I recently returned from vacation in Tennessee and I am excited to share it with you!
This post will focus on the things I did on my trip, but also some tips for females traveling solo!
Well, it was a great back up plan.
My original plan for vacation fell through. I was supposed to go to the PNW and at the last minute that trip was postponed, so instead of cancelling my PTO or sitting at home being pitiful - I looked at my list of places I wanted to go to and realized that Memphis was 1) something I could afford (my airbnb was $65 a night! Look up The Shine House on instagram!) 2) was somewhere I could drive to in a reasonable amount of time 3) had places that were safe enough to visit solo and 4) had scenery.
We all love a good road trip full of hole in the wall places, downtown areas, and new experiences. BUT, as a girl traveling by yourself there are just extra precautions we have to take. These are a few of the things I do every time I go somewhere alone!
"Reservations for 2 please"
Booking a hotel or Airbnb? Ordering for delivery? Book it for 2.
Homeowners, managers, delivery drivers - none of them need to know you are alone. I have had delivery drivers try to look around me to see who is in my house before. Airbnb and most hotels do not charge more for 1-2 people, and I typically order pizzas when I'm out because that's cost effective!
"Bright Lights, Big Cities"
Parking situations can be sketchy. I have been approached too many times in parking lots and garages to the point I have anxiety in those places anytime I'm alone.
- At hotels/ABNB make sure you can park where you can see the entrance from your car, no back lots.
- Pay for parking at restaurants/event centers so you can park where there's security, or some places even have really inexpensive valet parking!
If these are not options, make sure you can at least park near a light!
"I wanna be where the people are"
I love hiking, and being in serene areas. But when you are alone, I would encourage you to pick places where there are bound to be plenty of people or access to help around.
Zoos, gardens, museums, city parks, downtown areas, tours.
Also, I recommend having a "find my friends" app or always having someone you trust have your location on your iPhone. I do this for photoshoots, too because people are weird!
Mud Island Park, Memphis
Parking is $3 per hour and is a great little park. You can walk or rent a bike and has great views of the river.
Bring a selfie stick or a tripod, you will be glad you did. Otherwise, get bold and ask strangers to take your picture for you! I am not brave so tripods are my friend, ha!
Speaking of tripods, you are probably going to want to take pictures while driving (it happens, I do not condone it and I have NEVER EVER done this myself. ;) so I would invest in a car mount for gps that swivels.
Also, give yourself time for stops, I am the worst about looking at the GPS and planning for a drive through with only stopping for gas - but you gotta literally stop to smell the roses sometimes!
I like to be spontaneous on trips by myself pretty often, but because I have anxiety, I also plan a few things, like pre-buying tickets to events or the zoo, etc because it forces me to be brave and adventurous and ya girl doesn't like to waste money.
Also, even before Covid happened, it is smart to look up the websites before hand because it is awful to drive so far to see something specific and it be closed when you get there!
Use that google maps. Cities and states are big. Take Texas for example - if you look up things to do in Texas its going to tell you the sand dunes and the stockyards and those things are 7 hours apart!
I absolutely LOVED it here! It's an $18 entry fee but you can spend hours walking and listening to the zookeeper talks. I came here because this is one of the only 3 zoos in the country with Pandas! I plan to come back when it's colder and they are more active. They have a great northern animal area too with seals and polar bears.
Memphis Botanic Garden
This is a $10 entry fee, and even though I'm spoiled because I live in Texas with the Ft Worth Botanical Gardens, this was definitely a great spot! The Japanese and Asian area are beautiful with lots of coy fish to feed, and the serenity Gardens have a very calming effect.
Both these places are not necessarily near Memphis, but are some fun places to visit on either size of it depending on which direction you head!
Jack Daniels Distillery - Lynchburg
The Jack Daniels Distillery is about 4 hours east of Memphis and an hour or so from Nashville.
They offer 3 levels of tours ranging from $15-35 and is really fun and informative.. and the top 2 tours have tastings! If you like that kind of thing... You can also visit their general store and square, which has fun shops (including the JD store), murals, and food.
The trip there from Memphis is absolutely gorgeous and great for just a road trip day, too.
Petit Jean Park - Arkansas
This park is about 4 hours west of Memphis and is worth the detour if you're coming from/to Texas! The park itself has several different hiking trails that include waterfalls and caves and are amazing photo opportunities.
If you're not much of a hiker but you like pictures, the cemetery and lookout (which is on the mountain about 2 miles before the park entrance) have a walking bridge that is wheelchair accessible, and then you can also climb the rocks here that overlook the river and valley. (all free by the way)
Honestly, just go. Don't wait for someone to go with you. Don't wait to be skinny or rich.
There are so many free places to go in every state, and pack a cooler with snacks and drinks to save money. Have fun, take photos, make memories! <3
And I mean, your favorite friendly neighborhood photographer does travel ;)
Love you, mean it,