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Will anyone here admit they have wouldn't want to travel alone or had a rotten time traveling alone?

Will anyone here admit they have wouldn't want to travel alone or had a rotten time traveling alone?

Jun 8th, 2001, 11:08 AM
  #1  
lonewolf
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Will anyone here admit they have wouldn't want to travel alone or had a rotten time traveling alone?

O.K., maybe I am a little trollish but I'm also curious. Posters here only rave about their fabulous solo flings. Anyone admit they wouldn't want to go to Europe solo or, having taken the trip, admit to having a not so hot go of it?
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 11:14 AM
  #2  
LILY
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Hi Lonewolf,
Sure it's not as much fun for me alone. I travel alot for business, and often wish I could bring my husband and or daughter - mostly because the places I visit are just so nice I'd love to share the experience.... But I also make the most of my time alone and have never had a rotten time. Lily
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 11:31 AM
  #3  
Robin
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It's all about trade-offs. What the "ravers" usually emphasize is the fresh perspective being alone brings, that they meet more people, that they see things they might otherwise have missed. All true. But the downsides of eating alone, not having someone to share your day with (either while it's happening or catching up later), and just general boredom if some aspect of your plans doesn't work out do influence your experience as well.

But I think the truth of the matter is that a good trip is still good whether you're alone or with companions, and a bad trip is still bad! Therefore, I would take the position for myself to plan the trip most suitable to where I want to go-- solo if I feel comfortable and I doubt anyone else wants to do what I'm planning, with friends if we all share interests, and even on a tour if the area is hard to negotiate, or if a guide can really add value. It's all good!
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 11:35 AM
  #4  
Beth Anderson
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Honestly? I have had wonderful travel companions, and I have had travel companions who made me WISH I was traveling alone.

I've traveled alone a good deal, and just like anything, there are great times and the times you might feel a little lonely - but for the most part, you are SO BUSY doing & seeing stuff (and meeting new people) that those feelings quickly pass.

and believe me, a fleeting feeling of being a little alone is so much more preferable to putting up with an inconsiderate pain in the ass.

if you are contemplating going it alone for the first time - do it do it do it. I urge you to test yourself out. You will have a great time, and you will come out of the experience feeling so empowered, even any setbacks which may occur on the trip will sem insignificant later...

seriously, bring up the thread on ROTTEN travel companions - there's a reason for that - it's tough spending that much undiluted time with one person! It takes an incredibly easygoing person to travel well with others. (good sport, etc etc.)

curious to see what responses you get though...

Beth
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 11:36 AM
  #5  
dan woodlief
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I haven't been to Europe alone, but I have done other traveling alone. I am an avid photographer, and taking photos is much easier alone. I also like to go to museums alone because it is easier to go at my own pace. For dining, sporting events, and many other experiences, I much prefer being with my wife or someone else. Eating alone feels strange if you are not used to it, and I find it harder to get a good table at popular spots.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 11:36 AM
  #6  
Bob Brown
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I have tried it both ways. I think alone is better than going with people who make your life less than optimal.
But going with a good companion is the best way. I have the best travel companion in existence, so I enjoy my trips. She is even funny when we are sloshing through the rain and sleet on a Swiss mountain trail.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 11:52 AM
  #7  
Capo
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My first two trips to Europe, in 1979 & 1980, were solo and, for the most part, I had a wonderful time. There were some "down" moments, but I definitely did not have a rotten time traveling alone. In fact, I found that traveling alone forced me to reach out and talk to other people. I also enjoyed the complete freedom to go and stay wherever I wanted.

All subsequent trips (except for one 2-week trip to Paris & Nice in 1998) have been with a girlfriend and I've come to greatly prefer traveling and sharing experiences with someone I'm close to, even if it means some compromises on the complete freedom I had on my first two trips. (My solo trip in 1998 was fun during the day because I'd rented a car in Nice and had a great time driving to various hilltowns, but it was, alas, a bit lonely in the evenings without the smile, laughter, conversation, and loving arms of my girlfriend.)
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 11:53 AM
  #8  
Greg
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Have to agree with Bob. Nothing worse than having a bad travel companion and you have spent ALL that money, not to mention your vacation time. Having said that, a great travel companion is one of life's true pleasures. The problem is, you do not know until you actually do it. A wonderful friend does not by definition make a good travel companion.

When I travel alone, I try to schedule it so there is something going on I can participate in, maybe some sort of festival, for example. There, you will meet people with your interests.

One other thing. When you travel alone, you really get to know yourself. Great for introspection and self awareness.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 11:57 AM
  #9  
Ess
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The only vacation time I wouldn't mind spending alone would be at a spa/ashram somewhere. I don't mind going to museums by myself, or even to movies. But I would rather starve than dine alone in a restaurant!
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 02:02 PM
  #10  
Eeen
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Ess, why don't you like to eat alone,
just curious. Maybe I am odd, but
if I am alone, I eat alone.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 02:05 PM
  #11  
Ess
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Eeen, I just feel geeky sitting by myself in a restaurant like I've no friends. It makes me feel sorry for myself.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 02:49 PM
  #12  
Annette
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Mr. Lonewolf, it has been many years since I've travelled alone for a holiday but I am doing a trip sans children, husband or friends again this fall. Bits of my last solo trip were a tad rotten, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I believe your contacts with others are often more genuine when you're alone. Ess, I didn't like to eat alone either, so I didn't. I just ate at very casual places for lunch, picked up a sandwich at 3:00 or 4:00 and called it a day at that. Sure, I didn't have a great dining experience but on the bright side I saved myself a lot of money. Greg is right about the introspection and self-awareness. As I remember - and it's been a long time - the freedom of solo travel is unbeatable. And, btw, thanks to Beth, Elvira and you other female solo Fodor travellers for inspiration and encouragement.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 02:55 PM
  #13  
Ashamed
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Some time ago, I was in Italy on a protracted visit. Prior to leaving America for Italy, I had agreed to meet in Europe with a British gentleman for a tryst. Time went by in Italy pleasantly enough, but I hadn't heard from the man. I wired his office, telling him he needed to get in touch with me so we could agree in which city we'd meet. (We had decided to go to France.) Two days prior to leaving Italy, I received a letter from him, stating he would not be coming to Europe at all. I traveled to France on my own, would not call it a wasted trip, but did spend some time feeling quite sorry for myself.

Sadder, But Probably No Wiser!
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 03:04 PM
  #14  
Ed
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I greatly dislike traveling alone. Fortunately I've more often than not been able to travel with a wonderful companion, my spouse.

I've taken many business trips though, and some have been delightful and some rotten ... in both cases because of companions. Much as I dislike traveling alone, alone is better, often, than beomg saddled with, for example, a loudmouthed chauvinist. One, as just one case, who mutters throughout the meal, "How can you eat that trash?".(Steak Tartare) Or who doesn't want to travel on the tram in Zürich because it will be full of ... foreigners (Swiss).

 
Jun 8th, 2001, 03:05 PM
  #15  
Bobby
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I have experienced travel both ways and have come home early and had great experiences in both situations. Solo travel is very liberating but the stress can be incredible especially when jet-lagged and in a foreign country where you cannot just spontaneoulsy communicate with somebody (when you really need the support!). I always find that a good test. But, being single, it is sooo difficult to find a suitable travelling companion and it is always a risk that there will be dissention of some sort along the way. I really want to go to Spain (my dream) and do not have a companion to do it with and I find it hard to get excited about going there solo again. I also realize that I almost have no choice if I want to experience it, a catch-22 if you will. It's all compromise but I think personality also plays a big role in solo travel. There certainly are down moments (that can seem to last gorever) but the good moments, wow! I also know that having decent accomodation is important to me, a hostel just isn't my style (I value my privacy), and solo travel can be very expensive due to the expense of accomodations. Such is life if you want to travel.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 03:09 PM
  #16  
Christina
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I travel alone a lot because I'm single and older so it's hard to find people who want to go the same places you do, when you do. I enjoy myself a lot and am very independent and have a lot of interests. I have never ever not gone out for dinner in the evening because of being alone, although I won't go to very expensive restaurants (I don't much anyway); I prefer casual cafes, bistros, etc when alone; sometimes I bring something to read (better in cafes), sometimes I just people watch. If it is an enclosed restaurant with not a lot to look at (and very low lighting) it can be a little boring sometimes. I mainly miss having someone to talk about the things you saw that day. Also, if things go wrong, it is much easier to handle and less stressful if you have a companion to share the burden with or at least commiserate with. Maybe I'm not as gregarious as some, probably not, but I think this idea that you meet so many people when on vacation is a bunch of hooey--you have some limited superficial conversations with a few people, but you don't make friends, etc, in my experience. It's not the same as really having something to talk to you know well. Let's face it, do you make friends and spend time with tourists where you live? I sure don't (and there are lots of tourists where I live in Wash DC). I really really do like the freedom of traveling alone, just love it -- I get up when I want, take as much time as I want hanging around cafes, etc; I know my interests are unique and would bore a lot of others and I don't like doing some things others really like (like going to monuments, etc; I am like David Sedaris, I think, I've been going to Paris about 15 years, including 2-3 times for long periods in school, and have never gone up in the Eiffel Tower and have no interest in doing that--however, I have spent one entire day going by train and then walking 6 km from the nearest station just to visit a small town where the home of the composer Maurice Ravel was (Montfort l'Amaury) because I adore him and his music and play it a lot so he means something to me. Most people would have no interest and would get bored by the time I want to spend going to concerts and local bookstores, etc. But you know what I find really pathetic -- when I am alone in a restaurant and having a nice dinner but maybe wishing I had someone to talk to and I see a couple at another table who ARE together (and probably married for years) and who barely speak to each other the entire evening because they have nothing to say to each other. This is much more common than you would think--now that is sad and lonely.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 03:20 PM
  #17  
Capo
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I read an interesting comment one time about the difference between being alone and being lonely. It was something like: "Being alone is when it's by choice. Being lonely is when it's not by choice."

Christina, interesting comment. I've noticed a lot of couples like that too. While I think your assumption that they have nothing to say to each other may, in some (perhaps many?) cases be correct, I also think there are some couples who just enjoy each other's company without wanting to, or needing to, talk very much.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 03:52 PM
  #18  
gosolo
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I've travelled solo to foreign countries six or seven times. One thing I've noticed about couples and groups: the groups cling together, the couples are grasping hands. Perhaps they are scared silly to face the world alone.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 04:13 PM
  #19  
Eeen
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I think it would be nice for everyone, married or attached to someone or not to try to do some things alone. Like the previous writer said, it seems like some people are afraid to face the world alone. I have traveled alone and have made some long term friendships with fellow travelers, who may have shared part of my trip with me, and
then gone on their own way.
If I see a woman (and I am one myself)
eating alone, I don't think she is a
geek, and if I am by myself or with
someone I would be likely to start a
conversation with her. Be Brave.
 
Jun 8th, 2001, 04:19 PM
  #20  
Capo
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Well, while I understand gosolo's point, it may also be that one person's "grasping" hands is another person's holding hands. Personally, I love seeing people of any age holding hands. I usually assume this means they enjoy each other's touch and don't feel silly or embarrassed about displaying that in public.
 

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