Solo Travel: Pros and Cons: 2004
Many people are reluctant or nervous to travel alone. Share your tips on traveling alone safely, economically...and without being lonely.
If you're thinking of travelling alone, look into www.hospitalityclub.org--a huge database of travelers and people willing to host them, whether for dinner, being shown around town, or accommodations. I've had some great experiences meeting and/or staying with hospitality club members throughout Europe. You get a glimpse into a place from the point of view of someone who lives there, makes for great, authentic "tours".
Also, if you stay at someone's house, even if they are not able to dedicate their days to you, it makes a city a little bit friendlier just having someone to "come home to" and chat with a little about your experiences and your day. What a great resource for travelers, solo or not. Check it out!
Paris, France Fri 12/03/2004
When traveling alone be sure and check out all the free and/or cheap entertainment in the cities. Before you leave, go on line for sites with info-Parler Paris for example, has listings of concerts, art gallery showings, expat meetings, local markets, festivals, poetry readings, etc. for Paris only. There are also great magazines for cheap at kiosks and tobacco shops with every type of show, etc. listed. Paris has several such publications.
I have made wonderful, life-long friends all over Europe over the last thirty years and I am a female on my own more often than not! So look in the little neighborhood papers and jump in! You will soon have friends to revisit the next time you are in Paris! By traveling solo, I make my own choices, meet old/new friends at my discretion, eat where,when and with whom I choose and have never felt lonely. I email to friends in Europe telling of my upcoming trip has already elicited 9 invitations for drinks, lunchs, dinners, and even a champagne picnic! So, all I can say is, if you feel lonely get out there! And while you are enjoying the art, food, and history, enjoy discovering yourself along the way!
Winter Haven, FL USA Thu 12/02/2004
Are you looking for a non-touristy, low-cost vacation in Spain!
My favourite destination? Spain! My type of adventure? Vaughan?s Englishtown! I was in Valdelavilla in the summer of 2004. It was my 3rd time, I had been to Gredos twice. It was my sister?s 2nd time, and my son's, who is 26yrs old, 1st time. We all enjoyed our 7 days among interesting & fun-loving Spaniards, plus other Irish, Australians, Scottish, English, Americans & Canadians.
If ALL you want to do on your vacation is visit touristy attractions, then this is not for you. Here, you'll get to know so much more about Spain & Spaniards. Both venues are beautiful, and so different from each other. I wouldn't be able to say which one I liked better! All I know, is that I have made life-long friends (Spanish and English natives) and lived unforgettable moments. I can't say enough good things about my experience! I recommend this to every adventurer and traveller. One friend is even going to bring her teenagers along for Teen-Englishtown next summer!
Madrid, Spain Thu 11/25/2004
I found Paris to be a lonely city. The first few days I didn't know what to do with myself, and I absolutely hated the feeling of being lost and frustrated, with nobody to help you stay centered. And it takes a while to adjust yourself to not laughing. That is a main factor that I really missed, not having a reason to laugh out loud, nobody there to tell jokes. The french were not very open to the type of small conversation that you find in America. Luckily, the Hotel Medicis (Rick's suggestion) I met the man that lived next door and spent time with him.
The days were filled with excitement and energy to see museums and monuments, but (especially in Germany), once the stores close around 6-7, and everyone goes home, it's harder not to get bored on your own, especially when the hotel doesn't provide a tv or radio, and you can't afford to go to a restaurant or bar. In retrospect though, once you get home finally and rest for about a week, see your photographs, and have time to contemplate, the adventure that you had taken possesses a whole new meaning. The bad melts away and you get the chance to reflect on the good.
USA Sun 10/31/2004
I'm in London right now, by myself. I've been to Munich, Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Dingle, and Galway by myself before coming here.The funniest was when I was in Oktoberfest by myself. I got there really early to get a seat and I felt like a real moron sitting at this huge table all by myself. Eventually the place started filling up and these German girls asked if they could sit at my table. I told them sure and they filled it with a few friends. A few minutes later they informed me they needed room for one more and they needed me to move, which I that was awesome of them. So they asked the guys at the table next to ours if I could sit there and they said sure.
