4 Reasons Why You Should Try Solo Traveling

Last summer, I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful island of Kauai to cover Kauai Fashion Weekend for the blog. While it was still "work", it was honestly one of the best trips I've ever taken -- and I did it completely solo. When I was out and about exploring the island or on my planned excursions, one of the most frequently asked questions I received from other visitors with so much surprise in their tone was, "wow...you traveled to Kauai alone?!" 

Abso-freaking-lutely! Why NOT travel to such a relaxing, laid-back island alone? At first, I truly didn't know how to process this question...but after the umpteenth time, I let it marinate and realized that the idea of traveling solo especially to such an exotic destination really does shock some people. Of course, I do understand that all personalities are different and it may not be for everyone, but I'm sharing five reasons why you should give solo traveling a try:

1. You're Tired Of Waiting On Others

Have you ever had a group trip with a bunch of friends planned basically to completion, but at the very last minute some (or all) of them flake? It's now too late to cancel -- your flight has been booked for months, non-refundable deposits have already been made and, to make matters worse, you used your credit card to make some of those reservations in advance. This scenario can be both frustrating and highly disappointing because you now have to either scrap a trip that you've been looking forward to (and lose some money) or you're forced to go solo and foot more of the bill that you had planned.

Life or, in some cases, lack of planning do happen. Or perhaps your flexible schedule doesn't align with those of your friends and/or family. Maybe your dream destination isn't their dream destination making the trip not as high of a priority to them as it is for you. Either way, this can become a pretty played out game if it happens too often. 

If you are constantly waiting for others in order to experience something that your heart desires, then you may never have the chance. Go on your own.

2. You Need Time To Chill (By Yourself)

When you are traveling with others, sometimes it can feel as though you need to constantly keep the itinerary exciting and entertaining for everyone else. Luckily, my friends are perfectly fine with just...being lazy for a day. *shrug*

Not only does solo traveling mean getting to sleep in when you want, but it means that you can slow it down a bit to explore and really enjoy your surroundings. If you want to stay in bed all day and watch TV, you can. If you want to sit on the beach for a few hours to meditate, you can. If you want to go on a total rush-free shopping spree, you can. You call all the shots. 

Also, read Sarah Cummings of Sleep Advisor's guest blog post from last week on 3 ways to avoid stress while traveling.

3. Your Travel Goals Are Different

Traveling with friends/family with different interests (or personalities) can be either awesome or a nightmare. Finding the people you can actually vibe with can be difficult because you never really know for sure until you've had that experience, especially as a woman. From disagreeing personalities to mood swings, there are several things to take into account. Personally, I'm super picky about who I travel with...and while all of my adult traveling so far has been domestic, you definitely want to make sure you're not traveling abroad with someone crazy.

Perhaps you want to be Anthony Bourdain and explore a destination for absolutely everything it has to offer, or maybe you're feeling inspired by Andrew ZImmern and want to turn your trip into an episode of Bizarre Foods. Maybe you're a foodie, but you're traveling with super outdoorsy friends who aren't down to try tons of interesting, Instagram-worthy dishes. To avoid this altogether, you may decide that traveling solo is the best option until you find your perfect travel companions. You might also just appreciate the freedom of following your own dream itinerary. I mean...if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

When I travel, I typically love to get tons of scenic photos and capture beautiful, natural outdoor backdrops. My main goal in Kauai was stunning photography. On each excursion, I had my Canon with me and snapped to my heart's content. My helicopter tour and sail to the Na Pali Coast gave me the best photos. When I travel to Colorado, I always take at least one trip into the mountains whether with family/friends or solo. I'm also a HUGE foodie, so I'm going to hit up all the cool and unique spots worth visiting, long lines and all.

If you're not traveling solo, that's fine! But don't be afraid to do some activities on your own, too. Schedule time to break away from the group to get a spa treatment, go experience that landmark you've seen all over Instagram or check out that "boring" museum that fascinates you. Before your trip Be clear about your goals for your trip. I think it's important to collectively discuss your goals for a trip with whoever you're going with to figure out how you may be able to compromise and cross activities off of your lists together.

4. Get In Tune with Inspiration & Creativity

Aside from getting tons of rest, some of my most creative moment come when I travel. As someone who works from home and almost 100% remotely, changing up the scenery is essential for me even when I'm in my hometown. I'll travel to a different Starbucks just to be in a new space. Sometimes our typical surroundings can allow our everyday lives to get...a little stale. Not that there's anything wrong with our usual routines, but it definitely helps to switch up every once in awhile. There's something about being in a new place with different experiences that just sparks creativity and brings new perspective on things. When I'm traveling solo, I can really take everything in that a destination has to offer without the distraction of other people. I can think more clearly and ideas come easily. Plus, I can work from my hotel bed in the AM and poolside in the PM if I want to. Work doesn't seem so bad when you're on a plush lounge chair with a Mai Tai, does it?

What are some reasons why you prefer traveling solo?

