My First Solo Travel

I was once an introvert - shy and having a hard time expressing myself before. So traveling solo is the least thing I expect to myself. But one Wednesday night, something hit me. And I know I have to do it on the coming weekend.

On that same night, I started my extensive research. And when I say extensive, it means reading a lot of blog reviews, tips and advices.

Where to go?
When choosing my destination for this solo travel, I took baby steps, I considered places that are near from Manila (since I'm living here). Should I go to Quezon? Zambales? Baguio? Pangasinan? La Union? These are the destinations I considered.

Friday afternoon came, and my parents are not yet informed about my plan. I don't even know yet how will I tell them that time but I'm determined to pursue it. My list was trimmed down to 2 destinations - La Union vs. Baguio.

I made an itinerary for these 2 destinations and considered the following:
How to go there?
Where to Stay?
What places to visit?
How to transfer from one place to another?
What are the must-try activities/foods?

I contacted hostels that I believed are safe for female solo travelers for both Baguio and La Union but only one from La Union has responded quickly, thus, La Union was the chosen one

I pulled my bag and headed to the bus station, Friday night.
I also informed my closest/trusted friend about my plans, and where will I stay.
I also list down contact numbers and contact person in my travel notebook in case of emergency/something wrong occur.

What to bring? 
Since I'm all alone and will be commuting, I made sure that all my things are easy to carry while transferring from one place to another. Here's my personal list whenever I go for a weekend getaway.

1. Travel backpack, with raincover for extra protection against pickpockets
2. Small body bag to have an easy access for my gadgets, money, bus tickets, etc.
2. Small first-aid kit (bandaids, alcohol, cotton, some paracetamol, antihistamines, loperamide)
3. A small notebook with list of Contact numbers for emergency
4. Toiletries
5. 4-5 pairs of light weight clothes which is good for my over-the-weekeend stay.
6. Beach Scarp
7. Phone, Ipad, Chargers, Powerbank, selfie stick

Where to Stay?
Your choice of lodging is important especially when you are traveling solo. As for me, I am always looking for a place where I feel comfortable and safe.

During my first solo travel, I chose The Circle Hostel for the reason that they are the first who responded to my inquiry.

Some Don'ts
1. Don't post your itinerary to social media.
2. Don't post status updates and check-ins in your social media accounts as this may attract stalkers.
3. Don't wear so much jewelries and bring so much gadgets as these might just attract thieves
4. Don't let everyone know you're all alone
5. Don't bring so much stuff as you will just carry it all alone.

Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel
Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel. My new favorite place. 
And she's my bunkmate at The Circle Hostel who brought me to this place.

Best Things about this travel
1. Self control. I think this is one of the best things I discovered about myself. Being enticed to socializing and beach partying, I'm glad I was able control myself and was able to refuse alcohol. During my stay at the hostel, almost all groups staying that night gathered in the common area to have a party. They invited me to drink with them too. I wanted to but I chose to just stay in my bed and rest.

2. Traveling solo is empowering.  You'll find out that you're capable than what you think.You can make decisions, you were able to figure things out, able to haggle, talk to strangers and able to eat alone without the feeling of being sad. It's kind of strengths within myself that I am not aware of before. It's a confident booster!

3. Meeting other people. What's good about traveling solo is you meet new people. You chat with them, exchange travel ideas, share destinations and places you just discovered. Also, it gives you more opportunities to find travel buddies with whom you can split costs. :)

4. You go back to your place with sense of accomplishments and a lot of stories to tell :)