It was three Itallian guys that barely spoke English and I had the time of my life with them. We communicated with mostly hand signals and what little we knew of each other's languages. After we stumbed out of the beer tent arm in arm drunk. I gave them my Email and I told them if they ever come to LA we'll drink. They told me I was a great friend. I haven't heard from them yet. Hopefully I'll party with my great friends again.
Los Angeles, CA USA Thu 10/07/2004
Pros and Cons
My freshman trip to Europe was actually solo, simply because my travel partener did not have the money in the end to buy the ticket. Reluctantly, I boarded the plane and headed off into the undiscovered country across the pond. After shaking off the initial jetlag, I found myself walking through the streets of A'dam telling myself "I can't believe you're doing this solo! Are you crazy? You don't even eat in restaurants alone!"
Later that first day, I met some fellow travellers my age from the UK that just happened to be in A'dam as long as I was. I was kinda embarrassed to say that I was by myself, and shrugged off questions about who I was with. We ended up going out and indulging in all of A'dam's hedonistic pleasures that night and had one of the best times of my life! We hung out every day that I was in Amsterdam and I enjoyed their company tremendously, and still keep in touch with them.
I took the Thalys into Paris from Amsterdam later that week, leaving my newfound British buddis behind. I did not have the luck of finding anyone to do Paris with that I did in A'dam, and it was kinda depressing, especially since it was the most romantic place I had ever been. I kept myself busy by visiting all of the places that I had always wanted to go... Jim Morrison's grave, La Tour Eiffel, etc. and in the end, found an independence in myself and a freedom that I had never felt. I had no ball and chain holding me against doing what I want and going where I wanted to go! If I felt like eating croissants every day, I did it!
Point being, there are both pros and cons. Sometimes I look back at those times and it is hard knowing that I have no one close to share those great times with, but on the other hand, I did what I really wanted to do and learned that I was capable of anything as long as I made the decision to do so.
IL USA Mon 10/04/2004
Dining alone can, indeed, be lonely. But, as others have noted, it can also be quite rewarding. As in other aspects of solo travel, it gives you more opportunities to meet people.
Early in my first trip to Germany, I walked into a restaurant and, in my extremely limited German, asked for table for myself. Evidently, the hostess told me that they were full, but I didn't understand anything she'd said - I just stood there looking dumb. Just then, a couple said something in German to the hostess and she seated me at their table. It turned out that this was a Brittish couple that loved to spend time in Germany. We talked for several hours and they gave me quite a bit of useful information that made the rest of my trip much better. So, you *never* know what can happen!
Here's some tricks I used for dining alone. In my daypack, I always had a book, my journal, and my laptop. The laptop turned out to be very useful in many unexpected ways, but that a different subject. If I found that I was bored or feeling lonely and/or exposed, I pulled out the book or journal. But, if I felt the crowd was 'right' for starting conversations (and I was in the mood), I'd pull out the laptop. I was fortunately enough to have one of the new (at the time) Apple titanium laptops, so it caught people's attention. And, while some folks would consider it rude to pull out a laptop in a restaurant, I think solo diners are cut quite a bit of slack in this regard. People probably think they'd do the same thing if *they* were eating alone. Anyway, the laptop actually worked at a good conversation starter. People wanted to know what it was, etc. It also helps to make your desktop background be a picture you've taken of a local attraction.
Regardless of whether you do the journal, book, or laptop, look up and around the restaurant every so often. Give the other patrons a chance to catch your eye.
Portland, OR USA Thu 09/23/2004
Solo Travel a great idea
All my live I'd always traveled with someone. I'm separated and did two solo trips this summer to Europe. I wish I'd done this sooner. I encourage everyone to do this. The board has lots of good tips so do your homework before you go and you will have a better time. I stayed at smaller family run hotels. The proprieters were often very helpful and their tips were some of the highlights of my trip.
New York, NY USA Mon 09/06/2004
Yes! Travel in Europe Alone!
