Traveling Solo

December 6th, 2012 | Posted by Erica House in Life

I spent more time traveling in 2012 than I had in the decade leading up to it.

I ate beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans

Hung out at the City of Rocks and went hiking in Las Cruces

Walked the Highline in NYC and ate at increadible restaurants

Found the most picturesque town not even an hour away from Pensacola in Fairhope, Alabama

and I want more.

It’s in my blood now.

However, a new challenge has presented itself as I start 2013 as a single (and loving it) woman.

I’m tired of letting my single status hold me back from doing things I want to do. I did it for years before my last relationship and I’m deciding to be more proactive about it this time around. Many of the things I enjoy doing are typically done so in a group; camping, hiking, traveling, … but I’m not putting my life on hold anymore because I (1) don’t have a significant other and (2) don’t have many friends who have the time/ability/desire to do those things.

My purpose of this post today is to get inspiration, from you. Have you ever traveled alone? Would you? I think I’m finally at a point where I would. The last few weeks I’ve started taking a lot more risks and I am enjoying putting myself out there to see what happens because so far, it’s been exhilarating.  I’m ready to do this on a larger scale now with traveling solo.

I want to do something that terrifies me.

Finally – I’m trying to find places domestically to put on my ‘wish list’ for 2013 (international travel’s not quite in the budget, yet). My ideal vacation is one filled with physical activity; walking, hiking, running, … you get the gist. If you know of any cities that fit that description please share!

 

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92 Responses

  • Lauren S says:

    Phoenix–Great weather, lots of outdoor activities, picturesque landscape and it’s a short drive to Tucson and Sedona!

    • Erica House says:

      I’ve been to Santa Fe and Las Cruces and loved both so I’m guessing the same would go for Phoenix – I’ll put it on the list to check out, ty!

  • Eoin says:

    When I was 24 and single, I spent 18 months traveling through the US, New Zealand and around Australia. Best time of my life, and despite the issues I faced from time to time I’d do it all again if I was in that position.
    Go for it!!

    • Erica House says:

      That is incredible! I see from your blog your a male who knows martial arts so I presume you weren’t nearly as concerned with the safety aspect as I would be. Any particular places in the U.S. you’d recommend for outdoor activities? New Zealand is on the top of my ‘dream’ list – it is stunning!

      • Eoin says:

        Yes, safety wasn’t as much of an issue for me, although that was before mobile phones even existed. I’d recommend Hawaii or Alaska (although I haven’t been to AK, I have a great friend who is a doctor there). Just loved Hawaii and the availability of the outdoors.

        • Erica House says:

          You mean you lived before the age of cell phone?! I kid, I did as well ;)
          I think it’s because I’ve grown up on the beach in Florida but Hawaii has never had a hold on me (I’m also okay with flying but the thought of flying over water is pretty scare to me!) I had a friend live in Alaska for a year and absolutely fell in love. I’ll need to find out when their peak summer time is!

  • EFlamz says:

    I travel alone often now especially since my gf broke up with me a few months back. Mainly to NH but one epic weekend lead me through Middlebury Vermont where there is a trail system 18 miles long that I ran with an old friend who now lives there, spent the night then travled across VT and NH to just past Manchester NH for a friends bday then to Keene NH and eventually back to CT it was an epic journey, mainly sometimes because you just got to get away from it all

    • Erica House says:

      I know that feeling, well! The farthest North I’ve been is NYC and I’m dying to see the natural beauty of the North East. I’ve been skiing out in Colorado once and I’d love to do the same in NH or VT. I don’t think I’m strong enough yet to do long trail runs but I sure as heck could hike them!

  • Meg says:

    Asheville! So many trails and outdoorsy activities, along with amazing food.

    • Erica House says:

      Checked it out and Asheville is withing driving distance from Pensacola! The town looks so cute and I love that it’s near the Smokey Mountains. I will start looking for a outdoor vacation package for that area!

      • Jessica says:

        I have a good friend in Ashville that has ashevillehappybody.com … her name is Jessica too. I think she would help you with information. My personal favorite place is Chicago.

