Have you tried a solo vacation?

I really like solo vacations. In 2008, I took my first solo trip and learned that these times can be fun and refreshing. Granted, I did fly to Indiana for a family event, but I had an airline credit, so I flew out early and stayed a few days after the gathering. During that time, the solo vacation bug bit me hard. Here are three things I’ve learned since then.

1) Exploring by yourself can be a ton of fun!

On that first solo trip, I visited St. Meinrad’s Abbey—managed to end up in the monk’s dorm, but that’s a story for another day—walked through the woods to Lincoln’s Boyhood Home, and spent a fantastic afternoon prepping apples for freezing with my grandparents. So fun!

2) Researching the area provides a wealth of great things to do.

While in Seattle several years ago, I soaked in the Sleepless in Seattle vibes. I’m a big Tom Hanks fan and love to relive his movies in the locations they were filmed. This film shows a scene on a beach with Sam and his son Jonah. Filming was done on Alki Beach in West Seattle.

I took a ferry across the Sound from downtown Seattle to Alki Beach and had lunch at a little Hawaiian restaurant there. It was an overcast day, making the setting all the more perfect. It was such a great experience!

3) Combining solo travel with family vacations or conferences is a fun way to have the best of both worlds!

In 2015, I traveled to the Carolinas to attend a writer’s conference. My friend in Greenville invited me to stay the night before the conference with her family. We’d been part of an online group for years but had never met in person. Her friends asked her, “How can you be sure she’s not an axe murderer?” And my friends asked, “Are you sure you want to stay with someone you’ve never met before?”

I flew in on a Saturday, and Lynn and her boys picked me up at the airport, determined to give me as much of a Southern experience as she could. That evening, we had barbecue, and I got an entire lesson on the different types of sauces. Later we had ice cream and explored Reedy Falls Park.

Since I had never been to that part of the country, the day after the conference, I rented a car and went to the beach.

The craziness of that adventure isn’t lost on me.

I drove eight hours to Myrtle Beach to spend a few hours on the beach, only to turn around and return to the city the next day.

That trip led to taking a week the next year and visiting Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.

Some may think taking a vacation alone would be boring or lonely, but I’ve found it cathartic for my soul. Whenever I get the chance, I lean in and embrace the experience.

Let’s chat: Have you traveled alone? I’d love to hear about it if you have!