3 Ways to Reduce the Stress of Traveling

Being able to travel is a luxury. One that we’re blessed to be able to indulge in from time to time. But sometimes when you’re on the road it’s easy to forget this and we end up feeling less blessed and more...well, stressed!

If this happens to you, don’t worry, there isn’t something wrong with you. Getting stressed while traveling happens to even the most seasoned road warriors. Dealing with unfamiliar languages, temperatures, smells, foods and people, is confusing, exhausting and stress-inducing.

To some extent a bit of travel anxiety is all part of the journey. Travel stress however should never get so persistent that it begins to ruin your entire trip. To prevent this from happening there are some tried and tested things I do to ensure my travel stress is kept packed away in my suitcase. Read on below to find out what they are...

1. Slow Down

...or better yet, stay still.

I know the idea of going traveling just to stay still sounds a little like it is against the whole idea of travel in the first place but believe me it isn’t. Taking time to get to know a place in depth is far more rewarding, and much less stressful, than jumping from bus, to train, to plane, in a rush to tick destinations off some mythical list.  

I’ve met so more travelers than I care to remember who have frankly been broken by their trip. Night buses quickly take their toll. I’ve found that travelers fatigue and stress kick in much more quickly when we move too much. I learnt this the hard way when attempting to see all of Vietnam in two weeks. And I mean ALL of it.

Now I travel slowly. I aim to stay at least a week or two in each place, and often much longer. Now I don’t care if I get to see far fewer places per trip. Instead I get to chill out, unpack my bag and treat each place as a home away from home.

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As a result I get to see a different side of towns. I rent a room instead of staying in a hotel. I will usually get my hands on a bike or a scooter and as a result I get to discover more about an area. I get to find out where the best local food is and I even start making friends with the people who live there. The most stressful part of my trips now is usually the day I have leave!

2. Sleep More

When I first started travelling I was always so excited to be anywhere that I went a little crazy. I took the attitude that I’ll sleep when I’m old.

Now I am a little older (not quite old yet thank you very much) I’ve realized that poor-quality sleep is one of the main reasons so many travelers end up feeling a little bit stressed out.

It’s often easier said than done getting a good night’s rest on the road. New, unfamiliar sleeping arrangements don’t always lead immediately to good sleep. But there are a number of things you can do to ensure sleep comes easier when traveling.

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Utilizing amazing high-tech products like $1 earplugs and eye mask can do wonders if you are sleeping in a hostel dorm or hotel room with thin walls and thinner curtains. While taking a night off the booze every now and again can quickly improve your sleep. Spending the money saved on drink on a slightly nicer hotel room can help too.

Most importantly, I’ve found keeping my usual regular pre-bed routine, bringing some simple sleep luxuries from home and avoiding screens in the evening all have the biggest impact.

For more hints on getting a proper night's sleep, whether you’re at home or on the road, read what the sleep experts have to say » view page.

3. Have a purpose

Once again, I know many will think that going traveling with a purpose sounds a little too much like work. Travel should be about leaving responsibility behind right? Again, yes and no. Once more allow me to explain.

A lot of people go traveling and just expect it to be amazing. And quite often it is. But if things don’t turn out quite as we expected, or hoped, we begin to get stressed. For some all that freedom can turn out to be too much to handle.

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With no goals and nothing to fill your day except worrying about where you’ll have a beer later, each hour that you aren’t doing something can for some feel like a waste. Now I’m certainly not suggesting you should treat your trip like work. Heaven forbid! But I have found that having a purpose for a trip can make it so much more rewarding.

This can be as simple as wanting to learn a language or as complicated as wanting to climb a particular mountain. It can be as rewarding as volunteering at a local organization. Or it could be as basic as wanting to finally finish those five books that have been on your reading list for the last ten years. Whatever it is, having a sense of purpose can really enhance your travel experience and reduce stress. Yay!

Well, there you have it – three ways I have found to reduce my stress levels when traveling. They worked wonders for me, hopefully they will do the same for you.

Good luck and happy travels!

What's In My Suitcase? | Travel Must-Haves for Spring Style & Beauty

In a few weeks, I'll be headed to Colorado for my yearly spring getaway and I'm already thinking about the items I'll be packing to make my trip as smooth as possible! I've partnered with Babbleboxx to share five of my must-have style and beauty essentials for your suitcase. These are the things that make traveling simpler and my bags much lighter!

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Stylish Opticals

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I've been known to travel with several pairs of sunglasses in additional to my regular glasses. A girl's got to have options, right? Zenni is an affordable optical option with a super up-to-date and trendy selection. No longer do you have to compromise cute glasses for an awesome price (or optical health), so you can build your eyewear "wardrobe" with ease. Their prices start at $6.95 for single vision prescription glasses or sunglasses! *high five*

Until recently, I never really thought about how much blue light can affect eyesight! If you're unfamiliar with the concept of blue light, it is emitted from digital devices, fluorescent lights and LED which can eventually cause strain and blurred vision with prolonged exposure. The Beyond UV Blue Blocker technology prevents blue light from passing through the eye while wearing glasses. As a blogger and social media manager who is always glued to my phone and computer, I loved my pair (style: 4429039) and would highly recommend! Bye bye, headaches.

