Solo Travel: Pros and Cons: 2007
Many people are reluctant or nervous to travel alone. Share your tips on traveling alone safely, economically...and without being lonely.
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
Language Immersion Courses
I "practiced" quasi-solo travel by participating in a Spanish language immersion program in Madrid and Barcelona. I enjoyed the benefits of exploring the city on my own during the day, attending class for four hours each day, and joining my class-mates for night-life later. This was a fun way of trying solo-travel by day, although I admit I preferred the companionship of having friends to hang out with at night. A language immersion program is a "happy medium" of balancing some alone time with student/peer time before you venture into solo travel full force.
Dallas, TX USA Wed 12/19/2007
I suppose for people who havent tried travelling solo, it can be a daunting thought. Alone in a foreign land? But you can be as afraid as you make it out to be or as exciting as you feel that it can be! I went on a trip to South Korea alone, and spoke little Korean. It is not easy but I did it, and I went through experiences that I couldnt have gotten if I wasnt alone. Just two days ago, I came back from a trip with a friend to Melbourne, Australia. It was an awesome trip as well, but I still love the solo experience more. :) And it's true, the "but i want to see" arguments can be pretty unnerving at times. In any case, try solo travel at least once! =D
Singapore Sat 12/15/2007
Going to Europe solo is the only way to go. I went for 6 wonderful weeks by myself. With every new city came new people to meet. It helps to strike up a conversation with everyone you meet. In a hostel in Dublin, while sharing a 6 bed dorm, everyone in the room decided to go to a big dinner together. It was an opportunity to have an energetic discussion of everyones experiences. You meet people in lines at tourism sites, cafes, in pubs, on trains, hostels, even while doing your laundry at a laundromat! Traveling alone makes you approachable, and when dialing into the world of solo travel in Europe, (it is a subculture), you will often find the person you met in Madrid recognizes you walking across a park in Galway. Aside from the exposure to all of the history and beauty of Europe, the interaction with all my fellow travelers was the richest part of the trip. So, go to Europe alone, you will meet some friends for life.
Indianapolis, IN USA Thu 12/06/2007
Hi :) I am a 20yo woman from Australia and I am going on my first big overseas trip to Europe next year :) I am going on my own, although i will be doing a tour, but I will be doing England & Scotland on my own. After reading the comments on here, I feel a lot more confident in travelling alone, although some things are a bit scary still, but its mostly a fear of the unknown!
I have recently purchased Ricks books, and i have to say that they are definately making me more prepared :)
AUSTRALIA Wed 11/21/2007
Solo Travel at a Young age
Travel alone if you can. I backpacked for 2 months by myself and I was only 17. I didn't meet very many people under 20 going solo but it was an incredible experience. I'm 18 now and I plan to go back this summer if I can get the money because I want to go to Croatia and Romania. So far I've been to Germany, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. If you have any questions about solo travel I would be happy to answer them.
Annapolis, MD USA Thu 11/15/2007
Hi this is Adam, going alone to Uk for studies and I'll be there for some 18 months. Looking for a good service apartment for single. I hv seen asiarooms, but need few more options to choose from. Any suggestion?
NY, USA Wed 09/26/2007
Solo travel to England and France
I recently returned from a second solo trip to Europe. It was a fantastic experience, which included London, Bath and York in the UK, and a spent week in Paris. I've posted an extensive travel journal at:
And about 250 pictures I took during the course of my travels can be found here:
I hope it may be of interest to some, especially women who are relucant to travel alone. It is far easier and more enjoyable than you might think!
Burlington, VT USA Mon 09/24/2007
I just got back from Europe and I did it all by myself (ok, I had help with Rick Steves books). What a blast! I landed in Rome, then to Austria, Germany, Paris, Dublin, London, Switzerland and home. I kept a travel blog for my friends and family back home. If you are trying to decide whether or not to go... well read by blog http://travelingwithtricia.blogspot.com/
Happy Travels ! Tricia =)
Santa Rosa Beach, FL USA Sun 09/16/2007
Camino de Santiago in Spain
If you want an ultimate solo travel experience, I recommend doing the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. Although a bit on the strenuous and no-frills side, it was one of the best things I've ever done (did it during July and August of 2007).
