I picked a place on the map and booked a flight. $60 roundtrip from MCO to CTL.
So, I arrived in Charlotte on a Wednesday in December around 1pm. I called an uber to my Air Bnb which was 8 minutes away and cost about $8 – Uber was running a 10% off special for the month of December. When I arrived at the hosts location, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the pictures online did the place no justice. It was beautiful!! I booked a shared space which cost me $28/night for a grand total of $160 for 4 nights; this included taxes and cleaning fees. There were two other women in the loft style apartment, 1 upstairs and 1 downstairs.
Both girls were the same age as me and traveling alone. The girl upstairs was looking to relocate to the Charlotte area from Buffalo, NY to escape the cold weather. The other girl was visiting from Orlando, FL also looking to relocate to decrease her living expenses.
And me, I just went to experience a new city that I heard good things about; which included, the ability to see all four seasons, the plentiful job opportunities, and the large amount of young thriving black professionals.
After checking in and settling, I was happy to see that a full breakfast bar was available for guests. There was oatmeal, coffee, creamer, a tea assortment, plenty of water, popcorn, granola bars and fruit! Oh.. there were also toppings for the oatmeal like raisins, pecans, dried cranberries, butter and sugar. Little thoughtful things like this encourage me to give a 5-star Air Bnb rating. I felt so at home it was kind of strange.
Later that night I decided that I’d catch the Hornets v Golden State Warriors basketball game! I didn’t buy tickets online just because I thought I could get a better deal at the box office. When I arrived at the arena, I saw an older guy standing on the corner selling tickets to the game, it was real suspect I’m not going to front. But there was another guy, by himself looking to buy tickets from him; so me being the curious person I am, I walked up with the random guy and told myself, If he trust this guy enough to buy these sketchy tickets that would supposedly have us sitting right behind the Hornets, then I would take a chance too. $60… why not.
Sure enough, we bought the tickets from the gentleman and got our VIP seats right behind the Hornets. 1 beverage cost me $20 and I was treated to a meal. And the Hornets won!!!
Waking up Thursday morning in my super cool loft was the best feeling ever. I took my time getting out of bed, listened to tunes by Summer Walker and thought about everything I wanted to do for the day. After showering and getting a bite to eat, I got on my laptop to research what there was to do in Uptown.
The museum that caught my eye was the Harvey B Gantt Center for African Americans. That was my first stop. I called my uber and within 10 minutes, I was walking into the museum. I walked up to the information center, which was also like a gift shop, paid my $9 entry fee and was directed to go up the escalator into the museum where I would be able to see 3 exhibits.
The first exhibit was based on the relationship between law enforcement and Black people. It also acknowledged how many Black people were in prison. There was actually a wall where several photos were taken over a period of time with a young Black man who was locked away and his wife and baby girl. The photos were really sweet.
The second exhibit showcased a city called Brookhill. This neighborhood has been predominantly “African American” since the 1930s. The beautiful pictures showcased several families bonding and showing love to one another. The last exhibit showcased paintings from various Artists.
I left there and walked across the street to the Mint Museum where I paid $12, I received a $8 discount since I had already been to the Gantt Museum. The Mint Museum was absolutely gorgeous. I would have to go back again just to see the glitter bling bling photo of the beautiful Nina Simone.
By the time I finished with the museum it was around 5pm and I was STARVED. So, I walked a couple of blocks down to Eddie V’s for happy hour! I sat in the V Lounge where a live band was playing very soft and mellow Christmas jams. I ordered steak sliders, a crab cake, a dirty martini and a cosmo. With my employee discount, I spend around $30. The restaurant manager gave me tour of the restaurant and even walked me to the epicenter to find some cool hangout spots. My evening could not have been more perfect.
By the time Friday came, I had already made up my mind that I wanted to come back and possibly look for job opportunities. It was something about the air, the orange and yellow leaves on the trees, the cool breezy weather and the overall vibe of the city that made me feel at home. I spent most of the day in the loft, writing and working on my blog. Later that evening I filmed a Get Ready With Me video for my YouTube channel then headed out for some grub.
I met a girl on Tinder that recommended a place called Vapiano. This place gave me retro-classy vibes, like the perfect place for a dinner date with your girlfriends; totally appropriate for any occasion. I devoured a delicious 12” Hawaiian pie that was prepared in the pizza station. I also had 2 Tito’s soda and lime cocktails. Total cost at Vapiano was $35 including a tip.
Afterwards I decided to take a 9-minute walk to Crave Dessert Bar. The bartender at Vapiano recommended it for hookah and delectable desserts. Crave was packed when I got there so I had to wait about 30 minutes before I got a table. I was willing to wait because I saw beautiful people inside, the music was on point and the ambiance was very inviting. I ordered chocolate covered strawberries and a lime-mint flavored hookah. I would highly recommend Crave for a date night with your sweetheart.
Saturday morning, I woke to a text from a guy I met the night before asking me to join him for breakfast. We met at the coolest little place near uptown that he recommended called Rhino Market & Deli. There I enjoyed a veggie omelet and chai tea. He had French toast and scrambled eggs. The music was an eclectic mix of old and new pop and r&b. It was set up like a convenient store with 4-5 isles of goodies for purchase with indoor and outdoor seating. Following breakfast, he took me on a mini tour of the city; we stopped by the football stadium, the music factory and he showed me where he lived. By this time I was inspired and ready to write. I asked him to drop me off in uptown at a Starbucks so I could people watch and soak up the vibes on my last day and night in the city. I met a few more interesting people that night then headed back to the loft to Netflix, chill and pack for my flight the next day.
Many people fear traveling alone for obvious reasons like being harmed or getting lost, or maybe just running into very bad people. But some less obvious reasons are fear of boredom and just not wanting to be alone.
Well let me tell you. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Now, if you have a record of not making good decisions when it comes to the discernment of other people you’ve interacted with then maybe that is something to consider before traveling alone. But if you believe that you have good judgement of people’s characters, then you’ll definitely be okay. Of course, be extremely aware of your surroundings. I maintain a poker face or what some people might call a “resting bitch face” at all times just to deter people from trying to interact. The only way someone will have the balls to approach me is if I give them a signal that it’s okay. Lol. I’m so serious. Even then, I’m so cold that you’d have to really want to get to know me to put up with the sassiness. And there’s no reason to be bored, research places to go in the city based off of your interest and use social media to link up with like minded people. I met girl bloggers from Instagram and tinder who lived in the area and was able to provide tips.
I spent about $80 on uber, $200 on food and about $81 on activities.
Total cost for my solo trip to Charlotte, NC was $581.
Have you traveled solo? Why or why not? How much did you spend?