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Is there anyplace you won't travel alone?

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Jan 31st, 2008, 07:04 PM
  #1
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Is there anyplace you won't travel alone?

Not sure if this has been asked before.

I really don't have an option as to who I can travel with. I went to Maine twice with the same boyfriend and he manage to ruin both experiences. No one I know really digs traveling like I do and/or lack the funds. But really I like going off on my own.

Oh, right to answer the question I think Russia and parts of Mexico and the Middle East, for sure.

I'm in the middle of looking for a travel group for my trip to Russia.
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Jan 31st, 2008, 07:55 PM
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I went to Russia by myself, but there are some places I would want a group. Probably Iran, although not Jordan and Syria. Some parts of Pakistan. There are also places that it doesn't make sense to travel alone, or where it's impossible - Bhutan, Antarctica and the Galapagos, for instance. Anywhere I would be doing more than a half day's hike - Nepal, say, I would probably prefer a group.
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Feb 1st, 2008, 07:54 AM
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I'm lucky because most places I am interested in, ARE the kind of places I would feel comfortable traveling alone.

I agree that I would not go solo to the Middle East, but I have no desire to go there myself, as example.

I've done fine in places like La Paz or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on my own. Europe and Hawaii, easy.

For me, the travel and going solo are the more important. If it took a tour group for me to feel safe, I'd probably skip that destination.


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Feb 1st, 2008, 01:26 PM
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Jerusalem has been coming to my mind lately of places to see.
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Feb 1st, 2008, 01:46 PM
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Israel is on my "dangerous" list, but I can't see that traveling with a group will make it any safer! Either you get unlucky, or you don't.
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Feb 1st, 2008, 04:26 PM
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Yes, I think I might like taking a river cruise, guided tour, in order to see historic parts of Egypt. Also would consider something in order to feel comfortable traveling in India (guided train or educational something).

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Feb 1st, 2008, 07:43 PM
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Suze - India is definitely do-able on your own. I spent ten weeks there, solo, traveling almost entirely by train. You can also hire a car and driver quite cheaply.
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Feb 4th, 2008, 07:28 AM
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thursdaysd~ Wow 10 weeks, that's quite a a trip. Good for you. And thanks for the inspiration!
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Feb 4th, 2008, 02:45 PM
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suze - the ten weeks was the last part of a longer trip - and it was right after 9/11! Definitely consider India - it's a magical place. Sometimes it's an infuriating place, too, but it's worth it! My trip report is at www.wilhelmswords.com/asia2001 if you'd like more info.
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Feb 4th, 2008, 08:04 PM
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So far, I haven't faced the desire to go someplace that I didn't think was safe for a solo traveler. Perhaps at some point I will.

However, with all the places to see in the world, I figure I will see those places I feel are safe first.

Maybe then, those places that are currently unsafe will be safe for solo travel.
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Feb 9th, 2008, 04:45 PM
  #11
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Regarding the Middle East:

In 2007 I took 2 trips to the Middle East. The first trip was to Israel, the second was to Egypt and Jordan. Both times I was with a group once I got there so I don't know if that counts as a solo trip or not. Once I was there I was mostly with my group but I did quite a bit of wandering around on my own.

I would have absolutely no fear of traveling to Israel again, either solo or not. The same goes for Jordan as I always felt safe there too. I think it's sad that so many people are missing out on such fascinating countries as Israel and Jordan, and the media has really done a disservice to these great destinations.

Egypt however was a different story. I was harassed quite a bit in Egypt because they think women traveling alone are easy. Nobody ever touched me or backed me into a corner, but all this harassment was really annoying. I'm glad I went to Egypt, it was off the scale in terms of history and culture. But I would never go there alone, in fact I'm not sure I would go back at all.
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Feb 11th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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Wow, thanks for that P_M, very informative.
I agree the media has manipulated the publics view on way too many international relations, sad.
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Feb 12th, 2008, 06:07 PM
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Places I have been to that I would not do alone again: Pakistan and Nepal. Places that I was on my way to do alone but chickened out: Morocco (I had so much attention in the south of Portugal that I didn't think I could handle going to a place where I would expect more), and Africa (I had such a bad experience in Pakistan, I rerouted to the first flight out of Pakistan which took me to Geneva, entirely skipping my planned Africa visit). That was such a huge contrast to go from Karachi, Pakistan to Geneva, Switzerland.
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Feb 13th, 2008, 06:12 PM
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ncounty, I am sorry to hear of your bad experiences. If you would care to elaboarate I would very much like to hear more. I would also like to hear your opinion on Nepal, as I'm looking at a possible India/Nepal trip in the coming years.
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Feb 14th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Well P M,

