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Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in travel |

Traveling Solo In Europe: Tips For Getting The Most From Traveling Alone

Traveling Solo In Europe: Tips For Getting The Most From Traveling Alone

My first backpacking trip in Europe was a solo adventure. I was a little worried at first, but I soon found that traveling alone was one of the best things I’d ever done. While it did have some downsides, I still wholeheartedly endorse solo traveling to anyone (males and females). This guide will cover the positives and the negatives of traveling Europe alone and give you some practical advice on how to make the most of your travels.

Note: Looking for female-specific advice — check out our Guide To Solo Travel For Women in Europe

Positive Aspects Of Solo Travel

Complete Control: When you travel alone you can do whatever you want. You can eat whenever, see whatever, and go wherever you want. You can’t fully appreciate this freedom until you travel with other people.

Food Freedom: From my experience, choosing where to eat can cause more stress than just about anything else– especially when you’re traveling with a group of people. When you travel alone you can choose exactly where to eat. Also, many restaurants in Europe won’t split up the bill so paying become a huge hassle in large groups.

Choose Your Itinerary: You can do the things you want to do. You don’t need to answer to anyone else. In a group everyone has their own ideas of what to see and this can cause a lot of conflict.

No Arguments: You’re bound to get into arguments or even fights with your travel partners. Travel can be stressful and you usually take out your frustration on your travel partners. I find that I get a lot less stressed when I am alone.

Total Focus: There is no one to “distract” you. You’re totally focused on whatever it is you’re experiencing.

Reinvent Yourself: You can be whoever you want to be when you travel alone. This is your chance to let loose.

Meet New People: I meet a lot more people when I travel alone. Groups tend, usually unknowingly, to put up a “wall” between themselves and other travelers, so this makes groups not as approachable. You also have an instant connection with other solo travelers — yes, there are plenty of other solo travelers.

Self-Growth: You have no one but yourself to rely on when you’re a solo traveler. You quickly learn to be self reliant and I think that makes you a stronger person.

Disadvantages Of Solo Backpacking

Eating Alone: Many people feel really uncomfortable eating alone — especially in restaurants. It isn’t bad for breakfast and lunch, but dinners do get a little lonely. It really isn’t that bad and it isn’t too hard to find other people to eat with.

Unwanted Isolation: Staying in hostels is great because there are almost always tons of other people around to hang out with. But there will be times where you’ll find yourself alone.

I remember my very first night of solo traveling. I was in Dublin and the hostel was overrun by a large group of Spanish students. There must have been about 40 of them. I didn’t meet any English speakers that first night so it was pretty lonely. I was also a new traveler so I was pretty timid. Luckily, occasions like this were pretty rare.

No “Buddy System”: It can be nice to have a buddy to share your memories with and to help keep each other safe. Although I wouldn’t worry too much about safety because I never felt unsafe in Europe. A little common sense is all you need.

How To Successfully Travel Alone

Stay In Hostels: This is the most important thing for any solo traveler. Hostels are full of like-minded adventurers and most of them are extremely willing to meet new people.

Don’t Break The Unspoken Hostel Rules: Read the savvy guide about hostel etiquette.

Be Friendly and Outgoing: Smile and be the first person to introduce themselves. If someone new arrives at the hostel greet them. An introverted solo traveler can have a rough time meeting new people. I didn’t do a very good job being outgoing my first few nights and I had a hard time meeting people. But after the third night I forced myself to be a little more outgoing and it opened up so many doors.

Beer: Buy some cheep beer and offer it to people. You’ll meet TONS of people this way. People will often do the same for you.

Cook Meals In The Hostel: You’ll meet so many people if you hang out in the kitchen around dinner time.

Hostel Planned Activities: Many hostels plan outings like free walking tours or pub crawls.

Safety First: Use your common sense. It probably isn’t the best idea to walk around large cities at night by yourself. Actually, I’ve done this many times and never felt unsafe . Just be sure to stay alert. If something doesn’t feel right then you shouldn’t do it. Always walk with confidence and act like you’ve done this a million times.

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Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in travel |

New Year’s Eve Manila 2016: Awesome Guide to a Dazzling New Year!

New Year’s Eve Manila 2016: Awesome Guide to a Dazzling New Year!

New Year’s Eve is never complete without a dazzling display of fireworks, fantastic food, and music to usher partygoers into the New Year.

If you love to eat, you can welcome 2016 at Discovery Primea Makati’s “Glitter & Gold” 4-course set menu with champagne to toast, Diamond Hotel’s delicious Corniche Buffet, or Vask’s NYE Special. Should you want free flowing Dom Perignon, Spiral Buffet at Sofitel Plaza Manila offers guests a special package dinner so you can toast all you can!

If you’re more into the club scene, you can catch the Bass Jackers at Chaos, City of Dreams Manila or take a dip at The Palace Pool Club’s New Year’s Eve Ball. If that’s not your style, then you could revel in the color of the year at Pangaea’s New Year’s Eve White PartySofitel’s Venice-Themed New Year’s Extravaganza: Canaval Venetzia, or Discovery Ortigas’ “Live to Tell”, a New Year’s Eve party featuring Madonna’s best hits!

