Traveling is both life-changing and life-affirming. You get to expand your horizons, meet new people, and see life from a different perspective. Indeed, traveling on your own allows you an opportunity to experience all those things while getting to know yourself better. It’s also a great way to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone.
That said, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is an excellent destination for solo travel, especially for those new to the concept. This picturesque region includes the 14 northernmost islands in the Mariana Archipelago, all sparsely inhabited except for the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Unlike other tropical destinations, though, there shouldn’t be any language barrier to speak of. Additionally, the currency used throughout the Northern Marianas is the U.S. dollar, greatly simplifying the experience. Below, we’ve compiled a list of useful dos and don’ts to help solo travelers make the most out of their time in these islands:
Don’t Feel Compelled to Stay at a Hostel
One of the most common recommendations for solo travelers is to stay at a guesthouse or a backpacker’s hostel. It’s of little surprise why, as you can save a lot of money by checking into one of these communal living establishments instead of going for more traditional accommodations. It’s also a great way to meet a lot of new people in the process, too.
However, just because it’s what everyone else seems to be doing doesn’t mean that you have to follow suit. This is especially true if you prefer to rest in solitude after a long day of exploring. Sharing lodgings with strangers can also take a bit of getting used to, especially if you’ve never done it before.
Basically, it all boils down to your preferences and priorities. If you value comfort, privacy, security, and convenience, then choosing to stay at one of the many fine hotels in CNMI is the way to go. But if you’re feeling more adventurous and sociable, then feel free to check into a reputable hostel. The important thing to remember is that the choice is always yours.
Do Plan Your Days Out
For its relatively small size, there’s a lot to see and do in the Northern Marianas. However, many of these attractions and experiences are scattered throughout the three main islands, and just getting to them can take up a lot of time.
To make the most out of your stay, it’s a good idea to map out an itinerary. Do some research on which tourist draws, beaches, and historical sites you’d like to go to. After that, you can ask your hotel for directions or guidance. By planning out your routes in advance, you can see as many of these attractions as possible without wasting much time or energy.
The nightlife in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is incredibly vibrant and diverse. Though the locals love their karaoke, you’ll also find Western-style bars, sports pubs, and live music venues aplenty. Several of these establishments are even located right on the beach so that patrons can enjoy stunning sunset views while sipping on a fruity alcoholic beverage or two.
When you’re somewhere this beautiful and wonderfully welcoming, it can be easy to get carried away and down one drink too many. That being said, we recommend resisting the temptation to do so. Getting hammered in a foreign locale without anyone to look after you is not the safest idea. Keep an eye on how much you’ve been drinking, know your limits, and quit while you’re ahead. This will significantly lessen the chances of landing yourself in trouble. You’ll thank yourself for it in the morning.
Do Have a Bit of Cash on You
While most shops and restaurants in Saipan, Tinian, and Rota accept credit cards, it’s never a bad idea to have a bit of cash on hand for incidentals and emergencies. You never know when you might need it! That said, withdraw a sensible amount of money, stash it away, and make sure that you keep it on you at all times.
Don’t Forget to Tell Your Family and Friends About Your Travel Plans
Having a plan B for when things don’t go as planned is good advice in general, but it’s even more important when you’re traveling by yourself. That’s why you should inform your loved ones about where you’ll be and update them regularly on what you’re doing. With this information, they can assist you if you ever find yourself in trouble. It only takes a few minutes to email them a copy of your trip itinerary as well as your flight and accommodation details.
Going on a trip by yourself can be incredibly intimidating at first, but it can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences you can ever have. So pack that suitcase, book those tickets, and see what the Northern Marianas has to offer!