Do it alone. Sign up for a walking tour. They are usually cheap, (Rick points several in each city in his books), there are interesting and other solo travelers do them as well. When I was in Edinburgh last year, I went on a Ghost Tour. BEST Thing I did. I met the nicest people from Northern Ireland. While in Dublin, I met a guy from Paris. After the pub/music crawl, we hung out longer chatting about our travels through Europe.
Don't be afraid to go at it alone. Between train travel, walking tours and dining - you meet the best people. You are more open to new experiences. Plus when you meet locals, they tell you about the best pubs, restaurants, etc to try.
Jacksonville Florida, FL USA Thu 08/12/2004
I travelled to London by myself last year, and encountered no problems. For extra added security, though, I always include a little door stop wedgie in my toiletries bag and use it where ever I travel. Makes me sleep just a little more soundly (or shower a little more securely), knowing at least if someone tries to enter (even with a key), they'll encounter enough trouble that will give me time to react. It sometimes happens that people innocently forget exactly which room is theirs and try the wrong door.
It also came in handy when I stayed at a vacation house -- with relatives who had a toddler who liked to open bathroom and bedroom doors (that didn't lock) -- the little wedge thingie did the trick!
Philadelphia, PA USA Mon 08/09/2004
just came back from a 4 week holiday. Anyone in a position to travel solo should do it. If you dont do it now , when will you? Do yourself and this world a favor -GO!! - it will help the both you out.
Brooklyn, NY USA Wed 08/04/2004
Avoid alcoholic beverages. With alcohol in the system, behavior tends to have an undesired effect, especially in women. We tend to become more aggresive and sexually uninhibited, which is taboo in many cultures. Western women are considered loose and immoral to begin with, so we must restrain ourselves. Above all, ask about local customs...it can be very embarrassing if we commit a faux pas, social or otherwise.
El Paso, TX USA Wed 07/28/2004
Solo Travel: Pros & Cons
I recently returned from a solo trip to Paris and had a wonderful time. After a lifetime of stresfull family vacations I went on my first solo package vacation to the Dominican Republic a year ago at the age of 23. At first I felt a little awkward and I even asked if I could eat dinner in my room on the first night there, but my confidence grew as I relaxed and had a good time. I met some people who I ended up sharing my meals and evenings with and was so glad that I had done it alone.
This year I decided to go to Paris by myself with a stopover at the end to visit relatives in England. When I first arrived the jet lag and culture shock hit me but I soon recovered and got my bearings for the beautiful city. By the end of my trip I had wished that I could have stayed longer. One night I was eating alone in a very tiny French restaurant when another single diner was seated next to me at another table. He struck up some small talk with me and eventually it became silly to keep leaning over and I joined him for dinner. Afterwards we walked to the Sacre Coeur and had coffee, and he didn't turn into a creep! It was a lovely evening and just one example of the types of "adventures" that you come across when you travel alone. I expect to be going on solo vacations for the rest of my life.
toronto, ON CA Mon 07/12/2004
Tavel alone or with a friend?
Shortly after graduating from college I took a 4 week solo trip to Europe. Last november I took my girlfriend on a two week excursion. On both trips I/we had a wonderful time. After experiencing both I would highly recommend you go it alone at some point. It will force you to be more outgoing and meet new people and you will have a much more rewarding experience. With a friend you also have the wonderful experience of sharing what you see and do. But solo travel is something nobody should miss in their lifetime. Look deep inside yourself and find the courage. I have memories that I will never forget from both trips, but going solo stetched me and made me a more independent confident person. Study your books, pick your time and just go. You will never regret a moment.
Bend, OR USA Wed 06/30/2004
Traveling Solo in France
I recently participated in a summer study abroad program, centered in the south of France. Every weekend, we were allowed to travel the region or wherever we wanted to go. The second weekend we were there, I decided I wanted to travel by myself. Using my Rick Steves France 2004 guidebook, I settled on Carcassone, a medieval city about 2 hrs. away from the university. Having never traveled solo before, this was a huge adventure for this 22 year-old college student. Anyway, using the guidebook and a wonderful map, I had a wonderful weekend and found that traveling solo was a very rewarding and replenishing experience in itself! The next time I travel, it will definitely be solo!