You can catch some awesome local acts at Eastwood’s New Year Countdown featuring stars like Rico Blanco, Christian Bautista, and some of Manila’s best DJ’s. 

Here’s a handy guide to some of the best places to go for this New Year’s Eve…


1) The Palace

The Palace will be hosting some of the most anticipated New Years Eve parties in all four of its venues including Valkyrie Nightclub, The Palace Pool Club, Revel, and Naya.

After the countdown, clubbers can witness an explosive fireworks display at 2AM while they’re joined by world-class acts like Dutch DJ Alvaro and local DJ’s like Ace Ramos, Mars Miranda, Martin Pulgar, Marc Naval, Kat DJ, Nix Damn P, and many more.

Expect a New Year’s dinner package at Naya by Chef Mikko Reyes and a special Cocktail by Erwan Heussaff. The three-course menu starts at Php1,500+

Per head:


9th Ave cor 36th Street, Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila
Mobile: +63 917 689-8888
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 5 pm onwards, Sunday: 3 pm onwards
Twitter: @PalacePoolClub
Facebook: The-Palace-Pool-Club
Instagram: @PalacePoolClub


2) Eastwood, Quezon City

Partake in Eastwood’s New Year Countdown, starting 6PM, with local acts including Rico Blanco, Christian Bautista, Marlisa Punzalan, Kyla, Techy Romantics, Imago, and international singing sensation, Dawin.

The party will be hosted by radio jock, Joyce Pring, and news anchor Andrei Felix. By midnight, partygoers can expect a brilliant show of fireworks and Eastwood’s famous “Dazzling Star Drop” (Eastwood’s version of New York City’s Time Square countdown), which will be followed by an amazing release of 10,000 wish balloons!


Megaworld Lifestyle Malls Concierge
Telephone: +632 709-9888, 709-0888
Mobile: +63 917-8380111


3) Pangaea, City of Dreams Manila

Pangaea at City of Dreams Manila brings you the New Year’s Eve White Party, starting 10PM, on Thursday, December 31st together with Johnnie Walker and Ciroc Vodka. You can dance the night away with music by international musical act, DJ Erok. Note: Don’t forget to wear white!

City of Dreams, Manila
Email: /
Mobile: +63 917 381-3398
Twitter: @Pangaea_Manila
Facebook: PangaeaManila
Instagram: @Pangaea_Manila


 4) Chaos, City of Dreams Manila

Pangaea’s sister club, Chaos, will be hosting a heart-pumping New Year’s Eve party with none other than the Bass Jackers. In partnership with Moet & Chandon & Hennessy, Chaos brings you a countdown party like no other on Thursday, December 31st!


City of Dreams, Manila
Mobile: +63917 562 8229
Twitter: @Chaos_Manila
Facebook: ChaosManila
Instagram: @Chaos_Manila


5) Sofitel Plaza Manila, Harbor Garden Deck & Spiral Buffet

(courtesy of 

Sofitel celebrates the 31st with “The New Year’s Extravaganza: Carnival de Venezia”, an extravagant Italian-themed celebration famous for its partygoers’ elaborate costumes, masks, and lively dances! Be part of the midnight countdown while the night sky transforms into beautiful display of light and color at Harbor Garden Deck.

The carnival will feature a variety of barbecued specialties with an Italian flair accompanied by musical acts including the 10-piece chamber orchestra, Manila String Machine, and the 7-piece full band, Brass Pas Pas Pas Pas.

Carnival de Venezia starts at Php4,712+ per person that is inclusive of a buffet, Italian food, free-flowing beer, iced tea, and of course sparkling wine to toast!

Per head: P 4,712+


Welcome 2016 with a feast as Spiral enhances its culinary offerings with this season’s specialties of turkey, holiday roast, seafood platters and prime rib!

New Year’s Eve Dinner Set (7pm-11pm):
Php5,550+ per person with a glass of a featured 2006 vintage champagne

Prestige Package is available for New Year’s Eve Dinner (7pm-11pm):
Php30,000+ featuring free-flowing Dom Perignon and a half bottle of Grand Cru White or Red

New Year’s Day Brunch (12pm-3pm):
Php3,721+ per person with free-flowing champagne
SOFITEL LUXURY HOTELS Philippine Plaza Manila
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard Pasay City 1300 Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +632 832-6988 or 551-555 Loc. 6988


6) 71 Gramercy, Makati

Celebrate new year above them all! Watch the fireworks BELOW you all over the city. Dine exquisitely with a specially prepared 5 course meal for P3,888+ by Chef Carlo Miguel! For those that want a more sophisticated celebration far from the bedlam come on over to @71Gramercy.

Book your tables now before its too late! Tickets are also limited. For more information, call +639178477535 or +639178094093.

