(Closed) Solo Female Traveling in Europe

posted 10 years ago in Travel
Post # 17
Member
1154 posts
Bumble bee

That sounds fantastic!  Go for it.

Post # 18
Member
141 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

If I were you, I would look into hostels.  Hostelworld.com ranks hostels all over the world on lots of factors.  Look for some that has a high “fun” rating or something like that.  My experience with hostels EVERYWHERE was that there is no shortage of like-minded people just hanging out who will be happy to welcome you into a group if you are feeling lonely.  I did several trips where I would spend a few days with someone I knew and then a few days by myself.  Those were often my favorite days, where I would bring a book and enjoy a cafe alone.  No pressure of conforming to what your travel partner wants to do/see/etc.  After having some TERRIBLE travel partners, traveling alone can be amazing.

Post # 19
Member
3979 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

I’ve done it. I think traveling alone is the most exciting & empowering thing a woman can do. It’s nice to get to be by yourself & get to do what you want to do when you want to do it!

Bring a travel adapter!

Obviously, be safe. Don’t tell anyone where you’re staying & get home before it gets really dark. Instead of partying at night, I woke up really early to get around town to see the sights & spent the entire day traveling.

I wouldn’t suggest a hostel. Hostels are cool when you’re 18… if you really want a solo European vacation stay at little indie hotels (check them out on tripadvisor first)! They’ve got so much charm. The only downside is the size of the rooms– they’re like 1/4 of the size of most US hotels! haha in one hotel in London I stayed at, in order to sit on the toilet I had to put my feet in the shower. It was SO cramped! lol

A lot of people usually take trains to get around, but sometimes flights are cheaper. Flying from Paris to Rome can cost under $200 USD if you plan ahead… 
 

Good luck & happy planning!

Post # 20
Member
1093 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: Private home

I read a great blog – crazyauntpurl.com – and she frequently talks about travelling alone and how awesome it is.  She has some great tips but the biggest thing is this –    Have a wonderful time!!

Post # 21
Member
7081 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2009

I did it and it was a blast.  I do think that I was hyper-careful on trains and in other situation where I was interacting with crowds.  I tried to always look like I knew where I was going and what I was doing.  I made sure that before I set out for the day that I knew what the agenda and the route was.  I hooked up with other girls traveling either together or by themselves and I tried to be very skeptical of all the men pressuring me for dates.  ( I got asked to be someone’s date for the Cannes Film Festival and it killed me to turn it down, but I felt safer for it.)

If you are staying in hostels, stay in the girls dorms and you’ll meet so many great and adventurous girls.  I traveled around with so many Aussies on walk about!

Post # 22
Member
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I did a 3 week backpacking trip through Italy in 2007. I started in Milan, traveled around a good portion of the country for 3 weeks by train, and then flew out of Milan again. It was an awesome experience and now whenever I’m nervous about something I remember my first day in Italy as a little pep talk.

Here are my tips, some of which have been brought up by other posters.

  • Definitely have a cell phone of some kind. It was absolutely invaluable to be in communication with my family and let them know that I was safe.
  • I stayed in hostels. They aren’t luxorious by any means, but I definitely couldn’t have afforded anything else and it is nice to meet up with other travelers and do things together. I also extensively checked hostel reviews and picked places that were recommended as clean and safe. I also booked all of mine beforehand and left my complete itenerary with my parents.
  • I never went out at night. I may have missed something awesome, but I felt it was most important to be safe, not to mention, I was exhausted!!
  • Definitely have some down time if you need it. There was a day that I had some other activities planned, but was so tired I layed on the beach all day and it was wonderful!
  • As a New Yorker you are probably pretty street smart. Just be alert and don’t keep your valuables accessible to others. Be very wary of children in large cities. I met so many people who had their things stolen by expert child pick pockets. 
  • Pack light and take a backpack. It is so much easier to get around with than a suitcase. Try to take outfits that mix and match so you have more options and get more use out of them.
  • When I was completely lost or confused, I looked around at people’s feet. Generally Americans and Canadians wear very different footwear than Europeans. This was a pretty good trick for spotting someone who spoke English. Also Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders frequently put flag patches on their backpacks (so no one thinks they’re American, haha).

Best of luck to you! I traveled alone because I’m a teacher and didn’t have anyone who could spend that length of time away and I’m so glad I didn’t put it on hold. I really wasn’t even lonely until the tail end of my trip. Good luck and enjoy!

