Travel Tips

Several questions, similar to Melissa’s, arrived by email and via comments. “Would you consider writing a blog post on the particulars of your trip, such as transportation, where you stayed, restaurants, shopping?” – Melissa R.

Whenever I travel, I use to reserve my flights, the hotel(s), and car rental well before my trip. Depending on the area you are visiting, you may need to reserve as much as six months in advance. I often fly Delta, stay in a Hampton Inn & Suites or similar Hilton property, and rent a car from Enterprise. Recently, I stayed at Quality Inn & Suites Middletown – Newport. It was clean, safe, and convenient. Most of the area’s hotels were booked well in advance since this is a hectic season for the New England area.

When you fly after October 1, 2020, you will need a REAL ID. Learn more about getting the REAL ID from your state agency here.

If you would like more information about getting a TSA Pre✓ ID card, click here.

Upon arrival, I pick up the rental car at the airport and enter my hotel address into Maps – Navigate & Explore (an app on my cell phone). First, I unpack, hang clothes, and put toiletries in the bathroom. After I freshen up, I usually have a late lunch or early dinner and explore a little. Going for a long walk when you arrive is an excellent way to offset jet lag.

As I plan trips, I research what is available in the area I want to visit. I search via Google for museums, nature preserves, walking paths, beaches, historical significance, and local attractions, including restaurants, unique architecture, cultural value, or natural beauty. I build a list of relevant places to visit or local restaurants I might enjoy and sometimes read reviews on to learn more about a destination.

I have never used a travel agent, and I do not travel as part of a group. One of the perks of solo travel is complete solitude and the freedom to explore at my own pace. My list allows me to skip things if they turn out not to be my cup of tea and move on to the next item without wasting any time.

My look for today includes a new red top with ruching. It is by Clara Sunwoo via I am wearing a size small. The black pants are (here) in Chico’s size 0.

I added fall touches with suede loafers and an animal print bag. Similar items here and here or here. The sunglasses are by Balmain. Similar here. The earrings were a gift from Mr. Mickey. Similar here. The ring is also old. Similar here.

While animal print and reptile prints are always popular for fall, they are not always flattering color combinations for me. The tones of animal prints are often too golden for my cool skin tone. I am also not a fan of memorable prints worn on my body, so a touch of animal in my bag or scarf is enough for my personality.

On Saturday, Mr. Mickey and I visited The Inn on Biltmore Estate for a late afternoon lunch in the Library.

The weather is cooler now, but the leaves have not yet started to turn here.

  1. Susan, I am enticed about solo travel. How do you handle the social aspect of dining alone when traveling solo? Shelley

    1. I enjoy as many courses as I want, but I never have more than one glass of wine. I watch people and enjoy the moment. I do not read or look at my phone. I interact with the server and anyone seated near me who might want to chat. I have been traveling alone for business or pleasure most of my adult life, so I am comfortable with all aspects.

  2. Thank you, Susan, for sharing great tips for fashion and travel. Could you please share more information about your navigation app? Pretty accurate, good walking directions, user friendly, any downside you’v discovered? I have removed so many apps that don’t deliver, now I ask questions before spending too much time or money.

    Thanks for your user insight.

    1. I use it for walking, driving, finding my car again in the parking spot, and finding the restaurant or hotel after my wanderings. I use Maps – Navigate & Explore Google LLCTravel & Local under My Apps on an Android phone. I’ve been pleased with and regularly rely on it.

  3. Do you find that a hobby such as photography gives you a purpose as you travel? At this time, I just use my phone for photos. Are there apps that you recommend for management of digital photos?

  4. Black pants are such a staple. I keep several styles, but some fabrics attract lint so much more than others! I hate that. Any tips for choosing fabrics? I thought it might just be texture, but I have some very smooth ones that look like I have dusted the furniture with them soon after donning them! Any tips?

  5. I also use to book flights. Reading reviews in Trip Advisor is very helpful as well. I have my compliant driver’s license and my husband and I both now have the TSA precheck. They send you what they call the Known Traveler number. You use that number when booking your flight. You fill out the application on line and make an appointment at an IdentoGo location near you. They review your application and you are fingerprinted. It’s $85 and good for five years. With that you skip the long lines and you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt, jackets, laptops, or 3-1-1 compliant liquids. Oh, and kids under 12 are free!

