Curl Lea Travel
Bae-Cation to Solo Travel
Immigration: Why are you by yourself?
Almost a year ago, I embarked on this solo travel trip, this was the first out of Europe destination and long haul I’ve ever gone on by myself!
A very long 10 days, the first 3 days I actually found difficult and wanted to come back home, I even checked the flights but there were none available or triple in price, so I sucked it up and made the most of my time here.
Let’s back track a little, so this trip was booked 4-6 months in advance and after the breakdown of a failed 4.5 year relationship it was either I lose the £££ on my flights (couldn’t claim off my insurance as I hadn’t booked on my card and didn’t have proof) or I book a hotel.
We all know which one I chose.
Step 1 - Booking and finding affordable accommodation
This was hard, but thankfully a client from my 9-5 job, is from this country and hooked me up with an affordable air bnb, thanks D.
Step 2 - Telling my family
I reassured my family, by curating an email of info of where I was staying, flight info, insurance info and my intention of things I’d be doing once I reached the country; also that I would check in with them that I am safe when I arrived.
Step 3 - Making the most of my holiday
Like all my travels, I do my research of the country and look for things that would be of interest to me.
But before I share my highlights, let me tell you why this was my most testing solo trip, like I mentioned before this was meant to be a bae-cation, but not only was I now going alone, once I landed and got to immigration in TT, there were a load of questions, where am I staying, how long are you here for, who are you with, why am I by myself ect ect, I had my flight itinerary and accommodation info at hand and showed the lady, the next question why am I by myself? Awks ‘well my bf and I broke up and I still wanted to see your country’ not sure if immigration felt sorry for me or what, but they let me in the country.
To add fuel to the flame, I also ‘lost’ my phone!!
I went out with a girl that I’d met on the plane, that very same day we went out for a drink with her friend and somewhere between leaving the bar, my phone went let’s say ‘missing’, so not only was it 10pm, late, dark, first day on the sister island Tobago, my other gadget (tablet) for means of communication I’d left back at my base at my other air bnb in Trinidad, I knew no one but the girl I’d met on the plane and the new air bnb host that I’d just met!!
She let me use her phone so I could try calling my dad to just let him know I was ok, but have no phone, but, a big but was I didn’t know the full dialling code only the +44 which wasn’t enough and didn’t have a clue how to dial out!! So I excused myself from the girl said thanks and left to go back to my air bnb and contacted my host and explained the situation; at this point I’m not only stressed I’m actually worried, my phone was my safety.
I explained to my new host about my phone and that I’d like to report it stolen, so he took me to the police station where I was able to report my phone and get a reference number (important for insurance claim purposes) this was a very long night after filling out forms, retracing my steps with the police officers and going back to the bar.
I tried calling my dad again this time with the correct dialling codes) that my host educated me on with his phone, still no answer (time zone difference)
(Dial as +1 (868) 44 XXXXXXXXXX drop the first 0 from UK number add the rest of the number)
There was nothing else I could do but go sleep, which I couldn’t do and was the most horrible night ever just waiting for daytime to come.
Eventually when morning came I tried again and thankfully got through to my dad explained everything and asked if he could get my sister to block my phone, always make a note of the Serial/IMEI number and know an emergency next of kin contact number by heart or better yet fill out the page at the back of your passport!
A massive thank you to A my host for all the help on that night!!
Skips this part - lol just kidding, so the ex found me at my air bnb, I gave him the info of where I was staying prior for accountability (as he was in the same country whilst I was there too)
I’m glad I did, from there I was able to get my boarding tickets and still enjoy my last day on the sister island.
Once I got back to Trinidad, I was able start my insurance process and use Skype on my tablet to keep family updated.
The last 2 days was a blur and my flight back home had the worst turbulence where I thought the plane was going to go down.
With the loss of my phone, I also lost 99% of my photos from the trip as it wasn’t backed up, sigh!
Despite all of this that happened on this trip, I had some great highlight moments and came across some lovely people and have been on another solo travel trip since and had an absolute fantastic time after learning from this trip.
Bamboo Cathedral- Hidden gem, nothing but nature and the sounds of bamboo forest, great for a hike, bring water with you! Met some lovely travellers from the US here and exchanged numbers, also learnt how to do salsa in the middle of the bamboo forest by my driver who is also a salsa dancer/teacher, my camera man and salvaged the very few photos I have for this trip, thanks L.
Local beach near Bago’s beach bar - Spent the day at a local non tourist beach and was invited to play tag in the sea with locals, let’s just say this game got very competitive, got a few cuts a grazes on my knees, submerged several times under water and nearly had a slip of the nipple in my bikini, but it was fun it was real and so in the moment; met 2 locals here who I ended up liming with at the beach.
The Magnificent 7- A row of mansions listed by the national trust of Trinidad and Tobago and a heritage site, located opposite Savannah park, the history behind the 7 properties dates back as far as the 1800’s, they vary from a school, bishops home, residence of the prime minster.
1. Stollmeyer's Castle
2. White Hall
3. The Archbishop's House
4. Ambard's House
5. Mille Fleurs
6. Hayes Court
7. Queen's Royal College
Mount St Benedict Church- The view from up here, also a place I lighted a candle for my mum a tradition I do on my travels. (Dress appropriately when entering the church)
My air bnb host took me here, this was a special day, I cried at how grateful I was for the things he did on this trip for me, also giving me a blanket so I could be modest and enter the church lol, the host was amazing and went above and beyond my expectations, from picking me up from the airport upon my arrival, showing me where the good buss up shot was and also recommending my driver. Thank you so much C.
La Vega, Couva - This was a really nice chill spot with a pool, nature and good company with a local, thanks T.
Paprika - The music!!! I was in my element for a night out.
The Bungalow - A classy vibe, lovely drinks and the owner is a female boss lady.
Paprika and The Bungalow, were accompanied by a lady named K who I met over there she showed me a good night out in her country.
Maracas beach - The first beach after learning how to swim went in the sea here.
Maracas look out- For the views (this is enroute to Maracas beach and you can also get Mango Chow from here)
Store Bay beach - One of the best beaches I’ve been too.
Nylon Pool - Words can’t describe this place, highly recommend, one of the biggest highlights you must experience this yourself!! (I have no photos but take my word for it, if it’s one place you visit, this excursion is number 1)
Food/Drink to try: Doubles, buss up shot, Mango Chow, Bake & Shark, bake and saltfish, Aloo pie, Roti, Puncheon rum, a drink called Red, lol yes it’s called red and it tasted nice ignoring all the E numbers, coconut water, Smirnoff black, Carib shandy/beer, rice dish, Caribbean style fish and chips. The food here is just ah-mazing!!
TIP: Go to food places recommended by locals, my air bnb host and drivers recommended 90% of the food places I ate from.
· What I learnt from this trip was that safety is the most important, don’t put yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable and if you do leave, listen to your gut instinct like 100%
· Have another means of communication (tablet/laptop/travel phone)
· Back up your photos every day.
· Get a local sim card with data allowance to use when you’re here.
· Share location with someone for safety.
· Don’t let an unfortunate situation i.e. a breakup stop you for wanting to see a country you’ve always wanted to go
· Don’t let family scare you and put you off.
· Do your research about the country your visiting prior to getting there.
· Chose a location to stay that is central and easy to get around or use a reputable driver.
· Be open to culture, food, new people, experiences.
· I would love to go Trinidad and Tobago again and also experience the carnival! 2021??
· The culture, food and music this country has to offer, the sexiest accent and beautiful looking people.
· I spent £300 on accommodation, £500 on return flights and £500 spend money, but only spent £300, so total for 10 days £1,100 approx
· Exchange your money when you get there.
· Solo travel isn’t for everyone and that is ok, however if it is something you’d love to try, I’d recommend a stay cation first, eating out alone in your hometown and see how you feel in your own company; also do research on the destination you are visiting, learn from my experiences.
· I have done a few solo travels before this unintentional solo to Trinidad and I will continue to do and see so much more countries!
· Shxt happens! - Learn and grow from it.
All views are from my own experience, this solo trip was in March 2019.
Thank you for reading.