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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:53 AM   #1
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Default first time solo travel

hey guys!

i am having a serious need to get away for a while but sadly i have no one who is free to come with.

I'd really like to do a month abroad and I was wondering if anyone had any tips for the best way to go about it.

I think Europe would be my ideal destination, but I wouldn't mind hearing about cheaper places to go.

I'm a little concerned about the safety and loneliness of going alone (especially since i'm a girl) if anyone has any advice as a solo traveler (females in particular) i'd love to hear it.

Thanks
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:09 AM   #2
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Welcome to Tpunk!
I am sure there are many people who will be of much more help than I am but here is my thoughts and advice.
Europe is a great place to go and can be a great place to get away from it all. How do you want to roll? Well there are options-
You can pick a handful of countries that you want to see and then look at travel in between those countries and booking hostels.
Or you can just get a Eurail pass and ride the rails stopping at places that take your fancy.
Not being a woman I don't know anything about what its like for a solo traveling gal but I know that Tpunk has women who have and I am sure they will advise you.
Loneliness? I won't lie traveling solo can be pretty lonely at times especially if you have very close friends who you will not see. Luckily in the age of instant messaging and internet cafes that is not as big a problem as it was. Also speaking personally the loneliness was almost a positive for me because it forced me to be more sociable and open-non of which are particularly personality traits I possess.
Cheaper options? Really depends on where you are right now. I will say that in Europe Eastern Europe is much cheaper than the West.
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:17 AM   #3
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sweet thanks

i'm actually in canada right now

my thought was to just pick a few countries and go that way, but i never really thought about the eurorail thing. i'm going to look into that now.

thanks again!
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:47 AM   #4
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What countries spark your travel bug? I'm asking because sometimes it might be worth looking into a Eurorail zone pass rather than fork out for the whole continent-it would allow you to visit the countries you want to and its cheaper than getting the whole of Europe one.
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Old 06-04-2008, 02:10 AM   #5
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this isn't set in stone but i'd like to see

Amsterdam
spain
berlin
greece
ireland

i'd like to see paris and london as well but not as much as the others... plus those places (along with ireland) seem to cost the most .
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:45 AM   #6
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hmmm I am by no means a eurail expert but on the face of it I would say you might need either a global or select pass-again there are others here who know far more about this than me.
But you're list certainly seems fun! If you're going by train the whole time then I would imagine you will be going through France anyways either going to or from Spain in which case you could certainly stop in Paris and then resume your trip.
Where are you starting from?
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Old 06-04-2008, 07:14 AM   #7
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Hi Kari and welcome ! :D

I am one of several female tpunks who backpacked solo, and I can assure you that it is lots of fun. You just need to apply the same basic security rules you do in Canada, but also try not to look too touristy. For instance, dress like them (in Europe, women don't wear shorts), have a discret daybag, etc.

We have a whole sub-forum on the subject of solo travelling : here. And check out this thread, dedicated to female solo backpacking.

I would also suggest you choose countries that aren't so far apart, as traveltime between cities/countries is tiring and you only have a month. If you want to visit more than one city per country, then it would be better to cut down to four countries at the most. One per week, or so. You can always come back some other year for more backpacking... it is kinda addictive anyway !

If your budget is tight, you could think of including central or eastern european countries, because the average daily budget is about half the one in Western Europe ($75 in W.E., $40 in E.E.). It is not only cheap, but very interesting, different and beautiful! I love this part of the world !

That's all I can think of for now. Have fun planning !
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:33 AM   #8
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Hello!

I am also a solo female backpacker. Still on my trip as we speak and it's coming to an end. I will tell you that I was petrified at the idea of coming to Europe alone, but once I was here it all fell into place. Sometimes you do feel lonely, but sure enough as everyone had told me, you will meet people at the perfect time to pick you up from that lonliness. Your itinerary sounds fantastic! That's pretty much what my next trip will look like. (not even done with this one and I'm planning the next lol) It is an addiction and going solo should be no hinderance. As far as timing and travel time in between, it does get exhausting moving from city to city, especially by rail since it takes a lot longer. I didn't get a eurail pass and traveled between countries by plane and within countries by either train or bus. Although in retrospect, I should have gotten a Eurail pass... I'm pretty sure when i tally up my flights they will equal a bit more than the pass. But there are also great deals out there if you plan ahead for flights. (i booked last minute so i missed those fantastic deals).

Five countries is a lot to see in the one month time frame, but I guess it really depends on how many cities you are stopping at in each one.

My trip is coming to an end and it was a month. I'll give you a breakdown for reference although they are different cities and you should really research what you want to see before heading out.

Paris - 10 days
Venice - 1 1/2 days
Florence - 4 days
Pisa - quick trip 4 hours
Rome - 4 days
Madrid - 4 days
Barcelona - 3 days
London - 3 days

Again, this is how I did it, I just stayed in places until i felt it was time to move on... Whatever you do, have fun! Meet people along the way or just tour solo on certain days. Both are really rewarding experiences.

I'm new to solo travel myself so I hope I was a bit of help!

As far as safety, just use your best judgement. There are shady characters everywhere.

Have a fantastic trip!
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Old 06-04-2008, 11:04 AM   #9
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Welcome! I can't really offer that much more right now, but I will be leaving for my first solo trip in a little under a week. I'm male, so I can't help you with any female specific advice, but hopefully I'll be able to offer more when I get back from my trip. Out of the list of places that you mentioned, I think Greece would be the hardest to get to. If you flew into Ireland, then made it to mainland Europe and got a eurail pass for 4-5 countries (Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and France (it makes it cheaper if you choose adjacent countries.) Someone else on this site recommended the website www.railsaver.com and this can be very useful when you are trying to figure out an itinerary. Good luck!
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Old 06-04-2008, 04:58 PM   #10
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I think that with as friendly as the Irish are, you'll have a hard time being alone during your solo backpacking stint there! Honestly, other travelers will be more than happy to hang out with you, so unless you want to be, there's not much need to worry about being by yourself...

Go for it!

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Old 06-04-2008, 08:31 PM   #11
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wow thanks guys!

there is a lot of very helpful information here
i might even rethink my itinerary this time around to make it more doable


i really enjoy doing nightlife kind of things.. going to shows and clubs and things like that. I guess that's where my main safety concern comes in. Even in Canada I wouldn't really go out alone at night so I guess I should probably avoid doing so in Europe unless I find a buddy to come along?
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:59 PM   #12
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^^^Yes you better have someone with you, as you do here. But you shouldn't have any trouble finding yourself a mate for the evening ! You're planning on going to very popular backpackers destinations. You might as well received lots of invit', and not have to do "the first steps".

Berlin's nightlife rocks btw. And daylife too.
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