    1. TSA precheck is great but even though you pay the fee it is not always a guarantee you will get it
      And in our case a few times my husband or I get it and the other does not. And my husband is a million plus miler with Delta. The random screening still happens. Most times it does work out for both and saves time in the security line. Once in a while though when I am precheck something goes off…shoes. under wire bra and you get a wand. But still worth the price and the interview.

  6. Hi Susan!
    Love the red and animal print combo on you! Plus the shade of red is my taste exactly. I’ve been a fan of yours for quite some time. You live your life with style and grace and I admire you!

  7. I love the drive from Green Airpot to. Export, especially in the fall. Crossing the Jamestown Bridge and then th pe Newport bridge brings a joy to my heart that I can’t describe. I’m so glad that you had the opportunity to experience this. Such a lovely town now, although when I lived there as a child is was a shabby little Navy town, not at all a tourist destination like it is now.

  8. Do you have a list of places you want to visit or do you just read an article and decide you want to see something? Does this solo travel ever include places outside of the United States? Thank you.

    1. I have traveled around Nova Scotia, Canada, and Athens, Greece alone, but those trips were many years ago. There are so many places to visit in the USA; I haven’t planned international trips yet. I enjoy visiting areas I’ve researched enough to know there are many things in the area to entice me. Botanical garden visits are a favorite. Preserved architecturally correct historic houses, and quaint villages with unique shops, excellent museums, and beautiful beaches are reasons for me to visit.

  9. Excellent advice. I have never used a travel agent, either. I have the same thought process about traveling alone (without a group) and being as blessed to choose which sights are more my preferred choice.

  10. I love your blog and found this one very interesting. I wanted to let you know about a great new app I recently discovered called Visit A City to help plan what to see and create a plan. Just used it in San Antonio and it was fantastic! I am a recent widow and you have made me excited about traveling Alone!
    Thank you for your wonderful blog, I am adopting a style thanks to you! Keep up the good work,
    BTW, I am making a trip to Asheville soon with my best friend, partly because of some of your blog posts in the area!

  11. Thank you Susan for your blog. I just started the process for TSA Pre because of your blog this morning. I had put it off and it was right there to help me. Thank you. We fly often with American and sometimes we are picked for TSA Pre and other times not. So after Thanksgiving we’ll be on TSA Pre! I also like to book with Enterprise. We’ve tried other rental companies and have always received excellent service so we stick with them. If there’s a problem, they correct it quickly.
    I have a rolling closet like you have but don’t pull it out to pack for trips. I use that rolling closet for guests only. I lay everything on my bed and see what pieces go together and add or delete from there. My husband does the same thing. I tried ordering the hat you have since it’s so cute but alas my head is too large. So still searching. Thanks again.

  12. Hi Susan! I am always looking for places to go & discovered a website that provides some good information of what to do, what to see, etc. – it’s called “only in your state” ( You just put in the state or city you are interested in and it gives you information on nature, life, attractions, dining, history, adventures, etc., in that area. It really is a neat site! 🙂

    Happy Travels everyone!

  13. i love the way you are willing to share with your readers even personal details of your trip. I don’t travel very far from home anymore but this information must be really helpful for those who do. I’m happy to see you back. We do miss you when you are away. Looking forward to the holiday blog during the holidays ahead, I love those posts.

  14. Susan, you might want to look at the app called Clio…it’s an historical and cultural app. Thanks for all your information!! I so value your blog!!

  15. Just wanted to add that a valid passport can be used instead of a REAL-ID compliant driver’s license to fly domestically even after the October 1, 2020 deadline. There are a few other compliant options which can be found using the link you provided.

  16. Hello Susan,

    You really are my source of inspiration on fashion and type of clothes to wear at our age. You are also my source of information on food and travels.

    Even if I live in the Philippines, I follow your advise on anything 🙂 and I am hoping I can set up my own blog sooner.

    More power to you.

    Genevieve Fernando

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.