        • Erica House says:

          Chicago – interesting recommendation! I would never think of it as very health-focused. What do you like about it so much? Bookmarking your friends website :)

  • Your travels look fantastic! Love your positive attitude. I’ve always wanted to go to California’s Napa Valley to tour wineries!

    • Erica House says:

      LOVE that idea! I have tons of family in California and I love wine :) I think I could find enough hiking activities in the area to justify my wine consumption while I’m there!

  • Melissa says:

    Salida, Colorado! It’s a beautiful town, south of Buena Vista (so the scenery is incredible), and has more mountain hiking trails than you can count. Plus when you get tired from all that hiking, they have a great bathhouse with a big warmed pool. You would love it :)

    • Erica House says:

      Adding it to the list! I’ve been to Vail, Colorado and the scenery in Colorado is probably the prettiest I’ve seen in the U.S. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • what a fun idea!!!! i think you’d have a great time!

    • Erica House says:

      I’m 99.9% certain I would, but there is that teeny tiny voice in my head telling me I can’t do it alone.
      They’ll shut up eventually :)

  • I love travelling alone! I’ve been to Europe by myself a few times and took a lot of weekend trips solo while I was studying there. There is absolutely no reason you should hold back just because other people can’t go with you. Have fun planning your trips:)

    • Erica House says:

      Is there anywhere in Europe in particular you’d recommend as good for traveling solo?

      • Jodi says:

        If you go to Europe, look into an unlimited train pass for your trip. They sell them for certain lengths of time (like 8 days, 15 days, etc) and feel like they cost a lot but are worth every penny. No buying train tickets that add up, just pick a place and get on the train and go. We do this when we go to Switzerland and it is AWESOME. Also gets us on some buses for free, some for 1/2 price, gets you some sight-seeing 1/2 price (when you have to take special transport, like a boat, gondola up a mtn, and stuff like that), and gets you in museums free.

  • I always recommend Austin for places to check out. It’s young, hip, and everyone seems to be fit and active. It’s hot in the summer, but they have natural springs to swim in, bikes to rent, and amazing hiking and running trails. Everyone is friendly and open so I think it’d be a great place to meet people/ make new friends! :)
    Also, Seattle reminds me of Austin in a lot of ways. And you can’t be the natural beauty there!

    • Erica House says:

      I would LOVE Austin! Seattle as well – I’ve been wanting to go to both of those places for years. Austin has such a hipster rep I’m not sure if I’m cool enough to go ;) I remember a professor of mine saying it was the city your most likely to be waited on by someone with a Phd since everyone there is so educated.

  • Andy says:

    On a purely historical note, the Mid Atlantic is a good choice. The First Continental Congess, Liberty Bell, Gettysburg, Washington Monument, The Underground Railroad.

    • Erica House says:

      Thanks, Andy :) I’m surprised I haven’t thought yet to include cities with a lot of history. My perfect vacation would be an equal mix of outdoor activities and walking around the city checking out museums and history!

  • I think this is an AWESOME idea, Erica :) I suggest hiking in Colorado – Estes Park area is amazing.

    • Erica House says:

      Seeing all the photos you post of Colorado on your blog has definitely seeped into my subconscious – that may be where my obsession with wanting to go there soon and ski/hike came from! Now it’s your fault so you have to fund my traveling addiction :)

  • Hey Erica! I have definitely traveled alone, and when I reflect on it, I think I might have enjoyed those trips more (or at least, appreciated them in a different way) than the trips I’ve been on with loved ones. When you travel alone, it’s almost like it becomes more than just a physical displacement; you have the room to mentally “breathe.” I highly recommend the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Volcanoes National Park.

    • Erica House says:

      All such gorgeous spots! I went to the Grand Canyon with my family once in 10th grade when I was way to cool to enjoy it. The way you talk about traveling alone makes me even more excited to try it! I can’t even imagine having only my agenda to stick to, my desires to please. I think I may end up liking them more than group trips as well!

