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Solo Female First Time Traveler - Scared to Death

Solo Female First Time Traveler - Scared to Death

Old Jun 1st, 2013, 07:33 PM
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It's really hard to say what tech stuff one should travel with, because it's all weight.

I have a netbook which cost somewhere around $200 a few years ago. It's light enough, has Skype on it. Everything I put on the netbook is also downloaded to a drive that is small enough to fit in a drive "bag" for protection and goes on a keyring in my jacket.

I've never had much difficulty getting wifi in Europe, maybe because I ask the place where I'm staying if there is wifi or not. Having access to wifi allows me to surf the net and get all my directions and plans straight for the next day.

I also have an even older model of a unlocked phone but have stopped carrying it because the netbook meets all my needs.

You really have to think seriously of some things: weight (this includes the charger); ease of use; what your needs are; and possibility of theft. Obviously the more expensive the equipment, the more likely it will attract thieves (they work in groups).

Once you've decided what equipment works best for your needs, don't worry about it any further.

Enjoy yourself! You deserve a wonderful trip!
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 01:42 AM
  #82  
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Thank you all very much for your advice! I appreciate it so much and I'm thrilled with all the new suggestions & info! I am especially thankful for your tech tips!

So after researching a ton...and I mean, a ton...of places for lodging, I have finally booked everything except for London & Nice.

Can you suggest a good, central area to look for either a hotel or an apartment in London? I only have 4 full days so a very convenient location would be ideal.

After my first city, London, I'll be taking the Chunnel to Paris & staying there for 6 days in the St Germain area by the Seine. This will be the second week in September. It should start cooling down a bit by this time, no?

Then from Paris, I plan to take the train to Nice where I'll be for 2 days (Sat & Sun) to meet with some friends. Or do you suggest flying? Is the train ride scenic?

I have the next day free (Monday) & I'm wondering where I should spend the night before heading to Florence. Monaco? Or perhaps even somewhere midway between my train ride from Nice to Florence?

I'll be in Florence for 6 days where I found an apartment within a 5 minute walk to Ponte Vecchio on the other side of the Arno river away from the historic center. I am really excited about this apartment because it has a washer!

After enjoying Florence, I'm sure I'll be ready for some water.

Venezia!

For a whopping 7 days! YEAH!!! You guys got me so excited about Venice that it's become my most anticipated city to visit! I was going back & forth between staying in either Castello or San Marco, but after finding a sweet deal on an even sweeter place in SM, it's sealed. Would love, love, love any off the beaten path gems only you Venice fanatics would know. I'm excited already!

After saying goodbye to Venice, I head off to Rome where I'll be spending the remainding 7 days of my trip in the San Giovanni area before flying back home. The apartment I found has great views, excellent reviews & the price is very reasonable so I'm hoping the short trek/bus rides/taxis will be worth it.

I would also like to join a quick walking/bus tour the day after I arrive to familiarize myself a bit and maybe even meet some new people. Any reliable tour companies you've been ecstatic about in the past are more than appreciated!

Also, any special recommendations on any where to see, eat & join, beyond what the guidebooks are sharing, would be such a treat!

A little tidbit about me...

At home, I have found that when I dine solo, ...and this is not too often..., but when I do, I tend to gravitate towards a somewhat romantic setting. This might make some diners around me feel awkward but it's really my most favorite way to eat by myself! lol. So I might be "Scared to Death" traveling alone, but I'm sure as hell confident stuffing myself! Therefore, kindly send your most romantic picks my way, please, as I plan to romance myself all through Europe!

So far, that's all I've got! As always, thank you for all your input. This forum has really made me look forward to traveling alone and I'm very grateful for the time you've put in to help me & all your words of encouragement.

Now, if I could just start getting excited about London.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 01:46 AM
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Kinda hard to recommend a London neighborhood without knowing a budget.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 01:57 AM
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London budget would be around $150/night. Maybe $50 more if it has some views! Thank you!
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 03:21 AM
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A bit about Venice

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...over-again.cfm
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 10:10 AM
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Thank you, Peter_S_Aus, for sharing this with me & everyone else!

I'm still reading it...still loving it!
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 10:48 AM
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I am living proof that you can successfully travel in Europe with no electronics. Nothing. Nada.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 06:43 AM
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Honestly I would start out in London. Gives you
A good sense of other nationalities while
Still being able to read and speak English
Nice way to ease into your travels and gain
Confidence. I am travelling with my son who has
Never been to Europe and I know for a fact
If we had started off in Prague he would've
Been ready to go home the next day!
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 08:04 AM
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Thank you zogmommy! I totally agree with you (and Rick Steves agrees too). I was thinking of staying around the Westminster area as most of the sites seem to surround that area? Would appreciate your input.

I had to change my dates as I'm now traveling a little over 6 weeks and staying in Paris for exactly 2 weeks. My original apartment in St Michel fell through but something else opened up which I had my eye on. It has the most amazing view of the eiffel tower...full frontal view, I can almost touch it. The apartment itself looks amazing and the price unbeatable. I was initially so happy but now I'm doubting the area as it seems like I will need to take the metro to see most of the sites in the middle? Below is the link

Avenue de Suffren, 75015 Paris, Île-de-France, France

Paris experts, I need your help, please!

