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Solo Travelling?

GamerGirl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
175
All these travelling stories have me dying to go exploring! The only problem is that I have only ever travelled with my ex bf and have no idea how to go about travelling solo! Some folks on the other thread mentioned they love solo travelling so I thought you all could share some of your stories / tips / favorite things, especially since I'm a girl I'm a little nervous about going it by myself.....

I'd probably start out with something easy - like travelling w/in the US but I would really LOVE to get over to Europe or Asia and if I don't end up finding someone else (friend or new SO) to go with I'd hate to have that limit me to my current surroundings!!

I know you all have the stories - so spill!! :lol:
 

Autumnovember

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
4,384
I just want to say that I LOVE traveling alone! I traveled to Mexico for 1 month alone and I had a really good experience. I just made up my mind one day to do it and bought my flights the next day. It was nice to just relax on my own, explore on my own, and even eat by myself.

Also, my best friend just went to Europe alone for 2.5 weeks and just got back last night. I should be seeing him this weekend and will hear some stories and update back here but from what I could tell right now, he absolutely had a blast...he stayed in lots of hostels that were a lot of fun for him.

I have another friend who ALWAYS travels alone and she loves it. She's been to Mexico and Europe alone. She says its very peaceful.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,664
I LOVE traveling alone and have done a lot of it.
My favorite was a canoe float trip down a river in New England one spring.

A couple times I've wandered around Europe with a backpack and a Eurail pass.

I intentionally had no itinerary whatsoever and avoided hotel/pension costs by taking long overnight train rides.
Where I ended up was often determined by that alone.

It was like being free as a bird.
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
17,193
kenny|1305145403|2918939 said:
I LOVE traveling alone and have done a lot of it.
My favorite was a canoe float trip down a river in New England one spring.

A couple times I've backpacked around Europe using a Eurail pass.

I intentionally had no itinerary whatsoever and avoided hotel/pension costs by taking long overnight train rides.
Where I ended up was often determined by that alone.

It was like being free as a bird.[/quote]

Totally agree. Traveling alone lets you be entirely selfish...something that's really hard to come by after you have a partner and/or kids. My fav memory is sitting in a train station (I can't remember where it was, but it was in eastern Europe), and it had one of those old boards...the kind where the numbers and letters whirl and clack. I remembering staring at the board with all of its destinations and thinking...hmmm...where do I want to go today? And realizing that once I chose, no soul I knew would know where I was.

Solo travelers are often treated like VIPs...but they can be ignored too. The best places to solo travel are where people take the time to talk to people. I've traveled solo to NYC, Paris and London...and have stayed solo and not talked to a soul. It's just a lot of hubbub and hard to connect with anyone. So traveling solo, you have to like your own company, and be happy with it. It's also OK to feel lonely too. I spent 4 months traveling solo in Europe, and some of it was really spent completely alone (being a solo traveler, the fun is making friends along the way, and I met my husband in Europe!) and that was great too.

But in places in Ireland, especially more rural areas, I found it nearly impossible to be by myself. People were so curious about why I was alone! I'm 38 now, and I STILL find it hard to walk into a bar and sit down by myself, but it's one of the best ways to meet and talk to the locals. Not to mention it feels less conspicious than dining alone at a table. As a solo traveler, I also tend to stay away from big hotels. I stay in hostels, or at least B&Bs.

It helps to have street smarts. It also helps to have had some experience doing it on a small scale before you completely go at it alone...if only because you then understand how you are as a solo traveler. I traveled for a few years doing business trips alone before I took vacations alone. If it's your first solo trip, picking a country where they speak your native language makes it easier too. My first solo trip was to Australia. My next was to Ireland. Then I headed for continental Europe. Europe is easy because at least the letters are familiar in so many countries. Some places in Greece, though were a bit tougher to get around, but not by much. And English seemed to be spoken more in Greece than in Italy, which surprised me. I was going to start heading for South America and Asia but got sidetracked by a long distance relationship. :rolleyes:

In Europe, backpackers abound, and there are a TON of solo travelers...a huge percentage of them women (which I found interesting). Summer brings a lot of US backpackers and fall/winter a ton of Aussie ones. It's SO easy to meet a fellow backpacker...it's like the first day of school - everyone is interested in chatting, making new friends, etc. If you're there for any length of time, it's an interesting social network (and when I went, it was before the time of social networking, even though it was only 8 years ago). You see the same people over and over again, as they tend to travel on the same circuit. If you're ever lost or have questions, you can always ask another backpackers as they're obvious at train stations. People swap books (leisure reading and travel guides) and have great tips (where can you drink tap, and where is it awful). And if you're lucky, you make lifelong friends (I got my husband and one guy pal and one gal pal...we all still keep in touch and visit. All were Aussies, which is interesting.) Europe becomes very very small as a backpacker.

