Another year, another birthday. As my 27th year of existence creeps around the corner, I think about how rewarding and memorable my past birthdays have been. Of course, I love spending time with family and friends, going out to dinner to have the waiters sing me a tune, and being around familiar landscapes each year.
However, it is my birthdays abroad that are the most special to me. It will be my third time spending a birthday abroad this year with hopefully many more to come. Before you stress about plans and friends, let me try to ease your nerves for spending a birthday abroad.
Choose Your Destination and Book Your Flight
The first step in planning a birthday abroad is choosing the lucky destination. First narrowing down with the continent you want to go to and then picking the actual country! For Americans, Europe may seem like the easy choice because of its proximity to North America. I spent one of my birthdays abroad in Paris, and it was magical to ring in a birthday dancing around the Eiffel Tower. Once you have narrowed down your destination, you obviously have to book a flight there.
Figure Out the Transport
Once you land in your destination country, you will have to figure out how to get around. My dream destination for my next birthday is Italy. I love the culture, the cappuccinos, and the scenery, and of course gorging on authentic pasta to celebrate my older age just sounds divine. My favorite app for getting around countries in Europe is GoEuro. GoEuro conveniently lets you compare all the flight, bus, and train options — a must when trying to figure out plans easily.
Settle on Dinner Reservations
If you’re a total foodie like me then chances are you will probably want to eat some delicious food on your birthday. Popular restaurants abroad can fill up fast, so it’s important to make reservations beforehand. Don’t know where to eat? Try asking the locals where the best restaurants are in your area, for they will be real and truthful to you. When in doubt then scout out each restaurant and find the one with the most locals and no “tourist menus.
Make Some Friends!
No one wants to spend their birthday alone! Whether you’re in a new city or traveling solo, it’s easy to round up some traveling buddies and grab birthday drinks. When I travel alone my best bet at making new acquaintances is a hostel, where like-minded travel-loving people like myself hang out. If you’re not really a hostel person, try posting online in Facebook groups or use sites like Meetup to organize an outing. Even if you’re celebrating your birthday with a significant other or best friend, it’s always nice to invite some newbies into the group.
Whether your birthday is just around the corner or a year away, it’s never a bad idea to start planning your birthday abroad. From Helsinki to Venice, a birthday overseas is sure to be a memorable one!
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