Vicksburg, MS USA Mon 06/28/2004
I have been a loner all my life. I traveled all over Europe on a motorcycle and loved every minute of it. I was sometimes cold, sometimes wet, but always enjoyed every moment of it.
I camped in campgrounds and met many people. I ate soup from a mobile soup vendor in Schevingen. I stayed in B&B which I adore even when they might not be as clean as I like. I never stayed in one of those high zoot hotels with private baths-too expensive.
Most of the time I traveled on secondary roads through countries. The small villages are an absolute delight and joy. I ate picnics by buying bread from a bakery, meat from a butcher shop, and fruits from greengrocers.
So go and travel alone. You won't regret it.
James A. Brosman
Marysville, CA USA Tue 06/22/2004
I decided to take advantage of the fact that my company occasionally sent me to Germany so I've spent a little time travelling on my own. Since I've had such great adventures doing this, my friends have taken advantage of my work situation and tend to invite themselves along now days.
One night I was put at a table for 8 all by myself because it was the only empty table available, and I felt really uncomfortable with everyone in the restaurant looking at me all alone. The next night, they offered me the big table or to share a 4-person table with another single guest. Normally shy, I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up talking to this man until the restaurant shut down for the night! His daughter was my age, with the same name and he was in the same field as me. It was really comfortable and not creepy at all.
The next day, looking to see the local monastery (and distillery), I asked some people if this was the "right" bus. Turns out they were more lost than me, even with their German guide (who was an exchange student they had met years ago). I spent an enjoyable day racing up the towers, viewing chapels and drinking with these happy and fun people.
It's true that travelling alone can be lonely but I discovered what I like and don't like to do because there's no one else to ask. I found that a journal, written to my boyfriend or friends makes it less lonely. Another idea is to bring a small voice recorder and "remember" everything real-time to it so you can share your adventure with others later.
sierra madre, ca USA Sun 06/13/2004
Alone in Paris and Rome
I've found that one of the nicest ways to travel is first with a group, then on my own in the same place. Last fall I took the Rick Steves' city tour of Paris, then stayed on for another week. I splurged and stayed at a nice apartment near the Eiffel Tower. I saw so much, there was never time to be lonely, and I must have walked 6-8 miles a day. And that was just in the Louvre! Seriously, the tour with others was a good introduction to the city, as I was able to decide what to revisit and explore as much as I wanted to. I also spent several days in Rome prior to the Paris trip in a very nice small hotel right near the Pantheon. Again, I walked everywhere, and had a ball!
Roanoke, VA USA Thu 06/03/2004
single man at dinner
On a recent trip to Rome I stopped at a small restaurant near the Farnese Palace for lunch. My Italian brought cheers and laughs but also a whole lot of lunch companions! In fact, all the people around me ordered a small taste of their favorite dishes. As the waiter brought them out in turn, the table would stand and toast me. Talk about fun!
Can you think of a better way to try the local menus? A single man at a table bein a problem - not when you're surrounded by a couple dozen entertaining hosts. Just to make sure this wasn't a one time experience, I tried it again the next night at a very late dinner. One of my happiest memories of Italy!
Bordentown, NJ USA Thu 05/27/2004
I am a 50 year old man who has just been backpacking around Europe alone. A bit boring and first but it did not take long to soon enjoy being both alone and also the occasions when I struck up a conversation with strangers
Sydney, Australia Thu 05/27/2004
Alone in Europe or at Home
I have traveled alone in Europe and the US. I would encourage it for anyone. Even traveling here in the US, there have been weekend excursions that none of my friends wanted to join me on. I long ago decided that if I want to go, I'll go. I've had wonderful long and short trips just here in the US. I've also liked traveling alone as well as with groups in Europe. But I would recommend that if you travel with a group or even one companion (or spouse), arrange to have some alone time. I know I've enjoyed just running off to shop by myself for souveniers for a couple of hours. Just one more comment: someone posted earlier on this site that the hardest thing to get used to in Europe was dining alone, since people don't do that in the US. I do it quite a bit. If my friends don't want to try a particular restaurant, I'll go alone and either take a book along or sit in the bar and eat. I also go to movies alone. This is also a way to meet new people in your home town. And if you don't talk to anyone--who cares. You're doing what you want to do and you are independent.