  • Jodi says:

    My 30-year old SIL is single and travels more than anybody I have ever known. She currently lives and works in Switzerland, and travels all over the world. Around Switzerland, around Europe (some for work, some for fun, or if she has to go somewhere cool for work, she adds fun to the trip), comes back to the States to visit us and her other brother and his family and various friends she has made across the country. She is actually going to New Zealand this Christmas with her BFF. She also goes on hikes and walks and adventures around Switzerland alone all the time. Don’t get me wrong, she has tons of friends and goes on dates, etc., and does all these fun things with friends, too. She just isn’t afraid to book a trip to go somewhere solo. Or go alone and meet an old acquaintance or friend she made there at some point in her international schooling and travel.

    Now, I think you should come to Colorado and hike, see all the gorgeous sites, run a race, check out Pearl Street in Boulder, etc. We are one of the healthiest states. :) Fall here is awesome. Just sayin’. :)

    • Erica House says:

      So many votes for Colorado! What city are you in? If you don’t want to disclose publicly you can always email me at Erica@EricaDHouse.com Your SIL sounds like a badass. Switzerland is probably one of the ‘safest’ places I could imagine traveling alone at. I’m adding that to my International Bucket list!

      • Jodi says:

        I’m in the Denver area. Not far enough west for my liking but hopefully someday we will move toward the Boulder area. Switzerland is awesome and I can’t wait to go again this summer for our vacation. So, so beautiful.

  • Richard Carr says:

    I have traveled alone for work a few times. Of course, as a married dude, most of the pleasure trips are with Saira. However, I would have no hesitation about traveling alone if were single. I have actually enjoyed a couple of the places shown above in the last year as well. I went to New Orleans 4 times this year and went to the Cafe on one of those trips. Amazing iced coffee. My family usually eats at the Fairhope Inn once or twice a year. Have you been to Seaside? I think you would LOVE it! There is amazing cycling and running real-estate out there.

    • Erica House says:

      I have been to Seaside! I actually went out there last Christmas break alone to enjoy the town. I worked there as a nanny for tourist kids in High School – epic pay, horrible children lol. There was a 30A 10k I wanted to do this year but it was full as well as the Seaside Half in the Spring. I think I’ll try to get out there again for the day over the break.

  • Jackie says:

    Highly recommend Smoky Mountain National Park — awesome hiking in a beautiful area. Also, Acadia National Park in Maine is stunning.

  • I love that you have the travel bug and I say GO FOR IT! When I was just out of college, I bought a book called “Travel Alone and Love It”, but I didn’t exactly have the funds to do it. It was written by a flight attendant, so there is a lot of great advice. I’d say, just do some research on your destination first (make sure it is safe, at least where you are staying – of course, never compromise safety for price.) I’m sure you will find that you aren’t the only one out there and you’ll find some great tips across the web!

    Cheers to your travel adventures to come. So excited for you!

    • Erica House says:

      Carrie, thank you so much for the book suggestion! Financial & time constraints have always stopped me in the past but now that I’m downgrading to a studio apartment to save money specifically for travel I have no more excuses! I’m SO excited to research some vacation possibilities and share every bit of them with my readers. #VicariousVacations!

  • Sid Kuhn says:

    I traveled alone to Stockholm, Madrid, and Paris. It’s really fun!

  • Bethany says:

    Such an interesting topic, as a new single girl myself this is something I hadn’t thought of yet. The safety thing would be the biggest issue for me, but we are in the cellphone again and everyone is so connected it might not be an issue. As far as cities go, Washington DC is beautiful, lots of historical places to visit. I’m lucky to live in PA and have so many places that are just a 5 hour drive away, DC, NYC and the beach. I think I may need to start planning a single getaway for myself too. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Erica House says:

      How much there is to do and how safe I’d feel there alone are probably the two things tied for most important in what destination I pick. Ideally, I’d like to find a nice sized city that has hiking nearby and maybe some hiking groups I could join. As much experience as I have I’d always be paranoid of getting lost, or hurting myself and not being able to walk out! I’m definitely jealous of your location – it is perfectly situated to see so many incredible places!

