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Solo female travel round Europe- advice greatfully received(16 Posts)
I’m a bit of a novice traveller. I’ve only been on a couple of resort holidays and I travel the U.K. extensively for work.
I’m in my early 20’s if that’s relavent. I want to book a 3 week trip travelling some of Europe. I was thinking France, Italy and Greece. Possibly try and squeeze in a bit of Germany.
My question really is any tips? Also any recommendations of best way to travel? Public transport or rent a car?
Also tips on keeping the cost low while still making the most of it.
My sister has travelled alone in her 20s. She went to a Greek Island & said it felt very friendly & she didn't feel odd on her own.
I think it was Samos.
She's also travelled to the south of France, Italy & Croatia & Montenegro alone for business.
The main tip is to be as aware of your personal safety as you would be at home for example.
I'm going back decades now, but rail travel in Europe was great even then. I'd look into an Interrail ticket. I think it would be exhausting to drive for 3 weeks. You can relax on the train as opposed to having to concentrate when driving.
When I first moved to the Uk I did a solo trip for 2 months around Europe. I did it all by rail. I stayed in hostel with shared kitchens as I found it the easiest way to meet other solo travellers. I made some wonderful memories and ended up living with an Aussie guy I met travelling.
I also had one of my worst hangovers I’ve ever had in Portugal (and all these years later I still cannot stomach tequila)
It was one of the most rewarding experiences doing it along. I had already travelled a bit in America solo (like 2 weeks out of a 3 month trip) so it set me up well for it as I knew I could do it.
Honestly I really enjoyed it, but now DP and DC always want to come with me. 😢
DH and I spent a few months travelling around Europe and we used a company called Busabout, you can google it. It was brilliant actually and I think especially if you're a solo traveller, you'll get to meet other travellers (especially Aussies) and we've done a lot of backpacking and done different things like hired cars or campervans or trains and Busabout was by far my favourite. I just feel like you see so much more.
In 3 weeks I would do 2 or 3 countries at most, not 4 (too rushed) maybe save Greece for another trip as the other countries are all next to /near each other.
Ouigo (low cost high speed TGV trains) are good for France, you can travel for as little as 10 Euros between lots of cities, eg, Paris, Strasbourg, Montpellier, Lyon, Aix en Provence, although be aware for some of these cities the TGV station is far from the city and you will need to get a bus (Eg Aix) or tram (eg Lyon) to the city centre.
Flixbus and Ouibus are also cheap, especially if booked in advance. Register with their websites/download the apps and they will notify you of offers, eg Ouibus sent me one where all tickets were half price, so I went from Lyon to Grenoble for only £2.50.
Blablacar is also a cheap way to get around, although it helps if you speak a bit of the language, many drivers do speak some English and will say so in their profile. The other passengers might not though.
If you are self-catering, eg airbnb or staying in a hostel, download the 'Too Good to Go" app and you can get cheap food (usually around half-price) from bakeries and cafes etc when they close. I got full meals for only 3 or 4 euros using this app.
Italy and Germany you can definitely do by rail. Do not drive in Italy
Have a look at the Seat62 website for tips. You can easily find out where you are going by using the national rail website/app eg Trenitalia. Most countries have much better integrated transport systems than us as well.
DH and I did our honeymoon by train around Emilia-Romagna and it was v easy, plus then lots of trips round Bavaria/Austria. He had been Interailing as a student. It's lots of fun seeing the whole of Europe on the destinations board.
Venice is a lot of fun by rail as the station is right on the Grand Canal.
Thank you for all your advice everyone. Lots of interesting tips and things to think about!
Look at Megabus Europe may take longer than air or train, but cheap. Buy travel insurance. If you travel by train, country to country over night, you will save on accommodation. Don't over pack, travel light. Have a source of emergency money. Pick some places that you would like to visit eg Venice, Pompeii, Paris etc
You could try an organised tour. I did one in Europe in my 20s. It was great, got to see much more than i would have if self organised. It was the right mix of arranged things and free time, plus other people to talk to.
Its not everyones cup of tea i know.
I did this in my 20s (about 10 years ago) - I had an interrail ticket and just arrived in a Paris hostel for 3 nights and took it from there- I didn't have a flight home booked or set date of return so I just spoke to people in the hostels I visited about where they had been/had just come from and if I liked the sound of it I worked out how to get there via train/bus and booked a couple of nights in a hostel there. Eventually it was time to think about coming back so I booked myself a cheap flight out of Istanbul and made my way there over the course of a week. I had a wonderful time. I had to do all my planning in Internet cafes so I imagine it will be much easier nowadays with a smartphone (wow, I sound old)
In Italy there are usually 2 prices one for sitting at a table and a much cheaper one of standing up -good for coffee time or lunch. The evening will likely be more expensive and sit down only unless you go to one of the International chains of course. When you travel alone the evening can be lonely as much more to do during the day
Trains in Europe are brilliant. I've just done a bit of travelling around with DS and loved it. The Man in Seat 62 is a brilliant website with all sorts of tips and hints. Main revelation is how cheap it all is though - we were something like 40 euros for both of us to go from Berlin to Amsterdam!
Germany is lovely and (I think) under-rated so definitely do a bit of that. We stayed in hotels, but if you do hostels you'll meet lots of people who are travelling around too. I think if you do it by car it will become a much more solitary experience.
Other rec for hostels is that you'll have cooking space so be able to keep costs down that way. My main tip is to look for set lunch deals - prix fixe in France, menu turistico in Italy and basically stuff yourself silly at lunch time, then have breakfast on the go and just a snack at night.
Thanks for contributing. Some great tips here!
I’m not too keen on the idea of an organised tour because they seem to work out very expensive.
I’m leaning towards hostels to stay in and I’m having a look at some of the various travel/bus companies you guys have suggested.
I guess I just need to jump in and start planning. I want to give my trip structure but with flexibility for plans to change.
Does anyone have any suggestions for the best out of peak season time to travel that part of Europe weather wise and busyiness wise?
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