I’m 27 & This Is How Much I Spent On A Trip To Dollywood With My Best Friend

Welcome to Travel Diaries, a Refinery29 series where we tag along as real women embark on trips around the world and track their travel expenses down to the last cent. Here, we offer a detailed, intimate account of when, where, and how our peers spend their vacation days and disposable income: all the meals, adventures, indulgences, setbacks, and surprises.

This week's travel diary: A 27-year-old sales executive visits Tennessee for tattoos, Dollywood, and karaoke.

For questions, feedback, or if you're interested in tracking your travel expenses during an upcoming trip email us at [email protected]

Age: 27
Occupation: Sales Executive
Salary: $96,000
Annual # Of Vacation Days: 10

Booking.com

Location: Irvine, CA
Trip Location: Nashville, TN
Trip Length: 6 days

Travel Companion: Best friend, B
Travel Companion # of Vacation Days: 12

Transportation
Costs: Round trip flight from LAX to BNA was $225. We booked an Avis rental car through Costco Travel from for five days for $128.87, but we’ll pay this when we pick up the car (if you haven’t checked them out, highly recommended. We originally booked through Expedia before this and found out Costco was $120 cheaper).

When did you book? Do you think you got a good deal? We booked it four months in advance, directly through Southwest’s website. I thought we got a great deal!

Total: $225

Accommodations
Costs: We stayed a few different places. My best friend, B., works in hospitality and gets a huge discount on hotels. We stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn first, then at a Hilton in Pigeon Forge, then an AirBnB barn, and another Hilton by the airport on our last night. B. put it on her card and I Venmo’d her.

Total: $197.21

Pre-vacation spending
– Acrylic/gel nail fill: $50 + $15 tip. She stayed late for me and painted a Dolly Parton-themed design, so I tipped extra: $65
– I had some clothes I wanted to wear that needed to get tailored: $40
– Dollywood ticket: $69.55

Total: $194.55

Day One

1:02 p.m. – I clock out of work and am officially on vacation! I took a half day because I haven’t hit quota yet (I work a sales job and it’s pretty crucial to hit numbers every month). I’m leaving straight from work to my parents’ house because they live closer to LAX. I get there around 2:15 p.m. and my mom and I immediately head to the airport.

3:10 p.m. – I check my bags and go through TSA Pre-Check, which is SO worth the money if you travel often. It takes me about 5 minutes to get through the line, I don't have to take my shoes off, don't need to scan my boarding pass (they just put my driver’s license through a machine), and get to keep stuff in my pockets. My best friend, B, is still on the way by the time I get done with security, so I walk around LAX for a bit and read a little bit of “Jurassic Park.” I’m re-reading it because I wanted a fun fantasy read, but I always forget how great Crichton’s writing is.

3:47 p.m. – B arrives! We go to Urth Cafe and I grab a blended coffee drink. $7.83

4:25 p.m. – We start to board the plane. Even though B is further up than I was, we still manage to get seats next to each other. We have a layover in Vegas and one of the flight attendants is dressed up as Elvis, which is kind of cute and fun.

6:00 p.m. – Arrive in Vegas and de-plane. We have about 30 minutes to kill before boarding again, so we walk around and look at the shops and charge our phones.

6:45 p.m. – Board plane and it’s pretty empty, so B and I get a whole row to ourselves!

7:15 p.m. – We take off and I try to sleep for a bit, but fail. I decide to read more of “Jurassic Park” and finish about 120 pages of it before I decide to take a break. I just sit and let my thoughts wander; I feel like some of my best “deep thinking” comes from me sitting on a plane, probably because I’m literally sitting with nothing to do.

12:40 a.m. – We land! We grab our luggage from baggage claim and head to the ride share pickup. B calls an Uber and we split the cost. $11

2:00 a.m. – We finally settle in and get ready for bed, but we’re still pretty wired from the time change. B falls asleep pretty quickly and I eventually knock out after.

Daily Total: $18.83

Day Two

11:02 a.m. – We didn’t set an alarm, but probably should have because we wake up super late, oops. We were set to pick up our rental car at 10 a.m., but that’s not happening. We call and they say it’s fine to pick up later.