  • Kell says:

    Long time reader, but first time commenter… YES! I love traveling alone. It’s so freeing to not have to worry what anyone else is doing. You keep your own schedule, do what you want, etc. As a long-time resident of DC, I second Bethany’s suggestion. I absolutely love it here: there are a million things to see and do, and despite being urban, the hiking and running that are close by are amazing. Let me know if you decide to head out this way, and I’ll come up with a list of suggestions for you…and maybe even take a much-needed day off work to show you some of my favorite hiking/running trails!

    • Erica House says:

      You.Are.Awesome! I must confess, I never thought of D.C. as a very ‘safe’ city (at least for a single female to travel alone). I presume you would say that is not the case? There are SO many museums I’d love to go there for, and there are direct flights between Pensacola and DC. It’s a sign!

      • Kell says:

        Like any city, there are definitely parts of it that are less safe than others. Having said that, the touristy areas (National mall, museums, Georgetown, White House, monuments, etc.) are really safe. My office is two blocks from the White House and I run during my lunch break pretty much every day (as well as doing a longer run throughout the city most Sunday mornings), and I can honestly tell you that I have never even had my spidey-sense go off. Because of the tourists, there are always park police and regular police everywhere. Also, because it’s such a health-conscious city, I’m never out on any of the trails alone and runners/bikers really seem to look out for each other around here. I think it’s definitely a sign!

  • Sarah N says:

    I’d totally travel alone! Sometimes I tend to give in too much to what other people want to do on trips and end up having regrets. =\ I totally recommend Seattle–it’s amazing! Portland too. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for 3 years and feel completely in love with the area. It’s absolutely beautiful, so easy to eat healthy, and omg the local coffee! =) I’d love to go back someday.

    • Erica House says:

      I’m not ashamed to say watching Portlandia made me want to go there more lol. It’s got such a great reputation as being eco-conscious, healthy & liberal. I’m afraid if I went there for a trip I’d never come home!

      • I think you’d really enjoy Portland. I went there a couple years ago and loved it! It’s also a fairly easy place to travel alone–great railway system if you don’t want to rent a car, lots of great hiking/running areas to see, friendly people, amazing food (check out the Oregon Bite Food Festival and Portland City Grill–http://www.portlandcitygrill.com/–it’s on the 30th floor of an office building and has an amazing view of the city!). And, there’s no sales tax in Portland, so you can get lots of shopping in too. :) One thing I was surprised by in Portland was the large homeless population–saw lots of homeless teens hanging out in groups on the streets. :( I was told they tend to gather there because Portland has a lot of resources available for runaways–not sure if that’s true. Overall, it’s an amazing place and I can’t wait to visit again sometime soon! Look forward to hearing more about your adventures!

        • Erica House says:

          I was looking at articles last night on the most walkable cities in the US and Portland kept popping up. There’s actually a health focused blogging conference there in June I’m really hoping to go to: http://fitbloggin.com/ You should try to join! Perfect excuse for a trip back :)

  • 2012 was all about travelling for me! In the last year I have been to the Dominican Republic, Indianapolis, Florida, England, and New York. England was my first trip that I took solo. I did meet my relatives there and I stayed with them but it was a spur of the moment trip to the Olympics and I LOVED it.

    Don’t let the single life hold you back, go out and travel girl!

    • Erica House says:

      Dominican Republic is close enough to the domestic US that I’ve thought about it for 2013 – what did you do there? Where did you go in Florida?

  • Jonathan Creel says:

    Well, I’ve traveled across almost the entire Western U.S. and lived in a few beautiful places (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon). I’d say you have to visit the four corners region. There is so much diversity in landscapes, ecosystems, and amazing scenery. The Grand Circle has numerous National Parks (Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Mesa Verde, Zion, etc) that you can visit cheaply and have amazing hiking! Flagstaff is also a pretty neat city and has amazing mountains as well. Of course, all across the Rocky Mountains, from Northern New Mexico to Montana, is an amazing choice as well. There are so many places if you are looking to explore very different areas out there! And you reall can’t go wrong in the Yellowstone region- not only the park, but the Tetons and surrounding area. So much different from the South!

    • Erica House says:

      I definitely need to give that area a shot again. Are you still working out there? How often did you come across single female hiking in the area?

