My first international Solo vacation, I am sure we have all planned trips with our friends, everyone is onboard in the beginning, but then when it's time for those deposits you hear crickets. This trip was originally planned with myself and 5 of my girlfriends, as we began to get closer to our departure date everyone started to cancel. I made myself a promise years ago that I would not do that anymore and if no one wanted to go, I would just go solo, my husband even encouraged me to still go, his exact words, "don't let anyone ruin your trip, go have a great time, you'll meet some amazing people and I'll be right here with the kids (and dogs), so that's exactly what I did! I contacted Travel Divas and asked them to put me on the roommate list and you could pair up with another person when you arrive.
I've met some great people from all walks of life on this trip , created some new memories, saw the whole island of Aruba, ate some great food, relaxed, did some shopping, sightseeing, had an amazing photo shoot with Ken Grille whom was also a great tour guy, thanks again I learned a lot about this beautiful island. I went on a sunset cruise which included food and cocktails, hung out at the pool and beaches, went to the butterfly farm, saw the Natural Bridge, California lighthouse, "The Beverly Hills" of Aruba, Alto Vista Chapel, natural pool, the cemetery, the low income housing areas, went jet skiing, hopped on the Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus Aruba for a pub crawl, I checked out several bars around the island, went to an all white party, a neon party, several beach parties, did a little water aerobics, indulged in massages on the beach and so much more.
Thanks again to all the amazing ladies I met while there, Ryce, Yalanda, and the best roomie ever, Jenn. Jenn and I met for the first time on the first day of our trip, we immediately clicked and if I ever have to roommate with someone again in the future, I'm sure I'm gonna expect them to meet up to Jenn's level😉 but seriously she was great, oh and did I mention while on vacation she murdered her first Aruba International half marathon...she's a superwoman! This was a first for us both, traveling out of the country and sharing a room with someone you just met for the first time, some are probably saying, "Oh wow, I would never." LOL. It’s one thing to meet new people and maybe have dinner or converse over cocktails, but we actually shared our living space for 6 days. And we both survived! And had fun!! They say you can’t travel with everyone, and that is sooooo true...we just lucked up, we are both easy going, laid back and knew how to roll with the punches. We had a great trip and were also each other’s photographer also! We laughed, we relaxed poolside and on the beach together, had breakfast together almost every morning, she went with me on my photoshoot and not once complained about anything (my kinda girl LOL), we took public transportation together to go do some shopping, I was there to cheer her on when she did her half marathon while in Aruba (she has a goal to complete a marathon and every state and every country). She was just super amazing. (Jenn & I pictured below).
This was a trip hosted by the travel group, Travel Divas, an award-winning, and premier, travel company that specializes in group travel management. They host about 25 travel events each year, and all of their trips are very well organized. I usually enjoy planning trips on my own, but I wanted to give them a try, Oh, I can't forgot about Ms. Lizzy "Travel Diva" Boykins (travel divas host), her smile and spirit was everything, I made sure to lock her contact info into my phone and hope we can travel together again once the world opens back up.
If you ever plan a trip with a travel group, check to see if they have a roommate matching program (if you want to cut some cost or just have someone to travel with), I'm sure we all have a few friends/family who are excited about a trip in the beginning, then end up backing out (happens to me often)....don't let that stop you from going and seeing new places. Don't cancel your plans...GO ANYWAY !
This was my very first time traveling solo internationally, I toured the entire island and did a few other activities solo and not once did I ever feel unsafe.....I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I was a little upset because I didn't get my passport stamped, but that's ok, just another reason to go back 😁. In Aruba they use the Automated Passport Control Kiosks, there is still a line to have your passport stamped, but that wait wasn't worth it for me.
There are several All-inclusives resorts in Aruba: Tamarijn, Divi, Riu Antillas, Riu Palace, and Barcelo. And then there are resorts that offer optional all-inclusive packages: Holiday Inn, Amsterdam Manor, Manchebo, and Renaissance. Tons of great places to eat places to eat around the island if you don't choose all inclusive or just tired of eating at the resort you're staying in.
All of the staff at Riu Palace Antillas were absolutely amazing, I stayed in an all inclusive resort, and although their rooms could use some upgrading, the staff and food were great. I also booked some excursions with De palm tours, this sunset cruise was probably the highlight of my trip, such a great time and that sunset was heaven sent. I booked through Scuba Caribe Watersports for my solo jetskiing excursion, I love the water and I love jetskiing. This was definitely a memorable trip and I will be back here again, I had a wonderful experience, it's called "One Happy Island" for a reason and I'll for sure be back.
FYI - American Airlines suck and I'll probably never travel with them again 😠 Not only did they charge me to change my seat although there were about 50 extra seats on the aircraft.....they also broke my luggage!
A little travel tip: When checking in at the airport take pictures of your luggage just in case it's lost or damaged, I know these are little things you don't really think about because there is so much going on, but take pictures as they are loading it on the belt, when you're checking out of your hotel, take pics of the luggage tags/stickers, pics as your driver is loading it into the car or shuttle, just keep a picture of it's condition before your final destination.
When I travel I don't go overboard with souvenirs but I do like to collect shot glasses, magnets, key chains and I try to bring back adult beverages that we typically can't find in the states.
Don't be afraid to travel alone, spending time alone really helps you get to know yourself better.
Traveling solo will give you a moment to slow down, reflect and spend time with yourself that you most often times miss out on because we are always caught up in the every day "hustle & bustle." Sometimes strangers are a lot kinder, hahaha! No, but I am so serious! If you're not an introvert, you'll meet some great people and have a great time, I like to think of myself as a "Ambivert," I typically have a great time with anyone I cross paths with. When traveling solo, you can do what you want on your own schedule. If you want to sleep for 15 hours.... Do it!, If you want to go on an 8 hour tour...Do it! It feels great knowing you can do what you want and don't have to coordinate with anyone else.
I definitely encourage you to take a solo trip if you haven't done so already, even if it's something statewide or just a few hours away from your home. The experience is absolutely empowering.