1:59 p.m. – We get a Lyft back to the airport to grab the rental car (this was the closest pick up to our hotel; Avis was closed when we landed, so we had to pick up the next day). They give us a cute green Kia Soul, which is actually super spacious and nice to drive. $16.14

2:30 p.m. – We wanted to get tattooed today because it’s our “low key” day with no plans, but the artist we want is booked up. We make an appointment for tomorrow though, which works because it’s supposed to be raining. We find a BBQ spot near the tattoo shop called Edley’s. I can only have sides because I don’t eat meat, but they are probably the best damn BBQ sides I’ve ever had. I get mac and cheese, baked beans, and cornbread. I end up getting another side of mac and cheese because I was still hungry and it is incredible $10.10

3:00 p.m. – As I’m pulling out of the parking spot, I see a cute neon sign that said “Solstice” and realize it’s a brick and mortar for Solstice Intimates! I’ve been following their store on Instagram for a while and I’ve always wanted to buy something, so we head in. They do a lot of custom pieces, so they only have samples of what you can buy, but if something in store fit, you could purchase it right then and there. I find a bodysuit I love, but it needs more fabric around the bust, so the associate gives me their card to email the customization team my measurements.

4:15 p.m. – We arrive downtown to walk around and decide to go to the Johnny Cash Museum. We park at a meter after like ten minutes of circling around, then come to the realization we have no quarters. I go to an ATM and grab $25 so I can get change. We walk into a barcade, assuming they have a change machine, and the hostess literally just pulls out her wallet and hands us change. I try to give her cash in exchange, but she won't take it and tells us to have fun on our visit. Southern hospitality, y’all. We make a mental note to come back and drink here because she was so sweet.

4:40 p.m. – We arrive at the museum and grab coffee from their cafe. I use the cash from the ATM to pay for coffee ($3.25) and my ticket to the museum ($20.95). The museum is great and really detailed; my dad and I love Johnny Cash and would listen to him a lot while I was growing up, and it definitely exceeded my expectations. We weren’t planning to stop in, but I’m super glad we did. $24.20

6:10 p.m. – We head back to the barcade, which is called HQ Beercade. This is one of my favorite bars in Nashville, and probably some of the best cocktails I’ve had, period. B gets the first round – she has a beer and I order a mint chocolate cocktail; we play Tetris, Pac Man, Frogger – all of those fun 80’s games. I get the next round – she tries a blue vodka lemonade and I get an alcoholic cold brew. We leave around eight so we don’t get caught in the thunderstorm that is projected to happen soon (can you tell we’re from LA and not used to weather?) $31.22

8:25 p.m. – We get to the room and order pizza and garlic bread; I Venmo B for my half. We watch “The Perfect Date” because we loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (no shame). It is cute for what it was, but definitely no TATBILB. We laugh and talk a little bit more and fall asleep around eleven. $12

Daily Total: $93.66

Day Three

11:00 a.m. – We wake up and it’s not raining as hard as we thought, which is great! We have our tattoo appointment at 3:00 p.m. today and have time to kill before then, so we plan on eating breakfast (brunch?) at Biscuit Love. We get ready and head out for the day.

12:30 p.m. – I totally forgot I needed shorts for the tattoo appointment and don’t have any with me, so we stop by Target and got comfy pajama shorts. We also grab an umbrella in case it starts raining more. $23.68

1:30 p.m. – We head in the general direction of the tattoo shop and try to find a place to eat because Biscuit Love has an insane line. I am in a Facebook group called GIRLS LOVE TRAVEL; I screenshot some restaurant recommendations from Nashville posts and recognize a pizza place that was on the list. B points out that we had pizza the night before, but then we both agree we could probably eat pizza every day if we could. We park in lot that is walking distance to the pizza place, Five Points Pizza, and the tattoo shop. The lot only have a 2-hour or 12-hour option on the meter, so we pick the 12 hour time. $8

2:00 p.m. – The pizza is incredible. I just get cheese because I am basic and boring, but it was New York-styled slices. B also gets garlic knots and we split those, but now I need like, 8 pieces of gum to get the garlic breath to go away. We eat pretty slowly because we have an hour to kill $4.10

2:54 p.m. – We walk over to tattoo shop and check in with the artist, who already drew the tattoos out. I have been following him on Instagram for a while and was super stoked to finally get something from him. He asks us to give him a few minutes to set up, so we browse a small vintage store that shared the same space as the shop.