It is a rather long story but I am happy to share it. Please bear in mind that I was young (in my 20's and somewhat trusting and naive). After finishing all my schooling, I decided to take a 6 week trip around the world by myself. There are many stories from this but I think this one takes the cake. I ended up hooking up with a young man at the airport in Kathmandu and we had such a great time in NEpal together that I broke my itinerary and extended my stay in Nepal from 4 to 9, thereby missing my flight to India where I was to transfer to Africa. I therefore had to be rerouted and they were sending me to Karachi Pakistan to await a next available flight to Africa. The adventure began on board Royal Nepal Airlines where a very friendly chatty Pakistani man engaged me in conversation for the entire flight. He asked where I would be staying in Karachi. I said I didn't know, especially since I had not planned on going to Karachi. He said "oh, I know a wonderful hotel, it is the best; I am staying there myself". I said "great, I'll check it out." He then said "when we go to the hotel, do you want to share a room?" I said, "no, I am getting my own room." He then responded, "oh well, why don't you just come to my home and stay with me; my wife will take care of you".
We deplaned and I went through Customs. The customs officer asked me where I would be staying in Karachi. Not knowing what I would do,I just told him that this guy offered to have me stay at his home. He said "what?! are you crazy?! You can't do that!". I said, "oh, of course not, I won't". He then said, so where will you stay? I said "well, I'll go to the airport hotel". He said, "how will you get there?" I said, "I'll take a taxi". He said, "what, are you crazy? Don't you know how dangerous these taxi drivers are?! They are known criminals and they will rob you and drop you off at the Arabian sea!" I said "oh no!" Apparently, I wasn't allowed to just stay at the airport and there seemed to be no options. He then said, "my shift ends in 20 minutes. I'll drive you to the airport hotel myself. Just wait in the officers' lounge for me."
Having no other options, I thought at least if I turn up dead, he will be the last known contact and will be questioned. I waited in the lounge and the whole ritual started again. Officers at the next table offered to have me go home with them. I stayed with my last known contact and he showed up 20 minutes later to drive me to the airport hotel.
WEll, this drive went on for a bit long and I said, "isn't the airport hotel really close to the airport?" He said, "oh, it's coming up". Anyway, to make a very long story with lots more details short, he refused to take me to the airport hotel and insisted I be his guest at his home. I was essentially his captive. He stopped at his home to change and took me out to show me Karachi which involved taking me to generic fancy hotel lobbies and we may have had a drink at one of the places. He took me to the Arabian sea and wanted to send me some boots. I somehow had the temerity to say to him that if he was interested in dating me, there is a very long list of men ahead of him. (I was joking but just trying to dissuade him). He then said "I want to be on the bottom of that list!". We returned to his home where a long fight ensued as to where I would sleep. It was extremely hot and only his bedroom was air conditioned. I insisted I was fine in the heat and would sleep in the living room and he would say "PLEase, do not insult me! you are my guest! You must sleep in the bedroom where it is cool". He would not take no for an answer and this fight went on over the bed versus floor. I insisted on the floor and got the "do not insult me, you are my guest" routine till I acquiesced. Finally, I am in his bed and he is on the floor and we go to sleep. I am then awakened at 2 am with pathetic fake coughing. He says with desperation, I cannot bear it down here! I must come to the bed. So now, I am in bed with a strange Pakistani man. I was stiff as a log and told him (lie), "I want you to know I have a boyfriend and am very much in love". He responded with a hand on my thigh. I then excused myself and went to the bathroom, locked the door, and stayed in there all night.
The next morning, he acted like nothing happened. I was furious and said "if you don't take me to the airport hotel now, I am walking there myself!". He was surprised how strongly I felt about it and did the "please you are my guest routine" but ended up driving me to the airport hotel.....which was, right by the airport! I stayed locked in my hotel room feeling vulnerable and preyed upon and finally emerged and took a taxi to TWA office in downtown Karachi and said "I want the next plane out of here." It was at 2 am to Geneva. By the way, the taxi driver did NOT rob me and dump me in the Arabian sea. More adventures ensued in my final hours in Karachi but that is a different story. Sorry for all the details but I think it helps explain the situation I found myself in. I think Karachi today is even much more dangerous.
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Feb 14th, 2008, 12:29 PM
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P M,

P.s. Nepal was stunning! Just an incredible adventure. Again, I would not be comfortable in retrospect doing that alone. I ended up in remote villages where a large circle of men would stand and stare at me. This is with my male friend by my side. Imagine how nervous I would have been if alone?! However, the natural beauty and otherworldliness of the experience was unforgettable. I feel so fortunate to have those memories. I was riding on top of trucks looking out for power lines crossing the road to avoid being beheaded feeling a bit like Indiana Jones; it was an amazing adventure!
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Feb 14th, 2008, 03:57 PM
  #17
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OMG ncounty, you are very lucky things did not play out in a much worse way. Although you were young and naive you were still a survivor and you did very well to emerge from that situation without bodily harm.

Thanks for sharing your story.
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Feb 15th, 2008, 07:38 AM
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Thanks P M. I am glad I didn't see the movie The Comfort of Strangers until after most of my travels. It is illustrative of what could go wrong and is frightening. I had had several experiences of being the recipient of the hospitality of strangers during my travels alone prior to Pakistan, all of which turned out well (oddly, all were in Portugal}.
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Feb 27th, 2008, 04:19 PM
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I wondered if Mexico City would be all right as a solo female traveler, but it was great. I suppose that's the most daring travel I have done, other than walking through the downtown east side in Vancouver now and then (which is probably more scary than what I saw of Mexico City). No problems in Bucharest, Madrid, or Rome either, which are cities that seem to trigger some people's concern.

I'd be a bit concerned about solo travel to just about anywhere in Africa. Actually, quite concerned.

I would stay away from Iran and Syria on principle.

I think much of India is manageable as a solo female traveler, but I'm not sure I'd actually want to do it by myself.
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Mar 2nd, 2008, 10:47 PM
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Tzarinna,
One way around solo travel is to join a tour group, or multiple small tour groups. A lot of tour groups will take you through the itinerary but have tons of open time so you can explore on your own. This also gets you a guide and/or translator.

Instead of joining one tour group for your whole trip, you could join multiple smaller groups. When I started planning a UK trip, I looked at multiple small tours (3 days here, 4 days there, etc). That allows you to tailor your trip to the places you want to go, while still giving you the benefits of a tour group.

As for safety, if there's a war going on in an area, it's probably not a good idea to vacation there.

Good luck
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