In February of this year, I decided to go on a solo trip to Miami Beach.
I needed to get away even if it would only be for a couple of days. The trip was much needed and I came back home feeling refreshed and energized.
Looking back though, there are quite a few things that could have been done differently to get more out of the trip and make it an even richer experience. Here are some things I will do when I travel to new places in the future, including Miami Beach.
Read an online travel guide
With all of the travel blogs out there filled with information on what to do in certain locations, there’s no reason to sit around wondering what the next move is.
I’m not sure why this didn’t cross my mind earlier.
But now that I’ve read some great guides, I will start using them to my advantage. That way, instead of spending a bunch of time trying to put together an itinerary, I can relax more.
Learn the public transportation system
I still have yet to master any kind of bus, subway or tram system. I’m that person who has used taxis just to avoid it. Since I’m directionally challenged, learning these schedules and stops can be a huge hurdle.
I do know that I will never learn if I don’t try though.
The downside to taking taxis and Ubers everywhere is that it eats away at my travel money and therefore limits where I can go. In addition, walking everywhere is an option because it’s free but it also limits where I can go. I can only walk so far.
I arrived in Miami at night so I did feel more comfortable taking the taxi to my hostel. But I still could’ve figured out the bus system in the day time and saw more. It wouldn’t have mattered so much if I got lost then.
The next go round, I will learn the bus system and have a lot more to do since I’ll be able to get into the city center quickly and cheaply.
Go on morning runs
While traveling, it’s easy to allow healthy routines to go out the window. For me, this will be no more.
I find that when I do run in the morning, I just feel better during the day. It’s also a great method for burning off all the delicious (but fattening) food that will inevitably be consumed.
Traveling requires a lot of energy so it’s a good idea to stay in shape anyways.
Take a walking tour
This would have been a great way to learn my way around the city and be more comfortable with using the public transportation system.
During walking tours, certain landmarks, bus stops and different places to go later on can be noted and it’s a good way to interact with other travelers.
Participate in a local activity
With sites like Meetup, it’s easier than ever to find an activity to join in any sizable city. On top of that, things like cooking classes, yoga classes, pottery classes and much more can be found.
Activities on Couchsurf can also be found. Apart from the opportunity to stay with a local, it hosts meetups with locals and other travelers.
Engaging in these types of activities is a great way to feel like part of a place.
Branch out and speak to other travelers
I stayed at Rock Hostel in Miami Beach and there were several people there from different countries. They also hosted group activities. Since I hadn’t been in that type of setting in a while, I was out of practice when it came to social interaction with strangers and I was pretty standoffish to most people.
It’s amazing really.
People just walked up to me and started conversations out of the blue.
This random Swiss guy on the elevator started a conversation by asking me where I was from. This Australian girl in my dorm invited me on a day trip to Florida Keys. Another girl (I don’t know where she was from) insisted I join her on a shopping trip.
I came across several other friendly travelers.
As an introvert, I was worried about getting enough “me” time. But sometimes I overestimate how much of it I actually need.
When I look back on my travels in Sweden, the one thing that makes me want to do it all over again is remembering how it felt to make memories with people I had just met from all over the world.
Therefore, no matter how uncomfortable I may feel at first, I will make it a priority to interact with others.
This is a big one since I am a planner. But when I think about it, I notice that my favorite memories are the ones where things were done on a whim. Like pulling off the highway to stargaze, or going to get kebabs in the middle of the night.
Rather than being uptight with my schedule, if someone invites me to do something I will say yes from now on (within reason). Or if I discover another thing that looks cooler than what I already have planned, I’ll do that instead.
Keep a travel journal
It’s amazing how quickly even the most remarkable memories fade. My trip was only four months ago and some things are already fuzzy.
Journaling about travel experiences is a great way to keep up with experiences. I will definitely write in my travel journal during each new trip I take.
I can’t wait to do things differently next time
I will without a doubt be going back to Miami. There are many things I will do the same way like get lost in my kindle at a coffee shop, hit the boardwalk and watch the sunset at South Beach.
But I will also incorporate these new things to make my next trip even better and get the most out of this great location and others.