Thank you!
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 12:37 PM
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Actually, I quite like the 15th, around Avenue de Suffren. Word is, it's a boring area, because of all the Ecole Militaire personnel living there, but I kind of like how off the tourist map it all is, despite being at the foot of the Eiffel tower. As to your transport question: buses there are better than the metro, which takes a circular route on a remnant of "the circular": buses are more direct and most will depart from your doorstep at the Champ de Mars stop or from the Ecole Militaire stop a bit further on.

Boulevard de Grenelle (the other way from the Eiffel tower, around the corner) has a great market underneath its High Line. I think Suffren has some nice neighbourhood cafe's and tabacs that are worth a visit, but turn your back on Champ de Mars and go towards Grenelle for that.

There's a good organic store on Grenelle, Biocoop, generally the entire area is a solid, understated, bourgeois neighbourhood and that can be quite lovely.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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It occurred to me that I know these things because the dealer of all things photographically esoteric (weird lenses, strange cameras, analogue equipment) is on Suffren: I used to stay in that area specifically to have easy access to it. Anyway, I think that staying there will get you into "real" Paris much more, in a way, than if you stay in the 6th, strange though that may sound.

A bus tip, take the bus across town to Montmartre from Champ de Mars: it's a sight seeing trip in its own right because takes you right past a lot of famous sights. And it's a darn sight cheaper than the hop on hop off bus.

You'll want to check out the number 87; and especially the number 80 bus

www.ratp.fr is your friend!
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 01:13 PM
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Wow, thank you so much for sharing all that especially the bus tip! I will definitely look into that. Do you know if that is a safe area to walk around in at night? I read there are some sketchy areas around the Eiffel and since I'll be alone and will be walking around a lot, I just want to make sure I don't head towards the shady neighborhoods.
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 09:33 AM
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The area that's sketchy is the plaza right in front of the tower near the Seine, not the Avenue Suffren end where you will be. Perfectly safe at night, although quite sedate, it isn't exactly a party area. (those ecole militaire people have solid desk jobs and need to report quite early)

If you want to avoid Champ de Mars altogether at night, and if you came by bus for instance, you'd go one stop further towards Grenelle and then walk back. But the beggars and trinket salespeople are all at the other end, towards the Seine, so you won't be bothered by them where you are.

http://girlsguidetoparis.com/insider...ondissement=15

Le Jadis is great, and so is that Korean place, Odori. I took my mother there, on her birthday, she had never eaten Korean food and has been hooked ever since. Not suitable for vegetarians though.
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 11:00 AM
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Lovely write up

http://www.smh.com.au/travel/prime-n...420-1dod8.html
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 11:40 AM
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Hi Swoosh35 --
I haven't read every single post on this thread as it's quite long, but I'll chime in.

My first trip to Europe, at age 17, was with a group of 90 teens (a choir) on a concert tour. It was a whirlwind. Many years later, I decided to do my first return trip as a middle-aged adult with a tour. I lucked out and got a great guide (and a nice group of people - which included single, like-minded people). The next trip, I decided that traveling solo might not be a big deal, so I tried it for a week in Switzerland (so easy -- and I LOVED it). Then, I met a tour group in Zurich after that first week was over (same budget company I traveled with before), but this time the guide was not great, and the group, overall, just not great to travel with, with only a few exceptions. That said, I've never done a Rick Steves tour and the reviews are mostly all very positive.

I think some areas of Europe are much easier by public trans than others. Switzerland is a breeze, and Germany, fairly easy. You can also stay in a place like Florence and then book day tours of Tuscany with a private company. That way you don't have to worry about driving. The south of France is very difficult without a car, unless you stay in one place and book mini-van day tours, which I've done. They are usually excellent.

About Paris: I'm going through the same thing you are wondering about areas to walk (at night -- and even daytime) during my upcoming trip. I've armed myself with a moneybelt and Pacsafe bag (to protect camera and anything else from being lifted).

I wish you a happy solo travel experience!
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 11:43 AM
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I forgot to mention -- I've done 3 solo trips since that half solo/ half tour trip. I've never worried about safety in eastern/southern France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria. Public trans is easy in most of these places. The train system is extensive in Switzerland, and runs like clockwork.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 07:36 AM
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Just a slight quibble with susan's post.... The French Riviera is a very good place for public transportation: trains, buses, boats. Nice is especially good. And a beautiful and interesting city. It's inland (southern) France, Provence and points west for which a car is much better.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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Mimar, I would agree with this, and plan to use the public transit in and around Nice. I was referring to rural France (Dordogne, Provence). Difficult without a car.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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Thank you so much! This is terrific to know as I won't have a car and will solely rely on bus & trains. From your experience, would it be better to take a train from Paris to Nice or just fly? Is it a scenic route? The plan is one night each in Nice, Cannes & Monaco before taking a train to Florence.

Baking some red velvet cupcakes right now...

I feel so lucky being able to do this trip & so thankful for all your advice. I wish I could share my cupcakes with you!
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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Why not stay in Nice for those 3 nights, or a place like Cagnes sur Mer? It's all on the railway line anyway (beautiful scenic stretch) so you can do Cannes and Monaco (which I find slightly boring) as daytrips and then move from Nice to Florence. From Cagnes, it's easy to get to St Paul and Vence, but the entire Alpes Maritimes area is beautiful. Hautes de Cagnes is a beautiful medieval village, lots of painters used to have studios there. Paris - Nice will take the better part of a day, but getting to CDG then to Nice will take the same time all in all. Especially the part between Marseille and Nice has beautiful stretches. If you ever read Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald: it's exactly that stretch of coast.
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