MY FIRST SOLO TRIP EXPERIENCE (TIPS AND GET TO KNOW ME) | TRAVEL WITH VIRONA

In September, I got back from a trip to San Diego. My First Solo Vacation experience! I know that I talk about this experience a lot, but I feel like there’s so much that I need to cover- and today I am covering the Q & A on the trip overall.

I also have a podcast recording of this post available if you prefer to listen to the experience!

Before I answer the Q’s, I just wanna say that I probably wouldn’t have had as much motivation to go on this trip if it weren’t for this book I was reading beforehand. It’s called The Solo Travel Handbook and it’s an excellent read for anyone looking to travel alone! It really got me into that solo traveling mindset.

Being someone who is so often dependent on others’ company, I had to come to a realization in 2019 that I can’t always have other people living MY dream with me. If I want to travel the world, I have to take steps forward all by myself. September, 2019 is when I decided to jump all in.

WAS IT SCARY?

At times it was scary. Saying goodbye to my significant other, The whole airport situation was a bit intimidating, but honestly everything ended up going so smoothly. If I had any questions, there was always someone there to answer them. Just being alone was sometimes scary – people (men) would try talking to me… a lot. I would kindly tell them I’m not interested and constantly stay in public areas with my phone fully charged. Just staying prepared for any scenario gave me comfort to where it wasn’t so scary.

WHERE DID I STAY?

I stayed at a hostel (a shared room with a group of people) in Ocean Beach, San Diego. It was a really cheap stay ($30 a night) and a convenient area. It was a quick seven minute walk from the beach and there were so many shops and restaurants near by!

WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE, BEING A FEMALE?

Strangers would approach me so often! People were mostly kind and it was always in a public area, but I always had that worry that something bad might happen. I ended up meeting some cool friends though. Like I stated before, it wasn’t as scary knowing that I had a phone fully charged and ready to go in case of an emergency. *QUICK TIP* Staying in a public area at all times as a solo female traveler is mandatory. Also, someone once told me “If you’re ever in a sketchy situation, act like you’re recording the person. People hate to be recorded and they’re one click away from being on the internet.” Sad to say, but I think most of us females can relate that we’ve put our phones up to our ear “calling someone” when feeling in danger.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT I HATED

-No doubt, number one thing I hated was the loneliness I felt. Mostly at night time I would get incredibly lonely and want someone to talk to about the beautiful day I had.

-The lack of privacy. Sometimes I just wanted to be alone! It was impossible to do that when staying at a hostel.

-The budget. I was budgeting super hard because I was going to be in London the following month. I didn’t save anything for this solo trip. One of my favorite things about vacations is the food! I didn’t really get to experience different restaurants due to my low budget.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT I LOVED?

-I loved the freedom. I know I said that I hated the loneliness. But with being alone comes freedom. I was able to go anywhere. Stop anywhere. Do anything at any moment. If I wanted to snap a quick selfie or take a hundred pictures at a certain spot I could do it without anyone there to worry about. If I wanted to stay and appreciate the nature or a sunset I could do that without something in the background telling me “lets go!” or my conscience telling me that the other person is bored and I need to hurry and do something more entertaining. I was able to stop and appreciate things.

-The satisfaction of being able to say that I did this 100% independently. I grew. I had some time to self reflect. Just the time alone was so therapeutic.

-The location. San Diego is so beautiful and it will always have a special place in my heart.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY?

I would have definitely saved money beforehand. This trip was pretty much saved with a small portion of one paycheck! I would have also done some research on transportation because I was walking everywhere, which can only get you so far. I would have probably used AIRBNB for my stay rather than a hostel. I would have also loosened up a bit. I wasn’t open to doing group activities or socializing. I think I was a little bit too cautious and said no to everything.

MY ADVICE

Study your dream location in depth. Make sure it’s somewhere safe and secure. Get to know the area before you arrive.

Always have internet for navigation and communication on your phone.

Don’t hesitate to book that trip or buy that plane ticket! Act first and then think after. I would have never had this great experience if I had thought too much.

LINKS

THE SOLO TRAVEL HANDBOOK

SHOP

2020 iPhone Goal Reminder Lock Screen – Let your lock screen be a reminder of what you want to get out of this year.

2020 IPHONE GOAL REMINDER LOCK SCREEN (HAWAII BAMBOO)
$ 1.50
2020 IPHONE GOAL REMINDER LOCK SCREEN (HAWAII OCEAN)
$ 1.50

Life Goal Packet Printout
Practice Gratitude Worksheet Printout

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A VERY UNIQUE AND *COLORFUL* HOSTEL IN OCEAN BEACH, SAN DIEGO | TRAVEL WITH VIRONA

Hey everyone! For those of you who are new to the website.. Welcome! If you’re visiting again, Welcome back! If you didn’t see on my social media, I just got back from a beautiful experience in San Diego. Not just any new experience though, a completely rare and foreign experience. It was my first solo trip ever. It was… incredible!