I met cool folks from all over the world - thousands do the trek every year. Since you have the Camino in common (and end up staying in hostel-like albergues with fellow pilgrims), it's easy to meet and get to know people. And they do it for all sorts of reasons - religious (or non-), spiritual, cultural, or just for fun.
It's a bit different than the usual Back Door trip, but well worth it if you have the time and inclination.
Ridgefield, WA USA Fri 09/14/2007
These "asia rooms" comments are nothing but spam. Wish the site would do something about it.
Sick of spammers
USA Wed 09/12/2007
During summer vacation, I went to Ibiza and Madrid with my families, enjoying the fresh stunning beaches and gorgeous sight of the bay Especially, in Ibiza, we had a good time, joining the intense dance music parties, very fantastic! In Madrid, we visited the historical plazas, monuments and churches. There are a lot of scrumptious food. In the evening, we stayed in the well-equipped hotels at reasonable prices with excellent service which we had booked with the help of asiarooms.com
USA Tue 09/11/2007
Earth is full of wonders
Earth is full of wonders . The beauty of nature can not be describe by words,its only can feel by Human beings just like us for whom travelling is the passion of life.When we decide to go for travel the first question comes to our mind where to stay ? For that we need various informations about the destination.There are huge number of sites on net cater these types of informations but my experience with ASIAROOMS.COM is fantastic and it helps me a lot to book hotels in different spots at the peak time when the tourist gathering is huge .ASIAROOMS.COM really makes my trip enjoyable and tension free by which I can fully indulge myself into the vibrant beauty of nature
New York , New Yo USA Tue 09/11/2007
travel to south africa
Hi friends, I am planning to visit South Africa at the end of next year. I am going there with my friends. My questions are: Which is the best season for travelling to South Africa? Where can I get a reasonable price hotel? Before going there I want to book hotels through any travel websites. My friend had suggested me one travel website www.asiarooms.com I find the site very informative and contains a vast list of hotels. But I am little confused which travel portal to refer for hotel bookings.
newyork, USA Mon 09/03/2007
I feel that it is very difficult for someone to understand the need of life. It was my desire since I was a child to follow my father's footsteps and be a successful businessman. Today I have successfully established my business and my desire is rising with passing of every second. However, nowadays I don't enjoy my success in business anymore like before. Of course I don't mean that I don't enjoy the success, but what I feel that there is something much more beyond this success and failure. My mind has utterly changed after my return from Spain last month. The scenery of Paris from the river Seine defined me what beauty is. That journey was awesome. Merely by sitting in beside the Eiffel tower, I realized the new desire of my life. At the age of 58, I don't want any more business pressure and from now on I like to explore the natural beauty of different places, which have not enjoyed for along time. My last tour was successfully organized by an on line travel site asiarooms.com. For that I am really thankful to them. Now I've Completely new desire in my life. And I want to pursue my new desire with same energy as I started my business some 35 years ago.
Three years back I went to Rome with my wife for our honeymoon. It was an excellent trip. I still remember every little bit of that trip not only because of my honeymoon but also because of the historical beauty of the city. It was once said that all roads lead to Rome. Even in the 21st century, that is true. Attempting to write about the city is almost fruitless. There are so many things to see in Rome. The Colosseum, the one of seven wonders in the world, needs to be looked from inside for its revealing looks into its history, is one of the my favorites in the city. The Roman and Imperial Forums Area is another beautiful place, here the ruins of the Forums mark the historical center of the city and contain the remnants of the seats of power of ancient Rome. Excavations continue as archaeologists labor to expose the area's long hidden secrets. There are numerous sites to examine, but the Forum of Caesar, and the Temple of Peace is among the very best. Of course the culture and the people of the city were great. My accommodation was great in Rome, I booked my accommodation through asiarooms.com. And I took help of a local tourist guide for all my sight seeing. It was a great tour I am sure of going back there in near future.....
