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First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

Washington DC...
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First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

Hi im a 41 year old female who is interested in traveling to Italy from the US. I have never traveled alone and would probably prefer to travel in a group. I've been searching for some travel companies, but with so many reviews its hard to tell which are good and which are not. Any suggestions? Im looking at probably spending $2500 if possible for 8 days or more. A bit confused on what to choose, because I also want to be able to be taken to the areas where its not so touristy, in order to get an authentic Italian experience. I may be asking for way too much :)

London, England
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for Solo Travel
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1. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

Getting an authentic Italian experience while travelling with a group of your countrymen and women probably is too much to ask for.

Solo travellers usually find that they are far more likely to have "authentic" experiences- talking to local people, eating in restaurants full of local families or simply walking around poking into interesting side streets.

Group travel means going to places deemed to interest a theoretical tourist for the length of time this theoretical tourist would find interesting. The more average you are, the closer a group tour will fit you, but only you can judge that.

I see that it could be restful to have someone else make the decisions and organise your trip, but IME doing the research yourself and making your own decisions enriches your trip.

You are also much more in control of your budget when you travel on your own. You can decide what is worth splurging on and where you don't mind scrimping. On a tour, the decisions are made for you. Many low budget tours save money by staying on the edges of cities and busing in. This can limit your options in the evening and early mornings.

Italy is a piece of cake for a solo female traveller. The trains are clean, frequent, not that expensive and travel times are very reasonable. There is a well developed tourist infrastructure, lots to see and as long as you stay away from activities that would be considered stupid in LA, you are unlikely to find yourself in difficulties.

http://www.seat61.com/Italy-trains.htm

On the other hand, if you are someone who never does anything on your own and who is comfortable only when surrounded by friends, you might be happiest with a group tour.

(Or consider whether Italy might be a good place to broaden your experience)

Somerset
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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2. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

No problem with Italy whether with a group (which will give you a quick overview) or on your own,

But it is big so you need to decide if you want the lakes, mountains, cities or Amalfi Coast with Pompeii and Herculanium.

Have a look at the areas and decide then see if the tours on offer give you what you want to see and for long enough.

As for the companies look at the home pages and get a feel for the sort of people they are aimed at and if you would fit in.

Doing it on your own or giving your itinerary/ideas to a company who will plan and book for you are both possibilities.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

Thank you both for your responses. I am actually someone who never does anything alone, but maybe its time. I would like to go with a group yet I wouldn't just because I would rather get the true experience and not where is the regular touristy areas. I guess I need to really study up and figure out this trip.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

Oh yes for anyone who has traveled to Italy on your own, or are probably planning on going this year. I would love to hear from you.

Thanks !

San Diego
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5. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

Hi,

If you go to the Italy forums and start asking questions you will find MANY women there who travel alone! I took my first solo trip alone to Italy several years ago and loved it.

You may find a more local experience if you find an activity you like and then Google it in Italy like: cooking or biking or walking etc.

Here is an example of food/wine/cooking tour:

http://www.italycookingschools.com/

I don't have any experience with that company but if you put cooking tour Italy, or wine tour or ??? into Google you will find many others.

kent
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for Kent, Solo Travel
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6. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

italyforme.....If you want the "less" touristy bits, then going solo is really the best way. Leagle, Sue and Riif have all given you excellent advice, and hopefully reassurance, that a solo trip can be very easily organised.

I'd suggest flying into Venice and after a few days, then using the excellent rail network to travel south.You would definately not need a tour comapny for venice, it is so small you could easily find your way around.

Florence in itself is well worth a 3 to 5 day visit. If you don't want to hire a car to see the vineyards and stunning Tuscan countryside, then you can book day (or 2 and 3 day ) tours from Florence. You can also do a tour of the Cinque Terre villages from Florence too.

Rome... well, it is one of the iconic cities of the world, and would warrent a whole trip just in itself.

But.... the Amalfi coast and Sorrento are not to be missed!! Some people may caution against Naples, but again it is a beautiful ( in parts) city with excellent links to Ichia , Pompeii, Sorrento and Sicily.

Planning a trip to Italy will need some research, whether you make all your arrangements yourself, ask a travel agent to put a trip together for you, or use a tour organiser. Once you know where you want to fly in and out of, and what regions or cities you want to visit, you can then decide if you want to do all the leg work or use a company to do this for you. I hope you do make this trip. It's a beautiful country and very easy to get around as a solo traveller...just don't try and pack too much in!

Edited: 12 February 2014, 20:31
Washington DC...
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7. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

You are all awesome ! Thank you ~!

r c
Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

Leagle has some good points.

imo, you have to do some research unless you want to be just catered to and not THINK about where youre going and what youre doing.

If youre just doing the one off trip, the do as you want. But if you want to LEARN how to do it anywhere, then do some homework first and go from there. It takes time to figure things out so unless youre willing to put some time into it, you may not meet that vacation window.

just a comment. 8 days isnt alot of time. You will loose 1 day getting there.

also, there is no reason you cant mix it up. spend 3 or so days with a tour group and the rest on your own. or mix up the numbers as you see fit.

i find that researching (doing the homework) is really fun since the ANTICIPATION of going on your trip is part of the work.

go get some travel books or you can just google too to find out whats there to do and see.

Philadelphia, USA
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9. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

I'm just a few years older than you, also female, and have traveled solo to many countries. Not yet to Italy, except for a weekend after a business trip. I also like to join groups when I can, because while I'm very independent I do like company now and then -- especially for dinner. Yes traveling completely on your own is more flexible and sometimes -- sometimes! -- more cost effective than booking a tour, but group travel can ease your mind and be worth a few extra bucks. I'd suggest for your first solo venture that you find a small tour group. There are good companies out there, just do some research. All budgets, all time frames, all ages. Once on a small group our in Spain (12 people), we all shared b/fast and dinner together, but for the day's activities we were dropped off in the town/city and had the day to explore ourselves. That was the perfect mix for me.

Good luck!

Edited: 15 February 2014, 21:21
Somerset
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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10. Re: First timer solo woman traveller wanting to go to Italy

It is possible to book a company and not take their trips but do your own. Then you get to see what you want to see but have company for breakfast and in the evenings. That is often the cheapest way to do it. It's something I have done.

But do pick one that has a hotel and is based where you want to go and things you want to do.

They don't like this much but they can't stop you providing you have your own travel insurance and not theirs.

Edited: 16 February 2014, 00:32