Posts tagged “traveling

Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventure Part. IV “Cheap Flights, Hostels, & Public Transportation”

Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventure Part. IV

“Cheap Flights, Hostels, & Public Transportation”

Heart Eyes @ Indirect flights

Let’s take a step back. I don’t want to miss any details.

Adrenaline pumping, I decided it was time to plan my trip even after considering the “alone” aspect.

I started pricing direct flights and they were so pricey so I had a great idea, I’d look at all of the indirect flights, see where the common stops were, and plan my own trip by purchasing individual tickets modeling the indirect flights’ layovers (from Philadelphia to Accra).

Not only did I prematurely plan a trip to Africa I had this wild idea to take the most elaborate route to get to Accra; all in the hopes of seeing as much of the world I could before reaching my final destination.

The most attractive and exciting thing about planning this trip was the affordable flights; they seemed so inexpensive at first. I thought I was catching a break but I soon realized (and I think most seasoned travelers could agree) that all that glitters (cheaps flights) ain’t gold (aren’t the best vacation/solo trip ideas).
I am able to admit all of my travel mistakes ( but there’s light at the end of this tunnel, I promise).

After deciding Africa was a no-go I was stuck with all of the individual flights I ended up purchasing. I chalked up the non refundable money for the flight to Africa and I decided to continue planning a trip that would include the “layover/pit stop” flights I purchased (the Hopper app displayed so many flight options including long layovers in London so originally I thought I could enjoy London all in ONE day; yeah, that would have been enough time to explore (insert rolling eye emoji).

Since I was no longer going to Accra the money I would have spent on the visa/vaccines were now free for fun in London, Portugal, and Paris.

I was a bit relieved I didn’t continue with my original plan because I would have spent all of my money to just get there and probably would not have had a good time…

I figured “ok I’ll still take that bus ride and explore a bit of Canada, go to London, Portugal (for a day trip) and go back to London”. Paris was the last minute addition to my itinerary and I’m so glad about that (click here to find out why)!

I started researching sightseeing activities for London, and again, the cost started adding up between accommodations, spending money (FOOD & transportation), and of course, everyone should have disposable (“oops/accident”) money.

PubLove, Corujinha & Safestay @ Elephant & Castle

After many hotel confirmations and cancellations, I finally settled on the cheapest option: HOSTELS.

For my first night’s stay (London, England) I stayed at PubLove; a hostel not conveniently located close to  Buckingham Palace. This hostel was pretty bad; I hated that it was literally on the second floor of a Pub and that it wasn’t clean.

I opted for a mixed dorm and that was a HUGE mistake. I stayed with smelly, loud, and drunk guys. The linens weren’t clean so overall I gave this hostel two stars (the two stars are only because the staff were extremely friendly and let me check in early); I’m glad this was only for one night.

For my second night’s stay (Portugal), I stayed at the Corujinha Hostel and I will gladly rate them five⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars. The Hostel was extremely clean, had an awesome common room full of musical instruments and TVs, and the staff was very helpful. I ran out of Euros toward the end of my night and only had twenty American dollars. Currency exchange near this Hostel was closed and wouldn’t have opened until 8:30am (and my flight was at 6:00am); if it weren’t for the nice owner of this Hostel I would’ve missed my flight (not having enough money (Euros) for a taxi). I am eternally grateful that he took my American dollars in exchange for Euros! He even called my taxi for me early the next day and I got to the airport just fine. If you ever read this please know you were such a blessing!

I was happy to get back to London (on the third day of my trip and after my failed adventures in Portugal) & for the duration of my London stay I occupied a dorm in the Safestay @ Elephant & Castle hostel which was eh, just ok. I had some trouble finding it at first (thanks a lot Google maps) but once I located it, it was easy to find from the Elephant & Castle tube station.

Check-in was fast and easy, but once I settled into my room and I noticed it was extremely hot and I was unable to adjust the temperature. The room was extremely hot and this made it hard to sleep…It was to the point the window in the room needed to stay wide open (this was inconvenient when it rained). 

Anyway, I had two other roommates who were from France (one guy and one girl) and they were semi-friendly. When I said “hello” only the guy spoke back to me. What did raise some concerns was when I opted for an all-female dorm and this guy showed up with all of his luggage. When I asked the front desk to confirm my reservation that confirmed that I opted for a mixed dorm. I checked my confirmation and it said otherwise…this may have been an error on booking.com but either way they were booked and it was nothing I could really do about it.

Since I didn’t spend too much time in the room, I wasn’t concerned with making friends with my roommates so no harm no foul…also I purchased luggage with a built-in lock so I was fine with my luggage being left in the room unattended.

I kept everything valueable on me (even when I slept). I had a fanny pack attached to me 24/7 with my passport, money, room keys, and phone because I would be damned if I had them stolen everything else was replaceable. I had some unusual dormmates although that isn’t the Hostel’s fault.

I gained another roomate later that day who convinced me she was a vampire; she was always sleeping no matter what time I came into the room (whether it be 10am or 10pm), then around 3am each night for five nights I would hear her get up slam some shit around and leave the room. I didn’t see her face until the day she checked out and that’s OK and all I just think she was a vampire!

I liked that area; this particular hostel was located conveniently close to the tube (Elephant & castle station) which allowed easy access to central London. I spent most of my time traveling on the tube. I would encourage anyone traveling to invest in an Oyster card. If you load 20 pounds you should be good for at least 5 days of traveling (bus & train) and this is much cheaper than buying day travel cards each day.

I ended my adventures in Paris; I stayed with family for the weekend and in a nutshell, I saved a ton but not staying in hotels over the course of my trip!