Today I think I’m going to share a special post dedicated to one of the hostels I very much enjoyed staying at on my San Diego trip.

USA HOSTELS OCEAN BEACH, SAN DIEGO

This hostel is hard to miss. From the giant peace sign on the roof to the rainbow decor and hippie designs, you feel all of the California beach vibes needed for a chill and relaxed vacation.

I would definitely recommend this hostel for young adults who are very sociable. I can’t speak for every guest, but in my personal experience I felt incredibly welcomed and at home by both the staff and other travelers. I was so grateful to be invited to social events like nightly bonfires, cliff jumping, and city tours provided by the staff.

When I wasn’t exploring the city, I would be hanging out and relaxing in their “backyard” area right next to the kitchen where there are many couches, tables, and seats provided. There’s also a hammock.. Awesome!

USA HOSTELS OCEAN BEACH has to be in one of the best locations I’ve stayed at. This hostel is right next to the beach (About 7 minute walk) , so I would find myself relaxed after every day with the beautiful scenery nearby. Across the street, there is a little market with just about everything you’d need. I would wake up in the mornings to grab some coconut water, fruit, and energy bites here to get my day started! Along with the market, there are also numerous souvenir & and plant shops nearby.

It was my first hostel experience so I didn’t know what to expect. The smooth process, welcoming environment, and relaxing area made it such a great first time for me.

For anyone wondering: I used the website/app Hostelworld and the nightly cost was $34. (about $80 for 2 nights with tax included.)

10 DAY DECLUTTER CHALLENGE (WHY ITS IMPORTANT) | TRAVEL WITH VIRONA

Hey everyone! I thought I’d go out of my comfort zone and write on a topic that I feel is very important for our everyday lives.

How important (when we’re planning a vacation) is it for us to make sure everything is organized, neatly together, and we’re staying in an area that we genuinely enjoy? It’s incredibly important to me, because I know that I want quality memories, a peaceful mindset, and to feel relaxed overall. We spend so much time – weeks (or months!) putting energy into planning a getaway for a peaceful environment that may only last for days. With every trip that I get home from, I always take one valuable lesson back with me:

Try to appreciate the environment you’re living in.

But how do we do that? My reasoning for mentioning how much we plan our vacations have a lot to do with this lesson. Why would I spend so much time perfecting an experience that I’m only going to have for a few days, but not spend any time perfecting the place I’m in majority of the year?

Do you ever feel stressed and unmotivated when you see clothing piling up, trash scattered around, unacknowledged mail, collections, old gifts, and junk stacking?

Whenever I declutter, I feel like a big weight is lifted from my shoulders. I feel like my brain is being cleared as well. Tidying up can be a lot more than just feeling better about the present moment. I truly believe that decluttering your life opens doors to a brighter future and welcomes new positive energy.

I know that it’s hard to feel motivated without a direction, checklist or steps to move forward. That’s why I created a 10 Day Declutter Challenge. For a few of my future posts, you can expect the challenge list, a breakdown of each day, and before & after posts. Let’s start off the new year – or even now – with a stress free environment.

In this 10 Day Declutter Challenge, I’ll be writing detailed descriptions of every day for the ten days of clearing clutter. We’re going to be going over the following:

Anything paper / Clothing / Digital Clutter / Drawers & Cabinets / Unfinished Projects / Memories & Sentimental Things / Junk, Scraps / Face Skin & Body / Gifts / People, Habits, Lifestyle

Who is with me in this?!

4 CRUCIAL STEPS TO AN INCREDIBLY CHEAP VACATION | TRAVEL WITH VIRONA

Hey everyone! For those of you who are new to the website.. Welcome! If you’re visiting again, Welcome back! If you didn’t see on my social media, I just got back from a beautiful experience in San Diego. Not just any new experience though, a completely rare and foreign experience. It was my first solo trip ever. It was… incredible!

I spent less than $200 on this entire vacation which was probably my cheapest one yet. I made a challenge out of budgeting as hard as I could, and it brought me to spending less than half of an average minimum paycheck. It was such an impulsive trip, but I needed a break. I was feeling burnt out. I was grouchy at work. I was not fun to be around. The bad attitudes we have towards life is sort of expected sometimes when we don’t really give ourselves time to breathe. I needed a drastic breather. I needed change.

The main reason I decided to take this trip was the flight ticket. I saw an incredible deal on Frontier’s flights. The cheap flights from Las Vegas to San Diego averaged out to be around $50 to $70, but I played around with the dates a little bit and somehow wound up with a $30 dollar flight in my pocket (read about that here). I’m honestly still pretty amazed.

