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08-06-2015 09:40 AM - edited 08-06-2015 09:48 AM
"...Great advice, Connie. Group travel obviously has advantages and drawbacks, but I think the advantages far outweigh solo travel....".
Depends on how you travel. I go to the U.K. every year for a couple of weeks. I'm 100% independent and do all my own planning. I use all public transportation, rail and bus. I stay in B&B's. I walk/hike every day using bus/train to get to a destination and hike in that area.
My approach to travel has always been to stay in only one or two places for a trip, and branch out from that area. But, that kind of travel does not suit everyone. I thoroughly explore an area rather than spending time driving around, or excess travel time where I have to move luggage.
I won't do a trip, for example, where you see the major capitals of Europe kind of thing --- moving every day or two. This year, I went to the Cotswolds, in England, staying in a B&B in a town that had both rail and bus station. I walked 8-10 miles a day using a bus to/from various little towns in the Cotswolds. I carried a day pack, with food and water, and hiked the rolling hills in the area visiting a number of small towns. Only moderate physical shape required.
You can be a typical tourist and walk around the towns, visiting shops, looking for restaurants and tea houses. Or, you can walk around the town looking at the architecture, then explore the outdoors in the surrounding area on marked paths, in rolling fields, going through fields of sheep. Then, I get back on bus and back to the B&B for the evening.
You can see my signature. I encourage people to get out of their shells and be a traveler, not a tourist.
“The world is a book. Those who do not travel read only one page.”
08-06-2015 09:26 AM
Great advice, Connie. Group travel obviously has advantages and drawbacks, but I think the advantages far outweigh solo travel. Most group travel gives individuals plenty of time to explore on their own. Language is far less of a problem. Transportation is less problematic. If you rent a car and drive yourself, you actually see far less than you will from a bus. You have to watch the road, so you miss the scenery. Try driving down a road and then riding as a passenger. You'll be astounded at how much you missed seeing as a driver. Small groups (10-15) is the ideal number. Then, there's always the option of adding a few days on your own before or at the end of the group trip - which I highly recommend doing.
08-05-2015 10:08 PM
I have traveled extensively to countries like India, Africa, Europe, Russia etc. The best places I liked was UK and extension to Paris via Chunnell Train (first class preferred). Everyone speaks English and is pretty safe. The next in line will be Baltic cruise. We visited Berlin-Germany, Astonia, Poland, Russia etc via Princess cruises. It was a really relaxing and memorable journey. If you take a companion with you, the cost can be shared (just a suggestion).
Regardless of where you go be aware of pick pockets and people who will want to steal your stuff. Carry a bag which is literally theft proof. (http://www.amazon.com/Travelon-Anti-Theft-Tour-Black-Medium/dp/B005AIIGL2/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?s=apparel... One of my friend who recently visited Spain said this bag saved his day.
Keep your passport very safe. Make several copies of it and give it to four of your friends. If you ever loose it, they can fax it to the local American Embassy. Keep a few copies with you in various places. Scan it and send it to yourself. You can retrive it in any country....Comes in real handy.
Be aware of some of the countries that are notorious for pick pockets and thieves -- For example, Spain, Italy and Amsterdam (we lost our passports and money).
Have a great time....
08-05-2015 06:15 PM
If you come from Podunk (as do I), plan to make any air transfers in the States to your final destination.
I have traveled internationally once by myself (2014), meeting a tour group in Turkey, and it was wonderful. I asked to be matched with another single traveler, and all worked well. I'd do it again, when I'm traveling to someplace my travel buddies won't do. Right now I'm looking to go to Cuba and the painted caves in S. France, N. Spain.
08-05-2015 12:53 PM - edited 08-05-2015 12:56 PM
I too travel solo quite frequently and have a few tips. Book for two people at hotels so you do not stand out as a solo traveler, especially if you are a woman. It usually costs no more to do this. Plan your events with group tours so you blend in with everyone else and may possibly find another traveler you can connect with. Always carry a pocket translation booklet for the counrty you are visiting. Make your luggage as small and light as possible since there will be times you need to carry it alone. A backpack is always helpful since it is hands free. Pack a lunch when touring (in your backpack) to avoid dining alone and saving on eating out. The local grocery stores carry premade lunch items. Get a lite weight refillable water bottle that clips to your backpack. Always be aware of your surroundings and enjoy that you can do whatever you want in solo travel.
08-05-2015 12:53 PM
I am retired and travel all over the world several times a year. My advice is to go with a group. I really like OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) as they have small groups, generally no single supplement, (about 10-15 people) and there are lots of other singles that go on their trips. I also use Grand Circle and Viking trips. I have a friends that I ocasionally travel with, but if I want to go somewhere and they don't, I do it myself!.
08-05-2015 12:40 PM
I have traveled a lot in my lifetime (73) and my favorite way to travel is by ship, boat, canoe or anything else that floats; but unfortunately everywhere I want to go wants a "premium" for those who are traveling alone. Being thrift minded I have been restricting my traveling to ONLY SAFE COUNTRIES. To find out what Countries are safe, go to the "Department of State" website for that information and recommendations.
At my age, there is so much to see both in the USA and Canada, so I think I will restrict my traveling to those area. Would love to take a lengthy cruise to both the East and West sides of Canada and see Alaska; but were back to the "Premium" for traveling alone.