Whole30 travel is a special kind of monster. While our fearless leader Melissa Hartwig advises against taking the cruise of a lifetime or an anniversary trip to Paris during your Whole30, sometimes things come up.

What if you’re on Whole30 Day 9 and your friends invite you to the lake house for the weekend? What if you’re crushing Whole30 Day 17 and your boss needs to fly you out to make a killer presentation?

Do you say no? Or abandon your Whole30?

No way! Whole30 travel is completely doable and I’m here to show you how.

Whole30 Travel: the Basics

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The Dining Room at the Grand Opera House in Vienna. The fanciest place to eat a Whole30 meal is all of Austria.

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The only way to succeed while traveling on the Whole30 is through mindfulness and careful planning. While vacation is normally a time to zone out and relax, if you want to stay compliant, you’ve got to create a game plan.

I traveled frequently throughout my first Whole30 and was able to stay on track! I have a girls trip planned during my upcoming second one and am not sweating it at all.

Here’s how I do it:

Pack Whole30 Approved Snacks

Whole30 Travel Whole30 While Traveling

The Houses of Parliament in London. They should make a law…Whole30 snacks must be sold EVERYWHERE.

You are likely to encounter more “emergency moments” while traveling on the Whole30 then you would at home. You might be trapped in a car full of friends munching on candy and beef jerky or stuck in meetings all day without a chance to sit down at eat. You can survive both of these if you plan ahead.

Make sure you have an accessible purse, carry on, or cooler with the follow things packed:

  • 2 Lara, RX, or Epic bars for each day you’ll be away (or a combo of the three).*
  • a few packs of almond butter.
  • a small bag of sliced apples
  • 1 banana
  • a small bag of celery
  • a small bag of carrots

The point is to have plenty of Whole30 compliant snacks with you, so if you are faced with long periods on time without access to compliant food (i.e. gas station stops on road trips, mixers on buisness trips, etc.) you don’t have to go without any food which can make you desperately hungry and in need of a quick fix — which usually isn’t compliant.

You can bring plenty of non-perishable emergency items with you (like the Lara and Epic bars) and replenish things like carrots, apples, etc. by popping to the local grocery store or the hotel’s breakfast bar.

I went on multiple road trips during my first Whole30 and while it was kind of weird not loading up on traditional “road trip snacks” along the way, I actually felt powerful when I went into a gas station, just got a bottle of water, and popped back out to my car to continue munching on my apple slices.

*Small reminder that not ALL Lara and RX Bars are compliant. Check the ingredients!

Flying on the Whole30

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When I arrived in Switzerland, I soon found out eating Whole30 and cooking at my Airbnb would be WAY cheaper than trying to eat out. It’s so expensive there.

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Shorter domestic flights on the Whole30 should be no big deal. Just get water, hot tea, or black coffee to drink, and pull a Lara or Epic Bar out of your bag to munch on instead of the peanuts or crackers.

Long haul flights are where it gets tricker. If you’ve got a flight where they are going to feed you, chances are substantial portions of the meal are going to be non-compliant. Have no fear! With a little preparation (and perhaps a small fee!) it looks like you can get a meal that is mostly compliant.

Start by searching “name of airline special meal” which will take you to the list of alternative meal options. For example, here’s a special meal menu from United and American Airlines. Be sure to look over the meal options more than 24 hours in advance of your flight so your airline of choice has time to accommodate your request.  Most major carriers have vegan and gluten-free options, which could be workable.

It’s worth it to call your airline to assess if you can build a custom meal for a small fee – or pick the vegetarian option and avoid the grain and dairy components, filling the holes with the Whole30 snacks you brought with you.

Staying at Hotels on the Whole30

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At the Cat Cafe in Bratislava, Slovakia. No Whole30 food…but they did have cute kitties so it’s still worth it 🙂

Hotels on the Whole30 are easy enough — especially if you can book a room with a kitchenette. If a full kitchenette isn’t available, call the hotel to request a room with at least a mini-fridge to store Whole30 grab and go foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts — which you can easily pop out and grab from a local grocery store.

