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Elvtee Sep 24th, 2010 10:03 PM

Any advice please for lone Aussie woman off to Europe
Hi there, I am heading off to Italy on my own for a week of singing! and then have no firm idea of what I am going to do for the next six weeks! This is my first venture abroad on my own. I would like to visit Spain, possibly Portugal (and maybe Norway) from mid/late October. I would be grateful for any advice, tips and suggestions on must do's and watch out fors. :)

KayF Sep 24th, 2010 11:00 PM

Hi there, we are Aussies too and have visited all the countries you mention except Norway. You don't say your age or if you are 'attached' but just be aware that being a normal, friendly, outgoing Australian could be miscontrued by some European men as being more than just friendly.

Having re-read that, I probably sound old-fashioned. I just mean be aware of your surroundings and the fact that you are on your own at all times while still having a good time.

I would make sure to have photocopies or scanned copies on an email account of your passport and any visas and also your travel insurance and flight details. That way if valuable things get lost or stolen you at least have a copy which will help in getting things replaced. Also take the number to call if your ATM card does not work in the banks overseas (this has happened to us numerous times, usually it's something simple but at the time it's worrying) or if your cards get lost or stolen.

Definitely try and travel light with one small wheeled bag if you can. That way you can easily manage your own luggage and travel through airports and train stations quickly and with minimum fuss. Norway will be getting pretty cold in October, compared to the other countries you mention so you will need a coat, gloves etc. You can check historical weather averages for each place you want to visit on Trip Planner on

Do as much research as you can before you go and either book places to stay or have some ideas of places within your budget along with contact details. Also check out train travel for Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as cheap flights to Norway. You don't have to prebook everything but the more knowledge you have before you leave, the easier it will make your trip. Check train details on this helpful site: and

budget flights on

Have fun, hope this helps a bit.

ira Sep 25th, 2010 04:45 AM

Hi EL,

You want to visit Norway in mid-Oct?

Spain, Portugal and Southern France would go well.

"NO" is NO in Spanish, Não in Portugese, and Non in French,

"YES" is Si, Sim and Oui, respectively.

Enjoy your visit.


kimhe Sep 25th, 2010 06:43 AM

Perhaps go to Málaga in the south of Spain? Genuine Andalusian atmosphere, spectacular sights from the Roman and Moorish past, excellent food, great bars, nightlife, shopping etc. And of course, great beaches.

And you fly directly to Norway (Oslo) with SAS, Norwegian and Ryanair. Ryanair would be the most affordable, some 25-60€. Oslo is a great city (perhaps go to the new and quite spectacular Opera house), and Norway in autumn can be extremely beautiful.

DalaiLlama Sep 25th, 2010 06:47 AM

Call your bank and tell them about your trip so there is less of a chance that your debit card will get blocked when you want to withdraw € money from teller machines.

Skip Norway, it would mean an entire different and bulky (expensive, too) wardrobe, hanging you up no end on this trip. You want to be as light and fleetfooted as can be, clothing with smalls (synthetics) that wash easily in a sink at night and are dry by morning, and mix-and-match outer garments. Even the south of Spain can get chilly (the mountains near Granada are the second-highest in all of Europe!), but not as bad as Norway can get...

Happy trails!

kimhe Sep 25th, 2010 08:11 AM

Autumn in Oslo:

And one more thing about Spain; just made for going out alone and having some tapas. A couple of my favourite tapas bars in the centre of Málaga, Lo Güeno (have only been to the original branch in C/Marín García, 5) and La Campana:

klondike Sep 25th, 2010 08:53 AM

Beware of your surroundings. Don't be as "open" by staring at people in bus/metro/sidewalk or smiling and saying "hello" to strangers as you pass them as you might be inclined to do at home. Don't hesitate to go out at night but consider taking a taxi back to your hotel if it's late/far away; it's worth the little extra expense to arrive without incident.

DO have a wonderful time!

Pegontheroad Sep 25th, 2010 09:50 AM

Good advice from the above posters. I would add a suggestion that you use a moneybelt. Many people say it's not necessary, but there are lots of clever thieves out there, and I've never lost anything I placed in my moneybelt.

I am, by anyone's reckoning, an elderly woman--74. I travel alone to Europe quite often, and I try to do it on a budget. I second the suggestion that you bring a carryon-size bag. If you choose clothes that mix and match, with trousers or skirts in dark colors, you can easily travel for six weeks. I wear my walking shoes and pack only a pair of dressier but comfortable sandals.

I have one credit card that I use most often because it earns airline miles. I always call that company before I go to notify them of my trip because if I try to make a large purchase (such as a new camera), they will refuse it.

archer Sep 26th, 2010 12:18 PM

Last year, I went to Madrid and Barcelona with a friend. This year, I went on my first solo trip to Andalucia from Sept 10th -22nd. I loved Seville and my favorite tapas was at the Vinoteca San Telmo, then took the train to Cadiz, Cordoba and Jerez on different days. Then I went to Granada for the 2nd leg of my journey. My favorite tapas was at the Vinoteca Salinas II, then took an ALSA bus trip to Nerja for a day. I agree with everyone's suggestion on this forum. Notably, KayF's suggestion about researching the places you will be visiting. Believe me when I say it helped me a lot.

Elvtee Sep 26th, 2010 02:18 PM

Thank you so much everybody for taking the time to give your advice. Trying to clear the decks so I can get on the net to do the suggested research before my looming departure!
Mille grazie!

Javeanomad Sep 26th, 2010 02:39 PM

In Spain everybody greets everyone. Hola (Hello) or Buenas Dia / Tardes / Noche (Good morning/ afternoon/evening) are standard greetings.
However, be very careful at airports, metros, railway stations etc. for pickpockets and thieves. If someone asks directions, check your bags, purse etc. Unfortunately there are many very professional thieves that have come to Spain using the EU freedom of travel between the countries.
Having said that, the majority of people you meet will be friendly and helpful. Enjoy your travels but don't leave your brains behind!

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