Are you trying to get from Central America to South America on the cheap?! I'll tell you how I did...a ferry, it cost about $100, took approximately 16 hours from Colon 2000 (the Caribbean side of Panama), and was an extremely fun and cheap way to head south...
When it comes to picking a hostel always always ask. If you have the room in your backpack you might have a lonelyplanet guide which will give you great recommendations, but for me, every place that you go you'll hangout with the people that you have the most similar mindset to. These people will know subconsciously which places you will like because they have a similar mindset. It's a great conversation starter and sometimes you'll ask and someone in the hostel will overhear you and chime in and then all the sudden you've made another new friend!
One of the other reasons that I highly recommend asking is for the same reason as my last post. If you have to plan all the time, you lose time, you build expectations, and it's rare that your expectations will be met. That being said, I know that I am the kind of person that always enjoys flying by the seat of my pants. But I think most travelers can agree that they are here to experience new things, and I can assure you that not every good hostel is in the lonelyplanet guidebook, or even online. Heck, maybe you'll have to stay with a local family for a night because there aren't any hostels with room, but 9 times out of 10 you'll be happier that you experienced something for the first time. When you plan, your mind creates a scenario in your head, and you lose the authenticity. One of the most popular quotes that I've seen while traveling actually goes like this:
"When was the last time that you did something for the first time?"
The last reason is because of the mental tax it takes to always be planning, not to mention the time required, which can all be lost if something falls through. There are plenty of other things to spend that brain power and time on and who wants to be tied down to a strict schedule while traveling.
When I embarked on this trip a little over a month ago, I was really wishing that I knew someone who wanted to travel with me. Every day since then I have been realizing that traveling alone was a blessing in disguise. Now don't get me wrong, if you have a really good friend with similar ideas/opinions or is just open minded, then sure it isn't that big of a problem to travel with someone. However, when you're alone you don't have to please anyone except yourself, and when you just finished a long day of traveling and you feel like chilling and your buddy wants to go and run around the city or party all night, you can end up in some mentally exhausting situations.
For example, over the last few days I have been relaxing in Leon again. I have met some really great people who have stuck around for a few days with me here. We all heard of a festival going on in Masaya called "Los Aguizotes". Up until this point in my travels, with the exception of one time, I have just made decisions in the moment. So if I felt like doing something, then I did it. When it comes to planning where to stay I have just always asked people for recommendations before I take off and then I ask around in the new place once I get there. However, because there were so many people here interested in the festival, as well as other friends that I had met on my travels, I spent almost two whole days trying to find hostels online, sending requests for reservations, sending messages to friends only to tell them something entirely different a moment later.
By the time that I had finalized some plans, a hostel sent me a message online and told me that the festival had occurred last weekend...I inquired around and surely but slowly I found out that the locals of Masaya do not like to associate their festival with Halloween, so they moved their celebration ahead one week. The end result was a loss of almost two days to planning. Now don't get me wrong, I was still experiencing some great things and was happy to try and plan a few days with new friends, but it was EXTREMELY mentally taxing. I raised my hopes up well above where I should have and it lead to a disappointing end.
Solo travel alleviates some of this mental tax, and when you're packing your life into a bag daily to go to a foreign place and experiencing things you have never done before, trust me the less you have to think, the better!
P.S. I am getting back on the road again so hopefully I will have some new places to take pictures and make some videos. Stay tuned!
Adrian Amy (McQuinn)
Determined to do what I love, I found my passion for travel, blogging, photography, and film.