You can even make baked potatoes in the microwave, which is a Whole30 on the go option if your hotel room has one available.

Staying with Friends and Family on the Whole30

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Anything for Selenas! Except breaking my Whole30.

This can be the hardest part of Whole30 Travel.

If you are on the Whole30 and staying at loved one’s home, staying compliant will be technically easier, as you will have access to a full kitchen in which to cook the meals of your choice, but the emotional work to be done has the potential to be exhausting.

We have been socialized to see refusing food as a rejection of the giver’s love and hospitality, which can only be amplified while you are a guest in their home. To help avoid this, offer to cook Whole30 meals for your host as a sign of gratefulness for their hospitality.

You should also give them a head’s up about your dietary restrictions before you arrive. Make sure to focus on what you can have, so they don’t feel restricted or confused when shopping (e.g. I love sunny side up eggs! Eating roasted veggies with olive oil is my favorite! Grilled chicken and green beans is delicious to me!)

Eating Whole30 at Restaurants

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My “almost Whole30” meal in Prague. A great example of getting as close as you can while dining out, then just leaving the non compliant items on the plate.

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If you do some Whole30 travel, you will likely find yourself at a restaurant — but don’t panic! Eating Whole30 at restaurants is possible. My mom and I were both on our first Whole30 when we went away for a girls weekend in the Texas Hill Country. We were able to eat at one of the region’s most famous steakhouses and stay 100% compliant.

Steakhouses and the like are your best best for Whole30 compliant restaurants. So if you are on a buisness trip, family getaway, or girls weekend and would like to stay compliant, speak up and request one.

Study the menu online before you head to the restaurant. I’ve found this helps me as I’ve had more time to look things over and begin to formulate the questions I want to ask the waiter.

Grilled meats (the staple menu items at steakhouses) typically don’t have any contraband in them, so by ordering a steak (with no butter pat!), pork chop, or salmon with a side of grilled veggies and a “dry” baked potato, you should be good, but make sure to double check about unlisted sauces or cooking oils. If you want to spice up your potato, I usually flavor mine with salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil.

If you want to go meatless, many salads are okay — just make sure to stick with vinegar and oil as dressing (or if you want to go hardcore, you can pull some Whole30 approved salad dressing out of your purse).

And, if push comes to shove, you can technically eat at Chipotle.

Get a salad with carnitas (the only meat cooked in sunflower oil instead of rice bran), plus any salsa you want (except the corn!) and some guac.

Be Prepared to Break Tradition with Whole30 Travel

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At Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas. My sister Kerry (in the middle) was on her 1st Whole30 at the time and had a great time even though she skipped eating at Silo Baking Company.

Sometimes eating Whole30 hurts. Let it! Relish in it! Think of it as pain leaving the body!

Is there a diner you eat at every time you road trip? Skip it in favor of a place where it’s easier to be compliant. Or if your traveling mates insist, be a good sport and eat there, but make sure to stick with eggs and fruit.

It might be a little sad not having your special diner pancakes, but if you eat there every single time you visit, that’s just it! Those special pancakes (or whatever meal you have) will still be there next time, when you’re not on Whole30. Who knows, you might not even want them then.

Sometimes when traveling, you might feel rushed and opt for a quick drive through meal or something from an airport kiosk. Challenge yourself to do better. You made a commitment to yourself to eat Whole30 and you’re not going to let a little change in your schedule and daily rhythm stop you.

If you can’t find something Whole30 compliant while traveling, relax. Take a step back. Pull out your emergency Lara Bar that you brought with you for such a time as this and make a plan.

You’ve got this.

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Wondering about which questions to ask when traveling abroad? Being proactive and speaking up before you get in a taxi, exchange money, or make a purchase is essential to having a stress-free trip and avoiding rookie tourist mistakes.

Here are the top 5 questions to ask when traveling abroad to avoid common travel mistakes:

Travel questions Questions to ask when traveling Questions to ask while traveling common travel mistakes

Some swans just chilling in Zürich.

Can I have a printed receipt?

