Lea here--any ?s on soloing

Old Mar 19th, 2005, 02:46 AM
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I have been travelling alone, most of the time, for over 20 years. There are many advantages to it..you go where YOU want, at YOUR pace, etc. I sometimes rent a place, tell some friends of my plans and to let me know if they would care to join me. I NEVER make my plans around someone else!!

I never have a problem dining. I have dined at Paris' finest..including 3 Michelin starred places....Christmas at Les Ambassadeurs in the Crillon, etc.

I presently have a lovely place rented east of Paris, near Champagne country, in Sept. 2005 and another in the Dordogne area for Oct., 2006.

Enjoy.............
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 02:57 AM
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Gracejoan,
Thanks for the input. The number one question I'm asked when I meet people at booksignings for Solo Traveler is about dining alone. Most of us have no trouble at informal places, but Saturday night at a fine restaurant is daunting. That you can do it without a problem is great. I have loads of tips in my book, many of which I've posted, but could you fill us in on some of your specific tips regarding this? Thanks.
Lea
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 03:36 AM
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Not sure about tips to give re: solo dining. It has never been a problem. If staying in a hotel, have e-mailed a list of where when to the concierge for reservations. Always taken care of. If renting an apartment or a house, I have e-mailed/faxed the restaurant directly before leaving the US..or when in Europe have called for a reservation, etc. I have always been well cared for, have even met some nice people with whom we have continued friendships. I have never found solo dining a problem in any way.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 04:23 AM
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The idea of emailing or faxing ahead to the concierge for dinner reservations is wonderful. Establishes your presence and attitude, as well as securing a table. I try to reserve through my lodging--it puts pressure on the restaurant to come through for me. I tend to ask for a "really good " table when I reserve (give special occasion, birthday, etc. as a reason), and usually come early, so that I don't get a bad one. Any other dining tips out there?
Lea
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 10:29 PM
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I have to say...these posts are all great and you have helped me tremendously! I am planning my first trip abroad and am so excited. I plan on staying in hostels and some hotels when my budget will permit. My question to you is, what do I do with the lot of my luggage when I am travelling to different countries? Also, I will be travelling in April, what are the best items of clothing to bring? Thank you so much!
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 03:34 AM
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Hi Woohoo,
April is one of those months in Europe that can go anyway, any day, and that means layers. I carry a set of silk long underwear, which takes no space and is easy to wash out. I also use tees under shirts, and a lighweight, non-bulky sweater. Cashmere is the best investment there. I wear my travel coat and pack a small, lightweight umbrella. Wear mix and match things and one or two colors--easiest is black. The good news about traveling solo is that no one will care if you wear the same things day after day.
It's called lugg-age for a reason, and the less you have to lug the freer you are. Start with a backpack and if you have to add, be aware of weight and bulk. Carry a folded up bag for purchases, so you can bring them home if you like to shop.
There's an old saying that rings true: "Put your clothes and your money on the bed--you'll need half the clothes and twice the money."
Lea
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 08:06 AM
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Hi Lea.....I'd be interested in your thoughts about traveling solo to Africa (safari). I've travelled to Africa with my elderly father (84 yo) twice in the last 4 years. But, after our last safari to Uganda he decided his safari days are over. I'm one of those Africa addicts that needs a "fix" every year or so and will be going to Zambia this September. I will be going with a small group (4 or 5 others), but I don't know them. This will be the first time I've ever traveled solo. My husband thinks that not having someone to share the experience with will make it less enjoyable. What's your opinion about that? He's got me worried....

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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 09:05 AM
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Hi Phernska,
Safaris and soloists are a perfect fit. You have a wonderful activity, you bond with others in your group in this awesome activity, and I guarantee you that you will have the time of your life!
You can connect easier one on one--I've snorkled with manatees and been eye-to eye with sea lions. And watching a pride of lions a few feet away is something you will never forget. Have no fears, you'll love it.
Lea
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 09:25 AM
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*Lugg-age* i like that, Lea!!

May I contribute the suggestion of a 22" rolling suitcase as an alternative to a backpack? That + a small day pack should be able to accomodate all you need for any length trip.

For WooHoo... No matter how long your journey, think *1-week* and pack for that. You can rinse out or deal with laundry now and then as needed. Beats trying to carry months worth of stuff.

Especially traveling solo (no one to watch your bag when you go to the bathroom!) packing light is essential for your comfort and ease of movement.

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Old Mar 21st, 2005, 01:45 PM
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Lea - I just read your new book (got it from the library) and wanted to let you know I enjoyed it very much! Since I've already picked my itinerary I skipped through the parts on how to decide where to go - but I loved the rest. Made me wish I were leaving tomorrow! Thanks!
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Old Mar 21st, 2005, 03:37 PM
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Thanks Suspire,
I wrote Solo Traveler for enjoyment as well as info. I'm really inspired when I hear nice things from readers. I know it is far more personal than any other Fodor book out there. They wanted to break through in that way, and I'm glad it worked for you.
Happy solo travels!
Lea
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