Thomson C V
sanjos USA Sat 08/25/2007
Travelled alone during my post divorce time and learned how to deal with anxiety, depression, loneliness, sadness - the whole gamut. Did a great job basically doing the following: 1. Lots of reading material.Stuff I loved to read back home, light stuff, and geared to my interest - in my case baseball. 2. My trusty journal became my best friend and I often read them now many years later, and they are very interesting, speaking of very high highs and very low lows. I somehow survived and each episode thereof made me stronger. I spoke to the journal (through words) as if it were alive. 3. Be as extroverted as possible. Speak to everyone and some will click into something special. 4. Make a set time each day to send and receive e mails. Take as long as you wish. This is the greatest connection to home. 5.Get a good phone card and call regularly back home. 6. Stay very, very busy. Visit every museum, church, and gallery you ever wanted to visit. This is the chance. 7. If you are reluctant to go into a restaurant at the usual dinner time, try going in earlier to avoid crowds. Also go to open places, cafeterias, informal places. 8. Don't be afraid to admit to yourself that there will be slow and lonely times, and if you get very lonely, go with it shamelessly, even a few tears will be ok. 9. Look at it as it is - a unique, fleeting, extraordinary opportunity to learn about yourself. You will survive and be stronger for it.
Woodstock, NY USA Fri 08/17/2007
Tips for solo travel
When I arrive early before I join the RS tours, I try to arrange special activities especially for in the evenings, such as a concert at St.Chapelle or performances in the Opera Houses.
This past July, I arrived in Paris in the morning, dropped my luggage at my hotel, then wandered the streets to get a "feel" for the neighbourhood. I then went to pick up my ticket to the performance at the Opera Garnier that I had booked from home earlier in the week. I went to a cafe nearby to have an espresso and pastry, then as soon as the doors opened for the performance, I went into the opera house. There I was able to get some items from the gift shop, have a glass of champagne and talk with others about the upcoming performance. I also met a very nice French lady - I spoke with my muddled "franglais" and she with her small knowledge of English.
I find having something to do with others, such as a performance, helps to eliminate the loneliness. Also, when dining, if I notice that someone is taking photos, I offer to take a picture of both of them or the group. I can speak some French and I have had many interesting conversations. I have also met people from all over the world just by asking "Where are you from?" in English if I hear them speaking English - some have been from England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and Norway.
I am very cautious to do this in a cafe or restaurant however - not out on the street. Sometimes, I go to the department stores, such as Le Bon Marche or Galeries Lafayette, where there are amazing cafes with reasonably-priced food. There are usually some travelers there to talk with as well.
Canada Tue 08/14/2007
Have just made reservations to go to London and parts of England from Dec. 3-18th of this year. Got up my nerve. Yes, I love Le Bon Marche too. I just need to become more outgoing towards others like you were stating. Thanks.
ne, GA USA Tue 08/14/2007
I am a female of 50 and was wondering if you had any tips on how to beat the lonliness of travelling solo. I have taken several of RS tours and have been solo a few days b4 they started. I was ready for the tour to start. I love to travel and don't plan on waiting for others in order to do so. I think I just need a boost!
southern, GA USA Mon 08/13/2007
Thanks to the advancement of technology
Just two day prior to my trip to London last January for a solo business trip, I came to know that the travel agent, who took the responsibility to make all the arrangement for me in London was not able to arrange the reservation for me for some unknown reason. I was absolutely perplexed at that situation and started to search internet to book hotel online. Luckily I landed up at the asirooms.com and I found some attractive hotel prices there, so i took the bait and booked through them. Very surprisingly within next 10 hours I received one email from them confirming about the reservation. I was absolutely delighted as I used any online booking site for first time. I had a good time using online service and it increased my trust upon them. So thanks to the advancement of technology, which has made our life much easier,
New York, USA Tue 08/07/2007
life is a journey and every person should enjoy this journey from their heart.so explore every chance you get in your life.travel is by which you can only explore this chance.
so i went to holland.
the experience was very nice.holland was nice place to live in.