Travel questions Questions to ask when traveling Questions to ask while traveling common travel mistakes

Bratislava, Slovakia

Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have eliminated this issue in many cities, as you can get a fare estimate before you book and track your route from the app; however, this is still on my list of questions to ask when traveling abroad just in case you need to take a cab.

Be sure to ask your driver for a far estimate and printed receipt as soon as you get in the vehicle. Having a printed receipt (not handwritten as is sometimes offered) can help protect you if you get into a meter dispute with a crooked cabbie.

If you book a private car ahead of time (e.g. a private airport transfer or a shuttle to an attraction) be sure to confirm that it’s your car before you get in (especially if you asked multiple companies for quotes!)…or you could end up like baby Emily and be certain you were about to be taken out by the Italian Mafia. Read about it here.

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Do you accept credit cards?

Travel questions Questions to ask when traveling Questions to ask while traveling common travel mistakes

I took this picture on my panic-induced ATM run. Prague is still pretty, even when you’re stressed AF.

This is an essential one of the questions to ask while traveling, but the key is asking BEFORE you order. Many restaurants abroad (i.e. not in the USA — although some places are reverting) are still “cash only” businesses. If you ask before you are seated, you’ll have the luxury of finding another place to dine if they don’t accept cards, or going to find at ATM at a leisurely pace if you really want to eat there.

When Smoky and I were in Prague, we made the mistake of assuming a burger place would take cards (I mean, they had WiFi and were playing Ed Sheeran, so it was an easy mistake), so since we found out AFTER we had ordered and eaten, I was tasked with running around Old Town Square in the dark like a maniac looking for an ATM while Smoky was held hostage in the restaurant.

And then I had to carry around hella Czech coins for the rest of my trip since I didn’t feel like giving the guy a $10 tip (y’all this place was barely even a cash only place — it was a COIN only place based on the change he gave me.)

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Do I have an international data plan?

Travel questions Questions to ask when traveling Questions to ask while traveling common travel mistakes

My house in Budapest.

Y’all. This is one of the most common travel mistakes and so it’s one of the most important questions to ask when traveling abroad.

The world is becoming increasingly connected, but certain companies seem to be lagging behind, so international data charges are a monster travelers should actively avoid. For example, when I travel with Smoky (a TMobile customer) she can just turn on her phone in any new country and it works like it would at home with no extra charges.

But if I did that ( a Verizon customer), I would literally have to sell my soul to lord satan to be able to afford it.

Thankfully,  if you don’t have an international data plan you can easily

  • Pick up a sim card with a few gigs of data on it at the airport or in the city center.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode and hope there’s abundant free wifi available.
  • Just use some walkie talkies or smoke signals or something idk.

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What time does this close?

Travel questions Questions to ask when traveling Questions to ask while traveling common travel mistakes

Salzburg, Austria

As an American, I’m used to things being open in fairly predictable patterns. Most offices operate roughly 9AM – 5PM and places to eat stay open until at least 10PM (often later) — but abroad, it’s often an entirely different story.

When I lived in Italy, places like offices, museums, and ancient sites would often close for lunch, or even an extended siesta in the middle of the day. Sometimes an attraction was open all weekend, so it was closed Mondays to make up for it.

A common travel mistake is to just assume the thing you want to do will be open. As you are planning your trip, be sure to note any peculiar closings or hours, especially if it’s a “must see” for you.

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Is my shampoo lid screwed on all the way?

Travel questions Questions to ask when traveling Questions to ask while traveling common travel mistakes

Vaduz, Liechtenstein

OKAY Y’ALL. Common travel mistakes 101.

It’s story time. Story time about those days of yesteryear when I didn’t think I needed to put my toiletries in a plastic bag or double check that they were closed before, you know, zipping them into a confined space with my computer, clothing, and passport copies.

Turns out, face wash doesn’t make your camera clean and clear and under control…it just makes it hang out in a bucket of rice for a few hours while hoping for the best.

So, learn from my mistakes. One of the most important questions to ask when traveling abroad is simple: are my freaking toiletries closed?

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Fighting on vacation is an unfortunate reality of travel.

