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Solo Female First Time Traveler - Scared to Death

Solo Female First Time Traveler - Scared to Death

Old Jun 15th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWu7IFchQwU

take the train I'd say...
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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and here he is again with a tip about buses.

one of the cool things about that part of the riviera is how close the hinterland is. You can spend a morning in gorgeous mountain villages like Saint Jeannet, take the bus and within one hour you're in Nice again and at the beach. That part of the Alpes Maritimes is gorgeous.

For trips into the foot hills you'll want the Lignes d'Azur service

http://riviera.angloinfo.com/informa...t/local-buses/

http://www.lignesdazur.com
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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Haut de Cagnes, sorry.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 01:27 PM
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And I know you're working out your schedule, but consider staying somewhere like

http://www.thefrogshouse.fr

In St Jeannet, and going on one of their excursions with them: you'll experience different and I think, more memorable, things than if you went by yourself to Cannes (not much to see, only the Marina).

For instance, they do a tour of the region's hill top villages, which includes a visit to an oil press, to 3 scenic villages, lunch, and they top it off with a visit to Matisse's chapel in Vence.


So much nicer than Monaco, but that's me.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 02:35 PM
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menachem: This all sounds fantastic! I especially like the idea of 3 nights in Nice as a home base as they all seem so close. I watched the YouTube link in its entirety and I think I'd prefer the train too. I'm saving all these links!

susan001 - Thanks for sharing your experience & happy solo trip to you too! I will definitely be getting a moneybelt too
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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My very first suggestion, if you don't already know it, is that you go to the JourneyWoman website. Started by Canadian Evelyn Hannon, it's for women, many who travel solo. Some experienced travellers, but many less so. It's a great resource with heaps of more general as well as more specific tips and ideas for different countries, including those in Europe.

My second suggestion is rather more specific. I wouldn't recommend staying in Westminster, even if you can find a hotel that is in your price bracket. This area is full of offices and pretty empty in the evenings and weekends, with few people around or places to eat. Much better to stay somewhere where you have some choice. Victoria is also full of offices and the area near Victoria Station/Victoria Coach Station I wouldn't recommend either. They're not that more convenient either than a number of other areas in Central London. As an area to stay in, Holborn/Bloomsbury/Russell Square has a number of advantages for you. There are a fair number of hotels in the medium price range. It is an easy journey on Piccadilly line from Heathrow airport, and the same tube (subway) line to King's Cross/St Pancras, the latter of which is the station you need for the Eurostar train to Paris. You will have the British Museum on your doorstep, you're not far from Trafalgar Square (a six-minute tube ride followed by a maximum ten minute walk), and the hotels are geared up for tourists who don't know their way around rather than the business traveller.

The second area where there are similar hotels is between Paddington Station and Hyde Park. Nothing wrong with it but it isn't as convenient for seeing the sights. And it doesn't have my most favourite bookshop in the world - the London Review Bookshop at 14 Bury Place.

The cheapest way to get into Central London from London Heathrow is the Piccadilly line. Next cheapest is by train - Heathrow Connect, which follows the same route as the Heathrow Express but costs £9.50 instead of £20 and takes around 30 minutes instead of 15. Both go to Paddington Station, which is more convenient if you book a hotel in the Paddington area.

Whilst London can be expensive, there are a number of things that are a bargain. Entrance to all publicly owned museums is free - which is most of the big ones. The exception is for special exhibitions. As for example the Pompeii exhibition currently on at the British Museum. And unlike many other countries they are nearly all open 7 days a week. A lot of restaurants have lunchtime specials, making it cheaper than eating out in the evening (the same is true in France). Pubs offer good value food - just avoid those on the main tourist routes. Even 10 paces down a side street can prove a revelation.

Have fun planning - and have a wonderful trip. I shouldn't be, but I am envious!
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 03:18 PM
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YEAH Grindeldoo!!! I just got off my seat and literally jumped up and down! Thank you for that insight...I really needed that as I was struggling with London.

I am only there 4 nights so location convenience is key. I was set on Westminster because that seemed like the reasonable area to stay in after studying the site map but I will now highly consider the Holborn, Bloomsbury, & Russell Square areas. Thanks again!
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 05:07 PM
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Glad to help. A further money saver - the chain store Marks & Spencer has a fair number of outlets in London, including some that only sell food. Which includes a good range of different salads, sandwiches, cookies etc., plus beer, wine in small, screw-top bottles, fruit juices and soft drinks. Excellent for daytime (or bedroom) picnics.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 05:22 PM
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Just to chime in again on Paris I lived on Suffren for 2 years and it is a pretty quiet area with lots of families and also embassy's. Menachem is right about busese being better there than metro. But in terms of safety no problem.
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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 07:04 AM
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I started to travel solo, at 68. All my female friends, quit going for personal reasons. I had been to europe many times, mostly on driving tours, so I started with London. Love the multipasses, it is so easy to just do whatever you want for the day. I always keep my credit cards, passport and medical information in a money pouch. In all my years of travel I was pickpocked only once on the metro, while helping my friend get a seat. He and his partner were a well dressed couple, and he offered my older friend his seat. He got my change purse. I now keep it tied to my purse zipper with a shoe string. Just remember, if you feel uncomfortable in an area, leave. Enjoy, you will love the freedom. I have since gone to Australia, Italy and France by myself. Friends want to go to Ireland in Aug., so I'll be with 2 friends on another driving tour. Haven't been to Ireland for 10 years. Looking forward to another good trip.
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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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Happy to hear that about Suffren! I just paid and confirmed my lodging for 2 weeks. The living room has a beautiful view of the Eiffel, so excited! I wonder if the French think of the Eiffel the way most foreigners do or if they find it cheesy.

