How I Spent 30 Hours in Washington DC

I recently had the opportunity to take a quick solo trip to Washington DC, and I ended up only spending about 30 hours in the city. Even though my trip was super short, I still got to see some incredible sights and do some top DC activities. Here’s exactly how I spent my 30 hours in Washington DC!
P.S. make sure to also check out my vlog from the trip right here!

Day One

8am – land in DC and hop on the metro
9am – get off at Capitol South station and walk over to the Capitol
9:20am – head over to the National Mall and walk over to Museum of Natural History
10-11am – explore the museum

11am – walk to National Archives Museum and check out the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence
11:20am – head over to the White House
11:40am – take some pictures of the White House
11:50amOld Ebbitt Grill for lunch (don’t forget to check out my post about Everything I Ate in Washington DC)
12-12:45pm – lunch

1pm – check in to Sofitel
1-3:30pm – shower/nap in hotel
3:30pm – head to Museum of American History
3:45-4:45pm – explore the museum

4:45pm – walk to dinner at Oyamel
5-6pm – dinner

6pm – head to Dolcezza for dessert

6:30pm – walk back to hotel
6:45pm – in for the night!

Day Two

8:45am – Uber to Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown
9-10am – breakfast

10am – walk to Compass Coffee for a pumpkin spice latte

10:30am – Uber back to hotel and pack up
10:40am – hop on a scooter and head over to Lincoln Memorial
10:50am – explore the Lincoln Memorial

11am – head back to hotel
11:30am-12pm – relax in hotel
12pm – hop on the metro and head to the airport for 2pm flight

5 Tips for Taking Your First Solo Trip

I’ve always considered myself fairly independent, and traveling solo is a huge extension of that. While I obviously love traveling with my husband, there are a lot of times that work or other outside circumstances make it easier for me to take trips alone. I honestly love traveling alone because you have complete flexibility and freedom as you plan and embark on your trip. I’ve undertaken a number of solo road trips (my most recent was to New Mexico – check out the vlog and blog), camping trips, and cross-country flights, and I’ve learned something new on each adventure. These are my 5 tips for taking your first solo trip!

  1. Consider your destination – do you want to stay fairly close to home, or venture to an entirely different state (or country)? Doing a “staycation” somewhat close to home, or to a city you’ve visited before, is a great way to ease into solo travel. Having a sense of familiarity with your destination makes the whole process a lot less intimidating. If you have your heart set on solo-traveling to a completely new area, do some research into how “solo traveler-friendly” the destination is. A great way to do this is by joining social media groups related to solo travel!
  2. Identify your intentions – maybe you want to solo travel to spend some time with yourself in solitude, or maybe you’re super social and plan to make friends along the way. Having an idea of your expectations and intentions when solo-traveling can help as you plan what to do and see on your trip. Some activites and areas are known for being great places to connect with others, while some destinations are perfect for those who want to keep to themselves. Thinking of what kind of solo-traveler you are makes a world of difference as you plan your trip.
  3. Travel safe and smart – I could do a whole separate blog post on how to stay safe when traveling solo (let me know if you’d like to see that!) but a lot of it comes down to common sense. Some of the biggest ways to travel safe and smart are: tell one or two trusted contacts your itinerary before leaving on your trip, don’t tell strangers you’re traveling alone, and do research on unsafe areas at your destination to avoid. Also make sure to “fake it til you make it”, aka try to project confidence as much as possible, because if you’re looking really confused or lost, you could come across as an easy target. At the end of the day, solo travel should be a fun and rewarding experience, so set yourself up for success by taking the necessary precautions to stay safe so you can truly enjoy your trip.
  4. Don’t feel awkward to do things alone – sure, some activities might be more geared towards couples, but you should never let anyone or anything make you feel awkward or inferior for doing things alone. Some of my favorite solo activities to do on my trips are going out to eat at a restaurant or cafe, going to the movies or a museum, browsing through some shops or local markets, and exploring a public park or hiking area. For some of these activities, I recommend bringing along a book or popping in your headphones to listen to a podcast/audiobook/music to keep you occupied. Besides, most people will be too focused on themselves to even notice you’re there alone, let alone waste time and energy on judging you for it!
  5. Be open to new experiences – obviously, you want to keep your wits about you and not put yourself in a dangerous situation, but go into solo travel with an open mind and a willingness to try new things. Sometimes, the most unexpected adventures end up being the most memorable! Don’t be afraid to try new things, especially if it’s something that will help you learn more about and/or experience the local culture of your destination. This could be anything from trying a new food or activity to spending a whole day with a local guide or tour group doing something you wouldn’t have planned otherwise.

I hope you find these tips helpful as you plan your first solo trip! I’d love to talk more about this topic so please let me know if there’s anything specific you’re curious about or would like me to cover. Thanks for reading, and happy travels!

