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Ideas? Help?

Old Dec 27th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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Ideas? Help?

I am recently separated and feel the need to get out on my own and re-discover myself. I have never traveled alone but feel I need to do this for myself. I have a week off of work towards the end of February. Any suggestions on where to go for a week alone? I am worried about being lonely -- which won't help the psyche that much. Any suggestions on travel groups for solo travelers? Anything I need to look out for? I would like to keep the trip under $3,000 if possible. Thanks for the help!
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 06:56 PM
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I have cruised alone many times.
Love that. You can be by yourself or very sociable.

Renting a condo in Hawaii.
A week at a great spa...Canyon Ranch, Rancho La Puerta, Miraval.

Have been to London solo many times. Shopping, museums, theater...and everyone speaks English!

Have you thought about a fully escorted tour but keep your solo room. The best of both worlds.
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Old Dec 28th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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I like to go somewhere sunny! I have gone solo to both Waikiki or Puerto Vallarta in February and solo (many many times actually).

I spend ~$1,500 max. counting airfare, hotel, food, everything (out of Seattle). I can sometimes pull it off for $1000 total when I find a cheap airfare. For $3,000 you could stay in a much nicer hotel than I do.

I book thngs myself, make a separate hotel reservation and buy a plane ticket. Packages don't usually work well as a single person as they are based on "double occupancy".

If either Hawaii or Mexico sound appealing, I'm happy to provide more specific details of how I do it.


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Old Dec 28th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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Thank you both.

Suze, when you go to Hawaii or Mexico do you do tours? If so, any suggested sites? I have been to Maui, Waikiki and the Big Island before and loved it, but was concerned that it may be too many couples and I would feel out of place. Did you get that feeling?

I have never been to Mexico but it is not that out of the question. Just renewed my passport so it is a possibility. Any must see or must stay places?

I would love to save money and not spend the $3000 budgeted so any suggestions on safe places to stay in either Hawaii or Mexico would be great. I am leaving out of SF so the airfare should be pretty inexpensive.

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Old Dec 28th, 2007, 09:16 AM
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Hi Kathryn, a solo trip is a great idea and it isn't that hard to plan it yourself. That way, you can pick the hotel that looks good to you, plan your own itinerary. And it's good for your morale -- even after several solo trips, it's still a bit of a confidence boost to know that I can make all of my own arrangements and do a great job of it!

The idea of a sun vacation sounds great, especially in February. But I have to say that I think you might have a better time in a city. When I have travelled to Cuba or Mexico, I've done it with friends and I've noticed that beach holidays are pretty oriented to groups and couples. I think I would have felt a bit lonely and even a bit self-conscious, sitting alone on the beach a lot, or by myself at dinner.

However, in cities -- especially in Europe -- there is so much to see and do, so many people going about their own business that it can be exhilarating. You don't feel obvious, or unusual, in your solo state. There are business travelers eating alone, other visitors, even locals out for a nice meal alone. You can sign up for walking tours to learn about the sites and also meet other travelers. I've found that I do meet a lot more people traveling alone than when I'm with others. Perhaps I try a bit harder, and I think an individual is much easier for others to approach and chat with.

In February, you could get some good deals to Rome or Paris, or London. All interesting cities and although they can be very pricey, since you'd be traveling in low season, you could get some great deals. I confess, I'm obsessed with Italy these days. I'm heading, solo, to Rome in early January and got a very good price on a nice apartment, which will also allow me to save some $$$ since I can prepare a few of my own meals (and after dinner, have a glass of wine on a nice, heated terrace and people watch!)

I've never been on a cruise or an extended group tour, so I shouldn't say much. But I get the impression they are often designed for couples and groups, and prices are set that way. Which might be a bit expensive and make you feel more lonely.

Best of luck planning, I think you're on to a great idea!
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Old Dec 28th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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The thought of Italy has passed my mind as well. Thanks for the suggestion. I am a bit concerned that the flight to Italy may be a bit too long with only a week away. It has been about 13 years since I have traveled to Europe though, so a week may be enough. Renting an apartment sounds good as well. What site did you go through for the apartment?

Thank you, all, once again. This is so new to me, but I feel like I will be a stronger person once I am able to do this on my own.
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Old Dec 28th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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How long will your flight to Italy be? If you can get a non-stop one that would be the best. I think a week in Italy would be wonderful and, yes, very empowering. You will be so proud of yourself! So many people are here on Fodors to help you, too.
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Old Dec 28th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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Hi Kathryn, I imagine the flight from San Francisco would be pretty long for a one-week trip....15 hours, perhaps? On the other hand, as you say, a week might be enough for your first solo trip.

