When most people think about taking a vacation, they make a plan. Few people are truly comfortable with packing a bag and flipping a coin at every intersection to determine which direction they'll go next (although that can be a fun girlfriend getaway. I don't recommend it if you're hitting the road on your own). The question that I get a lot is simply, "how do you even pick a place to go?", followed quickly by several branches of excuses like "I'd never want to go to a big city by myself," or "I'd be so self-conscious going somewhere I wasn't familiar with alone." Every solo vacation has been a point of renewal for myself - something that's important for everyone.
Just like choosing a restaurant or picking out paint for a room, you need to consider carefully your options for vacation planning, especially if you're not an intrepid solo traveler. Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to help determine what city will be on your itinerary.
1. Are you vacationing for relaxation or exhilaration?
If you can only imagine a vacation that you need to go back to work to recover from, then the world is your oyster, but well-known cities for a never-ending list of activities are places like New York, Las Vegas, Branson and San Francisco. If you're looking to rejuvenate and relax, you're most likely going to opt for smaller cities that are filed under "quaint" or "country." New Mexico has lovely rejuvenation stations like Taos and Santa Fe, or you can always opt for California (or any area's) Wine Country, Sedona, AZ, or exploring your area's winter ski resort towns in the summertime, like Lake Tahoe, Sun Valley or Vail.
2. Do you want to do things by yourself alone or by yourself in the company of others?
I know this sounds like a silly question, but there's a difference in the type of alone-ness, for lack of a better term. If you can see yourself in a major league stadium cheering the Yankees on with thousands of other adoring fans, that's ostensibly different than going to a museum. If you love sports, look up tickets for your favorite league (obviously the further from playoffs it is, the more likely it will be inexpensive). If you want to be by yourself and ponder by yourself, then consider cities that have great museums and parks, like Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago or Philadelphia.
3. Do you want to live with the locals or trip around with tourists?
If you're into tourist towns with tons of tourist activities, just Googling "Best vacation spots" will bring up a treasure trove of destinations. If you're more fascinated by studying the locals, then you can definitely use a tourist stop as your jumping off point to get to a cute town with a bed & breakfast to enjoy your time.
Whatever you decide to do with your vacation - make it perfect for you. Safe travels.