Guest Author - Christine Wilcox
Traveling solo can take some gumption, so if you're a little anxious about being by your lonesome in foreign lands, there's nothing wrong with taking a little vacation closer to home first, just to get your feet wet.
Start with Googling your state's travel bureau. My completely official and extensive research of all of the United States Travel Bureau sites - well - almost all... there were only 45 states that I didn't check... all of them listed community events and festivals as well as historical sites and national parks.
For example, when I visited my home state of Idaho's travel site - www.visitidaho.org, I discovered eight historic ghost towns to feed my curiosity for things that go bump in the night, 17 art galleries and ten museums where I can search out the next quirky piece for my collection, and no fewer than seven music festivals across a broad range of musical genres to fuel my craving for the next great sounds. I also found some fantastic deals that hotels and travel agencies offered to tourists - and they're just as happy with my dollars as they are with out-of-staters.
The best part - all of the places that I discovered are no further away than 300 miles - a great plan for a long weekend. And even though the cost of fuel is at a record high, 300 - 600 miles in Clarice Rose (my ever-affectionate name for my Camry) is still less than $100 in fuel. And I have the added benefit of sticking to the schedule I want to keep rather than being constrained by and concerned with time schedules as to what time the train, plane or bus might be leaving.
One of the big benefits about choosing your solo trip close to home if your anxious about venturing out - aside from the fact that your tourism dollars are helping your fellow Staters - or, in my case, Taters (okay, it's a bad joke about the slang term for Idahoans) - is that you're never far from help who you know and trust if you do run into problems on your trip. You can jump in, nearly fearless, that your lifelines are merely a phone call away.
Traveling solo in your home state is a great way to start out if you're anxious about hitting the road alone. You can also become a resource to friends and family for the hidden vacation treasures your state has to offer. If you've been thinking, "I wish I had someone to vacation with," stop thinking and remember - you're great company for yourself! Get out there and discover the solo road.