Sioux Falls, SD
Sioux Falls, sd USA Tue 05/25/2004
Alone, but not lonely
I just spent 3 weeks in Europe, some parts with friends, some alone. Traveling alone was definitely an interesting experience. Before I left I was told that Naples could be dangerous, especially for a solo female, but I had no problems. The 3 other girls in my room at 6 Small Rooms in Naples were all traveling alone as well and they had not experienced any problems. Paris would have been a little nicer with a travel partner but it was still quite nice. I enjoyed being 'anonymous' and choosing exactly what I did each day. I think I met more people being alone, because I wanted to talk to other travelers more than when I was with my friends. I think being alone made me a little bit more outgoing and independent also.
NC USA Wed 04/28/2004
I'm going to do it!
I'm going to South France alone for 2 weeks in May. I am nervous, but mostly about the flight across the ocean. I'm sure I'll be fine once I get my feet on the ground. My home base will be Nice...Old Nice to be exact. A friend recommend a small family owned hotel where they don't speak English, but is supposed to be very clean, and also serves some sort of breakfast. Has anyone traveled to this region alone before? It seems like the perfect area for a solo trip, very laid back place (I hope). I hope I meet some cool people, that may like to go wine-tasting at some of the vineyards near avignon/arles. I'd also like to visit St. Tropez, but that sounds like a longshot, since I can only take the bus or car, and its quite popular from what I hear.
detroit area, MI USA Sun 04/25/2004
I just got back from a trip to Ireland and I had a great time! I went alone but was only alone for the plane ride there and back. I met so many wonderful people in the hostel I stayed in as well as locals almost everywhere I went. I found a new friendship in a girl from Germany who was traveling alone also and we plan to meet up on another trip this fall! I would definatly recommend going solo as it brings so many new and great experiences I know I wouldn't have had if I had traveled with a friend.
Strasburg, VA USA Tue 04/20/2004
Meeting other in Europe
Darryl, I had some of the same problems when I traveled alone. It is hard to meet people but well worth the effort. If your not staying in Youth Hostels I would make that your first change. I met lots of cool people each evening. I was once very shy and have learned that being more outgoing is a skill well worth having. Take a class or read some books on being more bold/outgoing. Practice with your close friends. You will find the effort well worth it.
My first trip to Europe was after graduation from college. I was still very shy, but after three weeks my desperation for conversation caused me to be much more outgoing and it was well worth it. I have lifelong friends because I took a small step to build a bridge and make contact with others. You can do it just like I did. Try with hello, you cant beat it for an ice breaker. Once I started I met lots of cool people and they were very welcoming. If they are not then they are not worth knowing anyway.
Good Luck - JW
Bend, OR USA Tue 03/30/2004
I've traveled to England, Germany, and Austria on my own and I've enjoyed it very much. What I REALLY miss, though, is being able to exchange adventure stories at the end of the day. A phone call home helps but having dinner with someone - to hear what they saw & did and to tell them what I did would be the perfect cap to the day. Even though I speak passable German, I'm shy by nature and have never met anyone on my trips. Once or twice I'd almost been bold enough to ask someone with a Rick Steves guidebook in hand if they would like to have dinner at the end of the day. So anyone out there have ideas about how to meet a dinner companion without being thought of as a wierdo.
NJ USA Thu 03/18/2004
Solo in London
In October 2003 I traveled to London by myself for 10 days. I had asked my friends and no one was available to travel then so I said to heck with 'em and went on my own. It was a wonderful experience. I mostly kept to myself instead of trying to meet people, and it did get lonely at times, but it was nice too. It gave me a lot of time to think and get to know myself a bit better- I think it was good to realize I could do something like this.
