Stephanie Works Full-Time & Studies Part Time But Still Manages To Go On 4-5 Trips A Year As A Part Of Her Self-Care Routine
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GAFFL connects solo travelers from with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

14th Jul | 4 min read

Stephanie was born in Haiti and moved to the US at the age 16. She's passionate about Women’s maternal health, self-care, travel and photography. Make sure to follow Stephanie on Instagram to get more of her adventures.

Why I Travel

To properly answer this question, I have to explain what first inspired me to travel. I started traveling with family when I was 12 years old but traveling helped reshape my life in 2016. The latter was a tough year, I was struggling to move on from an emotionally abusive relationship and traveling helped me overcome my depression. Thus, travel has become a major part of my self-care routine.

Other female travelers inspired me to travel solo such as Ciara (@hey_ciara) and Glo Antanmo (@glographics) to name a few. I only recently started taking solo trips, I had to cancel 3 solo trips this year because of the pandemic. But next year,  I am looking forward to doing more solo trips because it’s transformative, a real life changing experience. 

I am a part-time student and work full-time so I travel 4 to 5 times a year. I have an adventurous heart so when I travel, I have to explore to the fullest. I love to go on cultural tours, take cooking classes or dance classes and of course do something extremely adventurous (like hike a mountain, paragliding and so forth).

How I Choose Where To Travel Next

I always say that everywhere is on my list but I prefer to visit places that are on my bucket list. Duration varies depending on the country; for instance, I spent 6 days in Saint Thomas but 12 days in Switzerland. If the location is very far, I will most likely make it a 10-15 day trip. 

To prepare for my trips, I do lots of research about the country by reading blogs and articles, watching youtube videos and so forth.

How I Pack For My Trips

My carry-on is my best friend, and to properly pack I use packing cubes and roll my clothes army style. Must-haves for me are my Nikon D5500 DSLR, my tripod, my pod red from Pivo, my phone & chargers, travel adapter and all necessary other electronics, comfortable shoes, compression socks for long flights, a fanny pack to carry (passport + copy and other forms of ID, money and so forth), regular body and disinfecting wipes, tiny toiletries containers, an umbrella or raincoat, a small blanket, an airplane pillow and gum.

Safety Precautions I Take While I Solo Travel

I recently took a solo trip to Saint-Thomas US virgin island and to be safe, I posted on IG hours or a day later. I never revealed my hotel location on social media not until my trip was over. I also made sure to get back to my hotel before it was too dark out. 

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Countries I’ve Visited So Far

I have visited 12 countries so far. I like to explore both touristic spots and hidden gems. My favorite memory with locals was in Cuba this year. It was my second time visiting Cuba and I just really loved it there. This trip was well planned and really fun. Though my Spanish is intermediate, it did not stop me from dancing with locals, immersing myself in Cuban culture and just having a good time. Cuba has my heart and I felt at home when I was there. 

How I Document My Trips

I journal! I love to write about my adventures. It’s truly the best way to cherish travel memories. I also take pictures and videos. I create travel books for each country I visit. Chatbooks Photo books are my favorite.

How I Manage My Travel Costs

Yes! Yes! and yes! I am a budget traveler mostly because I love to explore and wander around cities. To manage travel expenses, I’ve created a travel fund and that helps me stay on budget. I’ve also  noticed that it’s easier to stick to a budget when you travel solo. Furthermore, travel points or rewards have greatly helped me save a lot of coins ; for instance, I was able to book a RT flight to Puerto Rico for $11 with travel points.

Some Things That Prevent Me From Travelling More

My full-time job and school are two things that prevent me from traveling more but they also help me create a balance. I’m not interested in quitting my job to travel the world full-time. I am absolutely in love with what I do for work  because I know I’m making a difference in people’s lives every day. 

My Advice For New Solo Travelers 

My best advice to anyone interested in traveling solo is to always trust your instincts and to be very mindful of your surroundings. As I mentioned earlier, I love to do a lot of research about a country I’m going to visit so it’s important to get tips from other female travelers/ bloggers— Google the cities and learn about crime rates and so forth.

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