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Tour recommendations for solo 30s married mother?

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Sep 22nd, 2013, 10:43 PM
  #1
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Tour recommendations for solo 30s married mother?

I am hoping to go to Europe in the next few years for the first time. I will be going solo while my husband stays home with our young son (he is not comfortable with the idea of both of us leaving our son behind, and I'd rather not travel with our son). I am currently 31 years old but will probably be closer to my mid-30s by the time I can actually go to Europe.

My husband is not comfortable with the idea of me traveling on my own, because he is concerned about my safety in a foreign country. He would much rather I join a tour group than go alone. I am not a complete novice to traveling; I lived in Taiwan for a year after I graduated from college and have also visited a decent number of other countries. However, I can understand his concerns and would like to put his mind at ease while I'm abroad. I also think that traveling with a tour might make things easier planning-wise.

I am hoping to join a tour that caters to a somewhat younger crowd (maybe 20s to 40s or even 50s) but is NOT a "party bus." I would like to go for about 2 weeks. I don't have a specific budget in mind yet, but I probably wouldn't be able to afford one of the higher-end luxury tours, so it'll have to be something more low-budget and affordable. I will be going solo, so a tour that includes a decent number of other solo travelers would be nice. I am mainly interested in the western half of Europe at the moment, especially France, Italy, and Germany. Also, I am an American of Chinese descent, if that makes any difference.

Does anyone have any tour recommendations for me? Thanks so much!
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 11:08 PM
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First off I think you should go on your own,, and tell hubby to get over it, hes acting like you are some novice, and frankly it shows his ignorance not your inexperience or vulnerablity .

But, if you wish to cater to your husbands nervous nellying then I can suggest you look at a Rick Steves tour.. BUT NOT THE GUIDED ONES.. they are fine but cater more to the 40-65 yr olds .. I think taking in account your age and experience you might enjoy the RS "My Ways" tours,, they have several. They provide bus transport from city to city and hotels, but you sightsee during the day on your own.. sort of a hybrid tour and on your own trip.

Perhaps in a few years hubby will come around,, taking tours costs more..

I strongly suggest you avoid the big bus tours,, yes occasionally younger folks go on them, but they are predominately filled with the over 50 set.. and rush through places.. My ex MIL did one when she was 65 and felt most people on her tour ( Italy 2 weeks) were her age and older!!

And the youth tours like Contiki are party tours mostly and although they are for 18-35s they mostly have 18-28s on them. They appear cheap but nickel and dime you to death and most hotels are no where near central areas so you often waste your 1/2 day free time trying to get to and from places.

Anyways check out the "My Way" tours,, they have reviews etc on the website and some scrapbooks( participates post their web scrapbooks , helpful)
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 11:45 PM
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Ps I went for two weeks to Paris when my kids were 3, 7 and 9 yrs old.. hubby managed just fine... of course its funny everyone was falling over themselves to help him since I was away,, his mom, my mom, my friends,, wanting to cook for him etc.. I found it amusing that when he went away on fishing or golfing trips I didn't have a line of people volunteering to bring me a casserole.. lol Do we really think men are so much more less competent as parents I wonder..
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 11:49 PM
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Thanks for your reply, justineparis! I really do like the idea of going on my own because I'd have more freedom/flexibility and I wouldn't have to worry about the group dynamics of a tour. The only reason I'm even considering a tour is mainly because of my husband. However, I agree that this is ultimately MY trip that I'm spending my personal money on, so I should be able to do it however I want. I'm not inexperienced and I'm not that young... he should trust that I'll be smart about it and take the appropriate precautions.

I checked out the Rick Steves "My Way" tour, and it does look like it has the best of both worlds! Is it generally a lot more expensive than doing it on my own? (If I were to go on my own, I would be very budget-minded and stay in hostels and buy a lot of my food from supermarkets rather than eating out all the time.)