Kalayaan Ave., Cor. Salamanca St., Century City, 1210 Makati, Philippines
Mobile Numbers: (+63 917) 847-7535, (+63 917) 809-4093
Facebook: 71 Gramercy


7) Discovery Primea, Makati

Discover 2016 at Discovery Primea Makati with its New Year’s dinner featuring pre-dinner cocktails, a 4-course set menu, and champagne to toast!

Per head:

Pre-dinner Cocktails:

8PM Onwards

What’s on the Menu:
Course 1
Foie Gras
Confit Black cherry compote, brioche, port-sherry Gastrique

Course 2
Lobster Bisque
Prawn ravioli, dill cream

Course 3
Grilled U.S. prime Rib eye
French Chanterelle Mushrooms and Asparagus
Potatoes “Boulanger”, Creamy Onion “Soubise”, Truffle Sauce “Bordelaise”

Course 4
Chocolate Marquise Toasted pistachios, roasted strawberries
Raspberry Millefeuille
Lemon custard, puff pastry
Vanilla Panna cotta
Coffee cream sauce, chocolate beans


6749 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1226, Philippines
Telephone: +632 955-8888
Facebook: Discovery Primea Makati
Twitter: @PrimeaMakati



8) Vask 

Witness a spectacle of lights at the Vask Anna Deck as the sky fills with a thousand colors. Enjoy your view of the fireworks around the metro while the guest DJ’s serves up an eclectic palette of beats to send you off into 2016!

Consumable rate starts at:
Php10,000 for Anna Deck Couches (good for 10 persons) and Php5,000 (good for 5 persons).
C-Couches are set at Php8,000 (good for 8-10 persons).

A more intimate New Year’s Eve dinner awaits you at Vask Tapas Room. Indulge in their featured set menu served from 6PM to 10PMwith a complimentary glass of Cava!

Per Head:

What’s on the Menu:
Fresh Oyster (Lychee Espuma, Uni)
Chorizo “Joselito” Bomb
Foie Terrine (Foie Gras Mi-Cuit, Vask Raspberry Jam, Brioche Crackers)
Tiradito (Yellow Fin Tuna, Kinilaw, Pickled Arosep)
Lobster (Porcini Quinoa, Cashew Nuts, Mushroom, Emulsion)
Sour Ribs (Wagyu, Soymansi, Onions, Garlic Casein, Tilanum)
Mango Sphere (Mango Mousse Sphere, White Chocolate Chestnut Ice Cream)
Torrija (Biroche, Milk, Anise Ice Cream)


5th Floor, Clipp Center, 11th Avenue Corner, 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
(Beside CVC Law Building. Near The Goose Station and St. Michael the Archangel Church in BGC)
Telephone: +632 217-6563
: +63 920 974-4742 or +63 917 806-5292
FacebookVASK Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine




9) The Manila Hotel

Eat to your heart’s delight with Manila Hotel’s “Broadway New Year’s Countdown” Cross-over Dinner Buffet! All Prestige Premium cardholders get a 50% off for a minimum of 2 to maximum of 10 diners.

For reservations, please call 527-0011 local 1262 to 1263.



Participating branches include:
Cafe Ilang-Ilang
Mabuhay Palace
Champagne Room
Lobby Lounge
Tap Room


One Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +632 527-0011
Facebook: Manila Hotel
Twitter: @ManilaHotel
Instagram: Manila_Hotel


10) Discovery Suites, Ortigas

Ring in 2016 with a vibrant fireworks display at Discovery Suites gleaming in the equally stunning Ortigas skyline. A pulsating dance floor awaits at Columbus, where Human Race will perform Madonna’s best hits at “Live to Tell”.

Dinner starts at 7PM, 22 Prime (Show: 10pm, Columbus Function Room, 42nd floor)

25 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig, 1600 Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone:+63 2 719 8888
Facebook: DiscoverySuitesOrtigas
Twitter: @DiscoverySuites

Here are the room rates for NYE:

Junior Serendipity Suite:

1 Bedroom Serendipity Suite:

Breakfast buffet for two (2) in a Junior Suite and One Bedroom Suite
High Speed Internet Access for unlimited devices and PressReader
Use of swimming pool and Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club

Terms & Conditions:
Prior reservation is required.
Rates are inclusive of applicable government taxes and service charge.
Offer may not be used in conjunction with other promotions and discounts.
Valid on 31 December 2015


11) Diamond Hotel Philippines

Shine bright like a Diamond at Diamond Hotel’s NYE party with buffet from 6PM to 11PM! While you dine, you can also party with Retrospect, Xarchy Band and DJ Marx Monterola starting at 8:30pm.

Per head:

Get a chance to win roundtrip airline tickets for two (2) to Bohol!

Deadline for submission:
December 31 at 11pm
Raffle draw:
January 4, 2016 at 12nn at Corniche, Diamond Hotel Philippines.


Roxas Boulevard, Corner Dr. J Quintos Street, Manila
Telephone: (632) 528-3000
Facebook: diamondhotelphilippines

Live an Awesome Life,

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Disclosure: I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.  

P.S. We usually spend New Year’s Eve quietly outside Manila with the family. Happy New Year!

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