Enough rambling from me. Solo travel is a slice of heaven...because your time is yours to do with what you wish. How often can one say that in her life? :appl:
 

luv2sparkle

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
7,741
I really haven't travelled a lot, like some of you have. I wouldn't mind traveling by myself. The only time I ever did, I had a
great time. Actually, I think it was the only 'real' vacation I have ever had. Traveling with kids is not a vacation, it is a re-location.

My DH took our youngest on a school trip to Hume lake. I packed a bag and went to Pismo and stayed in this awesome hotel with
a beach view and a fireplace. I brought a ton of books, and a project I was working on. I took long walks on the beach in the
morning, hit the elliptical at the gym in the evening and did exactly what I wanted all day. I would go to a local restaurant to
get dinner and bring it back to the room and watch the sun set. I took long baths with a book, opened the windows and turned the
fireplace on. Truly, the best and only vacation I have ever had. I would do it again, but my DH would want to come. I love being
with him, but there is something so wonderful and decadent about being all by yourself.

Of course, this is coming from a woman with 5 kids. I might feel differently if I was alone ever...
 

Blackpaw

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2008
Messages
2,469
Dont be intimidated by travelling alone - its easy! its only hard if you make it so...(not meaning to sound dismissive, just that the perceived differences between 'home' and 'other' are often just that, perceived)

i have a significant other now and i love travelling with him (thank goodness!) but was always happy to travel by myself, i kind of dont get why people make a big deal of it - i wasnt going to wait around for someone to go with you know? =)

but yes, from experience id say europe and asia = SUPER easy to travel about on your own. Except maybe India, parts of China etc - i havent been but ive heard they can be more challenging. From what ive heard South and Central America are similarly easy-peasy! I backpacked through africa and the middle east with my SO, that i would have happily done solo but would have taken tours im sure. Though now that ive done it i wouldnt be intimidated to do the same on my own (no tours!).

Tgal had good tips, particularly about staying in hostels/BnBs - you wont meet people if you dont make an effort. What's that discovery channel ad i always get in my head with the funny music and it says "The world is an amazing place"?? anyhoo it really is, i cant imagine not exploring it alone or otherwise =)

oohhh i thought of a useful tip - Thorn Tree Forum! its the lonely planet forum and its super great for advice on the spot (though some of the people are more than a little impressed with themselves!) about every destination you can dream of and probably some you cant!

ETA: Sorry GG, just thought i should add that a good bet is to start saving, pick a place and start researching - preferably on work time, its much better that way :bigsmile:
 

iota15

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
1,278
kenny|1305145403|2918939 said:
It was like being free as a bird.[/quote]

I couldn't agree more. It is the ultimate experience of freedom. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
For work I traveled alone in Europe & Asia over 13 years. Enjoyed it a lot, though the 1st couple times was slightly anxious. No need to be. People are more than happy to help if you ask. If you're a young female, even more so!

Since then I've taken a couple of trips for fun by myself when DH didn't want to come along. Roamed around Virginia recently. I stayed in B&Bs -- picked places like old plantation houses still run by families that owned them since the early 1700s. Wonderful conversation w/owners and other guests!

It's great to be able to stop & look at something on the spur of the moment, only to please yourself. Go only where you want to see things without worrying if a companion is bored. Stay or leave whenever you wish. And you really can meet fun people.

Take a good book for things like eating alone.

The only place I had any difficulty was on a business trip in Switzerland. I stayed in a small hotel in Basel w/a well-known restaurant. The Swiss aren't real liberated about women -- better now than it used to be -- in this place they clearly disapproved of solo women cluttering up their tables, even hotel-guest females. Waiters ignored me totally for 45 minutes until I complained to the maitre d', who sniffed disapprovingly at me & gave grudging directions to the waiter to feed me & get me the heck out of there. He complied with a frown throughout my meal.

Other than that -- even in Japan, where women normally don't roam alone, I've had super experiences.

--- Laurie
 

GamerGirl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
175
Wow - thanks for all the responses!! :D

So essentially I just need to pick a place, do some research and jump on in! I think booking a tour or activity so I have a bit of an itinerary on the first trip is a good idea. I'll have to look up that forum!!

Right now I might be going to CA in Aug and AZ in fall -- not technically solo travelling as I will be meeting up with folks in both of those locations - but I will be travelling alone and will definitely have time to roam about by myself if I want. I think that will really get the travel bug going so I better start researching now to pick my next location!! ;))
 
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