Jasmine Watson is a sassy San Diego native who is currently teaching English in South Korea. In this week’s Women Who Travel Solo, Jasmine dishes on everything you need to know about a solo trip to Trinidad and Tobago.
How did you get started traveling?
From an early age I was exposed to traveling. I often took family trips to different places like Big Bear, Arizona, places in the south, etc., and I should add that my parents were in the military also. But as a “world explorer”, I got my first taste of international travel at the age of 19 as a volunteer for a medical mission in Swaziland and from that moment forward, I knew I wanted to see more of the world. As an undergrad I studied abroad and over the years have found creative ways to travel whether it was with the job I had at the time, part of my student experience, or just for the fun.
Why did you decide to take a solo trip to Trinidad and Tobago?
At the time I found a really good deal on a plane ticket to Trinidad and Tobago and no one else wanted to go with me (lol)! I kept asking folks for a couple days until I just said to myself, “whatever, I’ll ride solo!”. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself thus far.
Tell us about your experience in Trinidad and Tobago as a solo traveler.
From the beginning everything was a positive experience. I used Airbnb to find my accommodations, which made everything budget friendly. I love using them because I had the opportunity to communicate with the owner of the guesthouse prior to my arrival and she was able to give me advice on the best way to arrive from the airport, details about the room I reserved, and what to look out for in regards to negotiating my transportation fare.
Once I settled in and once she discovered I was completely solo (meaning I didn’t know anyone on the island) she took me in with open arms and completely looked out for me. She arranged a personal taxi for me the days I went to the beach (which was on the other side of the island) and taught me the secrets of negotiating my fare before I got into the car. The gentleman who drove me around all week was nice enough to stay with me while I frolicked around without charging me extra. As a bonus he even agreed to show me the nightlife, pointed out the best clubs, and agreed to hangout in his taxi to make sure I got home safely…free of charge I should mention!
Lastly, the day I decided to visit Tobago, “Auntie Polly” (the guesthouse owner) called up a friend of hers who agreed to me my personal tour guide around the island for the day. He picked me up early in the morning from the Tobago airport and happily showed me around his homeland. It was a fun filled day including a hike to a waterfall, a boat tour with snorkeling, and of course the chance to try some delicious island food.
Everyone I met during my time there showed me nothing but pure kindness and love which was something I wasn’t necessarily expecting. I felt like part of the family rather than a tourist and I couldn’t have been more appreciative. This isn’t to say that someone traveling with a companion or a small group wouldn’t have a similar experience, but I am more than certain that I was at full advantage because I was rolling solo.
What recommendations do you have for solo travelers in Trinidad and Tobago?
If you’re on a budget you should definitely consider using Airbnb! You’d be surprised on all the great options you have for a fraction of what you would pay at a hotel, and of course I highly recommend Sam’s Guesthouse in Trinidad! It’s close to plenty of places to eat, a couple of fun bars/dancehalls, and within walking distance of the U.S. embassy (if you’re an American traveler).
Do not leave the island without trying roti, doubles, crab and dumplings, and bake ‘n shark at the bare minimum. Trust me on this one. But overall you should try everything the island has to offer! That’s the whole point or traveling right?
Don’t be shy! Trinidadians & Tobagonians love to talk and to “lime” (island slang for chill and kick it) so don’t be surprised if you get caught up in long conversation just for the hell of it. The benefits are that you learn a lot about the country, the people, or just hear some really funny and intriguing stories or you just might end up at a dancehall dancing and sweating the night away! Unless you are someone who lives by following a strict itinerary, be open to just allowing the day to show you all it has to offer.
What was the best part of your solo trip to Trinidad & Tobago?
Getting to do what I want, whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted to be, without interruption. I didn’t realize until then the beauty of so much freedom without having to accommodate other people’s preferences or disinterests.
What was the worst part of the trip?
Forgetting to print out my accommodation information to bring with me for customs! (Another bit of advice; make hard copies of ALL important information! i.e. accommodation addresses, phone numbers, passport, etc.)
I had the silly assumption that wifi was going to be available at the airport and I could just pull up my info while I waited in line…big mistake. Needless to say without the patience and helpful assistance my taxi driver I would have probably never made it to the guesthouse.
Are there any safety concerns for women traveling alone to Trinidad and Tobago?
Other than general safety concerns that all travelers should be aware of I would say no. The main language is English (well, island-style English) so there’s not much of a communication gap. But do keep in mind that Caribbean men are rather flirty in general so do expect to be flirted with often. If that makes you uncomfortable, just politely tell them you’re not interested and they’ll take the hint.
What advice do you have for women who are traveling alone?
DO IT! Don’t be afraid to be your best friend. This is the chance for you to do everything that makes YOU happy! Don’t be afraid to eat a meal in a restaurant, chill on the beach, or explore solo. Not only will you have a great time, you’ll feel empowered knowing that you can do anything on your own. Also don’t forget to smile! Exude your positive spirit and the universe will send it back to you, tenfold.
Be fearless, but don’t be silly. If you feel it in your gut to not do something, listen to it! We weren’t blessed with that good ‘ol intuition for nothing! And don’t forget your selfie stick 😉
About Jasmine Watson
A sassy San Diego native, Jasmine loves to laugh, learn about different cultures and of course travel. She is determined to visit all seven continents before she dies and is currently teaching English in South Korea. The best compliment a friend has said about her was, “Jasmine’s a chameleon; she can blend in anywhere!” Follow her adventures on her blog, Eudemonic Nomad.
About Women Who Travel Solo
Women Who Travel Solo is a weekly column that shares the stories of women’s solo travel adventures in hopes of spreading the message that travelling alone is not only safe, but wildly rewarding. Inspire other women to travel solo by sharing your story with Something In Her Ramblings. Email Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org.