I began overthinking and doubting this trip after about two days. Was it too impulsive? This mini Vacay was going to be next month. Less than thirty days! On top of that, I have a London trip after this one! I made myself a little promise that I was only going to spend what I absolutely needed. In all honesty, this ended up to be one of the best vacations of my life. Here’s how I did it!

budget travel

I have listed a few rules below that I made before and during my vacation that you can also apply to yourself if you’re going to be traveling on a budget.

CHECK FLIGHT COSTS REGULARLY

On Frontier, I had subscribed via email on when flights would drop down in prices. When I had seen an opportunity for a $28 Round Trip, I knew that I had to take it. I wouldn’t have seen that deal if I didn’t constantly check up on the plane ticket! Opt In to receive emails from the airline regarding when the prices will drop for the destination.

ONLY SPEND WHAT YOU NEED

While I was in SD, I ordered about five meals in total. It’s actually crazy looking back and knowing I didn’t spend an insane amount of money on food, because that’s one of my favorite part of traveling! If you are on a vacation and you’re trying to budget while there, don’t go all out on food. I remember going to my hostel one night and thinking “I need to go out and get another meal”, but then I held that thought remembering that I still had something left over from the previous day. It wasn’t the best experience to eat a left over meal on a vacation, but it wasn’t necessary to buy something new! Plus, it saved me money towards treating myself to sushi next to the beach the day after.

If you’re traveling to experience various foods and want to try new things, you can order small portions of everything you want to try. This will save room in your stomach for different things, while also saving money. For example, for the sushi I had, I tried several small rolls rather than one big roll. This helped me to finish my food easier and save a lot of money on my bill.

MAKE SACRIFICES IF POSSIBLE.

I felt uncomfortable with the idea of staying at the hostel. One bathroom, sleeping around strangers, socializing, etc.. (it turned out to be fine!) I was definitely uncomfortable with the thought of the accommodation and walking as transportation, but even more uncomfortable to think about going to Europe with nothing at all. Suck it up! The first place added up to be $80 for a two night accommodation at Ocean Beach Hostel and the second one was a one night accommodation at ITH Adventure for $30. In total for three nights in San Diego, $110. That adds up to be less than the price I would have paid for a one night stay in an average hotel. Side note: if you don’t feel comfortable or safe in certain areas do NOT ignore your intuition because of cost. Your safety matters the most. I never really felt threatened by walking, but I always had my Lyft app on hand if a place looked too sketchy or unsafe.

PACK LESS

I didn’t buy Checked baggage. Not even Carry on. Hey! I didn’t pack less because I wanted to wear bikinis the whole time! Well.. maybe that is why.. But I also packed less because carry on was an extra $40, and checked baggage was the same. Together, that’s the price of two extra nights at a hostel! If you can, pack less. I know it’s hard. I’m still learning that I don’t need every pair of heels or three huge “just in case” jackets. If it came down to it, I’m sure you could buy whatever you thought you needed at your destination for even cheaper than you would have spent on the luggage.

I’m sure there are more steps you can take for a thrifty vacation, but these four techniques listed did the job for me. This whole trip was a success and very much needed. I got the experience while spending as little as possible and I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything.

Enjoy a few pictures that were taken on the trip! (You can also follow me on Instagram to see more)

LINKS

Day 1 in SD

Day 2 in SD

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day

Big Travel, Small Budget

Kicking Ass on the Road: The Ultimate Guide for the Solo Woman Traveler

I’M GOING TO LONDON! | TRAVEL WITH VIRONA

If my past self told me that in a year I would be going to London in October, I would be in complete denial. As a matter of fact, I’m still in denial! I’m still pinching myself every time I think about it.

So heres’s how it happened.

Around November or December last year my best friend Natalie announced that she was going to go to London with her two sisters. I told her that was such an amazing opportunity! She jokingly said “Come with me!” knowing that the possibilities were unlikely, and I took her words to heart. I kept telling myself “Natalie and I need to experience something amazing together” We’ve been dreaming about leaving the country together since we were juniors in high school.. That’s six whole years! (Not to mention the dreams we had as children to travel with our best friends! (Thank you Cheetah Girls 2 for giving us that dream)

I told myself “screw it”, and decided that I was going to surprise her with a plane ticket for her birthday (Late January). I got the approval and flight number from her sisters. I checked day and night for cheap flights. I had a budget of $600 for a round trip and was determined to spend that exact amount. At the time, the tickets went for about $1k. I waited it out for a month or two and ended up spending no more than $605.

Now that its early October, I feel its the perfect time to announce this trip. We’re going to be staying there for a week and a half in the middle of the month. (So basically a week away) and it still hasn’t hit me.

I’m so happy to be with Natalie and her two sisters exploring the world. We’ve been working extremely hard and now are ready for a time of relaxation and growth. That’s how life should be.

It might take a while for me to actually blog about the experience because I will be living in the moment while there, but you can definitely follow my social media pages to see what I’m doing and keep updated on the travel!

Come join me on my trip to London!

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