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Solo Female First Time Traveler - Scared to Death

Solo Female First Time Traveler - Scared to Death

Old Jun 29th, 2013, 10:38 AM
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Sometimes things can go wrong, and you have to just find a safe place and collect yourself. I just returned from my 4th trip to France. I spend 2 weeks in the Louberon, Provence area. You really need a car for traveling the back roads. And, there are some great deals on rental cars. Maybe for your next trip. There is loads of great advice on this site and I think my next trip will be solo. Remember to take a journal. Write in it everyday. You can always pull out your small notebook after ordering lunch and write about the sights, sounds and smells as you watch the world walk by. I still have the notebook I kept in 1974 on my first trip to France. It is a kick to read it now. I have always preferred small family run hotels. You can get some great values and they usually include breakfast. Someone else mentioned the credit card issue. American Express usually worked. Some credit cards charge high rates to use them in Europe. So check at your bank. You can get Euros changed at the Airport. Do this before you head out, so that you have Euros in case a credit card does not work. One more quick tip. If the airline loses your baggage, you may not get it back for several days. The airlines will track you down, but in the mean time you need inexpensive clothes so you are not trapped in a hotel near the airport waiting for your baggage. Two trips ago this happened to me.We just kept going, but found a great store in France off the A7 in Cavillon. Decathlon is a chain of upscale sports clothing in Europe. This is "just in case" information. It took AirFrance 5 days to get our luggage to our hotel in Menerbes. Have a great trip. If you get lost ask a local for directions, or to recommend a restaurant, that is where we found the best meals. Pack light, keep a journal, and have fun.
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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Your trip sounds wonderful, Swoosh. You have received some great advice on this forum. I first went to Europe in 2005 when my daughter was ten. I have been nine times and have made lifelong memories.

Take photocopies of your documents AND e-mail them to yourself and one other person that you trust. There was a man last week in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, who got his credit cards stolen, and he had no idea how to contact the credit card companies. Also, make sure to backup your photos everyday.

Looking forward to your trip report!
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 09:31 AM
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Thanks for the appreciation, swoosh. Paris is such a relaxed city, so convenient in the amenities it offers to its inhabitants. I found all these spots simply by wandering, and you will too, so happy wandering!
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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swoosh,
You've gotten a TON of replies, so I'm sure there is great info in all the above posts. BUT...I don't have time to read them all! I just wanted to give you some encouragement and advice. As long as you aren't an extremely shy person, you should be fine by yourself...just ask questions when needed and I'm sure people will help. I always plan my own trips, but if you would enjoy the companionship of other people, a tour might be good for your situation. Or how about a tour for part of the trip, maybe at the beginning while you settle into your travels?

While I've never traveled to Europe alone, I did spend several weeks in Spain with my 15 yr old sister when I was 19. I also took my teenage daughter to Italy several years ago for a week and a half. While I did speak fairly good Spanish many years ago (forgot a lot of it now), I didn't speak any Italian and we were fine. If you attempt to speak a little of the local language, natives are always much more open to replying in English. For the few situations where there is a real language barrier, you will get by. It is also pretty easy to figure out the transit in my experience.

Have fun!
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 11:16 AM
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I travel solo all the time ....check out journeywoman.com
Lots of info for the solo woman traveller!
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 12:35 PM
  #146  
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Happy Sunday from California!

Once again, thank you for all the advice, continuing to make notes. I wouldn't say I'm a terribly shy person, maybe a 6 out of a 10 with 1 being the shyest. Definitely not the life of the party either. But wine cures all. I could go up to 7.5

I just booked Carmen! Yay! Can't wipe this grin off my face. Lovely surprise is St Mark's Church, the venue, is a 5 min walk from my apt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-vF6d6u4k8
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 02:30 PM
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These guys do very interesting stuff: on throughout september in a beautiful spot, so might be worth it to go

http://www.association-silhouette.com
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Old Jul 1st, 2013, 10:30 PM
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menachem: yes, it does look great and want to learn more about it. Is there a way to read it in English? I think it's there but I'm missing it?

I finally solidified my London hotel. Since I'm only there 4 nights, I splurged a bit hoping the Cavendish is central enough where I can walk to some sites.

