newly 20 year old girl wanting to go to europe alone..... scared!?!. - TravelPUNK Backpacker College Student Budget Travel Message Boards!



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Old 07-26-2008, 04:57 PM   #1
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Exclamation newly 20 year old girl wanting to go to europe alone..... scared!?!.

Ok the thing is I have never been out of the US ever in my life. My family or myself doesn't know anyone in Europe either. I am finding myself confused with who I am and needing guidance.

I never really followed the crowd (still haven't hit college yet), I thought that I c0ould try and grow as a person living alone and working to earn everything first. I couldn't be more happier about that but now that I'm thinking about heading someplace I have no idea about I am scared $#!*less! I only know English, no other languages at all.

AND I just turned 20... Too young? I wouldn't consider myself a "Shy" person just not much of an independent person.....

Enough with my life story but I guess I just need guidance on what places would be best for a first timer with no other languages to speak. Or what language would be best to learn to use over there. I would love to see it all and i dont even know how long I plan on staying or anything I just have a feeling that it's my time to go and have to follow through right it.

Please help me out and calm me down and give some advise.

(Keep in mind I know NOTHING!! no idea about the Eurorail or the money exchange or anything.... Am I outta my mind?!? Please tell me now if you do think so....))


THANK YOU SO MUCH for any input!!:D
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:53 PM   #2
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You're not too young and you don't need to know the language of where you're traveling. Believe it or not but alone with only a handful of words you will get by just fine! Just learn "hello," "thank you," "how much," "small change," and the numbers up to 15 and you're golden!

You can start in an English speaking country if you're a bit nervous, but don't limit yourself once you've been traveling a bit. I guess you don't have a specific area you're super interested in? What's your budget? A few good places to start are wikitravel.com and just by getting a guidebook from the library that covers a region instead of a specific country (Lonely Planet South America, Rick Steves Best of Europe, that kind of thing).

And start firing away questions to us You'll love it!

Oh, and don't forget to apply for a passport :D
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:24 PM   #3
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ok first off: Welcome to TravelPUNK!

secondly and just as important: Don't Panic.

You are not out of your mind. it sounds like your looking for a change, a defining and worthwhile experience, and since you've already identified that within yourself your half way there

no matter what anyone says being 'too young' is not a good reason not to go travelling, personally i believe the younger the better. If you not convinced ask any travelpunk.

as for places to go, well thats completely up to you, this is your trip, and your experience, but read about other peoples trips ask them questions, and let their experiences inspire you. We can tell you whats there, and how it was for us, but ultimately its what you fancy doing.

as for speaking languages, well ethically its better (in my mind) if you can speak at least a few phrases of the language, but i'm completely guilty of being totally ignorant, after just returning from a month in russia i know a total of three russian words. This didn't stop me and my companions having a 15 hour conversation with rail way worker one night in Siberia though.
within europe you can spend your time within areas with a developed tourist infrastructure, but you are still able to find areas less traditionally associated with tourism.

once you've got an idea what there actually is where you want to go, you'll automatically start to develope ideas of what kind of journey you want to go on.

but most of all rember. Dont Panic,
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:03 AM   #4
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Don't worry!

I will be turning 20 soon and I have been to the UK and Central America by myself, I am going back to Europe this fall. The first time you go by yourself it can be a bit scary just because you don't know what to expect. But as long as you are willing to talk to other people you will not have to travel alone for very long! That is the beauty of backpacking.

As far as where to go, it depends what you want to see. Europe is big and there are a lot of options. So first I would grab a travel guide or just read up on some countries you might be interested in. Don't worry to much about not knowing the language yet. I knew a total of 4 words in Spanish, if I was lucky, when I went to Honduras but you catch some while you travel or meet people who can teach you phrases as well.

You may not think you are that independant but once you start traveling you will surprise yourself. The extra things like currency exchange and such aren't that difficult either, just remember always keep a hundred or so in the local currency on you "just in case".
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahfi226 View Post

AND I just turned 20... Too young? I wouldn't consider myself a "Shy" person just not much of an independent person.....
Too young?? Never. I think a couple of the tpunk ladies took their first trip when they were 17.

