Tips to Make the Most of Your First Parent-Free Trip
You knew it would happen one day — you're off on an adventure as a young adult and, for the first time, you're on your own. No mom to plan activities, and dad won't be around to cover any extras from the gift shop. While you'll miss these things, there is a whole world out there just waiting for you to explore on your own terms. Whether you're headed out for a senior trip or just taking a weekend away, here are a few tips on how to make the most of your first solo sojourn.
Plan in Advance
Unless you're off for a spur-of-the-moment getaway, you'll get the most value out of your time away by planning things out in advance. AirHelp suggests at least three weeks to three months if you plan to book a domestic flight. While there are no guarantees, this will likely help you get the best price. If you plan to rent a car in your target destination, do some research ahead of time to make sure that you're old enough to do so. Most states require you to be 21 years old; at age 25, you likely won't have to pay a premium because of your age. If you can't rent a vehicle, make sure to budget for taxi and Uber fees.
Something else to consider is where you will stay. As a general rule, you'll have the best pick of rooms by booking as far in advance as possible. Make sure that your hotel, bed and breakfast, or rental is within walking distance of activities you'd like to do — bonus if it has a coffee shop on site like Broad River Inn that serves breakfast or snacks throughout the day.
Packing is another task you want to complete a week or two ahead of your vacation. While you will certainly be busy during the day, you'll want to bring a few comforts from home to keep you company at night. Your favorite pillow, a few bags of your favorite snacks, and a portable streaming device with a multichannel app so you can still catch your best-loved shows can stave off homesickness and help you feel more at ease in unfamiliar surroundings.
Safety should always be your number one priority when traveling, especially when you are young and traveling alone or with a group of other young people. If you've already chosen where you want to go, take the time to get to know crime in the area. ADT's interactive crime map can give you a better idea of the risk you might face in your preferred destination. No matter where you go, there will be criminal activity, and tourists are easy targets. So, keep your money safe by only carrying as much cash as you need during each activity plan — and plan to leave the rest in your room. This advice applies to both national and international travel, and particularly if you're heading to an area that is known for pickpockets.
Experience the Essentials
Of course, there are many unique destinations to visit right here in the United States. Don't limit yourself to the beach or mountains. New Orleans, for example, is, according to Travel + Leisure, a rite of passage for young adults. A less rowdy and historical experience can be found at Asheville's Biltmore Estate, which was built by George Vanderbilt. Heading further west, you have an opportunity to experience the red earth and blue skies of Moab before heading to Long Beach California to spend the night in the Queen Mary, a decommission luxury ocean liner.
Traveling alone is exciting, and your first trip is the first page of a book of memories you'll write yourself. Remember to plan ahead and take steps to keep yourself safe. And most importantly, don't forget to call your mother to let her know you've arrived in one piece.
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