Remind why I'm going solo again?

Old May 31st, 2002, 04:27 PM
  #1  
Kira
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Remind why I'm going solo again?

I've taken 3 solo trips to Europe. Sure, I'd rather go solo than not go at all, but...<BR><BR>The down parts of my trips are eating alone. Hate it! Then there's the general feeling of awkwardness traveling in a world made up of couples and families. The feeling comes and goes and I always make it through, coming back from my trip feeling like I've accomplished my goal of seeing more of the world. But...<BR><BR>Next month I've got two weeks vacation and I'm spending 12 days between Amsterdam, Brugge and Paris. I haven't been to these cities yet and I am excited, but also I have this sad feeling I can't shake when I think of doing it all by myself again.<BR><BR>I guess I'm experiencing pre-trip jitters. Could someone please remind me of the positive aspects of traveling alone?<BR>
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 04:37 PM
  #2  
Jim Rosenberg
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Advantages: No compromises; easier to wrangle ONE first-class upgrade than two; wake up and go to bed when you want to; you are your own best company; you will have an introspective adventure; you can take all the time you want getting the perfect pictures; you can finish the bottle; nobody will try to sample what you ordered for dinner; your interactions with the people you meet will take on a different significance; you will once again demonstrate your confident, self-reliance; NOBODY SNORING! Now have a great time!
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 04:42 PM
  #3  
Jennifer
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Kira,<BR><BR>If you'd like to meet people with whom to share an evening or meal, try staying at a hostel! Almost guaranteed you will find more company that you know what to do with!<BR><BR>Also, it wouldn't hurt to give some exact dates of when and where you are traveling on this website.<BR><BR>Personally, I (hopefully) will be traveling to Russia this fall. When I know the exact dates, I hope to find other travelers with whom to share dinners and entertainment!<BR><BR>Jennifer
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 04:44 PM
  #4  
Holly
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That special someone might just be sitting at the next table...
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:09 PM
  #5  
Dee
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Kira,<BR><BR>I'm off to Paris on my own in about a month. I've never been there before and I've never travelled alone before. That said...<BR><BR>At this point in my life, if I don't travel alone, I won't see the places I've been dying to see since,well, forever. I am single, and my girlfriends either: (a) have significant others that they would rather travel with or (b)can't afford it/would rather spend the money elsewhere...<BR><BR>The one thing that I'm sort of concerned about is eating alone, but instead of going to a big, cold restaurant, I'm going to find outdoor cafes where I can sip on a glass (or bottle) of wine and people watch to my heart's content....bonne chance!!<BR><BR>by the way, Jim, how DO I go about that first class upgrade?? What do I say??
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:16 PM
  #6  
Grasshopper
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Kira, the meal thing is the toughest. I usually eat outdoors, like Dee said, when possible. Stick with informal venues, bring a journal or book, or worst case grab a picnic. <BR><BR>Take a tour for a day. It helps to hook up with people.<BR><BR>Also, force yourself to talk to strangers. You meet lots more people when you're travelling alone. Have fun!
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:18 PM
  #7  
Mara
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Kira - As a solo traveler I generally plan a busy itinerary so there's not enough time to be lonely. And I can keep in touch with people at home by phone and email. To see three new wonderful cities will be a thrill! Have a great time! It is better to go alone than not at all!
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:21 PM
  #8  
Catherine
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I agree - eating alone is the worst part of travelling alone. If I'm exhausted and there's no where that great to eat then I order room service! Otherwise I take a book if it's not somewhere good for people watching. An outdoor cafe is great for that. <BR>But travelling alone means no compromising on what/where/when you want to see/do.<BR>
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:26 PM
  #9  
karen
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Kira - Last September I took my first trip to Europe. I went to Paris...alone. I don't speak the language, I was stranded there for an additional 4 days due to 9/11 and I still had a wonderful time. <BR><BR>I met a wonderful Frenchman who I wouldn't have met had I been with someone. And I wasn't looking for anyone. It just happened. I met many wonderful people. Stopping them to ask them questions. I was on my way to St. Chappelle one day and asked some Americans a question. I ended up spending time with them there as well as Notre Dame. <BR><BR>I would say only about 10% of the time I wish I had a traveling companion. <BR><BR>Don't worry. You are going to be just fine.
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:30 PM
  #10  
Nutella
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I've travelled both ways. With someone means having a built in dinner companion, someone to take your photo, and being able to talk about trip memories in the future. With someone is probably more "fun" meaning lots of laughing, joking, talking about things familiar to both of you back home. But solo is a much deeper, personal travel experience. You have time, and silence, to take it all in. You're more apt to meet people, both fellow travellers and locals. You're "forced" to speak the local language and you're more approachable. True and lasting friendships have come about from my solo travels. You can sit for hours in a piazza or stare at a painting in a museum, without feeling rushed. My journals written during solo travels are masterpieces if I do say so myself! Introspection and a sense of what was around me that I never get when I'm with company. Going on vacation together can be fun or romantic, and I'll admit I wish I had the love of my life to take me to Venice... but I wouldnt trade my solo travel experiences for anything!
