3 Travel Tips for Your First Solo Trip to California

3 Travel Tips for Your First Solo Trip to California

Last Updated on May 29, 2024

Keen on exploring California solo? You’re not the only one. California, the Golden State, is on the bucket list of many. About 17.4 million people are expected to visit the state in 2024. This Golden State is a popular tourist destination because it offers an array of attractions. From the towering mountains to the stunning coastline, California is unlike any other place. 

Sure, it is an incredible destination to travel, but you need to plan things in advance. That is because navigating this vast and dynamic destination as a solo traveler can be challenging. But worry not, for we’ve got you covered with this guide. 

Here, we’ll share a few travel tips that will ensure you have a seamless and an unforgettable solo trip to California. 

#1 Plan Your Itinerary Wisely

California is huge! It sprawls across a whopping 423,970 square kilometers of land. There is a lot of ground to cover, from scenic coastlines and frothy deserts to expansive mountain ranges and buzzing metropolitan cities. Just Los Angeles is so massive that you can spend a week exploring the city. Unfortunately, you can’t cover everything in one trip. That is why you should plan your itinerary wisely. 

For your first solo trip, it’s a good idea to visit places with a developed tourism infrastructure. Of course, Los Angeles tops the list, followed by Orange County, Yosemite Valley, and Napa. A week will be enough for exploring these destinations. If you’re in the state for another week, spend your time in Joshua Tree and San Diego. 

Many people think of driving the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco in one day. This is totally possible, but we advise against it. Reaching San Francisco will take about ten hours, provided you don’t stop anywhere. That’s too far. 

California is so beautiful that you won’t be able to resist yourself, but stop at intervals, which will prolong the journey and tire you out. Thus, it’s better to avoid traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco by road. You can, however, book a flight to the city and reach in an hour. 

#2 Do a Work Exchange

California is significantly more expensive than most states in the U.S. Foods that you purchase will be taxable. You will have to pay 7.25% state sales tax plus the local district tax. That’s exceptionally high. 

To add to it, tipping is customary in the state. When dining out or paying for a service, such as a hairdresser or masseuse, a fair rule of thumb is to leave 15 to 20% of the overall price. Whether you’re going for a week or two, managing expenses can be challenging. 

Since you’re going on a solo trip, consider doing a work exchange. That means you will have to trade your skills or labor for accommodation, meals, or other perks. This way, you can immerse in the state’s local culture without spending a lot. 

Various opportunities exist for work exchange in California. You can work in hostels or guesthouses or volunteer with organic farmers through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOO) in exchange for lodging or food. 

#3 Experience the Magic of Napa Valley

No trip to California is complete without indulging in the world-renowned wines of Napa Valley. So, make sure you go wine tasting in Napa Valley. This county, nestled in the heart of California’s wine country, entices visitors with its charming vineyards, world-class wineries, and breathtaking landscapes. 

Over 400 wineries and 90 urban tasting rooms are open for tasting in Napa Valley. Whether you’re a novice enthusiast or a wine connoisseur, you will surely find something that appeals to your taste buds. 

For wine lovers, Downtown Napa is worth visiting. The picturesque streets of this city are lined with more than a dozen award-winning tasting rooms. 

Napa Valley Balloons remarks that there are 30 tasting rooms in Downtown Napa. They are located in modern storefronts, historic buildings, and hidden alleyways. These, showcasing the various wine scenes of Napa Valley, offer one-of-a-kind experiences, from renowned vineyards to boutique wineries. 

Some of the best tasting rooms in Downtown Napa include Levendi Winery & Tasting Room, Robert Craig Winery Tasting Salon, Vineyard 29 Tasting Rooms, Bazan Cellars Tasting Room, and Shadowbox Cellars. 

Beyond wine tasting, Napa Valley offers a plethora of experiences to indulge in. When in Napa County, make sure you explore charming cities like St. Helena and towns like Yountville. 

Also, embark on a hot-air balloon ride for a bird’ s-eye view of the valley’s rolling hills and vineyards. Or, treat yourself to a gourmet meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. 

To sum things up, your first solo trip to California will be exhilarating, filled with unexpected adventures yet countless possibilities. Since you’re going on a solo trip to the state, these tips will help you plan ahead. Hence, make the most of your trip by following these tips. 

However, remember to prioritize safety. Solo travels offer a unique opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. Yet, it comes with inherent risks. Hence, avoid going out alone at night, and if you go, take it easy on alcohol. Rest assured that you will have an unforgettable experience. 

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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