Amazing Kids! Magazine

My First Solo Traveling Adventure

By Erick Clifford, age 17, Los Angeles, California


My name is Erick. I’m a 17-year-old teenager from Los Angeles, and yes, I’ve recently had my first solo traveling adventure last holiday season. Well, I wasn’t really alone, I traveled with my small dog – a pug named Chewie – who is my best friend and is with me most of the time. We went to visit my older sister in San Francisco and spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve with her small family. I was initially going to stay at her home but I decided to stay in a hotel room to be more comfortable and live the whole solo traveling experience.

This was supposed to be my first solo travel (flight and everything), so imagine my mother’s concern, her two little sons traveling across the state by ourselves. Anyway, it was a great adventure and everything resulted in excellence because we planned it all with a couple months of anticipation.

Here is what my family did: First of all, we searched for the flight; it is actually a good travel lesson to search and buy flight tickets in advance when rates are lower and sometimes you find special deals or offers. I would recommend to other teen travelers to consult websites like Kayak or Booking (the ones my mom and I consulted) which also helps you to find best hotel rates, location, and services they offer and everything you need. I can definitely say that my adventure started here because it was a little hard to find a pet-friendly hotel nearby my sister’s house and the airline politics for traveling with pets. Everything worked out fine; we got our flight tickets and accommodation ready.

Then my mom was a little worried about the transportation. It was going to be during the holidays and that means traffic problems, so she searched for a private transportation service and gave them my complete itinerary. The agency picked me up at my home many hours before the flight and took me to the airport. Then when I arrived in California, the same transportation company was there waiting for me and took me and Chewie to my sister’s place. Yes, they were also pet-friendly!

Finally, when we arrived in San Francisco, the first thing I saw was the incredible Golden Gate Bridge. I could imagine me and Chewie walking across it and taking some pictures and Snapchats to share. We crossed the bridge the same day, by the way. My sister, her husband, and my little nephew went with us also. That was a day before Christmas and we also wedged in a little shopping. We ate outside and I drank the best coffee I’ve ever tasted at Café Bellini.

One of the best things I knew about San Francisco was that it is famous for their cable cars. I really wanted to take a ride on a cable car so I waited in line two hours. That’s definitely an incomparable experience. You can watch the city, the streets, and the stores right from the cable car. The cable cars didn’t have any doors or windows, allowing me to feel free. I enjoyed the whole ride. Oh, I almost forgot to say that Chewie took the ride too! Yes, it is a pet-friendly attraction.

We had Christmas dinner. I was glad to be there and happy to have that opportunity of taking the adventure by myself. I also was very grateful for my parents. There were 5 days left and I wanted to go everywhere I could. We visited Sausalito (a beautiful little town outside San Francisco across the Golden Gate bridge), Muir Woods National Monument which is an awesome park, and many other places around the city (most of them with Chewie as well).

Yes, I missed my parents but I was having a lot of fun and feeling independent too. Certainly, a day before my return flight I had mixed feelings; I was kind of sad, but happy and grateful and yeah, a little nervous too, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

Finally, the transportation service my mom hired was waiting for me outside my hotel and took me and my dog to the airport. I was carrying an extra bag because I had done a little shopping but I didn’t have any problem with the airline politics. It was a very quick flight so Chewie didn’t have problems as well.

Since that trip I feel more independent and I definitely grew up. It was an absolutely great adventure, a pleasant challenge, and an experience in which I learned many things. I encourage teens to do this kind of trip. Trips are very fruitful and you will live and learn important things. If you plan everything carefully, there’s little chance of something going wrong. So, let’s have an adventure!