Post # 23
Member
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

In Fall of 2008 I spent a week traveling Europe on my own and had a great time! (London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin) I made sure to stay in public places and kept an eye on my belongings, but didn’t have any problems. I didn’t ‘flaunt’ anything I may have had on me (phone, computer…) and tried to make it look like I always knew where I was going… even when I was lost in Brussels without a map πŸ™‚

I stayed in hostels, which while lacking in privacy, gave the opportunity to meet other travelers that I could socialize with at night (since I wasn’t comfortable wandering around most cities alone at night)

Also- check out RyanAir. I flew from Latvia to London for $20!

Post # 25
Member
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Eurorail pass. Has anyone else suggested a Eurorail pass? Mine got me happily through a semester in Europe as a college student. Overnight trains were my fav, because they’re only an upgrade fee and save on a hotel. I was a broke student then though, haha.

Post # 26
Member
1585 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I had an Eurorail pass 8 years ago when I was running around Europe( I have lived in France for about 3 years total)…. It is the easiest way to travel.  We would just go to a city and then find out where we were going to stay when we got there… not a care in the world.

I still go running around europe but this time I have more $ to do things like go to opera in Vienna (doing that tomorrow night :))

Definately something that I would recommend for anyone to do.

Post # 27
Member
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2020

I spent 2 months traveling alone in Europe the summer before I started law school.  The World Cup was happening at the time in France so I avoided the country altogether.  Didn’t need the crowds. It was enough excitement to be in a country when their team was playing! I definitely had some fantastic experiences, and I stayed in youth hostels mostly so I always met people. It was nice to have the freedom to change plans quickly if you want without worrying about a travel partner.  You should watch out for weirdos on trains but the Euro pass everyone else mentioned is key.

Have fun. You learn a lot about yourself.

Post # 28
Member
353 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I’ve traveled solo in Europe, and I loved it! My best advice is to bring a journal, even if you’re not typically a journal writer. You’ll have so many amazing experiences that you’d normally talk about with a travel companion, that it really helps to have somewhere to put your thoughts πŸ™‚ So exciting! I hope you have a wonderful time!

Post # 29
Member
1565 posts
Bumble bee

I have a bit of a different perspective. I spent a semester studying abroad in Madrid, and did a lot of shorter trips around Europe from there. One of them was 4 days in Rome by myself. It was honestly very lonely and I would not do it again. I don’t think you’ll have any issues with safety, but just in terms of meeting people in hostels it can be a mixed bag. I stayed in a room with 7 other people in a hostel; everyone else was traveling with someone. I wanted to explore the city and see all the cultural stuff; everyone else was more into going on pub crawls every night. When I was sightseeing, I would run into Americans, but everyone seemed to be in families, tour groups, etc, and I didn’t really connect with anyone. I really wanted to talk and share my impressions of everything, and it was SO frustrating not to have anyone to talk to. 

That said, I am not the most outgoing person ever, and I am particular about how I like to spend my time on vacation. There’s few people I travel with well because am really intense about sightseeing dawn to dusk. I would say if you are outgoing and more flexible about your schedule and activities it could work. 

Post # 30
Member
2392 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@GirlWithARing – I was very lonely on my own as well.  I’m with you in that I don’t think I’d do it again.  But looking back, I’m glad I did.  It was a pretty amazing experience, but not necessarily a fun one.  So I would recommend going alone for someone who wants to, but with the caveat that it might be more meaningful than enjoyable.

Post # 31
Member
463 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

How exciting!  I’m glad you are doing it because I know that you will have a blast!!!!!

I went to my solo Europe last year (SEpt/Oct).  Tips?  Hmmm…

  • Bring an adapter.  You will need different ones for UK and mainland europe so be sure that you have all kinds.
  • If you are okay with hostels, stay there.  You will more people and get a lot of travel tips from like-minded “youngsters”.  If you are wary of sharing a room with men, be sure to book an all-female room.  If you hosteling, bring a flashlight.  You will need it, I guarantee it!
  • Don’t walk around with a map in hand, as much as you can.  Act like you know where you are going.
  • Pack light!!!  I had one 60L backpack that I didn’t even have to check it in on the plane.  I opted for a hybrid, though.  Your back will love you for it.
  • Books!  Bring them.  I only bought one book and I finished it a few days into the trip.  I had a hard time looking for english books over there.  Well, unless you can read their language, disregard this comment πŸ™‚
  • Be a foodie.  Try what’s new, try what looks good – even if you don’t know what it is or can’t pronounce the name.  The locals will appreciate it you for it.
  • If you don’t speak their language, make sure to learn a few words.  Hello, thank you, goodbye, excuse me πŸ™‚  Just to show them that you are polite.
  • I’ve heard of a lot of pickpockets in Europe so be wary of your belongings. 
  • Research, research, research! πŸ™‚

Owwwwww, I’m super jealous!!! Now I wanna go back! πŸ™‚

Do you know which countries/cities you are planning to visit?

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