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:32 PM
  #11  
John G
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When Im in a foreign country by myself (many times on a business trip) and I don't feel like eating alone, I go to a sushi bar. Im sure there are tons in Amsterdam and Paris. <BR><BR>Just a thought.
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:32 PM
  #12  
jan
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Kira,<BR>For some inspiration, take a peek<BR>at the thread "I vant to<BR>be alone" which I have just <BR>topped for you. Some very thoughtful posts there concerning solo travel.<BR>Good luck, and have a great trip!<BR>
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:33 PM
  #13  
Kira
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Thanks!!!!! So many encouraging replies are very helpful and I already feel better. And thanks, jan, for finding the other "solo" thread for me to read.<BR><BR>You don't need to remind me why I love fodors!
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:37 PM
  #14  
richardab
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I just got back from my solo trip to Paris and felt more comfortable dining alone than in any other city. I have a also dined alone in Amsterdam with little issue.<BR><BR>Here are my solo tips;<BR><BR>-Avoid any place which is terribly trendy.<BR><BR>-Stick to smaller bistros and brasseries. <BR><BR>-Outdoor terraces aren't bad for dining alone.<BR><BR>-Go to rerstaurants at off peak hours. Usually this means an early dinner or lunch.<BR><BR>-Don't be afraid to have your hotel make a reservation for you. At least they will expect you.<BR><BR>-Make Lunch your main meal of the day. many people dine alone at lunch.<BR><BR>-Bring a book or journal to occupy yourself. i always wrote in my journal while waiting for food. It passes the time and stops you from sitting there looking "alone".<BR><BR>-Have a picnic.<BR><BR>-Smile!<BR><BR>-Check out Zagat.com for Paris. They have a search function to look for a good places when dining solo.<BR><BR>-Send me you eMail address and I will send you my restaurant review list for Paris when I finish it. All the place i ate at are good for solos!<BR><BR>Have fun!
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 05:44 PM
  #15  
Dallas
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Kira, go on day tours from what ever large town you are in. On these tours you will be on a bus with a group whom you will get to know quite well in a day's time. A lot of them will be traveling solo too.<BR><BR>I've met some of the neatest people on these tours, and have had dinner and even gone to the theatre with them after the tour.<BR><BR>Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with others traveling solo. You'll make friends that can last a life time.
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 06:00 PM
  #16  
LIZBETH
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Kira,<BR>I travel solo on almost all my trips, and it is my most preferred way to go. Meals might be hard, but treat yourself as your own guest - don't skimp - order exactly what you want, take your time. On a recent trip to Austria, someone very good-looking came up to me as he was leaving the cafe and said something to the effect that it was a pleasure to watch someone appreciating a glass of wine the way I did. Then it was a handshake and bye - a momentary nice ego-booster - but it sure left a glow. I don't think these things happen so often when you are accompanied.<BR>And look at it this way - when you meet someone you like enough to travel with, think how impressed they will be with your sophistication, you seasoned world traveler, you.<BR>Oh, and the pre-trip jitters - I always go through a phase about exactly a week before departure where I feel that doom awaits me on this trip and I should cancel. It's normal...for me anyway.<BR>Blessings and regards, Lizbeth
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 07:02 PM
  #17  
carol
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Based on my own experiences traveling solo, these are the main positive aspects that I think you might experience: Because you'll probably crave companionship and conversation, you will probably tend to be a little more outgoing with the local people you meet, and will get into conversations with hotel receptionists, taxi drivers, shopkeepers, street market vendors, fellow tourists, local people standing at bus stops, etc. Since you won't have someone with you at all times who speaks English, it will be easier for you to think and speak in a foreign language, and your foreign language speaking skill will improve much faster than it would it you were speaking most of your time chatting away in English with your travel companion. You will have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the trip because you overcame problems, made changes in your plans in response to the inevitable glitches, figured out how to do things and get places, and had a good time. Other less important positives: You don't have to spend time shopping just because your friend wants to, you can take as long a shower or bath as you want whenever you want to without inconveniencing anyone, you can spend as long as you want taking a photo, you can go back to your room after breakfast if you want to even if most people don't want to, but you can do so only briefly and not make a big production out of it even though some people do.
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 10:22 PM
  #18  
ggrant
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I much prefer solo travel. When solo you can go to bed when you want, get up when you want, leave the tv on all night. Buy antiques with your money and eat cereal for dinner. Change your plans without asking for feedback. Use all the hot water when testing out your new bathbomb. Spend hours wandering, shopping/looking if you like. I do not mind eating alone but usually have a couple of splurge dinners and lots of cafes with quick bites or a picnic. My last trip that was not solo firmly convinced me. I made a promise to myself to travel solo the majority of the time.
 