Now you've really got me thinking about doing it on my own... the idea is so much more appealing than going on a tour!
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 11:52 PM
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Haha! It is funny how nobody blinks an eye when Dad is away, but when Mom is gone people assume the whole house is going to fall apart. In a way though, it feels good to be needed Did you go to Paris with your kids or alone?
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 11:57 PM
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I think your husband is overreacting. It's not like you're going to India or Mali or Detroit.
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 12:13 AM
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Yeah... I feel confident that I'd get by just fine in major cities like Paris or London, especially since I don't plan to get drunk or walk down dark alleys in the middle of the night. I just want to do some sightseeing and people watching during the day and retire to my hostel by night. I'm a lot wiser now than I was in my 20s, and it's not like I've never traveled before either...
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 12:29 AM
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Your husband is probably concerned about the hostels part of your plan. Perhaps staying in a proper hotel or guesthouse will ease his mind.
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 12:35 AM
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That's probably true. I just like the idea of staying in hostels because they tend to be more social, which would be nice if I'm traveling solo. Plus, they tend to be cheaper. I will look into proper hotels/guesthouses though and if they're not significantly more expensive, I'll definitely consider them!
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 12:41 AM
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You have to do your research when choosing hostels in Europe. You want to pick one that caters to a more mature crowd else you may end up in a room full of immature party animals puking and screwing all night.
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 12:52 AM
  #11
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Ew... yeah, I definitely wouldn't want that! Know of any good websites for doing comparisons and reading reviews on hostels?
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 12:54 AM
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Just found hostelz.com...
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 02:22 AM
  #13
kja
 
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Fodor's regular contributors include several solo independent female travelers; I'm one.

Fodor's regular contributors include several solo independent female travelers who have had truly wonderful experiences through our independent travels. I'm one.

Fodor's regular contributors include several solo independent female travelers who are firmly committed to solo independent travel. I'm one.

Fodor's has a forum just for solo travel:\
http://www.fodors.com/community/trav...s/solo-travel/

and we have a thread in which some of us have posted trip reports of our solo travels
http://www.fodors.com/community/trav...collection.cfm

There's LOTs of info here. Skim through the relevant sections and post back. Don't post every minute or two -- most of us who are experienced solo independent female travelers only check in once every day or so, so give us some time to respond thoughtfully and give yourself some time to do some research before posting your replies.

There is every reason to think that you will have a great trip -- take a deep breath and start getting excited!

We WILL help!
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 02:39 AM
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Tons of women travel to Europe on their own and are all ages. I remember a poster in her 80s traveling solo and there is a regular poster in her 70s who travels solo. These women would be a lot more vulnerable than a 30 something and they do fine on their trips. Besides, there are many European women who travel solo. You will not be alone in your solo travels and it's easy to meet other travelers when you're in your 30s.

Yes, escorted tours are much more expensive then DIY and the average age is decades older than you. Most people taking these tours are either couples or women traveling with friends or relatives. The tours I've taken have few solo people on them.

Hostels have changed over the past decade and do cater to solo travelers who are on a budget. Lots of them have single rooms, although they are more expensive than the dorm rooms, but you'd have the best of both worlds - people to mix with yet your own room. They have reviews and ratings now so you know the type of establishment you're booking. Try hostelworld.com or hihostels.com
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 03:47 AM
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Fodor's has a forum just for solo travel:\

That works provided the OP tags the post as "solo travel".

Flyertalk has a female travelers subforum that you might be interested in checking out: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/women-travelers-166/
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 05:36 AM
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I can understand your desire to travel solo, but since you are also married and have a child, you really should think about this as a joint decision. If your husband is willing to support your desire to travel without the family, it might be nice this first time to join a tour to put his mind at ease.
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 05:50 AM
  #17
 
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Folks have helped you out with a tour. Take one of the "young" ones. A LOT of them will be gray hairs, and waiting.
You really can do this on your own, with good planning. Europe is probably safer than the US, with the usual caveats of being aware of your surroundings, and watch your pocketbook.
I travelled for a month in my mid 20's and actually to then still Communist Yugoslavia. You have travelled previously to a foreign country and know the ropes.
Are you sure you and DH don't want to travel together and leave your child with a family member--at some time. It is really not a bad thing for a child to learn that mommy and daddy can go away AND come back==with gifts!!
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