A Weekend Exploring New Mexico

Happy June everyone! Over Memorial Day Weekend I embarked on a solo road trip to a state I’d never been before: New Mexico! I explored the towns of Santa Fe and Taos and had an amazing time. I was only able to stay for one night, so I’d love to go back to New Mexico and take some more time to see everything it has to offer. This is a little recap of everything I did and saw during my short time in New Mexico. If you haven’t already watched my road trip vlog, you can check that out right here!

Santa Fe

My first destination for my solo road trip to New Mexico was the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market. I arrived around 11:30am and was excited to see that the market was huge! There were a lot of people there because it was a beautiful Saturday morning, but I had a lot of fun wandering around and checking out all the vendors. I didn’t purchase anything this time around, but I highly recommend visiting the market if you want to pick up some local produce, baked goods, or arts and crafts.

After exploring the farmer’s market, I made my way over to REI Santa Fe. REI may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a former employee, I find it interesting to visit the different stores when I travel. REI is also typically a great place to buy local goods, and especially souvenir items. While there, I grabbed a few freeze-dried foods and snacks to have for dinner at my campsite.

For lunch, I decided to stop by La Choza because it has amazing reviews, with some people calling it the best Mexican restaurant in the whole city. I had pretty high expectations, and La Choza did not disappoint. To start, I tried their house margarita with prickly pear, which was highly-recommended in reviews. The margarita was incredibly fresh and not too sweet – just my style! I also got an order of their chips and guacamole. While the guacamole wasn’t as chunky as I usually like it, the flavor was amazing and I loved the addition of blue corn chips. For my entree I tried the crisp taco plate with green chile beef. The taco itself was amazing and the green chile beef was super flavorful. The plate also came with beans and posole, a type of pork/hominy soup that I had never tried before and really enjoyed. I chose a sopapilla for my side item which was super simple but surprisingly delicious, even though I totally forgot to try it with honey!

After lunch, I made my way over to Kakawa Chocolate House, which was one of my favorite stops of the whole trip. Kakawa serves up drinking chocolate and all kinds of chocolate creations ranging from truffles to caramels and even brownie sundaes. I got their Mayan drinking chocolate with whipped cream which was the perfect combination of sweet, bitter, spicy, and creamy. I also tried a sampling of their truffles and caramels which were mind-blowingly good. The prickly pear truffle and pinon caramel were my favorites!

Next, I decided to visit the downtown Santa Fe area. I didn’t have a specific destination in mind, so I just wandered through the various streets and popped into a few shops. I stumbled across a beautiful church in the heart of the city that was an amazing find, and I loved the big park in the main square as well. The whole area has a very artsy feel, with lots of galleries, museums, and art vendors around every corner. I didn’t get to spend much time exploring, but would love to come back sometime.

Taos

My next stop on my New Mexico road trip was Taos, where I’d be spending the night. Taos was about an hour and a half drive from Santa Fe, and the ride there went by the Rio Grande which was beautiful. Taos is a pretty small town, and I immediately loved the atmosphere as soon as I arrived. My first stop after checking in to my campsite was the Taos Inn to try their world-famous Cowboy Buddha Margarita. The margarita was very fresh and delicious, and I took my time enjoying it.

As the night came to a close I returned to my campsite at Taos Valley RV Park and settled in for the evening. I had hoped to do some hiking while in New Mexico, but wildfires had sadly closed many of the national forests. All the more reason to plan another visit!

If you’re looking for simple and comfortable camping or RV accommodatioins, I definitely recommend Taos Valley RV Park. All the facilities were very nice and well-maintained, and the park was surprisingly quiet so I got a great night of sleep. There are also beautiful views of the surrounding mountains which made for a beautiful sunset.

The next morning, I started my day with a visit to Michael’s Kitchen for breakfast. The restaurant is clearly a favorite in town because it was very busy, but I was able to grab a table without any wait. I opted for the atole-pinon pancakes which were made of blue corn. I absolutely loved how hearty and almost savory these pancakes were in contrast to your normal buttermilk shortstack. On my way out, I also grabbed a freshly baked loaf of sourdough bread, a chocolate croissant, and an apple empanada. All of their baked goods were amazing!

After breakfast, I took a short stroll through downtown Taos. Like Santa Fe, Taos is full of shops, art galleries, and museums. I picked up some handmade margarita glasses, which I can’t wait to use, and enjoyed my morning walk through town before beginning the journey home.

All in all, I had an amazing trip to New Mexico for the first time! I loved all the art and history that was evident in each town, and would love to return to explore some of the state’s beautiful hiking areas as well. I definitely recommend paying a visit to New Mexico if you’ve never been. What are your favorite things to see and do in New Mexico? Leave your recommendations in the comments so I can be sure to incorporate them during my next trip!