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USA solo female trip

Level Contributor
21 posts
USA solo female trip

I'm trying to plan a trip to the US for earlyish next year (between Feb-May) for around a month and a half. I've done a fair bit of travelling in groups but never on my own. I've come up with a very basic sort of itinerary but am a bit stuck now. Also keep in mind I'm a 22 year old female from Australia and really don't want to rent a car. I do want to travel earlier in the year due to my job finishing at the start of February so won't have any income between then and travelling but understand that weather may not be the best. Also I'm interested in the nature side of things and realise that some areas in the big parks may be closed off.

So anyway this is what I'm kind of thinking:

Probably around March I'll fly into LA then either stay here for a couple nights to recover, or fly straight across to Austin, Texas for a few days. Not too much that I've got my heart set on here but want to make the most of the trip by experiencing different areas of the country, plus it will also be nice and warm I'm hoping.

Then maybe somewhere else in the South before heading to New Orleans for the French Quarter Fest (11-14 April). Would really love to go to this so am attempting to plan the dates around it but if it makes it too difficult then its fine. Also not sure if people go for each of the 4 days of the festival? Or if I attend one or two days then it'll be enough.

Then back to LA for a group tour that I'm yet to choose. There's so many but it will be around 10-14 days and will definitely include LA, LV, San Diego, SF, and Grand Canyon... and either Bass Lake, Yosemite, or Zion Park. Will these nature attractions be okay around this time of year? Obviously if they were terrible then the tours wouldn't run but any personal experiences would be appreciated.

After the tour I'd either end in LA or SF and would train/fly up to Portland. I think the vibe here would really suit me so this is definitely up there on my list. However, how hard is it to visit the parks around here without a car? It seems thats the best way to get out of the city but again I'm unsure.

Then travel up to Seattle for a few more days before heading home.

As you can see its a bit all over the place but I'm just not sure how to move forward with it. I really want to make the most out of this trip as I've wanted to go to the US for as long as I can remember and I don't necessarily have a time limit (apart from the 90 days for the ESTA). Apart from the obvious New York I haven't found anything that I have to go to east coast for so I'm not sure if its worth the travel time/money to go. I'll be mostly staying in hostels which I've already had a look at for most of these places too, apart from a couple nights where I might book a motel/hotel for some time to myself.

Any tips/advice/comments/questions are very welcome!! Thanks in advance :)

27 replies to this topic
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
12,314 posts
155 reviews
1. Re: USA solo female trip

Looks like you have put some good thought into this. New Orleans is the outlier, but possible. As a Cdn, I am not totally up on the US low cost airfares and routes, but their train system, Amtrak, has routes for some of your plans.


I see they have gone to pics instead of the earlier route map, but do list cities. So you can train to Tucson and on to New Orleans (via San Antonio) and back to LA...but I might look at flying for that long trek.

For your tour, I don't know Bass Lake, but the others shouldn't be too cold. Wunderground.com weather site has historical rain and temp data, so I tend to use this site to look at 3 last years for data. If the park doesnt show up, then you might need to find closest town, and consider difference in altitude.

The US is a driver's mentality. At 22, however, a rental car will also charge a youth supplement.

I like rome2rio.com for checking transport options including taxi. Parks are not as accessible due to size. You might find shuttle buses or tours. There is a redwoods park you can get to by public transport from SF.

There is a lot of great stuff in the northeast, but it sounds like you aren't prepared to enjoy it, so then don't feel you must.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
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68,365 posts
72 reviews
2. Re: USA solo female trip


In my opinion the only place you need a tour is to Yosemite and/or Grand Canyon.

There is no need for one to get you to San Diego, San Francisco or Las Vegas.

You can get to all those cities easily by train or bus or short flights.

You can get tours from San Francisco to Yosemite with some days in the park.

Yosemite can still have snow in March.

This company might be fun for your age group:


Level Contributor
21 posts
3. Re: USA solo female trip

Quiltingmamma thank you for your help! I will definitely be looking into Amtrak for the shorter routes between states. Think I will get a flight to New Orleans as it would end up quite a long trip. The other two websites have been a great help too with weather and transport. rome2rio may give me some ideas for extra cities to see too.

Also I would be happy to see the Northeast but haven't done much research as not much has come up so far to give me inspiration. Also I've looked at weather there and early March could still get snow I think which would make packing more difficult with luggage allowances! It does look great there though.

Level Contributor
21 posts
4. Re: USA solo female trip

Riff M

Was definitely wanting the Grand Canyon and Yosemite so will look into trips to just those if dates coincide with what I'm trying to plan. The green tortoise tours look fun (and cheap) and a 2 day trip to Yosemite works with early May, but with camping I'm not sure about weather, if its freezing cold it might be difficult to be prepared for that sort of thing with luggage limits again. I'll be bringing a suitcase because thats what I have and 20/23kg max. I'm worried that if I book a camping trip and I start packing I won't be able to fit everything in that I need to sleep outside.

Level Contributor
2,012 posts
190 reviews
5. Re: USA solo female trip

Grand canyon is easily and much better toured on your own than with a group tour. Arizona Shuttle can get you from Phoenix to Flagstaff and then from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. You can see a lot without a car there, and Xanterra (the concessionaire that operates most of the hotels in the park) offers day tours to areas not reached by the free park shuttle. Reserve GC lodging as early as possible and use Xanterra or Delaware North, not a 3rd party; links to lodging are on the official park website. Areas at the rim and the upper parts of the trails can be slick and icy that time of year, so consider traction devices like YakTracs.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
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68,365 posts
72 reviews
6. Re: USA solo female trip

I understand about packing. IF you go to Yosemite in winter you may need some cold weather items but I don't think you need to bring your own sleeping bag if you are on a tour. Not sure about that but it is easy to wear those cold weather items onto your plane.

You don't need to pack all of them.

Level Contributor
21 posts
7. Re: USA solo female trip

vcv Thanks for your reply! I'd actually heard about the tour from Flagstaff but had totally forgotten about it, theres a hostel there that does them which could work well and save me some money.

Riff M my brother did a similar trip to what I'm thinking a couple years ago but Jan/Feb and he only needed a jacket to keep him warm which gives me some peace of mind. I'm leaning towards making the trip a bit earlier and leaving around late Feb/March, this means that I wouldn't have to wait as long after my job finishes, and can also see some snow while I'm there which would be really cool. Here in Aus there's no snow apart from in the mountains where you ski (and I am not an experienced skier by any means).

r c
Portland, Oregon
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9,628 posts
1 review
8. Re: USA solo female trip


you may want to have a plan but have a backup too. weather can be fickle and you never know what or when iw will happen.

Regarding your flight into LA and the onto Austin...and then more.

if you dont want to be in LA, i would look for a flight to Austin or your futherest point if you can. Then work your way back to me landing in LA then going east and then back again is backtracking and a waste of time & money. its about a 4~5 hr flight from coast to coast. You may find a flight into Florida/Georgia or someplace in that area and again, work your way back to the west coast.

good luck

Level Contributor
52,039 posts
22 reviews
9. Re: USA solo female trip

How long do you have for the Portland & Seattle portion? You really need a rental car to get out to the national parks in the Pacific Northwest.

Level Contributor
21 posts
10. Re: USA solo female trip

suze2you I don't have any real time limit so I was thinking have around a week in each place... not sure if that is too long/short for a first visit. You're probably right about needing a car in Portland and Seattle to visit the nature side of it. I was looking at doing a couple day tours and the place I'll likely stay has discounted ones. I have looked at a car and because of my age it's likely an extra $300, I'd also be quite nervous about driving on the other side of the road on my own.

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