USA Tue 08/07/2007
Japan - no worries of language barrier
I second Sophia's response to Serene's concern about the language barrier in Japan. If you are in big cities you'll have virtually no problem in shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. When I was there with my mom a few years ago we experienced the same thing that Sophia and her friends did: we were often approached by young people wanting to practice their English. This mostly involved them asking one or two questions and giggling a lot (like nervous pre-teens and teens the world over). They were also keen to have their picture taken with us (and we both have dark hair, just are obviously not Japanese). As for weather, I guess it's all a matter of what you're used to at home. We were there in March/April for the cherry blossom season and the weather was very nice and the blooms were heavenly. If you are only going for a week don't be too ambitious. It's a small country geography-wise but there is soooo much to se. After 2 weeks we were no where ready to leave.
USA Mon 08/06/2007
great hotel in Fussen, Germany
I want to comment on a wonderful hotel experience in Fussen, Germany. I stayed at Alstadhotel zum Hechten (one of Rick's recommended hotels) and as a solo traveler I found a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. I had made early morning reservations for the castle, but unfortunately I didn't realize I would have trouble getting there at that time. Wolf, the owner, personally drove me over in his car so that I could make my timeslot. Then he recommended a bike ride around the lake to a community picnic. I had a wonderful time and found this hospitality a welcome respite in the center of five weeks of hard solo travel. I highly recommend this hotel. Thanks for the recommendation, Rick!
Orlando, FL USA Wed 07/04/2007
Gaijin in Japan
In response to Serene, the language barrier isn't as great as you might think in japan. I went last summer for two weeks in July and i had the time of my life. While much of the older generation only knows Japanese, the younger crowd new a lot of English. I was only 17 at the time, but just being young and a Foreigner made people want to come up and talk to me and my friends. Several people would come up to us daily, ask if we were American, and then ask us all sorts of random questions. You will have a blast there, I promise.
The only thing I would be wary of is in July it is really hot, and they have huge mosquitos over there. One girl on the trip had such a bad reaction, her leg swelled up, and she had to go to the hospital. Apparently the best time to go is in October.
My embarrassing, gaijin moment had to be when I was in harajuku, I said 'this shirt is cute' in japanese to shop girl, and she assumed I was fluent in the language and started talking to me for half an hour in japanese. I was so mortified I just kept nodding my head and smiling, until my friend pulled me out of there! But I still had a blast!
San Fransico/ Bay Area, CA USA Wed 05/30/2007
I went by myself and it was great (I'm 20)
I had been reluctant to travel solo but I had heard so much about how the experience helps you meet more people. I am 20 years old and I only speak English. I went to Italy and Spain and I had a great time on my own. I met so many more fellow travelers who helped me take photos and I think a good hostel makes a stay better too. The best of solo traveling was taking my sweet time in a museum or rushing around. The only thing I didnt do was eat in a restaurant by myeslf. I was on a budget so I usually got groceries. Safety was a concern but being alert will make everything ok. Theft sounds like a bigger deal because its in Europe but traveling is like going to any other city in the US pretty much.
USA Sun 05/27/2007
oh and dont forget ur student ID!
i had forgotten mine but they believed me when I showed them an Id and said I was only 20!
USA Sun 05/27/2007
Snooty Doorman in London
A few years ago I was in London and I had a great time on my own. Just one minor glitch. I stopped into a very posh hotel called One Aldwich to see if they had a cash machine. It was about 9pm at night when I walked in and asked the doorman if there was a cash machine in the lobby of the hotel. He looked down at me with a pompous look and asked, "Are you a guest at the hotel?" I told him I wasn't and, without listening to the rest of my sentence, opened the door for me to leave! I took down the name of the hotel and told him I would be letting Americans know what treatment I was given. I can definitely afford to stay at One Aldwich, but the pompous, ignorant attitude of some of the English still pervades their 'upper classes'. They're not aware that Americans don't always dress 'rich' even when they are. Stay at a different hotel if you don't want visiting friends treated like outsiders!
