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Solo female traveling to Paris, Italy and Greece

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I'm a female in my mid 20s looking to travel to Europe next month. I'm looking to stay for around 20 days. My top 3 destinations are Paris, Italy and Greece - I want to see as much of these as possible, so I'm going to save other countries for my next trip. This is my first time to Europe, and I've always wanted to travel Europe solo - I have somewhat of an idea of my itinerary, but could use any advice/recommendations I can get on accommodations, traveling to/from places within countries, getting a eurail pass?, safety tips (esp. traveling alone as a woman- my family and boyfriend are quite concerned!), etc.

Here's my rough itinerary to give you an idea:

- Fly into Paris and stay 4 days
- Paris to Venice. I'd like to stay in Venice for 2 days.
- Venice to Florence. Stay in Florence for 3-4 days. I'd also love to do a day trip to Cinque Terre while in the area, but I don't know if I'd want to stay over night. I would like to stay in the same accommodations while in each city, so I don't have to go from hostel to hostel etc.
- Florence to Rome, stay in Rome for 4 days
- Rome to Sorrento/Amalfi Coast and maybe Capri (maybe just stay here for the day, I'm unsure about staying the night?) - then fly or take a boat to Greece
- Greece for about 4-5 days. I want to see/stay in Santorini, Mykonos and then end my trip in Athens and probably fly out after. But I don't know the best way to go about doing this- where should I go first in Greece, where should I stay, etc.?

While I'd like to meet other travelers in hostels, I'm leaning more towards staying in airbnb and hotels as much as possible, and I'd like the option of not always carrying around my large pack while going on day trips, and opting for a smaller pack + purse instead. So I would only want to stay in a hostel if I'm going somewhere that I don't mind taking my pack with me- or is it better to always have it on me?

I've been researching and trying to explore as many options as possible, so I'd love to hear any and all suggestions on how to make the most of my trip, now that I have a general idea of what I'd like to do!

Thank you!

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    I haven't been to Greece or anywhere south of Rome. Of your other places, assuming you use common sense, I'd have no hesitation visiting solo, in case that helps put the family at ease. (I'm a single female, age 35.)

    I might think about cutting out one of your destinations, or at minimum rearranging a bit. For example, does "2 days" in Venice mean day 1 - fly from Paris to Venice, day 2 - Venice, day 3 - leave Venice for Florence? If so, is 1.5 days in Venice worth the additional expense and hassle to you? On the flip side, *to me*, 3-4 days in Florence is too long (unless you have a lot of interest in the Renaissance/art that it's famous for). Florence has great things to see, but I don't think it's worth as much time as Paris or Rome. I know you mentioned a day trip to the Cinque Terre while you're there - I've read that it's possible (haven't done it myself), but it would be SUCH a long day, and the towns of the CT are totally different at night. If the CT is on your must list, I'd strongly suggest making the time for at least an overnight. If it isn't, I'd suggest taking that day from Florence and adding it to Venice.

    What is your actual budget for lodging each night? Here are some places I've stayed - they're more expensive than hostels, but I'm definitely a budget traveler, and these all worked well for me.

    Venice - Ai Tagliapietra (recommendation from Fodorites; I stayed here in 2011 but it looks like the reviews are still great)

    Florence - B&B Cimatori (stayed here in 2015). Fantastic location, between the Duomo and the river; about a ten-minute walk from the train station. Great staff, good breakfast, clean, everything we needed. We booked via - I'm not sure if the rates were different than booking direct.

    Cinque Terre - we stayed in Vernazza and really liked it. We stayed in one of "Martina's rooms" - Martina has several places in the town. She was very communicative and helpful. The room we stayed in was definitely basic but worth the great price and location for us.

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    Hi, justinej79, and welcome to Fodor's!

    Like many other Fodorites, I am a woman who is fully committed to solo travel -- it is such a delightful self-indulgence! I love that I can do exactly what I want, when I want, without ever compromising. ;-) You might find some inspiration from this thread:

    With 20 days and destinations that include one of the world's most site-rich sites (Paris) and 2 whole countries filled with an astounding array of worthy destinations, I think you might do well by focusing first on how best to narrow your options.

    Here are some thoughts that I hope prove helpful as you face that daunting challenge (and yes, many of us find limiting our wish lists to something do-able is among the hardest challenges of trip planning):

    - As a rule, I think the time you are allocating to cities is on the low side -- particularly because, as jent103 has already noted, you will lose a LOT of time to getting from place to place.

    - A day trip to the Cinque Terre really doesn't make much sense, IMO -- if the weather is good, you'll face a horde of others on the trails; if the weather is bad, you won't get to hike at all. I was glad I planned on 2 nights in the area, and doing so proved invaluable to me, as one day was largely washed out by rain.

