I was recently asked what advice I’d give to other young women interested in traveling. I paused for a second and reflected on my personal journey. I thought back to the days when I used to fantasize about going on an African safari and exploring the cloud rainforest of Costa Rica. Then my reality kicked in, the monthly student loans, my car note and rent. After years of going in circles I got serious and created a plan of action. If fear and finances are halting your travel goals, here are some tips to help navigate that process:
Establish a Travel Fund
I decided to establish a travel fund. I cut back on the weekly happy hours and boozy brunches and added that money to a separate fund designated solely for travel. Think you can’t afford to travel? You’d be surprised at how you can reduce your living expenses to make room for travel. Oh and cut the coffee; I cut out the daily Starbucks’ runs ($5 lattes were no longer in the budget) and starting making my coffee and tea at home, which saved $150 per month and $1,800 a year; are you getting my drift?! By reducing my entertainment budget and creating a travel fund, traveling was now a reality.
Get a Down Friend/Travel Buddy
Let’s keep it real, we all have those really nice friends who are all talk and no action when it comes to executing on plans. To get around that, find at least on like-minded friend or associate who is about that life. One of my dearest friends, Mimo Haile was traveling solo through Europe while I was visiting London. We linked up for dinner and went to see Sam Smith in concert, which was epic. Seeing Sam Smith was all her idea and instantly became one of my favorite travel memories. Being open-minded to new experiences and traveling with friends definitely has it’s benefits.
Be Brave & Go Solo
Being fearless is the first hurdle to solo travel. I’ve transitioned from the typical “one day” I’ll see Victoria Falls attitude to a well thought out travel itinerary with booked flights. Once I let go of my fear of vulnerability, I was able to book a trip to Southeast Asia, where I discovered my own power. My first night in Bangkok, I met a young Canadian woman who was also traveling alone. She asked me if I’d join her for dinner and we spent the next two days exploring Buddhist temples throughout the city. I was traveling solo but was never alone.
So my advice to you is to BE FEARLESS and just GO!!! Book that flight to your dream destination. Local hostels make it extremely easy to meet other young travelers. Airbnb is another great option for a more local experience. There are also lots of travel companies that cater to solo travelers. By taking a leap of faith, be assured you will meet like-minded travelers from around the world that will broader your horizon.
Questions? I’d love to hear from you!