The category is International Solo Travel and the subject — I actually did that shxt!
Let me preface this with the fact that I know, you know, we all know that we’re in the midst of a panoramic (spelled that way on purpose) and that COVID-19 is as serious as serious gets so please keep the “you’re the part of the problem” comments to yourself. Now that we got that out the way, let’s get to the details.
The teacher in me cannot start this blog without some definitions. When I say “solo travel”, I’m not talking about you taking a flight by yourself and meeting up with your friends when you land. I’m talking about you having to be on the flight BY YOURSELF, be in the hotel/resort BY YOURSELF, go on the excursions BY YOURSELF, and be YOUR OWN photographer (with the occasional assistance from a local stranger). You’re in a foreign place with your first friend — YOU!
I traveled solo before back in 2019 for the first time when I went to Portland, Oregon for my masters degree graduation.
My family and friends couldn’t come since it was not a cheap flight and it was during the holidays so money was tight with all the Christmas shopping. No worries though, they threw me a grad party when I returned so all was right with the world again. I knew absolutely no one in Portland so Airbnb Experiences became my saving grace. I thoroughly enjoyed myself on that trip because it reminded me that I am a good time and I really like being alone. Like, it’s almost scary how to myself I am.
One of my 2021 goals is to travel to a new place every month whether domestic or international so I decided to kick off the new year with my first international solo trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I found a good deal that I couldn’t pass up on — $178 Round Trip from Fort Lauderdale, please sign me up!
And now, here’s the day by day, play by play of my entire experience.
Day One – January 15, 2021
I got to PUJ – Punta Cana International Airport and realized that I never scheduled an airport transfer with the hotel that I booked. So I found a spot in the airport that offers transfers and can set up excursions. I knew that I wanted to do at least one activity outside of the resort since I was alone and figured, why not kill two birds with one stone at the airport. The transfer costs $35 each way and the party boat that included snorkeling was $50 so in total, I spent $120 + tax/fees so about $127.
I got to the Presidential Suites resort and was immediately bothered. I booked the resort on New Year’s Day using my dad’s debit card. He’s currently out of the country and gave me his debit card to handle all his bills while he’s gone as well as spend on myself. I haven’t personally used the card until it was time to book the trip. So you could imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the front desk and they said (1) they couldn’t find my reservation and (2) they needed me to pay for the room. Ummm… what?
Why would I be paying for a room that’s already paid for? They told me that the card was only needed to make a reservation, not an actual payment. And then they told me to check with the bank to confirm BUT THE PROBLEM WITH THAT WAS — I don’t have access to the bank and my dad doesn’t either since he’s in Haiti with no internet connection to even make a phone call. So I had to take their word for it.
Since I had my dad’s card on me, I gave it to them to swipe and the chip kept reading as an error so it wasn’t working. When I asked them to just charge the card online since they have the information, they swore on their left titty that they couldn’t do that. IF THIS RESORT IS A SCAM, JUST SAY THAT!!! At this point, I’m super annoyed because I’ve been in this lobby going on almost two hours and I’m hungry.
I finally gave them my debit card – after getting confirmation that they will not put a hold on my account – and they charged me the initial $294 for my stay. Not gonna lie, my chest caved in because I had no intentions of spending money like that on this trip. That’s why I always pay things in advance.
Anywho, I get to my room to drop off my bags before roaming the resort. EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED! No discos. No entertainment. Only one restaurant was available and YOU HAD TO PAY FOR THE FOOD!!!!!!! I was fxxkin shook at this point! How is an ALL-INCLUSIVE resort making you pay for food? I asked the people at the restaurant and they blamed it all on COVID.
I asked the people at the front desk, and of course — they blamed it on COVID. There was supposedly no management or supervisor I could speak to that could rectify the situation so my only options were to (1) starve myself or (2) pay for the food. I’m still alive to write this blog so you can guess which option I chose. I didn’t eat often but by the end of the trip, I ate a total of $70 worth of food. I think what really made me upset was the restaurant options were poor.
So if you’ve been keeping up with how much I spent on this trip so far, it’s a whopping total of $669. That’s not including the cost of the souvenirs I bought. This was too much out my budget, especially for it to only be Day One!
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Talk to you soon,