Fighting on vacation Fighting during vacation Arguing during vacation Arguing on vacation

Some of my best friends from college during our “senior week” trip to Cape Cod, right before graduation in May 2015. Brittney, Cassidy, and Rachael. Taken by Lauren!

Too many hours in the car, the stress of a new place, and the exhaustion of jet lag are all things that can make even the best of friends start actively hating each other.

I’ve been in situations over the years where I needed to take a step back. My sister and I went on a Grand Tour of Europe together and I swear to God I wanted her dead because of how loudly she breathes while sleeping.

Another time I had a terrible migraine on this bus ride with a random baby that wouldn’t stop crying, so I kept fantasizing about just stoping the bus and leaving it with a nice couple at a gas station.

Both terrible, terrible, intrusive thoughts.

So how do you work past these instead of always arguing on vacation?

You have to address the triggers and make a conscious choice to be zen.

Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: you can’t control others’ behavior, but you can control your own. 

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Common triggers: 

Exhaustion

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My friends Elizabeth, Char, Meagan, Mary, and me on an orientation trip for our study abroad program to a Mozzarella farm in Campania, Italy in January 2014.

People are cranky when they are tired. This is a given. Advice like “make sure to get a good night’s sleep!” is trite. Sometimes that’s impossible.

What is possible, however, it not setting yourself up to fail. Do hostels make you restless because of squeaky beds, thin mattresses, and inconsiderate roommates who turn the lights on at three am? Don’t stay there! Ask your traveling partners if you can book a private room, at least every couple of nights.

Can you never get to sleep on long-haul flights? Then don’t try to hit the ground running on your first day and pretend like you’re well-rested. Take it slow. Pace yourself.

Does your partner snore or just breath freakishly heavy when they sleep (like my sister)? Always bring some ear plugs, just in case or have a soothing sounds playlist queued up on your phone.

You can’t always guarantee you’ll sleep well, but you can still create a relaxing environment for yourself.

Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: avoid “one night stands” and stay in each location for at least two nights to ensure better sleep. 

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Hunger

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Nik, Emily, Jessica, Mike, Rebecca, Maggie, and myself in Florence, Italy. April 2014.

Let’s be real: I get hangry even when I’m not traveling. It’s realllly hard to handle even minor inconveniences when you’re starving, so don’t let yourself get to this point!

Sometimes you have to skip lunch so you can see everything you wanted in a city or the local cuisine doesn’t sit well with you.

Still no reason to be a brat! Always, always, always, have an apple and snack bar in your purse. If you’re going on a shorter trip (like less than a month) bring five or ten RXBars (or the like) with you to nibble on until you can sit down for or cook a meal.

Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: a collapsible water bottle like this one is a great way to avoid being a butthead due to dehydration.  

Different Interests

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My literal other half, Siobhan, and I at Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island May 2017. Luckily we both love historic houses.

If your boyfriend wants to stop for a coffee one more time, you might have to end the relationship. Your best friend has no interest in shopping in Paris? She’s the worst!

Traveling teaches us that we don’t have as much in common with our loved ones as we might think we do. Your mom might be a foodie and want extravagant sit down meals three times a day, while you would rather just eat a sandwich while running between monuments and museums.

It can be really frustrating to feel like you are “wasting time” on a trip you’ve been really excited for. To avoid fighting on vacation because of this, you can try a “quid pro quo” approach in which each person in the group gets to pick one activity each day OR you can occasionally split up. Which brings us to…

Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: occasionally suck it up and do what the other people in your group want to do, even if it means missing out on something you wanted. 

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Too Much Time Together

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Me, my sister Kerry, and my mom Debbie at Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas. We spend a looooot of time together 🙂 March 2017.

This seems to be a bigger obstacle for couples or friends traveling pairs to overcome. After a few days of just one person, you might be desperate to interact with a human being who isn’t them or just really want some alone time.

So take the day off!

Your best friend can spend the evening at the theater while you people watch in a coffee shop. You can check out that sale while your boyfriend sleeps in. These mini solo adventures are the perfect way to recharge, so that the time spent together is enjoyable and not tense.

Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: communicate beforehand to find out what the rest of your group absolutely doesn’t want to do, so there’s time to schedule concurrent activities.  

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Stress

Fighting on vacation Fighting during vacation Arguing during vacation Arguing on vacation

My sister Kerry and her husband Chris taking the time to destress in the Dead Sea. November 2017.

When you miss your bus, mess up your hotel reservations, or get lost, it’s so, so easy to start blaming the rest of your group or start lashing out because you are scared or stressed.

Stressful things will happen when you travel. Things will definitly go wrong. That’s still no excuse for fighting on vacation. This is where mindfulness comes in.

You have to actively decide not to be angry. Not to respond to your boyfriend’s, or sister’s, or best friend’t goading. Let them be angry! Let them lash out! Choose to be calm.

If you are having a hard time staying calm in a tense or scary travel situation, I find it helpful just not to respond at all. Sometimes I even separate myself from the group. I don’t mean that in a “huff off and pout” sort of way, I mean it in a, “Hey, I’m going to go sit on that bench for a minute so I can think of a game plan” sort of way.

Arguing on vacation can also be avoided through preventative communication.

Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: assign group members with tasks according to their strengths before the trip, like navigating, driving, translating, negotiating, etc. This way, in a time of crisis, there’s no fighting over who needs to take the lead. 

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Fighting on Vacation: In Conclusion

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My chum Bethany and I in Prague, October 2017.

Mindfulness and communication are key to a great trip. If you find yourself getting a little heated, quickly work to address the trigger. Am I hungry? Tired? Bored? Then you can work to fix it.

Remember: talk to your group about interests, budgets, and accommodations BEFORE YOU LEAVE. 

You can avoid like 75% of potential fights if all group members are upfront about their expectations; however, if things aren’t going well, if your traveling companions are excessively irritable or unwilling to compromise, just remember: take a deep breath, get through this trip, and then choose not to travel with them again.

Happy traveling!

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Are you scared to travel alone? That’s completely normal.

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Here’s me in Rome — in 2014 my first solo trip as I left to study abroad there without knowing anyone. I went back in September 2017.

We typically think of vacations as social activities, so the idea of a solo holiday might seem weird or even a little scary. You might think about if you’ll get lonely, or maybe even bored since you won’t have friends to chat to. As women, we might wonder “is solo female travel safe?”

It totally is. But that doesn’t make the idea of flying somewhere new and exploring all day on your own any less stress inducing.

The key is to work up to it. If you’re used to spending time alone, then traveling alone for the first time will be a breeze.

Here’s how to practice for your first solo trip:

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Scared to Travel alone? Go to a Movie

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

I took a “solo trip to Morocco” by linking up with a tour group. This was back in 2014.

This movies is an easy place to start if you’re scared to travel alone, as one of the biggest obstacles to get over is to stop waiting around for people to come with you and just go.

Is there a movie out that you want to see, but you can’t match your friends’ schedules? Perfect. Buy your ticket and your popcorn and go anyway.

Skills acquired:

  • Enjoying your own company.
  • Having memories of an event that belong completely to you.

Eat by yourself at Fast Food Place

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

All solo female travelers must be cat ladies, right? haha. Here I am at the Cat Sanctuary in Rome in 2014.

Having the courage to eat alone is surprisingly a big deal. I think we associate eating alone with being alone, like…completely. What kind of person can’t find someone to eat with them?

Breaking through this stigma is a big part of having the courage to take your first solo trip. You’re a human being. You need food for nourishment. Eat.

Starting at a fast food place makes things easier because there might be more people there on the go. You pay, you sit down, and scarf your food while looking at memes.

Easy enough.

Skills acquired:

  • Breaking through the stigma of eating alone.

How to Start Traveling Alone: Go to a Museum Solo

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

I recently joined a tour of all the “Sound of Music” filming locations in and around Salzburg, Austria

When you’re traveling on your own for the first time, one of the things you’ll likely do is visit a museum. Why not take a dry run at home?

