How I Solo Travel: Takin' It To The Streets

Traveling alone doesn't have to be lonely. From catching a ballgame to wandering through museums, solo travel offers the freedom to craft your ideal itinerary.

How I Solo Travel: Takin' It To The Streets

We all plan and execute our solo travels differently. Some of us have whiteboards, some of us use templates, some of us just haphazardly plan on the fly. There’s no right or wrong way. We all have our ways of making this happen. This guide series is meant to explain my process of planning a solo trip from start to finish.

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There's an ongoing joke in my family about how my solo trips are actually secret missions for some spy agency all over the world. Yeah, they think I'm a spy. Can you blame them though? I mean, who else do you know that travels to different cities across America on their own just to visit museums, presidential libraries, ballparks, football stadiums, breweries, wineries, and state and national parks? This guy. It may not be as glamorous as chilling on a beach or going parasailing, but I believe that travel is a personal experience. The things you do while traveling reflect your interests and who you are as a person. For me, I'm all about history, sports, and recreation, so my trips revolve around those things. Every trip you take has its own purpose. Maybe you have a high-pressure job where you're constantly on the move and you just crave a beach resort to unwind. Or perhaps, like me, you have a desk job and you're stuck indoors all day, so you just want to be on the move and explore. No matter your preference, there's always a reason behind your choice of destination. In this guide, I'll be talking about the activities that make up the purpose behind my travel adventures.

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State and National Parks

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Grand Canyon West

Lately, I've been incorporating National Parks into my travel plans because there are so many amazing ones to discover. Each National Park offers a unique experience, with different sizes, activities, and landscapes. I love seeking out beautiful scenery, hiking trails, informative guides, and even group excursions. State and local parks are also on my radar, especially when National Parks are too crowded. Depending on the weather, I'll choose which parks to visit and often refer to travel guides for suggestions when I'm exploring solo or booking a group tour. During my visit to the Hudson Valley in New York State, I discovered that there are some interesting connections between National Parks, Presidential Libraries, and other places worth exploring. For instance, I found out that the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library, located in close proximity to the Hudson Valley, is conveniently situated near two National Parks – FDR's home and the Vanderbilt Mansion. Moving forward, I aim to include a National Park, or at least a state or local park, in all of my trips. It's a great way to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and best of all, it's free!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

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PNC Park - Pittsburgh, PA

I take a different approach to my travels when it comes to sports. I'm a huge fan of baseball and football, and I also enjoy watching NASCAR from time to time. As a result, I've started planning my trips around these events. Whenever I visit a new city, I make sure to catch a minor league baseball game if it's in season, as I find it quite enjoyable during the warmer months. I've also started thinking about taking trips to watch my favorite baseball team (the Mets) and football team (the Packers) play. Although I go on a NASCAR trip once a year with my friends, I tend to avoid it when traveling alone. However, I'm sure our paths will cross someday! As a Packers fan, I eagerly await the release of the NFL schedule in May to see if there are any games at Lambeau Field or in cities I'd like to explore during the fall. I usually rely on group travel services like Sports Traveler and OnLocationExp to take care of tickets, transportation, and to provide an amazing tailgating experience. The MLB schedule usually comes out in late summer, and as a Mets fan (cue laughter), I've been to Citi Field multiple times and prefer to watch them play in other stadiums now. When attending these games, I make sure to get good seats. Although I've seen games of other teams too, I opt for "standing room" tickets for these ones as it allows me to move around and enjoy the stadium atmosphere. Traveling for sporting events can be tricky, especially considering the weather, so it's always wise to be prepared for any unexpected changes. Additionally, many stadiums offer tours which I find to be a great way to experience the sports venue even if there isn't a game scheduled.

Day At The Museums

In my Travel Stories and Day Trips, I've mentioned my love for museums and how I've visited several of them. Some museums are exceptional, while others are not as impressive, but I believe they are all worth exploring. Whenever I visit a city, one of my first stops is usually the local history museum. I enjoy museums that are modern and interactive, and that don't shy away from presenting both the good and the bad sides of history. I particularly appreciate touchscreens and interactive exhibits in museums. The local history museum serves as a gateway to my destination, providing me with a panoramic view of the city and state I am exploring. Before I started working full time in the insurance industry, I actively sought a teaching role as a social studies teacher, so history holds a special place in my heart. I believe that history is something to be proud of, even if it doesn't align with our modern values. It offers us a glimpse into the past and illustrates how far we have come as a society. Aside from history museums, I also enjoy visiting presidential libraries, always approaching their exhibits with a critical mindset as they are extensions of the respective presidencies. Furthermore, I find car museums fascinating, with the most impressive one I've seen located unexpectedly in Cartersville, GA - the marvelous Savoy Auto Museum. Although I don't frequent science museums as much, I do acknowledge their value for families. Lastly, Hall of Fames greatly pique my interest, and I have had the opportunity to visit the football, baseball, and basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the Country Music and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame respectively. There are certainly many more museums and places to explore, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind!

Closing Thoughts

Finally, you've made it and it's time to start exploring. I still remember my early solo travel experiences, not because everything went perfectly, but because of the mistakes I made. It took some trial and error, as well as a bit of stubbornness, for me to realize that trying to do too much was not the way to go. I began to understand the concept of "less is more". I learned to give myself room to breathe, cherishing every moment in a place I had always dreamed of visiting. Giving myself that breathing space was crucial, as it allowed me to truly immerse myself in and appreciate my time there. A week or even a few days at a destination pass by in the blink of an eye. While I enjoy exploring, I also appreciate the downtime that comes with a fantastic trip. Sometimes, it means being spontaneous and taking an hour to sit on Clearwater Beach, gazing at the tranquil blue water on a cloudy and cool morning. It's also in those moments when you meet fellow travelers and share an unforgettable experience with them during a group trip to a National Park or experience the collective excitement when the pitcher throws a perfect game at a baseball match you're watching. Above all, it's those activities that make you say, "I don't know when I'll ever get the chance to do this again." That's why I love traveling. Or perhaps I should just tell my family I'm off on a secret spy mission!

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