3:15 p.m. – He starts on B’s tattoo, finishes in about an hour, and starts on mine. It takes him about two hours because mine is a larger piece. We recognize one of the other artists at the shop because he used to live in LA and would tattoo some of our friends, and we realize we both matched with him on Tinder a few years ago (we laugh about it after our appointment was over). The artist was super nice and was very conversational, without seeming fake or overly talkative. My tattoo ended up being $300 and I tipped him $60. $360

6:30 p.m. – We’re both starving and craving BBQ, so B checks Yelp for a vegetarian BBQ spot. The top search result was the Southern V and it has five stars, so we go over. I get fried “chicken” made out of seitan with a side of BBQ sauce, mac and cheese, and baked beans. It is, without a doubt, some of the best vegan food I’ve ever had. $17.04

7:25 p.m. – My boyfriend K calls and we talk on the phone for a little bit. He keeps me updated on his day and our shared dog. I’m having a lot of fun so far, but I also miss them both so much.

8:15 p.m. – B suggests getting a massage and I’m down. She finds a place on Yelp that does 30 minute chair massages for $30. We call to make sure it’s okay to head over and they give us the green light. It feels really nice, but I start feeling a little dizzy. I realize I’ve only had a cup or two of water earlier, so I’m super dehydrated. I make a mental note to stop by a gas station or something to get water. I pay $30 and tip $5. $35

9:20 p.m. – We were planning on going downtown to bar hop tonight, but we both feel pretty sleepy and too relaxed to go out after the massages. Plus, we have to wake up around 7:30 a.m. to drive over to the Dollywood area, which is about a three-hour drive. We go to Target to get antibacterial soap for our tattoos and pick up a case of water bottles for the rest of the trip (I brought a reusable water bottle, but didn’t see any area to fill it up in). We also get face masks and potato chips, just because. I buy because I get 5% off with my Red Card. We head back to the hotel, watch TV, and fall asleep. $18.12

Daily Total: $465.94

Day Four

8:30 a.m. – We were supposed to be on the road 30 minutes ago, so we panic, throw on comfy clothes, and leave. Thank God we packed everything the night before. We grab some cereal in the lobby on the way out and basically shovel it down within, like, five minutes. I also pick up some Tylenol Extra Strength because I woke up with a headache. $4

9:00 a.m. – Approximately 30 seconds after being in the car, we realize we need coffee for a three-hour road trip, so we go to Starbucks. $4.05

11:35 a.m. – We both have to use the restroom, so we pull over at a Taco Bell. Once we walk in, we realize how hungry we are, so we order food. I get two potato soft tacos and a cheesy gordita crunch (sub meat for beans). $4.71

1:20 p.m. – So, I guess the time changes at some point on the way from Nashville to Pigeon Forge, where Dollywood is; we realize we gain an hour and the clocks on our phones don’t match the clock on the car. We Google it and part of Tennessee is on central time, and part is Eastern Time.

2:10 p.m. – We finally arrive at the hotel and I immediately start getting ready because Dollywood is closing at 8:00 p.m. It’s only a 10-minute drive, but I want to spend as much time there as possible. I’m not big on country music, but I do like the classics like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, etc. However, Dolly Parton is the exception: I am a HUGE Dolly fan. I love her music, her style, and her attitude towards life. I decided to go all out and wore this long, floral, bright vintage dress and huge sunglasses to really exude Dolly Parton vibes. We get ready and head out.

3:00 p.m. – We’re here and it’s way more amazing than I anticipated already! They have a tram that takes you from the parking lot to the front entrance and the park is super clean. I was expecting more of a kitschy county fair, but it’s actually like a mix of Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. They have themed lands, cute shows, and a surprising amount of thrill rides. We knew nothing about the rides, which actually made it way more fun to experience. We pretty much rode anything because it was so cold and rainy for some of the day, so it wasn’t crowded at all. We paid in advance, but B put parking on her card and I Venmo her half. $8

7:10 p.m. – We head out a little early because we did everything and want to grab dinner. We stop off at the Dollywood emporium and get a cute Dollywood dad hat ($27.43). B also bought us popcorn earlier in the day and because we bought a souvenir bucket, I pay for a refill ($1.10) to take back to the hotel. We also get some dessert at the bakery ($6.81) there because it looks so tempting and we have no self-control whatsoever; I pay because B bought the popcorn. My absolute favorite Dollywood purchase came earlier in the day in the form of an airbrushed shirt with Dolly Parton on it ($38.40); the guy didn’t do the best job at the airbrush (let’s just say it definitely doesn’t look like Dolly), but I live for that weird, kitschy stuff, so I personally love it even more that way. $73.73