You can get a feel for your pace and decision making process. For example, if you can choose any museum in your entire city, and no one else’s opinion matters…which one will you go to?

Once you get there, how much time will you spend? When you’re on your first solo trip, you won’t have to rush through an activity because your boyfriend is hungry or linger somewhere that bores you because your sister is having a good time.

The freedom to make selfish decisions is one of the best parts of traveling alone for the first time.

Going to concerts or events alone is also good practice. I went to a George Ezra concert alone for this step.

Skills acquired:

  • Learning about your actual interests.
  • Discovering your how to pace yourself.
  • Making choices without anyone else’s input.

Eat Alone at a Sit Down Restaurant

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

a littler Kam trying to take in the Cliffs of Dover by herself in 2015. One of the irritating parts of solo travel — people who cut you off at the ankles.

This one might be the hardest step. I still struggle with it, actually! I think it’s because the wait staff I’ve encountered on my solo travels thus far have just amplified the stigma of eating alone, rather than just treating me like a normal person who happens to be hungry and didn’t want to wait for someone to come eat with her.

While fast food places abroad (think: McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.) will have wifi, the kinds of places you actually want to eat while traveling alone will most likely not. So, if you’re like me and don’t have an international data plan, your biggest crutch, your phone, will be gone.

What’s a girl to do?

Practice!

You won’t be as scared to travel alone if you’ve done a dry run. So, if you’ve already eaten alone at a fancy place in your hometown, when you do it abroad, you’ll know what to expect. You’ll be aware of your stressors, how they make you feel, and how you prefer to pass the time.

You might want to:

  • Read a book.
  • Write in your travel journal.
  • Keep the menu at your table to practice your language skills.
  • People watch.
  • Read the ketchup bottle 50 times.

Skills acquired:

  • Being comfortable with silence
  • Feeling at peace with your own thoughts
  • Completely breaking through the stigma of eating alone

Scared to Travel Alone? Take a Solo Flight

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

My flight to my solo trip to Berlin was delayed, making me run as fast as my little legs would take me. Good thing I’d already flown alone many times so I knew what to do!

If you’ve ever said “I want to travel alone” then being comfortable flying by yourself is a big step towards successful solo travel.

Embarrassingly enough, I had no idea how airports worked until I was 16 and went to Florida with my friend. We paid extra for direct flights from Houston because I wasn’t comfortable taking a connecting flight…because I literally had no idea how I would even find it. Until then, I had always just followed my mom or youth leader and magically found my gate.

So before traveling alone for the first time, take a flight to visit family or meet up with friends alone. This way, you can get comfortable with the check in process, security screenings, and overall airport atmosphere knowing that someone friendly and familiar is waiting for you when you land.

Skills acquired:

  • Understanding airports
  • Navigating potential problems like delays, lost luggage, and running for connections alone

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The Final Step towards Traveling Alone for the First Time: Take a Solo Day Trip

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas is a great day trip from Houston or Austin.

So you’ve flown alone, eaten alone, and had a blast at the movies and a museum alone. Now what? Combine them by taking a solo day trip! Well, maybe not the flying part.

Get over your fear of traveling alone by taking a mini first solo trip.

I’m from Houston, so great day trip ideas might be to Austin or Galveston, Texas. I practiced this bit a lot when I was studying in Rome and visiting my sister when she lived in London. I’d just wander around all day and see things that *I* wanted to see.

You can try your hand at itinerary planning and pin point any other areas about solo travel that stress you out.

The best part?

At the end of the day, you’ll have basically traveled alone. You’re a pro.

Skills acquired:

  • Planning a personalized itinerary
  • Setting your own pace

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Optional Step: Stay in a Hotel Alone

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

With Elvis’ microphone in sun studios.

This is the final hurdle that I overcame on my journey to no longer be scared to travel alone. I’d flown alone. I’d eaten alone. I’d gone all day exploring alone. But I’d always had someone to come chat to at the end of the day.

So when I took my very first solo trip to Memphis, Tennessee, the only part that was new and scary was not having a friend in the city.