Paris’ train system was pretty simple to follow just like London. Although everything was in French I had a cousin that spoke English and she gave me explicit instructions on how to travel from the airport to her house (a two hour trip from CDG airport to Viroflay); this trip only cost ~15 euros vs. a 100 euro taxi ride.

 I really don’t see myself traveling anywhere and paying 50-100 euros, pounds, or dollars, for any taxi ride. Oh, and Uber works around the world but all of the Uber gift cards & credits that I stocked up on didn’t work AT ALL!!! Thanks, Uber for failing me…

Sometimes you can think you have everything planned out and realize you are not as prepared as you think. I’m here to tell you that this is OK because you can improvise! When in doubt, ASK and just take a train!!!

I feel so accomplished traveling throughout the world while using public transportation; it definitely gave me an unforgettable experience, makes me feel so independent and travel savy, and I have beautiful pictures while traveling through cities; what an awesome way to experience the culture!

Traveling solo can be a bit scary but it is a growing and learning opportunity; I think it’s what living is all about…

You don’t have to take my word for anything you read…prove me wrong! Get out the and create your own adventures and then tell me all about it! If you have something you would love to share please don’t hesitate to contact #youngloudproud: proudloudyoung@gmail.com

Advertisements

“One Solution: Revolution (System Change Not Climate Change)”

Buckingham Palace’s beauty & the unexpected protest I ran into on my solo adventure in London, England (11.24.18)

I arrived in London, England after an extremely long twelve hour Megabus ride to Toronto Canada, then another seven-hour plane ride courtesy of West Jet.

I was so eager to get out and start doing all of the touristy things I’ve always dreamed of.

The first thing I wanted to do after I checked into the PubLove Hostel, where I would be spending one night, I was off to visiting Buckingham Palace!

I wandered through the city of Westminster, without a working phone or a reliable WiFi connection, just a screenshot of google map directions that revealed Buckingham palace was only a short distance (25-minute walk) from where I would be spending the night.

I passed by Victoria train station, where just an hour before I was dragging my luggage in one hand and a Burger King meal in the other, lost and frustrated trying to find my way to Publove; now luggage free and full, I followed “Buckingham Palace street” (so clever) all the way to one of London’s famous places.

I heard the palace before I saw it!

To my surprise, I was greeted by loud chants, songs, drums, and people waving flags with half painted faces.

At first, I thought to myself “I must have this all wrong this isn’t Buckingham Palace” but…it was, after all, I was on BUCKINGHAM PALACE STREET and after all of the tourist and swift moving locals I dodge on the way there it just better had been.

It’s just…not exactly what I expected, instead of it being a completely magical experience, it was sort of ruined by the large group of people creating a huge ruckus in the name of climate control; but one thing I’ve learned is that in protesting is there are no rules and it has known no bounds.

I had a brief conversation with one of the yellow-jacketed police officers, guarding the gates, just to confirm what I already knew.

I asked if the protest was really happening before my eyes at Buckingham Palace? To his reply was simply “yes it is.”

The friendly officer, with the awesome accent, followed up by explaining that prior to this protest demands for better climate control programs (by the same group) were demonstrated at the Parliament (law making- city council headquarters) but on this particular day “they chose to come here” out of all of the days I thought!

Anyway, for the record, if I were to be caught up in a protest that would have been the one to wonder into…

Nothing compares to America’s protests or more recently the uproar in Paris where locals (with yellow jackets ironically) are literally setting fire to the streets and police are launching canisters of tear gas for crowd control all over fuel prices.

No, this was something different; it was peaceful, people were singing and dancing, and there was clearly a huge mixture of tourist in with the locals (I could tell by all of the selfie-taking).

Typically you wouldnt think a local would yell “CLIMATE CONTROL” but first, let me get this selfie (although today that may not be too far from reality…)…

I missed the changing of the guards but I still caught a glimpse of the guards marching back and forth at the entrance, in uniform, protecting the Palace.

Let’s get into the details!

Buckingham Palace’s physical appearance is GORGEOUS. The Gold trimmed gates, huge fountains and carefully sculpted statues were just amazing; it was like looking at a page from an art history book.

Although this was not what I expected for my first experience at this famous landmark in England it was nothing short of amazing and is unforgettable.

Put Your Next Flight On Layaway With “Airfordable”

Ama Marfo, recent Drexel University graduate and frequent international flyer created an affordable way to travel through her start-up company “Airfordable.”

 

CxABvokUcAA7x7-.jpg large

As a student at Drexel, Marfo could not afford to foot the bill to visit her family home in Ghana during semester breaks:

“I wanted to see my family in Ghana during school breaks, but couldn’t afford the $2,000 ticket,” she recalled. “I stayed in the dorm alone or with other international students who couldn’t go home. Because of this personal frustration, I set out to determine how to make travel more accessible.” -Ama Marfo

Marfo ultimately took her disadvantage and created an opportunity. Airfordable is making traveling around the world more realistic for people with low income.

Here’s how it works:

Airfordable is a web based company allowing travelers to enroll in a (low interest rate) micro loan to help pay for flights and assists in repayment.

With Airfordable travelers are required to submit a snapshot of their travel itinerary, an initial deposit is paid, and payment arrangements are set up to pay off the remainder of the flight through affordable installments (installments that can be made all the way up to the date of the departure).

One of the biggest differences between this micro loan and a personal loan is that this service can be provided without a hard inquiry into your credit. This increases the chances of approval for people with fair to poor credit.

Inspired to help individuals in the same predicament, especially international college students, Marfo has created a successful business helping people fly on a budget.

According to Forbes, since 2015 Airfordable has assisted at least 10,000 travelers to finance their flights and travel on a budget. Future expansion includes micro loans for vacation packages, hotels, etc.

@FlyAirfordable

%d bloggers like this: