Although I don’t always travel solo, I have multiple times in the past. And as scary as it might sound, it’s actually extremely refreshing and empowering. With this blog post, I hope you will be able to break down all the misconceptions you may have about solo travel and hopefully take the leap yourself!
Oh boy… Where do I even begin? Maybe setting up the context would be a great start. So here it is:
I had been in a long-distance relationship for 4 years at the time of my solo trip to Mexico. I am from France and my (then) fiancé – now-husband – is from the United States, living in Las Vegas. Because of the pandemic, back in 2020, the U.S closed its borders to many countries around the world, including the entire Schengen Area – which, if you’re not familiar with how Europe works, is a compound of most European countries in between which one can travel and transfer easily without any form of visa, passport, nor border control -. This travel ban on Europe meant that I wasn’t allowed to fly directly from there to my fiancé across the Atlantic.
Many Facebook groups were created during that time in order to help long-distance couples separated by all sorts of travel bans to be able to see each other. And this is how I found the loophole… Mexico!
Let me explain. Mexico travelers were never banned from entering the U.S through air borders, meaning by plane. The travel ban was only on people COMING from Europe, but not on European passport holders per se. So, anyone that had spent any minute in Europe over the last 14 days prior to entering the United States would not be admissible in the country. Technically, spending 14 days in Mexico would allow me to fly to my fiancé!
Fast forward to November of 2020. France is in complete lockdown for the second time and French citizens are not really allowed to leave the country unless it’s for an emergency or family reasons. Needless to say that it didn’t stop me from booking tickets for Cancun in December. I was terrified I wasn’t allowed to leave France, but I came prepared. I 100% isolated myself for the 10 days prior to departure, took a covid test, and brought countless papers proving my relationship to an American citizen so that they would consider my trip a family emergency. Guess what… They didn’t check a single paper. LOL. Good for me!
Those Facebook groups were awesome and allowed me to connect with girls around my age that were doing the same thing as me, at the same time as me. Some were even on my plane to Mexico! I met up with 6 other girls at the airport and we had so much fun flying all together.
When I landed in Mexico, I started being nervous. I had booked a hotel downtown Cancun and didn’t know anybody from the Facebook groups that stayed there. But whatever, I decided I was gonna have the time of my life!
On the first day, I met 3 girls from Europe. 2 were from the Czech Republic and one from Germany. We spent the next week together and had the most fun.
We went shopping, we went to the beach, to Mexican farmer’s markets, had cocktails in the pool, spent hours looking for great places to eat, went on day trips to nearby islands, etc.
Overall, I can confidently say that I loved my trip to Mexico by myself, but if I had to do it again, I would do this completely differently.
For starters, I wouldn’t stay in Cancun, but as a solo traveling woman, I wanted to be in a big city where I knew a lot of solo women would also be (due to the travel ban on Europe).
But let’s say, for the sake of this blog post, that I would have been to Cancun. What would I have done differently?
First, I would have booked a hotel or an Airbnb on Isla Mujeres instead of staying in downtown Cancun. I don’t recommend staying in a hotel in the hotel zone because it’s extremely pricey and not at all authentic. The hotel I was staying in ‘Oh! Cancun – Urban Oasis’ was a great balance between local vibes and touristy. And the price was 3 times less than it was just 20 minutes away on the beach! But Isla Mujeres should have been my #1 choice. As touristy as it is, it’s also a very typical island with a lot of cute places to stay. The Mexican vibe is so alive there! The roads only welcome golf carts, the wildlife is amazing, and the beaches are straight out of a postcard. You can easily walk around barefoot all day on the island.
Second, I would have visited more. Honestly, I was concerned about getting sick before flying to the U.S (with the C-vid) so I restricted myself from doing a lot of visits such as Chicken Itzá or Cenote Caracol because they would have meant going on a bus full of tourists for hours. But if I went back today I would rent a car and visit more nearby cities with my girlfriends or alone! Life is too short to not enjoy a trip to a foreign country to the fullest!!
Finally, I would have eaten more local Mexican food. I ended up eating at the hotel a lot because many Mexican places I ate at were really touristy, overpriced, and not good. At all. And I know local Mexican food is supposed to be delicious! So I’ll have to go back, just for the food…
I didn’t get sick, I was admitted into the United States, and I spent Christmas as well as the following 2 months with my husband and our pets. So, in the end, it all worked out!
What’s a trip you took but weren’t 100% satisfied when you went back home? Don’t worry! Any ‘bad experience’ is actually a good thing because it shapes the person you are today and helps you figure out what you like, don’t like, and what you’ll do better next time! Because there is always room for improvement…
This blog post was shorter than usual, and more of a little story time, but this was actually the first draft I wrote about 9 months ago, way before I created my website and my blog. I had to re-write it all because the way I had initially written was absolutely cringe and awful, but I kind of owed it to myself – and to that story!!– to finish and publish it!
As always, thank you for reading me, let’s connect on Instagram and be friends!