For many, staying in a hotel alone is the opposite of lonely – it’s glorious. Sleeping in a huge, plushy bed and taking a ridiculously long shower without needing to worry about the water bill come to mind.

But the great thing about solo travel is that you don’t actually need to stay alone. Between hostels and homestays like AirBnb, if you want to come home for the day and be around other humans, it’s super easy.

If you’d still like to practice, consider booking a local homestay or hostel.

Hopefully these practice steps make you less scared to travel alone.

Good luck!

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Is Flixbus Reliable?

That was my first question when my friend Smoky suggested we use it on our European adventure.

Flixbus is significantly cheaper than taking a train or a flight between cities, so I was inclined to give it a try, even though the idea of taking a bus made my travel anxiety flare up…like a lot.

Would I be able to find my stop? Would the bus leave early? If it’s delayed, does that mean it’s actually going to come? Will the bathroom be clean? What if we get stuck in traffic and I lose a whole day in my destination?

You can buy tickets to Flixbus here

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Is flixbus reliable Is flixbus reliable honest Flixbus Review

This stems from the fact that I took buses in college a lot. Usually from my sleepy Western Massachusetts campus into Boston or down into NYC. I found them to be kind of icky and delayed like seven times out of ten. Bus stations also tend to stress me out simply because of the mere chaos of it all.

BUT

Flixbus is all about rebranding buses.

Its team promises clean, eco-friendly buses with free wifi. The stops seemed easy enough to find and the prices (starting at 5 Euro!) couldn’t be beat.

So I bought my tickets and hoped for the best.

Here’s my honest Flixbus review:

Flixbus Review Berlin —> Amsterdam

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Berlin, my first stop this trip.

Finding the stop: Easy

Punctuality of the Flixbus: Left on time

I took an overnight Flixbus from Berlin to Amsterdam because I wanted to save money on accommodations. It took about eleven hours and I was dreading it, but as we pulled into Sloterdijk, I actually said to the girl next to me, “Wow, that actually wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

It wasn’t bad at all, actually.

Flixbus Berlin to Amsterdam normally leaves from the central Alexanderplatz stop (among others in the city — including the most used stop: Berlin Central Bus Station), but because of the Berlin Marathon, the stop was relocated. I got multiple emails from Flixbus with the exact coordinates of the “pop up stop,” so it was very easy to find.

I even tweeted them to confirm (hello, travel anxiety) and the social media team responded within the hour to put me at ease.

You can buy your ticket from Berlin to Amsterdam here.

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Flixbus Review Munich —> Prague

Flixbus Munich flixbus berlin is flixbus reliable Flixbus Review

At Oktoberfest 🙂

Finding the stop: Easy

Punctuality of the Flixbus: Left on time

After a little too much fun at Oktoberfest, Smoky and I were headed to the fairy tale city of Prague.The Flixbus stops at Munich Central Bus station are very easy to find. You can take the SBAHN to Hackerbrücke and then it’s like a two-minute walk to the stops. Everything is labeled and there are plenty of places to eat or shop while waiting for your bus.

One thing to note: when Flixbus is on time, it’s ON TIME. We rolled out of the station at our exact departure time and not a second later. So is Flixbus reliable? In this instance, yes.

You can buy your ticket from Munich to Prague  here

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Flixbus Review Prague —> Vienna

Flixbus Prague Flixbus Prague honest Flixbus Review is Flxbus reliable

Finding the stop: Hard

Punctuality of the Flixbus: Left early

The Flixbus stop at Prague Main Railway Station was difficult to find. I think this because we came in the “grand entrance” at the front of the station, so to find it, we had to walk allll the way to the back of the station, and up some stairs. The actual stop is on a strip in the middle of the road behind the station.

We had to ask for lots of help and ran around like beheaded chickens for a bit, but we did eventually find it. If you are departing from Prague ÚAN Florenc, I wouldn’t worry as it’s small and manageable, but if you’re leaving from the station, give yourself some extra time to find your stop.

This bus actually left about six minutes before it was “supposed” to. Smoky and I figured it was because we were the only two ticketed passengers due to board in Prague, as there were only like ten other people on the entire double decker bus, so there wasn’t a point to waiting around.