And of course, it was great to be able to do whatever I wanted when I wanted. I'm an art history and costume nerd and there was no one around to care if I wanted to visit the V&A twice or sit and stare at portraits of Queen Elizabeth.
Milwaukee, WI USA Wed 03/17/2004
Clayton, MO USA Mon 03/15/2004
I made my first trip to Europe with a longtime friend, and it was a disaster! We were great friends when it came to going out to clubs, lunch, etc. but in no way fit to spend two weeks together. She was a late sleeper, me an early riser, I liked to go out alone when we had different interests, she insisted on always staying together, lest we lose one another - we both knew how to get back to the hotel, right??? We have not been friends ever since that trip and it is too bad. However, I have returned to Europe at least yearly ever since on my own and have no regrets. I do what I want and on my own schedule. I love it. I do sometimes wish I had a companion to share things with but then I see two people arguing and my mind is set on remaining a solo traveller. People often are surprised when I tell them I am off on my own. I think they are secretly jealous of my independance.
USA Wed 03/10/2004
I just read and wrote a review of a new book called Girl's Guide to Traveling Solo - and it reminded me how much fun it is to travel alone, if only I can get rid of the initial loneliness, but maybe that's part of the adventure. http://www.bonjournal.com/entries/j040222.htm
London, UK Sun 02/29/2004
I am planning my second solo European trip for this fall, and this board has brought back so many memories. The pre-trip jitters, and all the highs (so, so many) and lows (just a few) that two months alone in Europe brought me the first time around. The ONLY drawbacks are not having someone to be in the pictures with you, and the inevitable dining alone experience (which everyone below me has explained pretty well). You will gain so much from a solo experience, and much of that CANNOT be articulated on a messageboard. I also met a few solo women travellers, and they had no qualms about travelling alone. And you meet so many fun people...you couldn't make up some of the stories you'll have to tell. Buy an mp3 player and an international phonecard for the occasional bout of homesickness, and you'll be set!
Ft. Worth, TX USA Sat 02/28/2004
Greece and Italy
I am about to move to Italy. I have traveled in Greece and Italy for months at a visit. Not everyone can visit for that long or cares to, though I can't imagine why not! It does not have to be just one long trip in your lifetime. I like to experience and soak up what I can from a culture. Most people I meet I find that if they have not had an interesting and wonderful trip, do not have a wonderful or interesting outlook on life in general. But people can change. If you are not comfortable going alone, travel with someone. But you do experience things differently when traveling solo.
You are more likely to be welcomed into sharing and experiencing things that are intimate and cherished with the locals, such as being invited to pick vegetables from a family's garden and help prepare a meal while the lamb is grilling outside. The sun is setting and the sound of the waves from the ocean and the birds and the insects make sounds that blend together in harmony. The laughter and stories (though in Greek) and the sharing of homemade wine on the patio overlooking the ocean from the terrace. Or helping local fishermen get coral and rocks out of their nets by stomping on them and learning to mend the nets. I saw my first live starfish.
Sometime it was hard and it can be lonely (you often want someone to share it with). But I treasure even the hard times. Maybe I am moving to Europe since it is easier to travel around while being there. If you ever even thought of traveling, just do it. The great thing about traveling solo, you always meet people. So you're not always alone (unless you want to be).
Lubbock, TX USA Sat 02/14/2004
Fearless Solo Travel
I had the privilege of living in Germany on two separate occasions while in the USAF. In four total years there I discovered my own moveable feast. Since returning to the U.S. I have been back 15 times because as Rick says, "travel is addictive" and Europe is like a plate of free oysters, with pearls.
Now 45 and solo I continue to go on the cheap and discover things because I know Europe is safe and generally clean (if you heard there's dog doo on the streets of Paris, it's true). Most solo trips have been among the best of 15 because I was able to do whatever suited me without the burden of someone elses interest's.
My advice is to hire a good petsitter and go for it. Read Rick's Travel Philosophy first and be brave. And, ride trains with your railpass. You'll meet some interesting people and they'll take your picture with your camera and you'll take their's and your photo album will shine in a way that can't be found in a husband-of-wife photo.
