Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone and Travelling Solo

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone and Travelling Solo

Old Feb 17th, 2014, 09:51 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
On the subject of driving, I look at it like this.

How any individual feels about it depends on that individual's confidence and comfort zone in terms of driving. To say, 'I find it no problem' or 'I wouldn't do it' really only indicates what that individuals comfort zone is. It has no bearing on the OP unless you know how confident a drive the OP is.

Many people find driving on the 'wrong' side of the road to be something they are not willing to attempt. Logic tells us that if they can drive, that should make no real difference. But while it isn't a logical fear, it is a fear nevertheless.

So comments about should or shouldn't someone drive, are meaningless. It is an individual thing and ONLY the individual can decide.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2014, 02:34 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 12,747
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Good point dulciusexasperis.

We do tend to filter our responses through our own experiences, competencies & limitations.

However, the OP hasn't indicated she would be driving "on the wrong side of the road". For all we know, she may drive on the left in her home country.

Or she may not drive at all, although she doesn't mention that as a reason for considering a tour.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2014, 05:10 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 26,401
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There's really no reason one can't travel by bus as easily as traveling by train. You show up at the right place at the right time and buy a ticket, get on board and watch out the window until you get there. This is not significantly more difficult than is train travel... though you will likely have more stops along the way.

I'd suggest choosing an area or two of most interest, then looking at the bus schedules on how to best get around. Ireland, IMO, is quite simple and being that it's English speaking, there are no shortage of people to ask, most pretty friendly. Further, there are certainly locals on that bus, so you have plenty of chance to lean over and ask someone if you're confused.

One example might be to take the train to Cork or even Cobh (lovely small town, very "real" IMO). Take the chance to walk around. Shop for a few necessities at local grocers. Spot a neighbourhood pub, take a deep breath and go on in. This has never turned out to be a regrettable choice for me so far. This is the experience. Look for the local tourist office... there will be no shortage of local day tours. And from there, why not catch a bus and wind down the coast to someplace else that seems a bit biggish until you find another perch on which to roost a few days? Wind up somewhere the train runs... or even, say, Shannon with it's airport for a return flight home? It's not all of Ireland, of course... but if you do the whirlwind, you get a brief of everything and no depth of anything. Which is fine but doesn't sound like what you want.

For those bus schedules:
http://www.buseireann.ie/
CounterClifton is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2014, 01:17 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bus is the best option for travelling around Ireland in many cases.. As said the train uses Dublin as the main hub. The train would though be the way to get from Cork to Cobh should that be on your list.

Perhaps a little feedback might help us help you.
Tony2phones is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 06:44 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Solotreker, it’s been many days, just wondering what your reaction is to all of this “advice” about solo travel?
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 07:02 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 67,483
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
The OP Posted and has not returned to the thread. Everyone may be talking to themselves . . .
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 07:11 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Janisj, I hear you - c'est la vie...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 03:08 AM
  #28  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all the responses. I just finished up with a 70 hour work week and haven't had a chance to get back on this thread. A lot of things to think about. I am amazed at the number of you that truly go out on your solo adventures. After reading some of the responses, I am going to also consider maybe going out on my own and doing some small group tours. I had originally planned on travelling in September, but at this point that might be rushing things for me. I like to do a little planning to make sure I see and do the things I really would like to do the first time around. This time of year is so hectic with work. I am so ready to get out of my comfort zone in life. The only reason I selected Ireland for my first solo trip was because many many years ago we sponsored an exchange student from Ireland, and loved our discussions on the culture and beauty of Ireland. I hope to spend a day with her and her family while there. I am going to back thru and review all the responses and links provided today. I don't have to work today!! Thanks for all the tips.
Solotreker is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 04:43 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,934
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How long do you have for this trip? As you will see from reading all the responses, there are numerous ways you can make it work to travel solo in Ireland. However, I still say the absolute best way to travel solo is to do it someplace that has good/great public transportation. A city that has a good metro/bus system, a country that has a great train network - these can make traveling a joy. And that's just not Ireland. But intra European flights are cheap and easy. You could perhaps spend some time in Ireland visiting your exchange student and seeing the area around where she lives, then fly somewhere else. England is an obvious choice as it is so close. Several days to a week or more in London is a perfect first solo destination. They speak the language, the transportation is good, there's so much to see in the city itself, plus many great day trip (by public train) opportunities. But if you wanted something more 'different', flights from Ireland go pretty much everywhere in Europe. Or you could do some time in London and take the Eurostar to Paris for a while (3-4 days for each of these cities is really minimum to make it worthwhile). Both of these cities are wonderful for solo female travelers - you don't feel odd going out alone, there's so much to see that you don't get lonely.