Chicago, IL USA Tue 05/15/2007
Solo Travel for 20 Year Old
You are a good age to start solo traveling. Rick Steves son started at 18! I suggest you start in London, where they speak English. This is your first time very far from home and you may feel more comfortable in London. The down side is that London is very expensive. Twice as much than Paris. Rick himself said this. If you go to another country, don't worry about it too much because many locals do speak English. HAVE FUN!!
Austin, TX USA Fri 04/27/2007
I want to go solo too!
hey everyone, reading all your comments has really helped me want to go travelling alone even more.. in about 2 months i plan to go somewhere.. either Japan [by which i advised that in June, it will be the rainy season and is not the best time to go..] or London.. I dont really have issues eating or shopping alone and the thought of doing so in another country is really exciting.. but i am more concerned about language barriers.. Ive learnt a little bit of Japanese.. basic things like "thank you", "where?", "I"..[and some others..] but will it get me thru say a week if i go to Japan?.. What do you guys think?
Also, the issue about making holiday friends.. that's great.. but how will I meet these people??.. I'd really like to hear more stories shared by u guys :)
And please, i would also love to hear more travelling suggestions for first time solo travelling for a 20 yr old female such as myself.. :) thanks!
Merilee - you sound like you are asking permission to do the longer stay. There are only two people involved in this decision - you & your husband. How does he feel about you having a longer,solo trip without him? And, how important is it to you? If he is okay with it - GO FOR IT! Stay the two months and really see what you want. If he feels hurt and rather cheated, maybe some more discussion is needed. Maybe a compromise - 1 month more instead of two? Fly over together, share with him your former living area, do some extra things HE wants to do, and then kiss and hug him at the airport so that you can go on a solo adventure. Just be honest and open to each others feelings/needs & it will work out fine. One confusion on my part - why must it be ten years before you both can return? If kids are in equation - guess what? They travel very well if you prepare properly. Don't put things off - enjoy!!
Winter Haven, FL USA Fri 04/20/2007
Handbag Safety During Meals
As Jeanine said, staying aware of your surroundings is vital for a woman traveling solo. She also recommended a book for entertainment during meals -- I certainly concur with that. However, I tend to become engrossed in the book and sometimes forget my surroundings. The trick I've come up with to thwart any would be thief is to put my foot through the strap of my handbag and rest the bag on top of my foot (under the table). Works great!
Texas USA Tue 03/27/2007
I find that travelling alone forces you to interact more with local, which includes crossing the language barrier. When I have travelled with friends, we speak amongst ourselves in English, and switching between languages does not happen automatically.
When I have been on my own then I have spoken what I know of the local language. I don't mean whole conversations, but it becomes easier to make yourself order food etc in the local language. As an example I spent two weeks in Italy, then another two in the UK last year. After two weeks saying "Grazie" and "Buon Giorno" became so automatic that when I arrived in the UK, I had to think to stop myself saying these words.
Sydney, Australia Fri 03/23/2007
Dining while traveling Solo / Safety
Dining solo a concern for you? Try dining in bistros, cafes, small restaurants, quiet bars, etc. Bring writing materials, travel journals, post cards to write out, day excursion maps/lists, etc. to occupy your self between courses and people watching. Sitting and dining at the bar in a quiet bar brings instant acquaintances and the local bartendar's indepth knowledge of the area. Always keep safety in mind, no matter where you dine or travel. Trust your instincts. While being pleasant makes for new friends, don't hesitate to offend anyone if you think your safety is being or may be compromised. It is fine to decline the offer of any stranger (including your bartender or waitstaff) who offers to be your local tour guide. Do not allow your romantic fantasies to compromise your safety. You wouldn't go for a walk in the woods with a stranger at home, you don't do it in a foreign country either!