Old Jun 1st, 2002, 10:42 AM
  #19  
Linda
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There's really no need to eat alone unless you really want to. Or maybe I'm just the type of person to strike up conversations with fellow travelers. When I went to Italy for 2 weeks solo, I ate with Australians, Brits and Americans who were traveling to the same places I happened to be. Funny how it works out that way. I did have several solo meals but it was nice to intersperse conversation in amongst the travel time. Met some really nice people. I hope you do too.
 
Old Jun 7th, 2002, 04:53 AM
  #20  
nas
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Kira you can have a wonderful time and many happy memories. In 1959 I went alone to Europe for 10 weeks. (My travel companion decided she needed to stay home to plan her wedding!) It was a wonderful learning experience and so positive that being newly widowed I went alone to Budapest, Vienna and Prague 2 years ago. It was marvelous - I could walk for hours enjoying the architecture not worrying that someone else was tiring or waiting for me or preferred to shop. It included all the pleasures that have already been pointed out. But, and I don't think this applies to you, Kira, but as a woman "of a certain age" one fades into the woodwork and from there you can watch the world go by or engage in it, as you choose. Meals were NO problem! (And I was dreading them.) I never opened my book unless I had to plan the next activity. Outdoor cafes were great but good restaurants were just as pleasant - I did go between 6:30 and 7:30. The beautiful one in my hotel in Prague was the best. (And if I hadn't been so hungry and tired I never would have ventured in alone.) I was given a choice table and treated beautifully - being dressed appropriately when the shorts and tee shirt crowd arrived I understood why!<BR> Another good thing to do is take a tape recorder. Although I started this when traveling as a family, it is especially good for solo travel because it lets you talk! When arriving back at the hotel it is great to have it as an alternative or addition to a journal and wonderful to play back - sometimes if your window is open you can catch the street noises! <BR> Next week I'm off on a different kind of solo travel, going as a single on Peter the Great on a river trip in Russia - a place I've always wanted to go and I am as excited as if it were my first trip! We'll see how being part of "not exactly a tour group" goes. It sounds easier for Russia and I can get to more night things. Can't wait!!!<BR> So, Kira, enjoy yourself - everything is an adventure!
 

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