First steps towards solo travel

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AMEXPlatino86
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First steps towards solo travel

Postby AMEXPlatino86 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:38 pm

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I hope that you guys can help with this. Out of all the things that I've done, I can say that I've never taken a personal vacation in my life. It's always been for business or for unfortunate events so decided to have a "me moment" for once in my life.

The only issue is that I'm extremely nervous about going on any type of trip by myself. I thought about maybe going somewhere overseas for the holiday season (since I wasn't able to go this summer) to be safe just do something domestically.

Does anyone have any advice/stories/tips about traveling by themselves? BTW yes I already have my passport ready.
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onion
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Postby onion » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:41 pm

I fly domestically about ten times a year. I've also got a couple long haul flights under my belt. What tips are you looking for exactly?
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AMEXPlatino86
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Postby AMEXPlatino86 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:54 pm

Really any type of advice is fine. Any from customs and global travel to tips on how not to be nervous and actually enjoy a vacation. The latter is hard to do because I'm a proud workaholic.
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onion
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Postby onion » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:08 pm

AMEXPlatino86 wrote:Really any type of advice is fine. Any from customs and global travel to tips on how not to be nervous and actually enjoy a vacation. The latter is hard to do because I'm a proud workaholic.


I'll just give a recap of what I usually do. To each their own, so adjust as you please.

I always book on Orbitz, you get Orbuck rewards to use towards hotels, and the tickets are as cheap as Kayak and whatnot.

I pack light and only ever travel with carry ons, even on international, although it is a little trickier.

Check out taxi services or public transport to save money on airport parking. If you live far from the airport, check out parking lots near the airport instead. Personally, I just ride my motorcycle to the airport and scoot between the gate and the wall when nobody's looking. :cool:

Always do online check-in for your flight. You'll get your boarding pass up to 24 hours before your flight, that way you don't have to get to the airport extremely early and wait in line to get it. You can print it out, but I prefer to just have it on my phone. Less stuff to carry around. I also don't travel domestic with my passport as it isn't necessary, my driver's license is plenty.

Since I only travel with carry ons, I try to get a seat as close as possible to the front of the plane. This means that if the overhead bins near my seat are full, I can just go a couple rows back and stash my stuff there. It also helps if I have a layover, I can get off the plane quicker and get where I need to be (I usually opt for very short layovers).

I never drink any soda before or during a flight, that's just asking for an upset stomach.

I pop my shoes off during the flight, the air pressure difference makes my hands and feet swell a little bit. Taking my shoes off is surprisingly comfortable.

If you're going on a long flight, I HIGHLY recommend a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. Know that loud droning sound? Its reduced to a faint background noise with quality headphones. I'm not talking about Bose, either, I mean real quality like Audio Technica, Sennheiser, etc.

I use an old school safety razor and bring it everywhere with me when I travel. Although you can't bring the blades with you, the razor is no issue. Make sure to know what you can and can't bring on the plane and make it easily accessible so TSA doesn't have to rummage through your stuff when you go through security. An agent in my town actually recognized who I was when he saw my razor and struck up conversation.

That's all I can think of for now. If there's anything specific you're curious about, feel free to ask.

Edit: I see you have an AmEx Platinum. Feel free to get to the airport early and enjoy the lounge! I'm seriously considering it for that reason.
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Postby benhollberg » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:16 pm

I go on many small vacations that is just me, or sometimes it is business what just me also. Mostly it is to a football game or something like and only lasts a day or two at most. I may be different than most people but I plan, a lot. I know exactly where I'll be, I know how I am getting places and all that. I usually stay in the same hotel every time, I go to many repeat places. I will have AMEX concierge lookup places where I can get rides, comparing shuttles or taxis prices to the airport. I rarely ever rent a car. I have never traveled internationally so I can't say anything on that. While I do travel alone, I am a very small person and actually was pretty nervous at first. I learned that I use minimize my time and know exactly what I'll do and when, because mostly if I go somewhere it is quick. I've flown places for less than 24 hours before. Like someone else said, I always go towards the front of the plane, I'll even give up a window or aisle seat to get to the front if it is a significant difference. I know I what I do is probably different than what you're looking for so I won't go on but what I will say is plan ahead.
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Postby supercoolman » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:06 am

onion wrote:I pack light and only ever travel with carry ons, even on international, although it is a little trickier.

Check out taxi services or public transport to save money on airport parking. If you live far from the airport, check out parking lots near the airport instead. Personally, I just ride my motorcycle to the airport and scoot between the gate and the wall when nobody's looking. :cool:


where do you put your carry on with motorcycle?

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kcm7
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Postby kcm7 » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:09 am

While I can be quite the loner, solo travel can be get lonely, sometimes.

I recommend staying in hostels, especially ones that have shared kitchens, lounge areas, communal breakfast and bars. You meet a lot of people that way (of all ages, not just young people although there will be a LOT of school groups -- at least that's been my experience). People stay in hostels because they don't want the isolation of a hotel and want to be a bit more social. And you'll meet a lot of English-speakers that way, which can be nice if you're going to a place where you don't know the language. People will often swap plans and, in my experience, you'll get invited to join them. Or you'll at least have a group of people you kinda know to cook dinner or have a drink with with after a day of exploring the city alone, to talk about your days.

A lot of bigger hostels will also offer group tours of nearby attractions, so that can be a nice way to spend a day with a group.

You can also generally book a private room (for an extra cost, but still usually cheaper than hotels), so it's not like you have to bunk with 8 strangers if that's not your thing.

This has been my experience all throughout Europe, so YMMV in other parts of the world.
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onion
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Postby onion » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:26 am

supercoolman wrote:where do you put your carry on with motorcycle?


My helmet and jacket are the carry on items, and my backpack is all the stuff I need. On my old motorcycle I used to bring a bigger carry on and use ratcheting tie down straps to secure it to the passenger seat. I can't do that anymore as my new motorcycle has the exhaust routed under the seat and would melt the nylon straps.
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AMEXPlatino86
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Postby AMEXPlatino86 » Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:09 am

Thanks a lot for the responses. I'm still deciding on whether I want to do something domestic or international. Hostels are ok but not so much my type of thing. Was thinking of doing a mini trip before I do something major to ease the tension.
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My credit score :cool:
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onion
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Postby onion » Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:24 am

AMEXPlatino86 wrote:Thanks a lot for the responses. I'm still deciding on whether I want to do something domestic or international. Hostels are ok but not so much my type of thing. Was thinking of doing a mini trip before I do something major to ease the tension.


What exactly is stressing you out? The long flight? The being very far from home on your own?
FICO TU - 728 - 8/14

FICO EX - 716 - 7/14

FICO EQ - 740 - 7/14



Bank of America Cash Rewards - $2,400

Best Buy - $3,000

American Express Blue Cash Everyday - $8,000

American Express Everyday - $10,000

Discover It Chrome - $500 (AU on fiancée's card, helping her build credit)

American Express Platinum - NPSL

Barclaycard Arrival+ - $3,000

Capital One Yamacard - $11,000



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