Solo travel test's the mettle, but it rewards you with so many things that you're purely domestic friends don't know. You will enjoy that part when you come home.
I just bought a R/T plane ticket from Memphis to Milan via Amsterdam for $421. Getting there is cheap and in most cases as painless as air travel can be in these times.
Go for it Dude or Dudette !
James B. Cason, Jr.
hernando, MS USA Sat 01/31/2004
I finally got tired of waiting and went solo at age 40. I want to tell any wanna-be wanderers who still believe that they need to find time, money and a travel buddy for a long trip to consider trying a mini, and perhaps solo, trip. My first European trip was limited by circumstances to just one month, but in the end I was glad I didn't book for longer. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, after four weeks I was tired of the road, my head was bulging with new memories and experiences, and I desperately wanted to get back home and tell my friends and family about what I had done and seen. In fact, I would recommend to someone who is planning their first trip, and has reservations about whether they would enjoy travelling in Europe, or whether they would enjoy travelling alone, to strongly consider only going for 10-14 days. Two weeks doesn't seem like a long time, but I found that after two weeks away, I felt like I had been away from home for ages. I began wondering if my friends and family would remember me.
A co-worker of mine was recently planning a three-month trip to Europe, his first overseas trip. His primary reason for going was that he had an immense amount of frequent flier miles accumulated at work. He had some anxieties because he had never travelled before and wasn't sure if he would like it. When the time came to book his air ticket, he balked and decided not to go. I took on the roll of "travel anxiety therapist" and encouraged him to book a shorter trip of two weeks - as an experiment. If he didn't like traveling, then it was only two weeks worth of time and hotel money wasted. As it turned out, he did not completely enjoy his travel experience (he's a dedicated and somewhat reclusive homebody) and was immensely glad that he didn't book for a longer trip.
My point is that today, you
can get a discount air ticket from North America to Europe often for less
than it costs to fly within the continent. Why not plan to go to for several
short trips instead of going once in your lifetime for three months? Each
trip can build on the experiences and knowledge of the previous trips.
Each time you will discover things that you didn't even know existed,
then if you are interested you can do research at home and explore those
things in more detail next time. I am currently planning my third, and
shortest ever, hop over the pond.
USA Fri 01/23/2004
Solo travel is an invaluable
I'd recommend to any women considering a solo trip to Europe to go for it. I traveled in Italy for two weeks in September and it was a very rewarding experience. I'd never been to Italy and always wanted to go, but couldn't find anyone to go with. I turned 30 in September and decided it was time to start traveling. Friends and family told me I was crazy to go by myself. But I didn't experience any problems. The people there were friendly and I was never pestered and I never felt in danger at any time. I also met many other travelers there who were open to spending a day or two sightseeing with me. I am not very outgoing and I still made friends.
Also, regarding clothing: it doesn't matter what you wear in Europe--chances are you are going to stick out like a tourist no matter how you are dressed. My expensive Dansko sandals gave me blisters and I wished more than anything that I had brought my Nikes. Pumas are a good choice--they are popular in Europe and very comfortable. On my next trip (summer/fall travel), I will be wearing Puma/Nike shoes, long linen pants and plain shirts. Tercel is a great fabric for shirts as it is wrinkle resistant and has a soft texture. Also, be aware of the mosquitoes in Florence! I got eaten alive.
Anyway, feel free to e-mail
me if you'd like to discuss solo travel. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle, WA USA Mon 01/12/2004
Wonderful solo travel moments
I've traveled solo to the UK many times and have experienced magic moments that might have not happened if I were travelling with someone. For instance, this past autumn I was using local coach service to travel from Salisbury to Stourhead (house & garden)--a trip of about l 1/2 hours each way with spectacular English countryside, thatched roof beauty. On one leg of the trip it was just the coach driver and me on a mini-coach. We started talking about English-Irish-Scottish folk music (he played in a pipe band); next thing you know we're singing some of those songs. This will be one of the very best memories of this trip.
CA USA Wed 01/07/2004