Have you considered heading out on a solo adventure, but you are afraid, intimidated or full of anxiety?

Well, I am here to tell you that you aren't alone on your feelings of being afraid and overwhlemed.  From one solo female traveler to another I want you to know you are capable and can do this, despite some feelings holding you back.  As I am part of an online networking group I have come to realize that traveling as a solo female is not something everyone can do.  My love for international travel started when I went to study abroad in London in 2011 , just four days after September 11, 2001.  My mother at the time didn't want her 20 year old daughter leaving to a foreign country, especially when the United States was under demise.  I knew studying and living abroad would change the way I looked at the word and it did exactly that.

I owe my love for travel and especially solo female travel to my time living and studying in London in 2001.  Since then I have worked and lived in Spain and in Germany and it has molded me into the individual that I am now. Independent, strong, determined and open to see so much more of the world.

New year, new you and new goals. In with the new and out with the old, just like a dirty pair of socks, right? Or hey why not add in a dirty, yet gorgeous hairy coo (pronounced hair c-o-o), also known as the Highland cow here in Scotland.

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Who wants to talk about socks when you can talk about all the great, or not so great things you had happen in 2018.  

After scrolling through my social media accounts, the same topic came up whilst scrolling.  What top 9 things did you highlight on your social media pages?

I didn’t follow the crowds and have yet to discuss my top 9 memories, but instead I hopped a flight to Europe to experience yet another New Year’s eve abroad.

Last year was Bali and this year was Scotland. Why not, right? I figure keeping up with my motto of work hard, play harder continues so I had to continue this line into 2019.

Living in Los Angeles for nearly 15 years now, sounds so ancient, however as the years pass by I realize that Los Angeles just may not be my favorite place to spend New Years.  The traffic might subside during the holidays, but my feelings of being in Los Angeles to celebrate the New year, don't excist me enough so I thrive on the idea of leaving the traffic and smog filled city for cleaner air and blue skies somewhere abroad.

I planned a bit of a last minute trip to three countries, technically two since the UK is one big place, by the European standards, well at least until Brexit came into play.

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My first stop was Budapest, but not before flying via Chicago, London and Brussels to make my final destination landing in Budapest (pronounced Budapest) Hungary.  Booking last minute can be rough as you are left with less places to find for accommodation and the flights can be a bit pricier, also depending what time of year you decide go.  Either way I chose to go to three different locations and had flexibility to do so.

The first flight was Los Angeles, California to London via Chicago. This flight was a breeze, except for the fact I knew I would have to get off the plane and clear customs to then hop a flight to Brussels. After arriving in Brussels I headed to my gate, but not after grabbing some Belgian chocolate from a local chocolatier. (when in Rome or Brussels eat all the chocolate).

I continued on my way and hopped my flight on Norwegian airlines to Brussels, without a hitch and then hopped on my flight from Brussels to Budapest. Landed safely and found the local shuttle service who was on time and very inexpensive for the thirty minute trek into the city. I was dropped off right at the door to the airbnd that I booked, which ended up being a lovely loft apartment in the heart of dowtown Budapest. (Vaci street to be exact.)

I spent six days, five nights in Budapest, Hungary and had an absolute blast. Budapest is definitely a city I would tell people to add to their list as the beauty and history of a city rich in culture is truly one you would want to visit. From the churches, to the bridges, views of the Danube river and gorgeous synagogues and buildings it certainly is one city you do not want to miss.

When I talk about 2018 I want to remember only good memories, yet I know everyone has a bad memory or two, maybe even more, but what I do know is 2018 helped me grow as a person and learn more about myself. I would also have to say being a solo female traveler, would also add to human grown and development, as you learn to be alone and on your own more than ever. You are your own company, and nothing wrong with that, heck I can do what I want when I want, where I want.

I even met my first Instagram fan in 2018, in Budapest albeit. This is one reason I have found a love for social media as I have met people I normally would not have met. This past year was about experiencing new things and opening your eyes to the unknown which is exactly what I did and will continue to do in this life. Heck you only have on life, so live if to the fullest, take chances, risks and know someone is always looking out for you especially when you think otherwise. 

As you will see (pictured here),  a queen needs her castle, so while in Scotland I had the opportunity to go on an all day bus tour and visit Stirling castle, Doune castle, and my new obsession the lovely hairy cows also known as local highland cows. Scotland truly is a wonder and the people are absolutely lovely, so it is a place I highly recommend. 

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As pictured here (Stirling castle, Stirling, Scotland 2019) Photo should not be reproduced or sold.

Are you as spontaneous as I am and book a trip overseas two days before the departure? If you are anything like me and love ditching town, especially when you live in a big city like Los Angeles, then you should definitely keep reading. I was trying to coordinate a trip with some girlfriends to head overseas to Panama, but it just wasn't in the cards and it wasn't working out.