Don't worry, as long as you have an adventurous spirit, the rest will come. And its easy to make friends while backpacking, walking into the hostel is the like the first day of university - no one know anybody and are all trying to find friends. =)
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FIRST TRIP (2005): FIRST EUROTRIP EVER! UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:01 PM   #6
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You are definitely not too young. If you feel it's your time to go then get it together, plan your trip and go. Once you're on the road it gets easier to figure out how to get to places, exchanges and even language. A few key phrases is all you need. A lot of people speak at least some english in many European countries but as maracle suggested, maybe starting in English speaking countries to get accustomed to a foreign place would be helpful.

As for being a solo female traveler, there is nothing to it. I'm 22 and just this past summer I did my first solo trip to Europe and it went great. At least you have some lead time to plan your trip. I didn't plan anything; just found a good price on a plane ticket on a random Monday and said "you know what, no school, no work, why not?" and was off to Paris on that same week's Thursday. As scary as it was and will undoubtedly be for you even if you plan it all out, it was the most amazing experience. Even if you are not that sociable or tend to be reserved (as I am) you will meet people. People will talk to you whether you like it or not! lol As long as you are responsive and pleasant you will make friends.

I dreamt about my trip for a long time and had been putting it off since I was 19 or 20, so get out of here! Go do it! There are many girls who do it and age doesn't matter as you will see in a lot of the TPunkers.

I hope you decide to go. I promise you that it is not something you will regret. Even if everything doesn't go as planned or wasn't exactly what you expected, I promise at the very least the trip will be worthwhile.
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Old 09-28-2008, 05:13 PM   #7
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This thread is a little old so I am not sure if you are still checking it or not but this advice is fairly universal...

I am not sure if you should ask Tpunks whether you are out of your mind because insofar as traveling is an addiction we are enablers

Linguistically you can easily travel to Europe with just English. We may not all encourage it and but it is possible and thousands of people do it every year. That said, learning a bit of a new language is definitely advisable. My new favorite method is through podcast (Italian, French, and Spanish) and Rosetta Stone. If you are going to focus your travels on one country more than others, obviously concentrating on that one makes sense.

Traveling to Ireland or the UK first may make you feel more comfortable. Scandinavia is beautiful and has incredibly high English literacy among the general population. Apart from them, all "big cities", Rome, Paris, Barcelona etc will be pretty good on this point.

You can never be 100% prepared for your first trip so just do your best with the main things and learn as you go. General rule of thumb:

Plan on...
Half the clothing
Twice as much money
A third as many cities as you think you can cover

--Joey
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:33 AM   #8
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Hi Cartel Jose. Welcome to the boards! You planning of going anywhere?
__________________
Vincent: "So what you gonna do?"
Jules: "Well, basically, I'm just gonna walk the earth."
Vincent: "What you mean 'walk the earth'?"
Jules: "You know, like Kane in 'Kung Fu'...go places...meet people...get in adventures."

Trips (only counting recreational travel):
FIRST TRIP (2005): FIRST EUROTRIP EVER! UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland
SECOND TRIP (2007): First Solo Trip! Greece, Turkey, Syria, Spain
2008: China (Beijing, Shanghai, Yangshuo) ...right before the Olympics!
2009: Japan & HK, Southern Spain
[size=1]2010: All over Lebanon, Ibiza (Spain), Oktoberfest (Germany), Thailand.
2011: India (Goa), Jordan, Jerusalem, San Sebastian (Spain), Amsterdam (again), London, Driving from Vancouver to L.A. (stopping in Portland, Seattle, San Fran and all the little stops), Montpellier (France), Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland)

"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it."
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:12 AM   #9
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I'm pretty sure he's just spamming that link in his sig...
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:50 PM   #10
 
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You don't have a very long period of time in your life where you can say you're young so take advantage of it while you can!

When you're old think of all the stories you'll be able to tell your grandkids about all the things you did when you were young. Get out there and start seeing the world, the rest will fall into place.

Keep in mind that with the widespread nature of the English language most non native English speakers know a few words here and there. As long as you're polite and take the time to attempt their language I find that most people are pretty happy to combine their knowledge of our language with your knowledge of theirs to come up with a half intelligible conversation! You'll be fine!
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:52 AM   #11
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Most young Europeans can speak at least bit of English. It's only really the likes of Italy, France and Spain that seem to dislike speaking English but secretly they do speak a good bit of it. Eastern Europeans love gangster rap and learn allot of English there. The likes of Germany and the Nordic countries seem to speak multiple languages which puts the rest of Europe to shame. English is like the official language of Europe so it's spoken in just about all big cities.
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