8:15 p.m. – B Yelps some restaurants nearby; we’re both craving something hearty and “Southern”. She finds a place called the Old Mill, which seemed pretty popular based on the amount of people waiting to be seated. It takes about 20 minutes and we go to our table. This place gave us SO much food. I got a “four sides” plate and picked mac and cheese, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, and sweet potato casserole. They also gave corn chowder, salad, and corn fritters as an appetizer. It was exactly what we were looking for and it was so good, even though I felt disgustingly full after. They gave a free dessert as well, but I took it to go (I chose the cobbler, B chose chocolate cake) We tipped 20%. $24.69

10:05 p.m. – Fill up the car with gas. I wish gas was this cheap in California. $32.47

10:30 p.m. – Honestly, nothing feels better than taking a hot shower after a long day and going to bed feeling really full.

Daily total: $151.65

Day Five

9 a.m. – We wake up somewhat early-ish because we want to get to our Airbnb before the sun goes down; we rented a barn in Brentwood, which is about 20 minutes outside of Nashville. Dollywood is also super close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so we want to stop in there for a little bit as well. We have another three-hour drive, so we don’t really get dressed up or put on makeup.

10:05 a.m. – Definitely need coffee, but we can’t really find anything aside from fast food. We go to McDonald’s and I get iced coffee and two Egg McMuffins (no Canadian bacon); B gets iced coffee, fries, and hash browns. $8.77

11:20 a.m. – We get to the visitor’s center at the Great Smoky Mountains and realize there’s way more to do than we thought. We decide to drive up to the highest point in Tennessee, Clingman’s Dome. We take a very scenic, 30-minute drive up the mountain and realize the road is closed due to weather (there is still some snow). We walk around the nearby area that is open, near the Appalachian Trail, which was apparently the Tennessee/North Carolina state line. Now I can technically say I’ve been to North Carolina and can check that state of my list!

12:35 p.m. – After stopping off at some areas near waterfalls and creeks, we head out. I definitely want to come back and spend more time at the Great Smokies after seeing how beautiful everything is. We’re still exhausted, so we stop off at Sonic for iced coffee before getting on the freeway. I get Pecan Praline flavor and it definitely tastes like it’s just 80% creamer. B also gets an iced coffee; I put it on my card and she Venmo's me. $4.49

2:05 p.m. – We have to pull off and use the restroom. We decide to buy some snacks too because we’re getting hungry (and maybe a little bored?) on the road. B buys them.

3:35 p.m. – We arrive at the barn! It’s super cute but in a super rural area– we had to take a dirt road to get back here. The inside is pretty modern: the first level has a cute dining area with string lights and a bathroom, the second level is a kitchenette, living room, and bedroom. I give B the bedroom and take the futon, which was actually very comfortable. We turn on the TV and Steel Magnolias is on – perfect Southern movie featuring my queen, Dolly Parton.

4:45 p.m. – We decide to nap before we go out because we’re pretty wiped from driving and exploring earlier. While falling asleep, we hear gunshots from someone hunting nearby (well, I assume…or hope). Country living, y’all.

7:15 p.m. – We wake up and I feel super groggy, but slept like a log. We take awhile to wake up, but we eventually start getting ready to go barhopping downtown. I wear a gold metallic jumpsuit that's pretty low-cut, and a (fake) Gucci belt with it to give it some flare. I wanted to go for a 1970s disco look, which doesn't really fit the vibe of downtown Nashville, but whatever. I don’t really go out to popular bars or clubs back home so I want to go all out.

9:30 p.m. – We arrive downtown and we definitely need to eat something because I feel a little hangry. Although the bars are open until 3:00 a.m., most of the kitchens were closed, so we go to Sun Diner because it’s open 24/7. It’s packed in there and only has one waitress (I tipped extra because I felt for her), so it takes awhile to get our food. I get a breakfast wrap with potatoes and B got a chicken quesadilla. $15.30

11:10 p.m. – We stop off at a karaoke lounge called Wanna B’s, which doesn’t have as many people as we expected, BUT this means we can get our songs in faster. I sing “You Ain’t Woman Enough” by Loretta Lynn and B sings “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood. We end up doing another song because the line to sing is so short; I do “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks and B does “This Kiss” by Faith Hill. The bar has a really fun vibe and we meet a lot of cool people here, including some locals. B buys the first round of drinks and I get the second; I also Venmo the KJ a tip (smart move to include your Venmo handle next to the tip jar). $29