NY, NY USA Tue 03/20/2007
I am a 66 year old woman and I have traveled alone to Australia (2x), Paris, London and am leaving in a couple of weeks for Prague.
Traveling alone is the best way I have found to get to meet people from all over the world. I am very outgoing, so I have wound up having dinner with two sisters in Paris, one from Costa Rica and one from Paris who were escaping a family reunion, sharing a dinner apres theatre in London with a family celebrating honors received from Prince Charles that afternoon. These are examples of experiences I probably never would have had had I not been solo. I love planning where and when I want to go and I spend my solo meal times either people watching, planning my next day's excursions, or reading a book.
If anyone has any tips about what I shouldn't miss in Prague, I would love to hear them.
Philadelphia, PA USA Thu 03/15/2007
Joys of Sola travel
I've been traveling around the world, primarily sola, for over 30 years. I've been to Nepal and Morocco, as well as much of Western Europe and Mexico.
My motto: Go often, go cheap, go alone.
Remember, anywhere you go, you'll find people. They're everywhere! And most of them will chat, or even help, if approached in a positive, confident, friendly way. If you want a little conversation, find some kids. (Most of the world has less fear than the US.)
Traveling alone, you'll never end up missing things because you and a travel partner can't decide what to see first: the button museum or the toothpick factory. On your own, you can see it all!
Sacramento, CA USA Fri 03/09/2007
As a solo(preferred mode) woman traveler I cannot stress the importance of wearing a money belt! It adds a bit of puffiness to the midsection but the security and peace of mind provided is worth it. Do thorough planning and research prior to travel. Make those copies of your passport and birth certif.. Know emergency numbers and how to dial them while at your destination. Always learn some of the language of the country to which your are traveling. Avoid lingering around central train/bus stations. Write in your journal or postcards while eating at a restaurant or sipping a drink at a cafe. It's your "Shirley Valentine" moment so enjoy it! Once security and safety measures are addressed then I find I can enjoy my journey that much more. Do as the locals do! My solo independent adventures: Sydney'97, Edinburgh2000, Rome'05, Rome&Venice'06. Next month,April'07; Rome/Napoli/Amalfi Coast.
Farmington, CT USA Fri 03/09/2007
I traveled on a month long backpacking trip solo...it was scary at first since I was 18 and had never been anywhere without anyone. It might have been a little overkill as far as a cries for independence goes but it made me a stronger person. The best rememdy for loneliness and homesickness was to stay in hostels with at least five other strangers (make travel friends) and listen to Amerian artists on my iPOD (Steven Lynch can work wonders for homesickness). Once I got through it I felt better and these two things made me stay and have the experience of a lifetime.
Puyallup, WA USA Mon 02/26/2007
I've never had a problem eating alone in restaurants. I travel solo almost exclusively, and I've eaten alone everywhere from little hole in the wall deli type places to five star restaurants. If you feel comfortable in your own skin nobody will look at you funny. :)
Greensboro, NC USA Fri 02/23/2007
Being aproached when on your own
I too experienced the bracelet men at Sacre Coeur when I was in Paris last year, I just said "NO" and walked right by them. I know it may seem a bit rude, but really, I think attaching an unwanted bracelet to someone's wrist and then demanding money is ALSO a bit rude. Another time in the Metro a man was trying to hand me something and was trying to not let me pass, again, a sturdy "NO!" was all it took to get him to back off, I pushed by him and kept going. You just have to be a little aggressive and not worry about hurting someone's feelings.
Erika, WA USA Wed 02/21/2007
I've done Europe twice alone, and my meals were enjoyed in a number of ways. I did everything from nice restaurants to McDonalds, and also bought food from 7/11s and supermarkets to enjoy on a park bench.
Keep in mind that even cheap hotels (2-star) often include breakfast. Yes, it may be only some pastries and coffee, but that's better than nothing. I had great hotel breakfasts in Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm (cereal, fruit, bread, yogurt, etc.). And it was in those cities that I ate cheaply in 7/11s, and also treated myself to some nice restaurant food, including a good Italian restaurant in Stockholm.
