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Italy and Greece - 2 weeks - late June 2014

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Hello!
I am brand new to Fodor's, so I hope I am doing this right!

I'm a 30 year old female from the United States and I am planning a 2 week trip to Italy and Greece in late June or early July 2014. This will be my first time traveling outside the U.S. and my first time traveling solo.

I know I want to visit Rome, Athens, and a few of the Greek Islands, including one with an amazing crystal blue and white sand beach! Other than visiting these places, I have no set plans so I welcome any and all comments, suggestions and advise you can provide about the following topics:
- Itinerary
- solo travel versus a travel group
- what to pack
- tips for solo traveler and first time traveler
- Flights
- Hotels and Hostels
- Whether to book ahead for tours, hostels, ferries, etc.
- Weather in Italy, Athens and the Greek Islands in June/July
- How to find other people who are going to same location at same time

I appreciate your help and Happy New Year!

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