      • Jonathan Creel says:

        I will be back out there in March, so yes I am. I see single female hikers on a pretty consitent basis. There are a lot of people around (and hot) during the summer, spring and fall are the best times. If you have any questions about any places or anything (cheap places to stay) let me know!

  • Ali says:

    I traveled to Bali alone. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I absolutely love traveling alone. Not that I don’t love my husband, but it’s liberating and refreshing to be able to do exactly what you want when you want it in another city!! I am longing for it right now actually.

    • Erica House says:

      Lol, I think it’s fair to say you enjoy traveling alone even if your currently coupled :) What type of activities did you do in Bali that made the trip so memorable?

  • Katie says:

    Newfoundland is Canada’s best kept secret! The most beautiful scenery, lots of hiking/camping (although the weather is not ideal) and rich in culture. And the locals are known for how welcoming/friendly they are!

  • I think that it’s a great idea to travel alone. I finally took a solo vacation last year – a return trip to surf in Costa Rica, um, which I would highly recommend :-) Other places I would recommend are Seattle and Portland and Colorado. PS – the Highline is one of my favorite places in NYC

    • Erica House says:

      Costa Rica is on my ‘close enough it’s almost domestic’ list! I can’t surf, but I’m sure I could get some excellent lessons there. The Highline was absolute one of the best parts of my trip to NYC, that and a restaurant called Casellula!

  • If you want to do international but not make it crazy, come up to Canada! I recently relocated from Pittsburgh to Edmonton and we’re just four hours away from Banff and Jasper. There is so much to do outdoors there, and it would be a great ‘international’ trip that wouldn’t necessarily break the bank. I am also a huge fan of Vancouver in nice weather, i.e. not rain :)

    In the US, you could do a longer trip by hiking the Appalachian Trail! That’s not terribly far from you.

    • Erica House says:

      Good to know about the weather in Vancouver! I’m hoping to make it to Canada as one of my first ‘International’ stops.
      I actually hiked a small part of the Appalachian Trail with my Dad in middle school. We went up there for Spring Break one year and hiked around in Cheaha- incredible!

  • Melissa says:

    Zap Fitness running camp in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. It is so fun, and very safe. We are going back this year for the 3rd time!

    • Erica House says:

      Looking at their website now! That reminds me I thought about summer camps for adults the other day and wondered it they had any lol.

  • Christine says:

    Last fall, I quit my job and went to Spain and spent 3 months traveling alone. It was amazing. I blogged about most of it http://xjcar.blogspot.com/search/label/spain i am now single again and am planning another trip next summer, but this time to Germany :)

    • Erica House says:

      Saving your blog to read after I finish grading papers this weekend – thank you! I’d be hesitant traveling around where I didn’t know the language, was that ever an issue for you?

  • I love doing marathons in a new city. It really is a great way to see the city as you are running through the eyes of a race. One tricky thing is to not tire out the legs before and understand that you may be tired after. Still fun and my favorite thing to do at a new location.

    I know exactly where you were in New Orleans and NYC.

    • Erica House says:

      Quit stalking me ;)
      I’m hoping to do some destination races in 2013 – just half marathons though! I’d like to do the Rock-N-Roll half somewhere. I think that would be a great ‘excuse’ for a vacation to a new town!

  • I did! I took a very last-minute trip to Los Angeles last year (as in, I bought my tickets about three hours before the flight left, and had no car or hotel reservations). It was a great place to get around on my own. I went to Malibu, Santa Monica, The Getty, Venice Beach, did some shopping. The weather was gorgeous, I found it easy to get around. Not the cheapest trip I’ve ever taken, though. But I really enjoyed traveling alone. I’d definitely do it again.

  • Missy says:

    You totally read my mind. I am currently single and have been for about a year and it’s frustrating because like you there are so many places I want to go and see but no significant other or friends that have the time for it. It’s a difficult scenario, I have never thought about traveling alone but you definitely put me in a different mindset. I can’t wait to see where you decide to travel, you might give me the traveling single bug!