Is Flixbus reliable? Not if you don’t have a ticket! If the driver doesn’t even know you’re coming, he won’t wait for you, so make sure to buy your ticket at least an hour or so in advance.

You can buy your ticket from Prague to Vienna here.

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Flixbus Review Vienna —> Bratislava

Flixbus Vienna Flixbus Prague honest Flixbus Review is Flxbus reliable

The Royal Opera House in Vienna.

Finding the stop: Moderate

Punctuality of the Flixbus: Over an hour late, so we bailed.

The Flixbus stops at Vienna Erdberg are relatively easy to find, since we were dropped off from Prague in the same general area, but I say “moderate” because we never actually found our bus stop.

We were only doing a day trip to Bratislava, so we didn’t have too much time to spare and it was FREEZING outside (the terminal is basically a wind tunnel), so when we saw that our bus was going to be over an hour late, we knew we needed a plan B.

Thankfully, there was another Flixbus just sitting there that was also going to Bratislava, so Smoky and I decided to forfeit our original tickets and buy new ones. The 7 Euro for the new ticket was worth it to get out of the cold and get on our way.

You can buy your ticket from Vienna to Bratislava here.

Flixbus Review Bratislava —> Budapest

Flixbus Bratislava Flixbus Prague honest Flixbus Review is Flxbus reliable

Beautiful Bratislava

Finding the stop: Easy

Punctuality of the Flixbus: Over an hour late

My travel anxiety flared up in a major way over this bus to Budapest, but it turns out it was for nothing. I wish I more like Smoky. Calm, cool, collected…confident that the bus would come. Because it did. It was reaaaaally late, but it came exactly when the app said it would.

The Most SNP Flixbus stop in Bratislava isn’t somewhere I’d like to be after dark, since it’s kind of just under a bridge, but as we were there during the daylight hours it was fine.

The Bratislava Central Bus Station, however, is really nice. Like really nice. Like free wifi, clean AF free bathrooms, and free luggage storage nice. I would almost consider it a tourist attraction on its own.

We did make the mistake of sitting across from the bathroom on the bus to Budapest. Don’t do this y’all. Every time we went over a bump, the door would fly open. It was almost reaaal embarrassing.

You can buy your ticket from Bratislava to Budapest here.

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So, is Flixbus Reliable?

Flixbus Budapest Flixbus Budapest is flixbus reliable an honest flixbus review

At the Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest

Does the Flixbus Wifi Work?

Yes! It worked great on every single ride; however, to keep things moving quickly, Flixbus limits the amount of data you can use.

Be sure to download your audiobooks and Netflix episodes beforehand, then put your phone on airplane mode and only use the wifi when you really need to. There are also power outlets on board.

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Is Flixbus Dirty?

I didn’t think so. The buses I took were nicer than some of the trains I’ve been on. I even actually used the bathroom on the way from Berlin to Amsterdam. I remember being like “Wow, how suspicious. It’s really clean in here…too clean.”

There was toilet paper provided, but you should always bring your own as well. On the way from Bratislava to Budapest, someone dropped the roll…wouldn’t want to use that one.

is flixbus reliable honest flixbus review

The Blue Church in Bratislava

Honest Flixbus review: Should I use Flixbus? 

I would use it again! Yes, two of our buses were really delayed and we had some hiccups finding some of the stops, but Flixbus buses are just that…buses. They are subjected to things outside their control like weather and traffic. If the bus is going to be late, the Flixbus app lets you know and updates itself in real time. The drivers we met were kind and helpful. The buses were clean.

For me, that makes up for it.

If you’re looking to save some money on your next trip to Europe (and, as of 2018, the American Southwest), I would recommend looking into Flixbus. Just prepare to be flexible. 

You can purchase tickets for Flixbus here.

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I didn’t partner with Flixbus for this review; however, after my journeys finished, I became a Flixbus Affiliate and will receive a small commission from purchases made through my blog.  All opinions, as always, are my own. You can read more in my Privacy Policy

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