If you were to combine Ireland with another destination you'd look for 'open jaw' (multi-city) flights - into one city and home from the other, so as to avoid having to back track.
isabel is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 10:49 AM
  #30  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Isabel and all the others that have posted. I am looking at being gone 10 to 14 days. After reading all the posts, I think I need to keep researching some of the great ideas. I am so excited, and a little nervous. But I have managed on my own for years. I have the passport, just need the plane tickets. Being this is a "big" trip for me, I want to make sure I do some things right. So I think a little planning is needed the first time to Europe.
Solotreker is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 02:37 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Solotreker,

So glad you got back to the discussion. Wow, you really do need a vacation after those lengthy work days!

As suggested above, London and Paris make excellent destinations for a first timer in Europe. In my view the key is to select a hotel in the heart of the city where you can walk to many priority destinations before venturing onto the Tube or Metro. Believe me, you will get tons of suggestions for these hotels on this forum.

When time permits, you could search SOLO trip reports and get a feel for the experience. Of course, there are a few drawbacks which are greatly outweighed by the freedom and increasing confidence of traveling alone. Keep us posted.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2014, 07:35 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What is the relevance of London and Paris for someone who wants to visit Ireland? What makes the 'key' for first timers to Europe, selecting a hotel in a city? What if cities are not what they are interested in?

I suggest ignoring trip reports since the vast majority of them will bear no similarity to any other individual's preferences. It would be better to put that time into reading a guidebook for the area you want to visit and selecting from that, what is of interest to you as an individual. Trip reports can never cover as much as a good guidebook does.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2014, 08:50 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For a Solo female trip report you could read Green Dragons recent Ireland example
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...eland-2013.cfm
Tony2phones is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2014, 05:33 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 26,401
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with dulciusexasperis. Go where you have dreamed of going. Go where you have developed an interest. Don't go somewhere just because someone else found easiest for them. What's easiest and hardest is like what's "better" or "worse". It's entirely objective. A city has it all at your fingertips. It can also be quite overwhelming if you're not adept at cities already. A place like Ireland can offer less options, true. But it can also feel a much simpler place to be.

Don't worry about all that.

My first trip abroad was to Ireland. It was fine, nothing alarming happened. I can't think of a trip report I've read yet that seemed alarming. Doesn't mean that something won't go awry in either London or Kinsale (or in your neighbourhood). What you want to know is could you get help getting out of a jam. I am sure that you could, as easily in Dublin or rural Ireland as you could anywhere else you might choose. I got sick there once (not the first trip). The doctor charged me 15 Euro for the visit, gave me directions to the pharmacy down the street and asked me to call him Patrick. These things work out. This is about you. Your money, your dreams, your trip. It's good that people want to be helpful but you know you. And if Ireland is calling, read up on Ireland and go to Ireland.
CounterClifton is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2014, 05:34 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 26,401
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry... it's entirely subjective. SUBjective. Dang it.
CounterClifton is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2014, 06:15 PM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dulcius,

My bad, true Solotreker did ask about Ireland only.

You wrote:

“I suggest ignoring trip reports since the vast majority of them will bear no similarity to any other individual's preferences.”

No, they are not substitutes for good travel guides. What I am suggesting is that the poster might get a sense of how others manage/ compensate/adjust to being on the road alone from these accounts. I took many trips to Europe with traveling companions before I ventured out on my own. I admire Solotreker’s decision to strike out alone on her first trip across the pond.