Fast forward to two days before Labor day weekend and no trip booked.  I was looking into various destinations that wouldn't be a 14 hour excursion yet also affordable. Where could I go that was only about 4-5 hours away by plane and wasn't going to cost me a new house to get there? 

Low and behold the idea of Tulum, Mexico came to mind and as my friend was visiting we began to look up some flights.  The flights I seemed to be finding on your ordinary travel sites like Expedia were pulling up flights that were 14 hours in length, with a stop over in a US city and then arriving the next day in Mexico.  I thought no way, there has to be something better than this when Tulum, Mexico is only a 5 hour non-stop direct flight.  Then my friend said have you ever tried the website skiplagged?

Ironically, another friend mentioned this new app just days before and I wasn't too sure about downloading the app, as I was a bit skeptical but finally gave in.  We began to find flights that were much more afforable, say half the price and the hours I was looking to depart and return.  Then my friend suggested why don't you check another site out just to be sure. Now, it had been quite some time since I had checked into a site other than Expedia, why I am not sure, luck of the draw. 

So turns out Travelocity ended up having a flight for half the price of the original flights we were looking up and they were non-stop flights. It was finally happening.  Within a few hours I booked a last minute trip to Tulum, Mexico and I was so excited. Just to be sure I bought the travel insurance for the flight for an additional $30.00. I didn't end up needing it but in case of lost luggage or illness (Mexico's water isn't exactly the cleanest) I thought best to take precautionary measures for the extra cash.

However, knowing that I was going to eventually find a reasonable flight I began perusing hotels and airbnb locations to find a place to stay without also breaking the bank vault. Again as luck would have it I chose to go with the airbnb location that was only, you ready for it, $25.00 per night. 

The airbnb ended up being just what I needed for a relaxing getaway to detox from city life. It was near the main street in town, yet only about 4 miles away from hotel row which consists of higher end shops and a myriad of boutique and chic hotels.

If you have ever been to Tulum, you know there is a row of hotels that are classy and a bit trendy right on the beach.  Since September is off season, rooms were going for as low as $100.00 per night upwards of $500 per night.  Seeing as I was just looking for a last minute solo travel getaway I decided to skip the sand and stay in an airbnb which proved to be perfect for what I needed and I didn't lose my wallet doing so.  As much as I would love the luxury of a more expensive hotel right on the beach I also love to explore and a bit of a challenge whilst overseas.  The airbnb ended being the perfect blend of apartment and relaxation in a safe neighborhood far enough away from the noise of the main part of the city street, yet a five minute bike ride away.

One travel advisory that I wasnt warned of was the fact that this time of year (for about the past four years) the beach was laden with seaweed. Apparently the seaweed is a project of growth over the last four years and is possibly washing up on shore due to the earth's pollution.  The beaches in Tulum, are typicallly known as sandy white beaches with turquoise waters, but my time on Tulum's beach, was nothing of the sort, disappointing but reality.  Therefore not spending even $100 a night I was glad that I chose the airbnb over the beachside villas.

The airbnd had free bikes, hammocks and a lovely refreshing pool. Not to mention the local Cristal cenote was only a ten minute bike ride away.  Cenote's are part of the must see 'touristy' places when traveling to Tulum.  I definitely recommend having dinner in the city on the main road and doing your shopping there or off the main road, as there are many wonderful boutiques.

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One of my favorite destinations which is about 40 minutes outside of Tulum center is COBA ( the old ancient ruins).  One place I missed seeingg was Akumal where all the turtles can be seen right on the beach. Some of my recommended restaurants include Unico, which is on the main drag. Great service and reasonable prices for the portions of food and quality of food you get. I happened to go there on a Wednesday evening and mind you the crowds are not around in the month of September so there was only one other diner in the entire establishment, so it was like having the restaurant to myself.

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Another great establishment to grab a bite to eat was Hermana Republica which was a bit off the beaten path, but not so hidden that you cannot find it. This particular establishment I had run into, literally while biking around the town on my beach cruiser. There were a few diners and I truly enjoyed the light entrees I ordered, which consisted of a carpaccio like dish made with fresh daily fish and a pumpkin dip, served with some fresh homemade tortilla chips. 

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Looking for a spot to enjoy a night on the town, then definitely try out Batey's bar.  They even serve some light snacks if you have the munchies.  Some friends I met along the way and I went to this bar whilst passing by on a Sunday night and had a great time. The drinks are fresh and they offer live music, if you catch them on a night they have live music scheduled.  I highly recommend their fresh squeezed mojiitos, which I would recommend the watermelon with fresh squeezed watermelon and all the fixings, including a piece of sugar cane to enjoy with your drink.

Seeing as Tulum, is a quick plane ride away I may just choose to go back there, but for now visiting Tulum on a budget is the way to go.  In two months Tulum, will be in their high season and bustling with travelers and tourists alike.  If you look hard enough though you can certainly find deals.