Paris and Spain were my best dining experiences. In Paris I asked a gal for directions, and ended up eating a free multi-course meal at her parent's restaurant. I had some excellent meals in Spain, where I attended a friend's wedding.
If you don't like eating alone, try starting up some conversations w/folks. You may end up part of an animated dinner with some new friends.
Anyway, you have many options over there by yourself. So dive in, and have fun!
Portland, OR USA Tue 02/20/2007
Hello! I am curious if anyone out there has any advise for me. I'm 25 and was an exchange student to The Netherlands when I was in high school. I'm graduating from Nursing school in just 11 weeks and I'm planning a trip back to Europe this summer. Ideally, I'd LOVE to go for 2 months, but there's no way my husband can take that much time off work. I don't want to go for just 2 weeks, though. I really want to show him where I lived and take him around all the places I was able to travel to. My question: should I go early and then have him meet up with me; or should we both go together and then he can come home early; or should I just stay for the 2 weeks and come home? This is our "big trip" before we have kids, so we won't be able to get back to Europe for at least 10 years. Thanks in advance for all the advise!!! ~Merilee
Lewistown, MT USA Sun 02/18/2007
I've been to Europe only twice, and have gone alone. I have a great tip for eating solo! In Rome, I went on a two tour deal.After the first tour, lunch is included in the price, and everyone on the tour eat together. So fun! I met so many cool people. Three women from Germany were traveling together and I understood their English. Others from New Zealand, Canada,USA etc. Lots of bottles of wine were on the table, all you can drink and much great food. I was a happy gal' traveling solo. And will do it again!! My tour in Florence, lunch was also included. Again, so many interesting people! When I was on my own sight seeing, I would stop into a market for a wonderful lunch. Please don't fear this. You will have the time of your life! By the way, my second trip was Salzburg and also met many interesting people. I'm a middle aged woman that feels 20 when I travel solo! SALUTE! Lisa
Austin, TX USA Sat 02/17/2007
For me eating my big meal of the day at the tail end of the lunch "hours" works the best, alone. It's cheaper than dinner prices. I can rest my feet awhile, and look over maps/plans for the afternoon and evening, and jot notes about what I saw and photos I took for months later when I get to make my scrapbook and will have forgotten! And just generally have a safe place to get reorganized. Once in awhile all that stuff serves as a conversation starter if someone else walks by, etc. Then I usually do what you wrote about for dinner- grab something "on the run" from a deli-type place and eat in a public square for another rest for my feet. For me it's the solo dinner thing that I can't get used to, either!
USA Sat 02/17/2007
For you experienced solo travelers, How often do you eat in a restaurant solo? Or do you mainly just hit up the grocery store and make a meal your self? I think the biggest fear I have of traveling solo, is the meal time. Eating from grocery stores works for a while, but sitting down for a nice meal in Paris is quite an experience! So, how do you go about eating out when traveling solo?
Seattle, USA Sat 02/17/2007
Solo Travel Rocks!
Traveling Europe solo is a great way to go. I've done it twice - June 2003 (Amsterdam, Paris, London, Madrid/Leon) and May/June 2005 (Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm). It's all about being flexible. You can get extroverted and meet cool people, or pull back for some quiet time.
I hardly ever made a hostel/hotel reservation beforehand - I usually just breezed into town and hit a 2-star hotel. So far I've never had to sleep in the street. But sometimes it's nice having a definite place to stay when arriving in a strange city. Again, be flexible. That's the single best quality you can have as a traveler, solo or otherwise.
Also, don't be afraid to strike up conversations with total strangers. I did that a lot on my first trip, and it was fun. For example, in A'dam I hung out with a honeymooning couple from Venezuela, and in Paris I asked a local gal for directions to Notre Dame, and ended up getting a tour of the cathedral and, later, a huge dinner w/her family at their restaurant! You don't get that kind of thing by being a wallflower.