And Tony2phones makes an excellent suggestion about reading Green Dragon’s solo trip report to the Emerald Isle.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2014, 07:32 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi
We have been to Ireland quite a few times and have done the self-drive and the large and small group tour so I can give you my opinion on them for what it's worth... Firstly do not worry about traveling solo as you have picked a great location to start with. The Irish are known for their friendliness and hospitality so I don't expect that you will feel on your own at all. For yourself that hasn't been to Ireland, I would go with a small group escorted tour. I have travelled on a CIE tour before and although it was very well priced, we did feel like it was a race against time, we were on the bus, off the bus and ushered back on again!! It felt like we didn't get a real feel for the place. We decided to come back after that and went on a small group tour, we used a company called Journey Through Ireland, they keep their groups to 12 people which worked out really well for us. We made great friends on that trip due to the group size we think because it meant that we really had the opportunity to bond with everyone. We had a great tour guide who told us everything we needed to know and bless his patience we did ask a lot of questions!! The beauty with this tour was that we didn't feel rushed at all and they had allowed free time in our itinerary so my wife & I could leave the group and have some alone-time when we wanted and it gave us the opportunity to visit a local pub and chat with the locals there or try out a restaurant we had heard about so we truly got a feel for the place. When selecting your tour comapny, I would recommend that you look out fornthis in their itineraries. We did an add-on package in Dublin which meant we came in a few days early ahead of the tour and spent some time exploring Dublin ourselves. I now feel more comfortable with my knowledge of Ireland so we tend to do self-drives as we know the areas we love most now and how to get around. I haven't used Vagabond Adventures before so can't really say what they are like but from reading reviews about them online they look ok too. Best of luck with your selection and most of all have fun doing it!! It is a great country so I am sure you will have have a great vacation and a well-deserved break!
JamesLuke227 is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2014, 03:25 PM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 18
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I too am solo and looking at a trip to Ireland. I have made other trips to another country with others but never alone. I am concerned about being the only one on my chosen tour alone. Ireland has always been somewhere I've dreamed of going. I am fascinated by so many aspects of it's culture, history and beauty. I am tentatively booked on a CIE 10 day Leisurely Ireland tour and not looking forward to being herded around like cattle. Not to mention the $600 single supplement. I would much rather sign up for a rental car tour with booked B&B's or Hotel with some meals. As of the last few years I've basically been RV'g and belong to two solo RV groups. I have pulled my trailer as much as $1200 miles alone to meet with others for site seeing and adventure. I'm certainly not a marathon runner but consider myself physically fit. I sincerely hope you respond to this post and let me know what your intent for Ireland is. Also, would like to add I am not wealthy.
OkieLady is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2014, 05:30 PM
  #39  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
JamesLuke..thanks for the info on Journey Thru Ireland Tours. That tour group has not come up in any of my searches. I like the idea of a very small group. I definitely do not want to be in a large tour group. And I am still tossing around the idea of renting a car. So many ideas to consider. A client of mine has strongly suggested staying in bread and breakfast inns. OkieLady..I am very impressed that you are doing the solo rv'ing trips. I too consider myself physically fit(but also not a marathon runner)...I find that a lot of younger folks can't keep up with me. At first I was considering going to Ireland in September, but I think that may be rushing it a little bit for me. Working a lot thru the end of April. And I think I need to do some planning.
Solotreker is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2014, 06:33 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Okie Lady,

“I too am solo and looking at a trip to Ireland. I have made other trips to another country with others but never alone. I am concerned about being the only one on my chosen tour alone. Ireland has always been somewhere I've dreamed of going.”

I hear ya. But I have taken many tours solo and never have felt uncomfortable. In addition to couples who are usually in the majority, you may encounter two friends, mother and daughter, father and daughter, grandparent and teen, along with assorted singles.

Most folks on a tour are open to meeting new people which is part of the experience.

Good luck.
latedaytraveler is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:45 PM.