    - A day trip from Rome to the Amalfi Coast is do-able, but generally means a long, hard travel day for minimal pay-off. Trying to get there in time to include Capri -- even if possible (and I don't know if it is) -- would, IMO, just make for a long day of unpleasant travel with no time to really see any of these wonderful places -- all at the sacrifice of one of your few precious days elsewhere. Really, a perfect example of "opportunity cost " as I see it -- JMO.

    So here's my very strong advice: Begin plotting your itinerary out on a calendar. Pencil in your transportation -- and I mean your REAL transportation times! Consult rome2rio as a starting point for that effort. Make sure to add some time on either side (for getting oriented, getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, etc.). Identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their opening/closing times on the internet, and mark them on a calendar. Then see how things fit together. Only when you do that can you decide whether you would actually have time to see any of the things that have made you want to go to these places. Honestly, less really can be more!

    FWIW, I prefer staying in small hotels to apartments -- having a ready breakfast buffet (one that I don't have to make) that offers hot and cold options is a priority for me, as is having the freedom to leave my luggage at a hotel's desk (not always an option at an apartment). That said, I can easily understand the appeal of an apartment for solo travelers on a budget, if the length of stay and available options suit. Your call!

    Hope that helps!

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    >>I want to see as much of these as possible,<<

    By hopping around that much you are almost guaranteeing you are going to see less not more.

    We have had so many similar hectic itineraries lately -- must be something in the water ;)

    Are you from the States? If so what would you think of a plan something like NYC 3 days, Charlotte 2 days, Chicago 2 days, Seattle 2 days w/ a day trip to Portland, California 4 or 5 days? That is similar to what you have here.

    If it was me . . . and ESPECIALLY traveling solo, I'd want to spend at least 4 or 5 days in most cities so I could at least get a feel for where I was and not rushing to make my next connection.

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    I always say this, but be sure to keep an emergency credit card separate from your other cash/documents. Confirm that your cellular carrier has GSM capability/service where you are going (maybe look into getting AT&T or T-Mobile)....and watch the roaming. Confirm service with your tablet as well. Load Google Translate onto your phone. Open a Paypal account (and link your credit cards to it) so that family members can transfer funds to you. You should be able to use ATM's with your credit/debit cards...just check with the networks on the back of the card to confirm. Check in with your family daily. And carry a photocopy of your passport with you....but try to avoid carrying around the actual passport whenever possible.

    As for your luggage. You can check your bags at most train stations in Europe. Very cheap and convenient. So if you roll into a small town and just want to check it out for a few hours, check your bag at the train station so you don't have to haul it around with you. You can also check your bag if you don't have a place to stay yet and/or want to sightsee before checking in to your hotel.

    Sounds like a once in a lifetime trip. Have fun!

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    Most hostels offer lockers, you do not have to carry all your stuff with you. That said, hostels are uncommon in Greece. Small rooms to let, studios, small hotels are much more common.
    Talking about your Greece plan, I do not think trying to fit 3 destinations in 4-5 days makes lots of sense, especially when sea travel is involved. Even if you don't want to spend any time in Athens, just using it for a flight home, I feel even the tiniest island deserves 3-4 full days alone.
    Forget Italy-Greece ferry travel, it takes ages and brings you nowhere near the destinations you mention. I believe there are some seasonal flights from Naples to Santorini and to Mykonos you may want to check, so you do not back track twice in Athens.
    There are flights from those islands to Athens and v.v. and of course daily ferry connections to Piraeus (and Rafina) port. Ferry ride Santorini-Mykonos is around 3 hours or so on the seasonal fast ferries. Mykonos-Piraeus is anything from 3 to 6-7 hours depending on type of ferry and route, Santorini to Piraeus anything from 5-6 hours to 8+ hours. Piraeus is the major port for Athens, 20 minutes metro ride to city center. Rafina is a secondary aiport far away from Athens but closer to the airport.Mykonos is closer to Rafina and there are many ferries, taking from 2 hours to much more depending on specifics. Santorini to Rafina is less direct, I believe 5-6 hours to much more. A flight from/to Athens airport to/from Mykonos is 20 minutes, to/from Santorini around 40 minutes. Athens airport is well-connected to city center, still around 45 minutes metro ride or 45-90 minutes bus ride depending on traffic.
    Take into consideration not only travel time,but time wasted on getting from ports/airports to hotel, checking in, unpacking, get oriented, then when ready to go, packing, checking out, getting to port/airport, waiting time there and so on... Furthermore, something many first time visitors on the islands do not realise, schedules might make or break a day, departures from A to B are not necessarily early morning or late evening, often there are departures in the middle of the day, so even a couple of hours' transfer migth not leave you so much spare time as you thing... In general count a travel day as a day wasted and if you have time to see or do anything, think of it as a pleasant surprise rather than a given : )

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