When I was away from my digital devices and enjoying the sunny spring weather, I slipped on my Premium Cat-Eye Tortoiseshell Sunglasses (top) from the Spring 2018 collection. If you don't have tortoiseshell colored glasses, they're a must and wardrobe staple! 

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Versatile Undergarments

One of my worst wardrobe scenarios when traveling is realizing that I don't have the proper undergarments for an outfit. Having to make an extra trip to find a new bra and spend money on something you may already have back at home is never an ideal situation! Luckily, Bali makes traveling with your cute new spring 'fits simpler with their One Smooth U Strapless Multiway Underwire Bra. The multiway straps included allow for eight different ways to wear the bra, so no matter if you have a strapless maxi or a racerback blouse, Bali has your back with its breathable material, lightweight feel and smoothing no-slip technology! 

Recommendation: I found that the band size of this particular bra does run small, so try going up one to two band sizes for comfort. Band size is the measurement around your body just under the bust -- not your cup size.

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Effortless Sandals

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Tons of clothing options are a must but if I can help it, I like to travel with only a few pairs of shoe that can be styled with several outfits! It makes life so much simpler to just slip them on and go. The Badgley Mischka Honest Platform Evening Shoe is a beautiful platform wedge (also available in silver) that streamlines elegance into its signature, simple Hollywood style. I actually wore them with skinny jeans while traveling to SXSW last month and the other day with a floral jumpsuit -- the possibilities and compliments are endless. It's definitely a staple shoe that can be dressed up or down with its glamorous metallic gold details. 

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Beauty Sleep Essentials

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Even while I'm traveling, I take my skincare routine very seriously -- probably more than makeup. I've experienced some of the worst breakouts while on trips due to the change in climate and other environmental factors. I'd always been familiar with Colleen Rothschild, but had an opportunity to really be introduced to the brand last year at Indie Beauty Expo. Personally, I appreciate that Colleen's products are a blend of both plant botanical and advanced science ingredients to help achieve glowing results. The products are also free of parabens, SLS/SLES sulfates, triclosan, formaldehyde, PABA, toluene, and benzene. Here's a quick two-step nightly routine:

After a long day of traveling, the Radiant Cleansing Balm quickly melts all dirt, makeup and impurities with the help of moringa and loofah seed oils. It's incredible and makes cleansing much less of a pain! When cleansing, I like to press a warm muslin cloth over my face for about 7 to 10 minutes before wiping away and exfoliating my skin. Not only is it therapeutic, but it helps your skin really take in the nutrients from the ingredients. Muslin cloths make excellent gentle exfoliators and one even comes with the Radiant Cleansing Balm. 

I always grab a night serum or oil. Whenever I have an annoying breakout whether from the climate or hormones, I can usually knock it out quickly overnight. The Retinol Supreme Night Oil is a sleeping elixir that contains a high concentration of stabilized retinol which helps renew the skin more rapidly, highly potent Vitamin C to fight free radicals and environmental toxins and 9 plant-based oils to deeply nourish and replenish the skin. Overnight serums and oils have saved my life, so I recommend keeping one in your suitcase especially if you're a frequent traveler!

Save some coins and try Colleen Rothschild products (regular-priced only) with 20% off your purchase using code JALEESA20 at checkout through end of 2018

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Multi-Purpose Cosmetics

You may have peeped the Erin's Faces Magic Dust in my suitcase with a bit of curiosity. If you've followed my blog, you know that I am a huge makeup enthusiast -- I have tons of it! However, I like to keep my makeup bag fairly light whether I'm on the road or flying at 30,000 feet.

Magic Dust is a multi-purpose soft, gold shimmer that can be used several ways and save you plenty of space in your bag. A light dust across the lid for eyeshadow and cheekbone for highlight with a soft makeup look and I'm ready to go! Jetting through the airport, exploring cities, at events, anywhere. Here are more creative ways you can use this vegan Magic Dust:

  • Dust on the body (arms, collarbone, etc.)
  • Add it to nail polish for poppin' fingertips
  • In your face mist or setting spray for an all-over glow
  • As regular cheekbone and face highlight
  • As eyeshadow on the lid or under your browbone
  • On the center of your lips with lipstick or lipgloss for dimension

Glow up and try Erin's Faces Magic Dust for 10% off with code MAGICDUST at checkout until April 30, 2018

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What are some of your style and beauty travel essentials? Add these to your suitcase before heading to your next destination!

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com

Road to Style at SXSW with Mazda3 Sport

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Last month, my blogger friend Airika and I attended our very first SXSW weekend! We sported from Dallas to Austin in a gorgeous snowflake white pearl 2018 Mazda Mazda3 Sport for a very easy 3 hour drive. This vehicle was on trend and perfect especially for a quick weekend trip and city driving at 30 miles per gallon combine city and highway. Translation: this car is great on gas!

Here were some of my favorite road trip features:

To see more of our time during the festival, check out @JaleesaCharisse and @TheAirYouNeed on Instagram!

This drive was courtesy of Mazda, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.