You can read some good reviews of rental apartments on slowtrav.com. Like Fodor's, there are excellent message boards for questions and sharing ideas and tips -- plus lots of hotel, restaurant and apartment rental reviews written by ordinary travelers. Slow Travel is a great community, very oriented towards the idea of travelling slowly, perhaps renting and getting to know the place where you're staying.

I'm renting, for the first time, from a small, private company called Dolce Roma, run by a woman and her husband who own four apartments in central Rome. I chose them because the prices are good (with low-season discounts) but more importantly, I've only heard rave reviews about their service (they loan you a cell phone with the apartment, keep things very clean and well-stocked, stay in touch to make sure everything is going well, that sort of thing.)

I remember my first solo trip, which was to Rome and a bit of a disaster -- I had put myself in the hands of a travel agent who picked a really bad hotel; I didn't plan ahead, so I had no idea where to go or good places to eat; I got food poisoning my second night. Yet, despite all that, it really was exciting and I felt really proud of myself for daring to travel solo.

I wound up doing a walking tour of Ancient Rome and later, had dinner with a few people from the walking tour(on my fourth night, post-food poisoning!) I also began to really fall in love with Rome, with travel and making my own plans.

As an aside, one of the things I appreciate about traveling in Italy and particularly in Rome, is that I've always felt very safe there, as a woman travelling alone.

And as SeaUrchin says, it really is empowering!

Good luck,let me know if I can help!
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Old Dec 28th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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I'm sure you'll do fine.
Good luck to you, kathryn30.
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Old Dec 29th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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I've never felt out of place traveling by myself to beach destinations. I don't go on tours or stay at resorts, so maybe that helps since I'm not particularly stuck around families or couples only.

That said, I do think enjoying traveling by yourself is a 'learned skill'. So maybe you will find yourself lonely for a minute somewhere along the line. So what? Still beats sitting at home -lol!

Every trip I make is easier than the ones before. You learn how to be a comfortable and confident traveler from experience as you go along.

In both Waikiki and Puerto Vallarta Mexico, I get a hotel room with a kitchenette, somewhere on or near the beach. I make my own sight-seeing plans and do lots of exploring on foot, and just reading and relaxing at the pool or beach. I don't mind eating in restaurants alone. There are plenty of comfortable options if you check things out in advance (reading menus of places I notice each day to go back to in the evenings) or sometimes I'll just have a picnic in the room instead.

I LOVE the idea of Europe and have found doing major cities reasonably easy to plan and travel solo (for me that's been Amsterdam, Venice, Paris so far). BUT I would not go all the way from west coast US for only a one-week trip especially in the winter-time, in response to kathryn's original post.

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Old Dec 29th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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I'm changing my vote about considering Europe...

IF you can get a non-stop flight at a decent price & IF you don't mind winter weather, spending 5 days in Paris or Amsterdam (allowing 2 days for travel) could be a great solo trip and within the $3000 budget.

As people have mentioned already, being solo in a city environment does not stand out at all.
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Old Dec 30th, 2007, 12:37 PM
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Well, thank you all. This is such an amazing board and you all have made me feel more confident about this decision. I found a cheap non stop ticket to London and purchased it yesterday ... so London it is! I know it will be a bit cold but I think it will be a good experience. I am now looking at maybe some B&B to stay at to keep costs low. I will also look at the Slow Travel website (thanks for the suggestion). I have picked up some travel books and am contacting some friends that have traveled there recently. Again, any suggestions would be much appreciated! Thank you all again.
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Old Dec 30th, 2007, 06:46 PM
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Fantastic! Sounds like a perfect trip for your situation and budget & can't beat a nonstop flight. If you decide you want more structure you could find a 1/2 day tour, walking tours, lectures, or something after you arrive.


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Old Dec 31st, 2007, 06:46 AM
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I read a great trip report just yesterday about a women's solo trip to London on the Europe forum. I'll top it if I can find it.

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Old Dec 31st, 2007, 07:08 AM
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Kathryn, that sounds great! London is a wonderful city, with plenty to see and do. I hope you have a wonderful time!
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Old Dec 31st, 2007, 08:54 AM
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Thanks Suze for topping the earlier post. That was a great review.
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