep reading... Show less

I have to admit, I'm not someone who obsesses over or relies heavily on celebrity hook-ups, marriages, and love stories as a guide for my own relationships, considering the fact that their lifestyles are quite different from mine. Not to mention, you never truly know what goes on behind closed doors -- whether they're famous or not.

Keep reading... Show less

I know you may have an image in your head of what culottes look like because the connotation of the word usually rings "olden." There has always been battling opinions on whether or not the trend is chic or unsexy.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts