Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure (pt. 3)

With just three weeks left until my international adventure, I bring you Choose Your Own Adventure part 3. Here are six more things to keep in mind when planning a solo quest:

1. Acquire maps of cities/towns you will be staying. I chose to go with laminated ones to keep me safe of spills and accidental smooshing of vital paper items.

2. By this point, hotel/hostel/guest stay arrangements should be made. Using this information, mark where you are staying on your map in permanent marker. This is your home-base. It will be a lot easier to plan your sight-seeing and overall adventuring if you know where you will need to start and end each day.

3. If you have not already begun to find some locations you would like to visit, now would be the time. Use the internet and any travel books to your advantage. Begin plotting those addresses on your map as well.

4. Create your itinerary. It does not have to be set in stone, just a guideline of what you want to get done for the day. Plan on flying by the seat of your pants? That's great too! However, at least jotting down the areas of the city you would like to explore each day will help you to make sure you accomplish everything before your trip is over. Organizing your activities does not mean you will have any less fun, if anything it will allow you to be more prepared for what is ahead of you. You will already be out of your element, so it will be important for you to at least feel safe and confident while you are there.

5. Make a packing list. You already know the necessities you will need. Think of the things you will need to live off of. I am bringing one backpack and one shoulder bag. The items I plan to bring must be able to fit in those two bags, or they won't be coming with me. Those things need to then be prioritized to what can I not afford to lose if my backpack is lost. This means any electronics, communication devices, money, identification, and reservation confirmations must be in my carry-on. Even further, the things that must not be stolen or pick-pocketed from my carry-on must be on my body, concealed by clothing. This means passports, ID, and cash (credit/debit cards can always be cancelled if stolen).

6. This part will depend on how you intend to travel. If you plan on leaving your cell phone back home, and enjoying a vacation by yourself, then this will not pertain to you. However, if you are bringing a cell phone with you, and intend to make outgoing calls call your cell phone provider 3 weeks before you leave. This will give you, and them, ample time to go over your plan, and figure out if anything will need to be done to protect you when you leave. For example, my plan had a free upgrade to "no roaming charges" that I just had to enact. Along with that, I was informed that my unlimited texting plan is STILL VALID in France. This was incredibly helpful since phone calls are $0.99/min for me over there. If your phone has a data package, also make sure you find out how much you will be charged for its use. It may be better to just turn off your web browsing while away.

Keep checking in for more CYOA blogs as we get closer to my departure this month!


  1. Something I like to do for a domestic adventure is this: first day I get to my destination I go to a welcome center or hotel and grab all pamplets for various things in the area. Then I go through them and pick out all the interesting things that I'd like to do. If there's something I definitely want to do I'll put a star next to it to make sure I get to it. I'll also make a column for the type of thing like "food", "historical", "fun", etc. so I can easily find something of a particular activity. Then as the vacation progresses I cross off things that I've done so I can focus on the ones I haven't done.

  2. Then you also have some awesome (and free) souvenirs to bring home! haha

    Thanks for the comment!