Have you ever been on a solo vacation before? I went on my first one last week after visiting family in Atlanta, and I have to say it was an interesting experience. For a few days I was at Jekyll Island, Georgia, for some real rest and relaxation, and while I enjoyed having “me” time, I’ll do things differently on my next vacation.
I still enjoyed being with my own thoughts, having my own agenda, and having alone time. I’m a very independent person, and truly need a lot of that, so this was perfect in that respect. But looking back on all the other trips I’ve taken, real R&R doesn’t help me relax the same way that more active vacations do. Several trips to North Carolina for kayaking and rafting, a week-long kayaing “camp,” a trip to Colorado for skiing, and a river trip in Utah have all been the best and most fun vacations I could imagine. After each of them I felt energized, and totally rested! And I learned that while a hotel is a huge relief and luxury after a long day of driving to and from a destination, camping is still the way to go (for me) on a trip.
Overall it was still great. I read so much, wrote regularly, and went on a lot of bike rides and runs. It had ups and downs, and in case you’re thinking about trying out your first solo vacation, here are a few things that helped things stay upbeat.
Be prepared to kill bugs yourself. They’ll be in your hotel room, and if you’re in Georgia, the spiders will be huge. Yell “sorry!” to the neighboring hotel room for screaming profanities after seeing said spiders.
Go to the complimentary breakfast/coffee bar. Even though you’re groggy and sleepy, say good morning and chat with a few people there.
Plan where you sleep, and have a fairly structured day. I really need this, because even if I am on vacation I have to have some sort of plan or goal for the day. Reserve a hotel room or campsite beforehand – getting stuck without a place to stay can be an adventure when you’re with someone, but not so much of a fun adventure if you’re solo.
Try not to schedule your sleepy vacation at the same time as a National Guard convention. Because then, one night at 1:30 am you may be woken by a fellow yelling outside the hotel “FORGGHETT ABOUT THE CHAIR I JUST WANT MY BEER.” I swear to goodness I almost got up to throw one of mine down to him.
Bring your bike or running shoes. Stay active! Get outside, go on a walk, go on a bike ride. Come across some “Don’t feed the alligators” signs and ride very quickly in the other direction.
Go to the attractions and historical sites listed on brochures and pamphlets. They can be really interesting (say hi to the house made of seashells below), and it’s another thing to add to the activity list.
Stay connected. I stayed connected through the phone and internet to keep some social activity, though long-distance, in my day. It’s solo vacation, not complete isolation.
Don’t follow the small dirt paths into the woods leading to who knows where. They’re pretty, but they’ll freak you out, and make you start remembering scary Law & Order: SVU episodes.
Check in with someone each night. Just have one person whether it be a friend or family member, who knows you’re on vacation and who you text or call each night to check in. Just for safety purposes. Maybe the Law & Order episodes made me think of this one…
And of course, enjoy yourself. Try not to feel guilty for taking a few days off from everything and everyone. Sit back, have a beer, and enjoy the quiet. Except for when helicopters fly over the beach. Then it’s a little loud.