Nlingenfel: I enjoyed reading your experiences...you're an inspiration! I, too, carry a coin purse aside from my wallet inside my purse, I'll follow your tips, thank you. So crazy that theives can really look like normal, everyday people. I have to really be extra cautious because even though I'm usually quite aware of my surroundings, I tend to be trusting of people. Have a fantastic time in Ireland! It's a country on my list

Happy Father's Day!
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Old Jun 17th, 2013, 04:40 AM
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Wow two weeks! Great. After a while it becomes "just a structure" and you'll start noticing other things.

Village Suisse is on your doorstep too. To see how the other half shops

http://www.villagesuisse.com/en/history.htm

have fun!
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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Once again, thank you for all your continued feedback. I am so grateful! I'm saving all the links and started to create a spreadsheet of Paris. Then it hit me. Now that I've booked all the lodging (except for London), what do I do next? I'm starting to get a little overwhelmed. I'm leaving in 2 months for 6 weeks and have not booked anything besides lodging.

With 4 nights in London, 2 weeks in Paris and a we
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Sorry, my computer's curser keeps skipping and sent "Submit" accidentally.

With 4 nights in London, 14 days in Paris, 6 nights in Florence, 7 nights in Venice & 7 nights in Rome, I'm trying to arrange everything I could before I leave.

Do I book the trains and museum passes now? Although I plan to visit some museums, that probably won't constitute most of the trip. Sometimes, I'm just happy to see the architecture and I certainly won't spend most time looking at art. This trip would be heavy on food, drinks, architecture and just enjoying being there.

Also, because I'm staying close to the Eiffel and will probably taking the bus to most sites, I saw an advice on here once to explore by areas versus sites. For instance, spend one day in the Marais (check out sites & restaurants there) then maybe spend another day in another area with the same strategy.

I'm panicking a little bit. I know 2 months still seem far away but low and behold, I'm learning a lot about myself...i.e... I'm an obsessive planner!

Thank you for your input!
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 10:03 AM
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Pretty much everyone get 'panicking' or some kind of pre-trip anxiety. I've read lots of threads about that here.

Yes seeing Paris (or any city for that matter) by district or neighborhood works better than running here and there across the city every day.

I've never booked train or museums in advance but that doesn't mean that's the best advice. Only that I'm... well whatever's the opposite(!) of an "obsessive planner".
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 10:29 AM
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You should plan on booking the trains that you require about 90 days out to save money. For example, the PREM tickets you can book on the French rail system go on sale 90 days in advance and can be really cheap. They tend to sell out early, and the fares increase the closer one gets to the departure date. Lots of advice on this Forum about booking PREMs, so go to the search function for details.
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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Can't remember the details of your itinerary, but if you're taking the Eurostar from London to Paris or vice versa, you should book that early, like 3 months or more out for a significant savings. Likewise, if you do Paris to Nice by train (though I don't see that on your itinerary now), you can save quite a lot by booking early.
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Very good advice to book trains as early as possible.

As to finding something to do for 2 weeks while in Paris:

there's pariscope, the "what's on" for paris, on sale everywhere at newsstands on wednesdays. complete listings, for everything there is on offer.

And spotted by locals is an excellent resource too:

http://www.spottedbylocals.com/paris/pariscope/

One of the delights of Paris, is the stuff that goes on outside the Museums so to speak: lots of galleries, lots of venues that have concerts going on...

cityvox is also great: http://www.cityvox.fr/guide_paris/AccueilVille

And please pay a visit to

http://www.cityvox.fr/musee_paris/mu...65/Profil-Lieu

It's down the road from you, so to speak.
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Old Jun 20th, 2013, 09:28 AM
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menachem - as always, lots of goodies from you, thank you!

mimar - yes, still going to Nice - sorry forgot to include that.

Pardon the novice questions but I've been looking at the sites and I just want to make sure I book the train tickets using the correct website as I don't want to get scammed by fake websites. What is PREM?

Please confirm these are the correct sites. Also, once I book them, they just give me a confirmation, I show the confirmation to the station when I get there, then off I go?

From London to Paris - eurostar.com

London to Nice - snfc.com

Nice to Florence - trenitalia.com

Florence to Venice - trenitalia.com

Venice to Rome - trenitalia.com

Should I use budget airline from any of these places? The eurostar went up - does it make sense to fly or just suck it up and pay the difference considering all the logistic hassle.

Thank you!
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Old Jun 20th, 2013, 08:54 PM
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Lodging recommendation-
I haven't traveled alone but our preferred lodgings are family run b&bs or small hotels. I scour the reviews on Tripadvisor (they have a b&b category) or Booking.com carefully looking for helpful, friendly owners and a welcoming attitude. We are also budget travelers and these are usually a great value. We've met wonderful people this way and almost feel like we have "family" in the town to chat with or who will help us out if a problem arises. We are an older couple and we have traveled for years but we appreciate this extra bit of attention and security.
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