    • Erica House says:

      You absolutely just described my situation perfectly! I’m tired of waiting around, and if I can make it happen financially and have the time to do it I’m not making excuses anymore. I’m still a bit scared to travel alone but I know if I get over it I’ll love it. I hope that I can find places to show off for other singles to help motivate people in our situation to take a chance!

  • What a fun post! The Hudson Valley in New York is a beautiful place to visit, especially if you’ve never been. Towns like Cold Spring and New Paltz are filled with mountains for hiking (beginner to advanced), the river for paddling, and adorable little antique shops to browse. After visiting, I fell in love with the place so much that I moved there!

    • Erica House says:

      That’s awesome! I see on a map it’s only about an hour outside of NYC. I think I’ll need to take a week and visit both :)

  • You should hit up Costa Rica! Such a great place very friendly and such…

  • After I graduated college I started saving money to travel to Europe. And about a month before I got engaged I traveled to Zurich and Paris by myself. It was the best experience, and I would love to travel like that again. That and go back to Ireland. Best country ever. :-)

  • I love solo-travelling. I’ve traveled a lot for work, and am always in new places. You are totally right, you can have a blast doing what you want to do, and not having to do things someone else wants to that you may not be as interested in. If you are open to meeting new people, you can meet a lot of great people that can enhance your trip. I spent 5 weeks in NY last year, and met the most interesting people on the trains. Good luck and have a blast!

  • Vicki says:

    In 2010 I went to Australia by myself for 2 weeks. All of my friends were amazed that I was able to travel to the other side of the world all alone. At that point I had not been in a steady, healthy relationship for a few years, and I didn’t want to not live because of my single status. I’m so glad that I took the chance and opportunity to go to OZ. And I definitely don’t have any regrets about making out with an Australian bouncer (they really like American accents, go figure)!! Whenever I doubt myself I just remember that if I was able to navigate another country all by my lonesome, there is nothing that I can’t do (or at least attempt). While probably not your typical hotspot, I’d recommend Harrisburg PA for some travel if you want to get out and be physically active. I lived in Harrisburg for 7 years, and there are a dozen or so state parks with great hiking within an hour / hour and a half drive. One summer (hmm, I think it was the summer of ’10), I would get out to a state park every weekend and spend hours hiking. You can also catch the Appalachian Trail in the area, or kayak in the Susquehanna River. And Harrisburg is only 20 minutes from Hershey, the sweetest place on earth :)

    • Erica House says:

      LOL. I can’t imagine my american accent being a turn-on for anyone! I’m absolutely dying to travel alone, and to take my first International trip. I’ll put Harrisburg on the list! I prefer vacation spots that have a lot to do outside, versus any know for just shopping/eating/nightlife.

  • Vicki says:

    It was funny to be the one considered to have an accent, but they assured me that I did and it was attractive! Harrisburg is in a bit of financial turmoil currently, but in my opinion still a decent place to visit. The capital building is pretty bad ass and there are a handful of hidden gem resturants that had become my favorites. If you ever do make it there let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction!

  • Jenny says:

    I just did a drive across the country and let me give you some of my top places!
    Moab, Utah. Do it. Just do it and do it now and maybe you won’t want to leave.
    Big Sur in California.
    Navarre Beach, FL (the most beautiful sand and it has a state park and old fort that is so much fun to walk around on. It feels prehistoric)
    Connecticut is actually quite beautiful, especially in the fall. Every town feels picturesque.
    Massanutten VA was a true surprise, and quite wonderfully so.
    I have travelled always with someone, different people and usually my significant other. BUT I would totally travel my own and I think you should too…you got this :)

    • Erica House says:

      I live 15 minutes from Navarre Beach! Grew up in the area. Literally JUST told a friend yesterday that I wanted to go to Big Sur. Moab is a place I’ll need to check out. Thank you for the tips!

  • Yes! And I love traveling solo. I recently went to Thailand for a month by myself and it was incredible. I met so many amazing people along the way and had so much freedom to always do exactly what I wanted. Good for you for traveling alone. I know a lot of people think it’s crazy but I think it’s fabulous.

    • Erica House says:

      SO JEALOUS. My goal is to build up this blog/freelance work enough that I could live anywhere in the world and support myself. Thailand was at the top of the list!