12:20 a.m. – We decide to go this famous bar, Nudie’s Honky Tonk. I don’t know if it's because it was Easter Sunday or maybe this is how it normally is, but it seems somewhat dead. They have a live band with some people dancing, but we leave pretty shortly after. B heard a bar called Whiskey Row was fun, and it's right across the street. It has lots of drunk guys and bachelorette parties. There’s a band that is fun and seems to captivate the crowd, but I personally am not feeling it that much. B finishes her drink and we GO right after (I don’t want to drink anymore because I'm driving). The last bar we went to, the Stage, ends up being SO fun, we stay until we leave downtown. They have a really fun band that does covers; it's refreshing to see them do a good mix of country songs along with some current hits and throwbacks. We stay until the band wrapped up at about 2:15 a.m.

2:25 a.m. – We get back to the car and drive back to the barn, which is a little bit terrifying; there aren’t any street lights once we turn into the residential area the barn was in, and I have to be super cautious about any deer running out into the road. We make it back safely, take off our makeup, and I fall asleep as soon as I get in bed.

Daily Total: $57.56

Day Six

9:45 a.m. – It's our last day in Nashville and I’m bummed! But I’m also very excited to see my boyfriend and dog tomorrow. Today is our shopping/basic Instagram photo-taking day, but we’re getting a slow-ish start (what else is new with us). We ask for a late check out from the barn and leave around 11:40 a.m.

12:10 p.m. – We drive back to Biscuit Love because we figure there should be no line on a Monday, but we’re wrong. We’re pretty hungry now, so we decide to pass on waiting. We find another location near Vanderbilt University, so we drive to that one because the reviews say the line is typically shorter. We get gas along the way (B pays because I filled up the tank in Pigeon Forge) and park in a lot ($4). The reviews were right – no line! I get an iced coffee, a side of potatoes, and french toast made out of biscuit dough, topped with berries and lemon mascarpone. B gets a hot fried chicken sandwich and an order of bonuts for us, which are donuts made out of biscuit dough and sprinkled with sugar and the lemon mascarpone ($20.10) I can confidently say that a bonut is now in my top five favorite food items. I need to bring a Biscuit Love to Los Angeles ASAP. $24.10

1:00 p.m. – We walk around the area because we see some cute boutiques; I buy two pairs of sunglasses I really like at one called Dress Up. I sign up for their rewards program and get 10% off. $23.65

1:40 p.m. – B has a friend that is really into the show American Pickers, so we drive to their store called Antique Archaeology. I love thrifting, and even though this isn’t my “style” of stuff I like to look for, it’s fun to look at and appreciate. B buys her friend a T-shirt and we explore the rest of the building, which is an old car factory from 1914.

3:30 p.m. – We go to this store we found on Instagram called Kittenish. It is very pink inside, which I love, and has a lot of 90’s decor. I find a few things to try on; I end up buying this stretchy crop top and flared pants set. It’s pretty pricey, but it’s super comfortable and it makes me feel so good about my body, which is worth it for me. Since I spend over $100, I get a free tote bag as well. – $100.51

4:15 p.m. – We arrive at Draper James in a seemingly trendy and upscale area called 12 South. We found this boutique because of a list we found by Googling “cute walls in Nashville” (lol) and discover this store is owned by Reese Witherspoon! Someone offers us complementary sweet tea, so we’re automatically in love with this place. A lot of the clothing feels very Southern, yet classic and chic. However, it is also very expensive, so we just browse for about 15 minutes and leave to take pictures with the cute blue and white striped wall outside. They also have one of the infamous “I Believe in Nashville” murals right across, so we take pictures with that as well.

4:45 p.m. – I wanted to take a picture with the colorful “Looking Pretty Music City” mural and it turns out to be a 30-second walk from Draper James. Cars honk at us while we take pictures but whatever.

5:00 p.m. – We drive by Five Daughters Bakery, so we pull over because it’s on our list. We park on a residential street and I’m blown away by how gorgeous the homes are here. We walk to the bakery and I get a chocolate donut with sprinkles. I like to think of myself as a donut connoisseur, and while these are good, they definitely aren’t as amazing as I had thought; I’m guessing it’s because we came at the end of the day. My all-time favorite donut goes out to Blue Star in Portland (and those bonuts from earlier, if they count). $4.92

5:35 p.m. – We head to Love Circle, which is just a park with a view of the city. We climb this hill to get to the top and shortly realize they have stairs on the other side, oops. It’s a pretty view, but we don’t spend too much time here. I want to drive and see the United Record Pressing, which is the largest record pressing plant in the US. It also served as a hotel for Motown artists when the South was still segregated. It’s closed when we arrive, but I take a few photos of the entrance.

