Let’s dive into some travel fun. Solo travel might be my favorite thing to do on this planet. There’s no one to consider, no one to plan with except myself, and everything my heart desires in a new location with plenty of new stimuli and memories to create.
These days, I plan my trips with Notion for its simple and effective layout. We’re talking everything in one place so I can meticulously plan my days, link to all my bookings, and store receipts, tickets, and reservations all in one spot. This sounds like an ad but it’s actually just deep love for the platform.
There are three essential F’s I always plan for with every trip: Food, Fun, and Fitness. They are non-negotiables, and everything else revolves around them. I might delay booking my accommodation, but I always know where I’ll eat and work out – let’s call it “priorities”.
I typically book an Airbnb for affordability, cleanliness, and flexibility. Pretending to be a local in the city I’m staying in, immersing myself in a city independently and authentically ….what’s better, seriously?!
Food. For food, I always opt for local, preferably organic, small, and highly rated places. I choose one upscale dining experience and keep it budget-friendly for the rest. In the morning, I usually bring muesli with me and just add oat milk or orange juice (don’t judge, you won’t know until you try it). Breakfast is the least important meal for me, so I save money here and allocate my budget to coffee, lunch, and dinner options.
Fun. I know myself well and know what I like, so this part is a “light work”. I’m not particularly interested in tourist sights, so my strategy here is “avoid, avoid, avoid” and focus on locally-centered activities. Some go-to’s: Theatre plays, concerts, bars (and yes, I’ll happily sit on my own sipping on my Margarita, salt around the rim and all), modern art museums, walks/bike rides around the city, book shop explorations, second-hand shopping. I find inspiration on Pinterest (yes, I have a board for every city I visit) and Instagram (make use of the saved posts option, I tell you) and plan my daily itinerary accordingly. The plan is always subject to change, but I like having a rough idea and some options.
Fitness. You’re welcome to hate me at this point. But this one is essential for my overall wellbeing and here is the rationale: There is no better way to connect to likeminded locals than go to a workout class. I’m nourishing my body with exercise, my soul with connections, and my mind with recommendations I receive from people I strike up conversations with before and after class (I have yet to attend a class and not meet someone new). For times when I can’t book a class or I am trying to be very tight on my spending, I always bring resistance bands and an inflatable Pilates ball with me to at least do a 30-minute YouTube video (currently loving @Pilatesbodyraven).
A note on packing. I’m a carry-on only gal. I like a fuss free experience and feel like I get the smoothest travel experience by bringing only the things I will use. I pack two pairs of shoes (I know at least two people who will scold me for not bringing more, but hey, I do what I want), a couple of dresses, one pair of jeans, and a few shirts. Keeping it simple means no worries and a trip filled with experiences.
With that said, I’m about to embark on a 4-day adventure in Vienna and I can’t wait to report. Stay tuned.