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Any Recommended Destinations for First Time Solo Traveler?

Any Recommended Destinations for First Time Solo Traveler?

Old Jul 8, 17, 2:26 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SMF
Posts: 1,240
Any Recommended Destinations for First Time Solo Traveler?

So, just to get it out of the way, I'm a guy, hopefully that's ok. However I'm posting this for my wife who I'm hoping to surprise with a trip, so that's why I've come to you.

As a stay-at-home mom with three young kids my wife rarely, if ever gets time to herself. I do my best to encourage her to get out and spend time with friends or alone, but she's expressed that she feels a sense of guilt and that she needs to get back sooner whenever she's away just in case "something is wrong." For so many reasons, she deserves some time to be away without feeling likes she needs to think of home. Our schedules work out to where I'd like to send her somewhere between late October - mid-November.

I've discussed the idea with her and her biggest apprehensions are safety and what to do if things go wrong, since in the past we've always traveled together. She enjoys photography and the outdoors, but prefers to stay away from urban environments. Because it would just be for a quick weekend trip I've come up with a few destinations that are a direct flight from SMF: San Diego, Portland, Phoenix, Boston.

Are there any destinations or hotels you would recommend where she could enjoy herself on her own, possibly have some hiking/beach/trails nearby or on-site, and not have to worry about safety or anything like that?

If you've had experiences with any hotels through Amex FHR that would be great, I would love for her not to have to worry about how things cost, which she tends to do and if she gets a property credit/free breakfast I think it would be easier for her to just enjoy it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Big4Flyer is offline  
Old Jul 10, 17, 9:11 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Riberas del Pilar, Mexico
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San Diego sounds perfect as to the weather with the beaches, etc. What about the Del Coronado Hotel? Check out the activities.

https://hoteldel.com/
Gringa is offline  
Old Jul 10, 17, 11:42 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Programs: Hilton, IHG, JetBlue, AA, Delta, Southwest
Posts: 35
I would avoid Boston. I just spent a long weekend up there with my 25 yr old son and would not have felt safe walking around in the evening by myself. You didn't mention whether that Portland was Oregon or Maine - if it's Maine, it's a nice town with plenty to do within walking distance but it is a waterfront area so attracts all types. Plus Maine has the sales tax.

As an alternative to that one, I'd recommend Portsmouth, NH. It's an hour north of Boston and an hour south of Portland. I use to live close by (actually lived in Portsmouth too but that was 25 yrs ago) and it's a lovely historic town on the water. Think Charleston, SC on a much smaller scale. The beaches are a 10 minute drive, lots of shopping and restaurants in town. Several theater groups as well.

I've stayed in Portsmouth twice in the past 9 months by myself and will be up there again in August. Never any issues. I'm a Hilton Diamond so I stay at the Hilton Garden Inn right in the center of town. Friendly staff, onsite breakfast and a bar/dining room for dinner if you want to stay in. British Beer Works right next door as well. There's also a Sheraton right around the corner which is pricier and has a lovely view of the salt pile And a Hampton Inn at the bottom of the Hill but they only do breakfast - no dinner or bar.

Easiest airport to fly into is Portland, Maine. About a 50 min. drive to Portsmouth straight down Rt 95. Second easiest is Manchester, NH - about an hour to Portsmouth and less direct. Boston's too much of a pain for me although it is also an hour away if you time your flight right.

And Kudos to you for looking out for wife's well-being and realizing that she needs a break sometimes. Although, after reading your post, she'd probably rather go with you and have someone babysit the kids!!
NHGail is offline  
Old Jul 10, 17, 11:50 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MSY
Programs: BA GfL
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In that time frame I would suggest Phoenix. Great weather at that time of year, great hiking within an hour or so's drive, safe. She could even fly in, rent a car and run straight up to Sedona which is two hours away. No safety issues. There are lovely spas around there that would be super relaxing as well as good bases for hiking--she could do group hiking trips set up by the spa if she's wary of going alone.
travelmad478 is offline  
Old Jul 10, 17, 12:37 pm
  #5  
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SMF
Posts: 1,240
Thanks for all the suggestions, there's a JW Marriott in Phoenix that looks like it would be a great place for her to get away. I had no idea there were resorts/spas that did group hikes. Are there any particular resorts you know of that might offer this. I hadn't thought of Sedona, I'll have to look into that to see if she'd be up for the driving.

The Hotel Del also has some great rates for that time of the year if she'd enjoy a beach vacation.

I should have clarified that I was talking about Portland, OR. We actually visited Portland, Maine last year together and had a wonderful time. If only it didn't take 10+ hours to get to the east coast from here; I think she'd love to go back there.
Big4Flyer is offline  
Old Jul 10, 17, 1:43 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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I know "Spa" resorts - like Canyon Ranch - have all sorts of group activities. I think that sounds great if it would be of interest to your wife. Massage, hikes, yoga class etc....
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Hoyaheel is offline  
Old Jul 10, 17, 2:31 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MSY
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Posts: 5,348
I haven't been to any of the places out there, so can't name anything off the top of my head, but many spa resorts offer hiking as an activity. Just check around on TripAdvisor or wherever for spas/resorts, then see what they have. In a minute of looking, I noticed plenty of deals available for spa resorts in the area in late October.
travelmad478 is offline  
Old Jul 10, 17, 4:01 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Rowe Mesa, NM - USA
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Posts: 1,764
Phoenix/Scottsdale but she will definitely need a rental car.

San Diego could be visited using public transportation and walking.
Dianne47 is offline  
Old Jul 10, 17, 8:32 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,524
Perhaps book on Southwest? One of the average traveler's selling point for Southwest is that changing the flight is just a fare difference. Even if it is a different day. Or even if she cancels due to a sick child (or three) and must stay home, she'll have the funds to use for a future trip without a change fee.

She'll probably enjoy herself and stay the entire time but it can be a psychological comfort to know that there won't be any hassle. FT'ers would probably book a new flight back if cheaper or do a change possibly waived fee with status. No problems with luggage fees, either, if she doesn't travel light. I'd probably sneak in early bird check in on the return leg to avoid the stress of having to check in T-24 for a good boarding position.
freecia is offline  
Old Jul 11, 17, 8:35 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Programs: Hilton, IHG, JetBlue, AA, Delta, Southwest
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Actually, the next time you do come to the east coast, check out Alaska Airlines. They do a non-stop from Seattle to Boston that's 7 1/2 hours and the one my son takes from Seattle to Charleston is about 5 1/2 hours here and 6 hrs back. Not sure what it would be from where you are.
NHGail is offline  

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