6:45 p.m. – We stop off at the Grand Ole Opry, which is actually pretty far from downtown. I want to take a tour because it seems like an essential piece of Nashville history, but we never get around to it. We walk around the front and take a few pictures; later on, I discover from my dad that the Ryman Auditorium was the OG Opry and is worth seeing over the newer building, so I guess I’ll check that out on my next trip here.

7:30 p.m. – Our final stop is a cemetery in Hendersonville to find Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s graves, which B. found while researching the couple online. It takes us a while to find, but we eventually find them right before the sun goes down. It’s a pretty surreal experience.

8:15 p.m. – We head back to the hotel to drop off our bags before dropping off the rental car; we have to drop it off by tonight because our flight boards before the rental car spot opens tomorrow. We grab everything in one trip, which I regret pretty instantaneously because I have a ton of stuff. We drop it off and grab a bite to eat the the hotel restaurant because B. gets 50% off. I get a flatbread pizza (which is surprisingly really good) and she gets pretzels and a sandwich. I Venmo her before I forget. $10.50

9:05 p.m. – I stop by a gas station near the airport to top off the car’s gas tank before dropping it off- $7.37

9:20 p.m. – We successfully drop off the rental and are now waiting for the airport shuttle back to the hotel. Our total was $120 and we split it 50-50. We chose to stay at a Hilton near the airport for our last night because our flight leaves disgustingly early. $60

10:00 p.m. – We shower, pack up everything, and ready for bed. Except we can’t sleep because who falls asleep right away when they know they need to be up at 3:00 a.m.?

Daily Total: $231.05

Day Seven

3:30 a.m. – Alarm wakes us up and we get up right away. Thank god we put out the clothes we’re going to wear and packed up the night before. We get ready real quick, check the room to make sure we didn’t forget anything, and call the airport shuttle.

4:05 a.m. – Arrive at BNA. Get coffee and we are surprisingly alert for 4:00 a.m.

5:30 a.m. – Board the plane, which has 66 open seats, so we get a whole row to ourselves. Takes off at 6:00 a.m. and we both pretty much sleep the entire flight. We land 15 minutes early at LAX.

8:25 a.m. – Pick up my luggage from baggage claim, hug B. goodbye, and get into my dad’s car (bless him for always being early, even for an airport pickup). Vacation is officially over and I had a great time in music city, but can’t wait to hopefully unclog my arteries from eating all the Southern food and see my boyfriend/dog! Until next time, Tennessee!

How did you prepare for this trip?
I’m in a Facebook group called Girls Love Travel, so I searched for some Nashville posts to get some ideas for the best restaurants and coffee shops that were approved by locals and tourists alike. We also looked up Instagram location tags, Atlas Obscura, and literally just googled “cute things in Nashville”, “cute murals in Nashville” (this is how we discovered Draper James and Kittenish), and “fun things to do in Nashville”. My parents also visited last year, so they told us to check out the Johnny Cash museum/downtown Nashville.

What was your favorite part of the trip?
Dollywood! It was so fun to experience a new theme park (I feel like living in Southern California spoils me, because I’ve been to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Six Flags multiple times), plus the rides were great. It made me feel like a kid again and forget about all my “adult” troubles like work and bills and whatnot.

What was the best meal or food you ate while you were there?
One word: bonuts.

Would you stay at your hotels and Airbnb again?
I would definitely recommend the barn (Airbnb) because it was a unique experience I wouldn’t really have in Southern California. Hiltons are always nice, so I would recommend those as well, even though there was nothing really special about it.

Is there anything you wished you had time to do, but didn’t?
Definitely the Ryman Auditorium tour. I wish I had done more research and noted the difference between here and Grand Ole Opry/Opryland; I would have loved to stand on the stage that housed the great, OG country stars.

Do you feel like you were there for the right length of time?
Given everything we’ve done, I think we stayed a perfect amount of time. It gave us ample time to go out and explore, but also relax and take it easy, which I think is essential on a vacation. If we didn’t do Dollywood and Great Smoky Mountains, I would say we could have cut it short by a day or two.

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