Any thoughts on Jack the Ripper tours or any other interesting tours for a first timer? Also tempted to take a day trip tour to Stonehedge/Windsor Castle/Bath all in a package but not sure if that's a wise idea given such limited time. Less than two more months...
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Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 04:54 AM
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these guys do good walking tours, including the east end, but not necessarily Jack the Ripper. But you will see a whole different side to London
http://www.alternativeldn.co.uk/

sihouette is on till the ninth of september. don't know what your dates are, but if you're in town at the start of september you're able to go
basically they show film shorts and have a hilarious opening program with lots of crowd participation, and you get to picknick in the park. of course the weather needs to be good. You can run any site through google translate.

and since you'll be in Mrs Dalloway territory, there's a self guided walk to do
http://www.virginiawoolfsociety.co.uk/vw_res.walk.htm
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Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 11:18 AM
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That's great, Swoosh, on the Carmen!

August and early September are particularly difficult to see opera in Europe. I was thinking of the summer opera festivals, such as the Puccini Festival that goes on annually at Lake Como, but these would have taken you out of the way - not that a detour to Lake Como would have been a bad thing!

Enjoy! Wonderful music! Looking forward to your trip report, especially on seeing how a church will present Carmen!
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Old Jul 8th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Thanks, menachem - Silhouette looks great but I'll be leaving when they begin, interesting stuff,
I'll have to check it out sometime in the future.

easytraveler: Very excited seeing it in a church, myself! Usually my opera experiences have either been very far from the stage or neck-breaking distance in the front due to ticket prices. I have a feeling the venue will be just perfect. Beautiful music in a historic church in Florence...how bad can it really be, eh? Although I must say, Puccini at Lake Como, how dreamy. Thank you for all your generous advice especially against Alceste in Garnier... we waited & picked just the right one!
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Old Aug 21st, 2013, 07:13 PM
  #152  
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I am leaving soon and am hoping for some last minute advice on public transportation around Nice. I can't seem to find the right website and the ones I have I'm translating everything.

I will be staying near Avenue Georges Clemenceau and Ave Jean Medicin in Nice and need to meet my high school friend in Valbonne Square at night for dinner. What is the best way to get there? How do I get back and how late does public transporation run until? Is the schedule the same for weekday and weekends?

The next day I figure I will just walk to old town Nice and surrounding areas to wander around unless there's a tram I can take but it doesn't look like it's far at all.

I'd also like to go to Monaco, Cannes and Villefranche-sur-mer. I know there's public transportation on the coast but should I take the bus or train? What is the most efficient way?

I'm sure there are plenty of you who are familiar with this so I'm really hoping you could guide me with this. Thank you!!!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 08:57 AM
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there you go

http://www.frenchrivieratraveller.co...ort/Buses.html

to Cannes or Monacho (meh, sorry), take the train.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Swoosh, You might want to start a new separate thread with your questions about public transportation in France?

Since this thread is titled about a scared solo traveler, chances of someone happening to read here with the answer are kinda low (although I see manachem has already helped out!)
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 11:40 AM
  #155  
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I'm back!!!

I just want to express my deep gratitude to everyone on this forum who helped me plan my first international trip!

It's funny now that I look back...stressing over pick-pocketers, losing all my money, language barriers, transportation and someone raping me...

It was a combination of Yikes & Yays and altogether the most exhilarating 6 weeks of my life.

Thank you, Fodors!
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Glad you had a good and safe trip and came back to tell us about it. Can we expect a trip report? We'd love to hear about the Yikes and Yays.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 03:57 PM
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Thanks for letting us know! More details will be welcome….
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Old Nov 8th, 2013, 01:57 PM
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Swooch35, so glad that your trip went well. As a fellow solo traveler, I am looking forward to your report ...
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Old Nov 9th, 2013, 07:44 AM
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Good job, swoosh35! Yes please, how about a trip report?
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 08:45 AM
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Hi, I'm 37 and I love travelling by myself. The first time I did it I must admit I was really scared and was a few times since but it really is the best thing I ever did and now I travel solo more often than with people. I've now been to 78 countries and 39 of them as a solo woman from Africa to the Middle East. I want to inspire more women to travel solo on my website: Girl about the Globe.
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