Whatever you choose to do, have fun!
Portland, OR USA Sat 02/10/2007
Solo travel is great!
Mike J...don't worry about it. I traveled to Italy alone last October, this was also my first trip overseas. If you have traveled alone before, it won't be that much different. I've driven all over the US alone and after doing that and living here in NYC Italy was wonderful alone. Its fun to know you are doing something most people wouldn't DARE do. Go! Have fun, and make all the people who woulda, coulda, shoulda gone with you jealous!
NYC, NY USA Fri 02/02/2007
I traveled alone to Norway in August and my biggest concern was language - well that was not a problem at all since everyone seems to speak some English so I had a fantastic time talking to people from many different countries and some of them I still have contact with since we shared email addresses. I never once felt like I was not safe. I did get taken for an expensive taxi ride when I could have used the train but I learned! I was doing family research and spent 5 days at the edge of a fjord in a home that was built on the foundation of my great grand parents home. That was what was my main goal - to be where my fathers family once lived. I kept the trip very low key and did not do any touristy things. I spent time in Book Town and at the Mundal Hotel in Fjerland. My grandfather painted a mural there in 1897 that is still on the wall of that hotel. I enjoyed the sound of water trickeling down the mountain as I slept. As I left the area I photographed the most amazing rainbow I have ever seen. It hangs on my wall here at home - my gift from Norway. I visited the town of Hatlestad - my sur-name.
Cathy Hatlestad Kelly
Lakota, IA USA Sun 01/28/2007
Go solo, Mike. As you travel you will meet people and find temporary companions on trains, in hostels, etc. My first trip to Europe was solo. I traveled in 7 or 8 countries for a month, using a Eurail Pass. I met people wherever I went, even shared rooms with a couple of them. You will find it easier to meet and interact with local people as you travel if you are alone. Carry something to read, go to the places that interest you, and stay in budget places (especially hostels), and I doubt that you will feel lonely. Take a small notebook and keep a diary. You can use the paper in it for sharing addresses or playing tic-tac-toe with your temporary travel partners. Learn a few words in the language where you expect to be--even one or two words poorly pronounced will warm up others.
USA Wed 01/24/2007
first time travelling alone
hello everyone. i would like some advice about travelling alone for the first time. i plan to go to Spain and southern France this summer by myself. but, should i have a companion come with me since this is my first time overseas? it not that i'm apprehensive about going alone, i'm just wondering if it may inhance my experience. thank you for any advice or comments!
Chicago, IL USA Thu 01/18/2007
I find traveling alone most often provides for greater adventure. Traveling alone doesn't necessarily mean you will be alone during your travels. You usually meet fellow travelers at bus stations, train stations, etc. when traveling in popular areas. And smaller towns of the beaten path are usually more receptive to travelers.
I did a five-week backpacking tour. For half of it, I traveled alone while sleeping in hostels, trains, busses, and even park benches. The second half, my girlfriend joined me and we stayed in hotels, ate in restaurants, and did the typical tourist things. I enjoyed all of it, but my most valued memories come from those first two and a half weeks.
I recommend doing less sightseeing and more socializing. Seeing the famous sights can amplify your solitude. Socializing will make you feel more connected to wherever it is you may roam.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 01/12/2007
Someone mentioned on this thread being at Sacre Coeur in Paris and being approached by the men who wanted to put a friendship braclet on her. I was there in Oct 2004, and had read on here about that scam... they weave it on you, then insist you pay for it and won't let you leave until you give them money. You apparently can't get the bracelet off, either.
I would recommend to anyone traveling alone to try to learn a few key phrases - No, leave me alone, etc. I took French in High School, and brushed up on it before my trip. I don't recall what I said to the guy that wouldn't leave me alone and tried to weave one of the bracelets on me. However, my parents (who were behind me) said that it came out in French and the guy totally backed off! (The evil, glaring stare I gave him may have helped too)
DuPont, WA USA Sun 01/07/2007