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First Time Solo

Haigh, United...
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First Time Solo

Hi

I am looking for some advice for wannabe first time traveller.

I'm a 25 year old, looking to make my first solo adventure over the next few months.

I'm looking for some general advice for first time traveller as well as some answers to a few questions.

Firstly, what length of time would you advise? I could book a maximum of 2.5 weeks off at any one time. Would you advise taking the full time or just a week or a few days to test the waters so to speak? I'm thinking Europe and have a rough idea of where I want to go (Poland, Germany, France, Italy, Ukraine and a few more), for the first time would people suggest a couple of countries or stick to a few cities in one country? Probably ties into the time scale though.

Any other advice welcome,

Cheers

Bangkok, Thailand
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1. Re: First Time Solo

A longer trip means more money spent on accommodation, travel, eating out, partying, etc. You have to decide which kind of budget your disposable income allows. It is a bad idea to go traveling so that your total funds are expected to be close to zero at the end of the trip. Something unexpected can always happen.

You might get robbed or just lose your wallet with a significant portion of your travel budget. Or you might have an accident and be forced to pay doctor and hospital fees out of your own pocket to get any treatment although your travel insurance eventually will pay the money back. And after the trip you in any case must be able to afford your normal living expenses back home until the next pay day.

If you plan to travel with buses and trains instead of flying you may need to budget more time. On the other hand, on shorter routes a train traveling between city centers may be actually faster than going through some remote airport. Taking night trains and buses can also provide savings in accommodation costs and give you more sightseeing time.

You will need to spend less time on doing research if you target only a single country per trip. However, it will be hard to find countries that do not have more than one destination worth visiting. I would say one week per country is the minimum time you should plan to use if you want to do anything else but tick off a strictly limited number of mandatory famous sights.

If you have not traveled before you probably don't know your own travel style. Some people like to settle in, enjoy the vibe and hang out with the locals, while others would find it immensely boring if they cannot visit at least three attractions per day

You should get the EHIC nhs.uk/NHSEngland/…about-the-ehic.aspx for your travels within the European Union. However, buying travel insurance is still a good idea within the EU and vital if you go elsewhere like Ukraine.

Houston, Texas
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for Solo Travel
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2. Re: First Time Solo

Wow, a lot of watchouts from the previous post. I'm was going to offer advice differently. First, look at previous posts on the board. Check out the links at the top right of the page called "Top Questions" (good advice there). If this is the very first time traveling solo, you might want to consider a short trip, maybe an extended weekend (3-4 days) and one location - just to get used to the concept. Pick one spot/city or perhaps one city with an opportunity for a side trip or day trip. Research your plan, look at the local forum boards, and then book it. If you enjoyed the experience, then come back and maybe plan something longer, like for a week.

So, I've shared some of the logistics and you've listed some general countries of interest, but you don't list what you like doing or seeing?? You need to give us more information about yourself and what you like doing, to help recommend places that might fit your trip.

Haigh, United...
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3. Re: First Time Solo

Thanks for the advice so far.

Ideally whilst travelling I'd like to visit WWII landmarks, I've been to Auschwitz, if like to visit Oradour (France). Attending a football math in the top league in the major European countries is on the bucket list, as is Chernobyl.

England, United...
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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4. Re: First Time Solo

Jamie, I would think a lot would depend on how much you have travelled solo in your own country. If it's a fair bit you are likely to manage more time on a first trip. Also taking into account that you will be in countries where maybe you don't speak the language.

You sound like you have definite goals (no pun intended :-) of what you want to see and do which is why so many of us go solo and it helps with planning.

See how far apart those sights are and if it is fesible to go to each or if it is going to cost more in time or money just getting from one to the other. If so maybe split the trip.

Are you likely to get carried away looking at other things than the targets so you will feel you are missing seeing the whole picture? Or are you the sort that wants to see only the ones on your list and nothing else?

Planning is the key. Even if you ignor much of it when you get there.

Personally I could easily spend 2.5 weeks just in Italy. Others will probably say the same of the other countries. For WW2 sights/sites I would have thought you could have lots just in France.

Edited: 20 November 2013, 16:26
Willemstad, Curacao
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5. Re: First Time Solo

If you want to get to know a country better it is better to stick to one country and visit the different regions and cities.

Kyiv
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6. Re: First Time Solo

Hi Jamie!

2.5 weeks won't be enough for Ukraine alone (we are 2nd-largest country in Europe, after all) let alone for all the countries in your list! But if you tell what your travel interests are, I could have probably narrowed it down for you for nothing but "ticking it" (not that it makes much sense in my personal opinion).

Not sure how much your "next few months" actually mean, but get ready that our winters can be rather cold and snowy, so perhaps are not the best time to visit.

If you decide on Ukraine, you are most welcome to Ukraine forum where you will find lots of helpful info and me, an experienced solo traveller, ready to help with your trip planning ;)

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g294473-i3662-Ukra…

Kyiv
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7. Re: First Time Solo

>>> buying travel insurance is... vital if you go elsewhere like Ukraine

Oh really? Unlike Thailand, tourists are not shot or poisoned in Ukraine. So "vital" is an exaggeration, to say the least.

Travel insurance is essential wherever you go.

Haigh, United...
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8. Re: First Time Solo

Just to clear up any confusion, I'm not looking to visit all those countries during the same trip - just some point in my lifetime!

Kyiv
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9. Re: First Time Solo

In this case, despite all appeal and attraction of our neck of the woods, I'd probably recommend you to consider starting with West Europe to gain confidence as a solo traveller in the environment of less cultural, mentality and linguistic differences.

kent
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10. Re: First Time Solo

Jamie, as you are in the UK, travel to, through and around mainland Europe will be much easier and cheaper for you than for travellers flying in from much further afield. You are also in the lucky position of being able to take "taster" breaks across Europe, due to ( mostly!) excellent transport links.

For a first time solo traveller, I'd recommend some city breaks. You can try out different types of accommodation, get used to booking your own transport, and generally become comfortable in just being solo.

Short trip can also builld up your confidence as well as picking up valuable skills, like research, planning, budgeting. Once you have a few trips under your belt, you'll probably be itching to take longer trip.. well hopefully you will!

For trips of 2 weeks or more, you could either decide on just one country, or book a cluster of relatively close destinations. I'm not a fan of rushing through 7places in 14 days, but that's me and not you. After a few trips. you'll discover your own style, tastes and priorities.

This forum has some excellent trip reports... look at Top Questions at the top right hand side of this page. These may inspire you, and perhaps you could add a few of your own trip reports.

Edited: 20 November 2013, 20:43