VIRGINIA SOLO TRAVEL GUIDE

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! VIRGINIA TRAVEL GUIDE 2024
PLAN AND BOOK YOUR VIRGINIA SOLO TRAVEL

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WELCOME TO VIRGINIA!

Gwen at McAfees Knob Virginia

Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 28 years of solo global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my guide to Virginia solo travel, all from my Virginia travel, so you plan and book your solo trip to Virginia with ease. What are you waiting for?

VIRGINIA: DID YOU KNOW?

About Virginia

Commonwealth of Virginia image
Commonwealth of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth Flag image
Virginia Commonwealth Flag

Virginia – “The Old Dominion”, is the 35th largest state in the USA and home the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Entered into the USA as the 10th state (although it is called a Commonwealth), Virginia’s capital is Richmond, and its largest city is Virginia Beach.

Virginia is home to Jamestown, the first English settlement in the U.S., Colonial Williamsburg, the largest Naval base in the U.S., the birthplace of 8 U.S. presidents, Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech, the Pentagon (the largest office building in the world), tobacco, and peanuts.

Other popular Virginia destinations are Roanoke, Shenandoah National ParkArlington National Cemetery, Old Town Alexandria, Mount Vernon, and Luray Caverns.

McAfees Knob Virginia hiker

Popular Virginia Activities

Virginia has no shortage of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy. Its mountains, lakes, rivers, wineries, historic sites, museums and entertainment venues offer some of the best hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, fishing, wildlife and marine life watching, surfing, boating, sailing, dining, wine tasting, and cultural, sporting and entertainment events in the USA year-round.

Best Beer and Wine Tours in Virginia

VIRGINIA TRAVEL PLANNING

Virginia Holidays

In addition to U.S. holidays, Virginia may observe additional state or local holidays.  It may be a good idea to check what state or local holidays they celebrate to see if there are any public service, school, or other closures as this may impact your tourist itinerary, ability to obtain travel or other services, or it could mean more tourists and/or higher prices in your Virginia destination.

Take a few moments to see if there are any Virginia holidays to better help you plan Virginia travel.

Tipping in Virginia

See tipping guidelines in my USA Travel Guide for tipping in Virginia.

Travel Requirements

U.S. states do not impose additional travel requirements, such as documentation and vaccinations, other than those imposed at the national level. See the USA Travel Guide for all USA travel requirements.

Electronic Requirements

All U.S. state electric outlets require a Type A (two prong) and/or Type B (three prong) adapter. See the USA Travel Guide for electrical requirements in the USA.

Cyber Security While Traveling

Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.

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CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES

Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top Virginia destinations, all from my travel in Virginia, to plan your best Virginia solo travel.

The more I travel in Virginia, the more that gets added to this Virginia Travel Guide. Keep checking back.

Southwest Virginia

Best Things to Do in Southwest Virginia

I have lived in Virginia for a total of 19 years. Unfortunately, it has been years since I was in any of the following Virginia destinations. If revisit these Virginia destinations (or Washington, DC), this will be updated. Until then, here are my recommended things to do in Virginia, including from Washington, DC (from what I’ve already enjoyed or would consider doing when I revisit).

Northern Virginia

Best Things to Do in Northern Virginia

Charlottesville

Best Things to Do in Charlottesville

Williamsburg

Best Things to Do in Williamsburg

Norfolk

Best Things to Do in Norfolk

HOW TO BOOK VIRGINIA TRAVEL

It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.

No Virginia guide would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun Virginia things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your solo trip to Virginia.

Cheap Flights to Virginia

With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to Virginia, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to Virginia now.

Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to Virginia

Virginia Places to Stay

Second in importance to buying airline tickets to Virginia is finding the best place to stay in Virginia for your Virginia solo travel. Develop your Virginia travel itinerary now and find the best Virginia travel accommodations to knock one more travel planning item off your solo travel list.

Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in Virginia

Getting Around Virginia

Virginia has all forms of transportation, including Carpoolworld, Uber, Lyft, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area).

Of course, you can easily get a taxi or find a rental a car in Virginia if it better suits your Virginia travel itinerary.

Find the Best Deals on Virginia Rental Cars

Virginia also has regional buses and is part of the Amtrak train system.

Things to Do in Virginia

Here are some of the top things to do in Virginia to book for your Virginia solo travel.

Best Virginia Food Tours and Activities

VIRGINIA ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS

There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Virginia. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.

Air Travel Tips

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ground Transportation

Try to avoid flying within Virginia by taking a regional bus or the Amtrak train.

When booking a rideshare in Virginia, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in Virginia.

The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in Virginia are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter.

Explore Virginia Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals

Lime also has electric scooters to rent in Virginia for fast and clean commuting in select cities.

Biker on Roanoke Greenway Virginia

Accommodation Tips

Look for Virginia accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for USA Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

City Market Building Downtown Roanoke Virginia

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for USA certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find accommodations in Virginia implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is to reserve a Booking.com Travel Sustainable accommodation. Booking.com started the Travel Sustainable program in 2022.

Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in Virginia

Eco-Friendly Things To Do

Virginia has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Virginia. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

Top Eco-Friendly Activities in Virginia

Eco-Travel Products

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect Virginia’s environment. 

For more ideas on how to travel with the planet in mind, read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

View from McAfees Knob Virginia hiking 3 day itinerary

VIRGINIA TRAVEL SAFETY

Before You Go

Buy USA travel insurance and international medical insurance for your Virginia solo travel to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.

Safety in Virginia

In addition to the travel safety tips in the USA Travel Guide, if you are planning on going hiking, backpacking, skiing, camping, river rafting or doing any other activity that will take you into remote places, please ensure you research the local travel and weather advisories in advance and respect warnings not to travel.

Let people know where are you going, provide them your itinerary, and ensure you have safety and emergency measures provided for in your travel belongings.

VIRGINIA BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS

Virginia Sales Tax

Virginia levies a statewide sales tax and cities levy an additional, local sales tax. Where you vacation in Virginia could increase your holiday budget. Reviewing Virginia cities’ sales tax rates may help you prepare your Virginia travel budget.

Best Time to Visit Virginia

Virginia is blessed with four, full seasons. June to early September has the hottest and most humid weather and winter can be downright cold December to early March, making winter the cheapest time to visit Virginia, with the exception of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  

The autumn (mid-September to November) and spring (mid-March to May) provide the best weather and still decent prices to visit.  It would be within these months I recommend visiting Virginia in order to avoid tourist crowds and higher prices, yet have nice weather to enjoy the outdoors.

Downtown Roanoke from Mill Mountain

Budget Accommodations

Staying in Virginia hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in Virginia, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.

Many hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in Roanoke – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.

Don’t overlook exploring hostels in Virginia if you’re on a budget.

Reserve Your Virginia Hostel

Best Time to Book Travel

Virginia can be pricey depending on your Virginia destination and time of travel. The sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.

Ready to book Virginia solo travel? Don’t miss out and find the best Virginia travel deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money when traveling Virginia.

Book Virginia Travel Early to Save Money

Backpacker alone overlooking mountains

PERSONAL STORY

I’ve lived in Virginia on and off for about half of my life. Although I’m a west-coaster, I have grown to really appreciate Virginia and all it has to offer.  Autumns are my favorite season, as I’m sure you can understand with the beautiful foliage color changes.  Virginia is diverse, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Virginia Beach to the D.C. area. 

If you have not been to Virginia, I encourage you to visit and try to hit the triangle of areas I’ve listed – they are amazingly different from each other yet each is beautiful, fun, and educational.

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